Wanted: “Complex, Text-Based Thinking by Students”

The title of this post comes from a direct quote from Vicki Vinton (coauthor of What Readers Really Do with Dorothy Barnhouse) in the comments section on her blog here.  This is a HUGE shift for many teachers and students.

If we want students to be “doing” the “Complex, Text-Based Thinking” then something else will have to go.  Vicki suggests (and I agree) that this complex student thinking would replace “text-dependent questions for complex text.”

Is this appropriate?  What about text-dependent questions for complex text?  What does the Iowa Core say (100% of Common Core is inside the Iowa Core)?

The picture below is of a “word search” for “text-dependent questions” in the ENTIRE K-12 ELA document including all content area supports for grades 6-12.  Are you surprised by the results?


The phrase “text-dependent questions” was not found when the entire document was searched.

A second search for “text-dependent” had this result.


Again, no search items were found that corresponded to “text-dependent.”

Please check your own state standards document.  Does it “REALLY” require “text-dependent questions” or is that “someone’s” interpretation of the standards?  Should close reading result in students who can answer those text-dependent teacher questions? Or do our students deserve something better?
In the entire scheme of life, do you need students who can answer “text-dependent questions?”  
Or do you need “Complex, Text-Based Thinking by Students?”  

I am looking forward to your responses! (freezing rain is in tonight’s weather forecast in Iowa and I am not attending #NCTE13 so I conversations are welcome!)

One response

  1. Fran,
    I love your close reading of the standards. Text dependent questions reminds me of the “fat free” claims of food processors. Being healthy requires more than fat free food and thinking critically requires more than answering a question! I’m thinking Mel Brooks here, “marketing” !

    Next year NCTE is in Washington DC, think about it…
    Happy Thanksgiving!

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