Re-envisioning instruction: Mediating complex text for older readers

Dana Robertson, University of Wyoming
S. Dougherty, Rutgers University
E. Ford-Connors, Boston University
J.R. Paratore, Boston University


The adoption of the Common Core State Standards has raised the achievement ante for students, and the instructional ante for teachers, too. Across disciplines, all students, even those reading below grade level, are now expected to read grade level texts and to access texts of increasing complexity. Such access requires an instructional approach that incorporates the types of support that can make it possible for struggling readers to achieve the CCSS. Research shows that effective instruction for struggling readers must not only meet readers where they are, but also integrate three key elements: motivation and engagement, intensity of instruction, and cognitive challenge. This article examines why a reconceptualization of instruction incorporating these key elements is crucial for accelerating the learning of students who struggle, and then describes an upper-elementary learning context that illustrates how the three elements can be woven into instructional planning. © 2014 International Reading Association.