ACT reading scores matter less than a students' ability to comprehend complex texts. CCSS are focusing on making meaning from increasingly complex texts; they are examples, not requirements. It's not exhaustive, but exemplary of the variety and level.
With scaffolding as appropriate, they'll develop the habits of mind that will help them stick to it and be able to handle tougher reading. We want to tailor our instruction so students grapple with much more, much, much more complex than those texts we are currently feeding them.
It's not fair, "it's a bait and switch if we don't prepare them for more complex texts."
Through the text, they gain greater general knowledge, language structure, and vocabulary. Interaction with these kinds of texts is for everybody, particularly those who can't access them in schools. It is practice with complex text, -- not intended to replace -- but some of your instruction will become rooted in complex text; you'll build scaffolds, questioning, and instructional supports around it.
In addition, Lexile levels may be shifting -- Appendix A p 8, and Achieve the Core has it also.
The 3 dimensions of text complexity suggest that this issue will be not simply resolved (qualitative, quantitative, reader & task considerations). Teachers do the qualitative and r/t considerations.
For a study on this issue of text complexity, see this link.
Activity: trying our collective hands at qualitative measures.
We are going to have to judge the texts -- it is situated in close, repeated, analytic reading of small bits of text. It's not what you do during SSR; it has to be effectively taught and supported.
Question: does ..CCSS have a set definition of text complexity? Three legged stool -- ...
Text dependent questioning -- it's always about going back to the text -- nuance, innuendo, implication, inferencing, reading for assumptions, conclusions, alternative arguments, etc. Darion's point is that text dependent questions invite students to ... "Analyze sections of the text, investigate how meaning can be altered, probe, examine shifts, question the authors choice, note patterns of writing, consider what's unclear or unstated." Review QTA.
Link to "Creating questions for close analytic reading exemplars: a guide."
Link to Daniels' Subjects Matter: Every Teachers Guide to Content Area Reading.