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ERIC Number: EJ1055882
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Feb
Pages: 26
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0663
Important Text Characteristics for Early-Grades Text Complexity
Fitzgerald, Jill; Elmore, Jeff; Koons, Heather; Hiebert, Elfrieda H.; Bowen, Kimberly; Sanford-Moore, Eleanor E.; Stenner, A. Jackson
Journal of Educational Psychology, v107 n1 p4-29 Feb 2015
The Common Core set a standard for all children to read increasingly complex texts throughout schooling. The purpose of the present study was to explore text characteristics specifically in relation to early-grades text complexity. Three hundred fifty primary-grades texts were selected and digitized. Twenty-two text characteristics were identified at 4 linguistic levels, and multiple computerized operationalizations were created for each of the 22 text characteristics. A researcher-devised text-complexity outcome measure was based on teacher judgment of text complexity in the 350 texts as well as on student judgment of text complexity as gauged by their responses in a maze task for a subset of the 350 texts. Analyses were conducted using a logical analytical progression typically used in machine-learning research. Random forest regression was the primary statistical modeling technique. Nine text characteristics were most important for early-grades text complexity including word structure (decoding demand and number of syllables in words), word meaning (age of acquisition, abstractness, and word rareness), and sentence and discourse-level characteristics (intersentential complexity, phrase diversity, text density/information load, and noncompressibility). Notably, interplay among text characteristics was important to explanation of text complexity, particularly for subsets of texts.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Primary Education; Early Childhood Education; Kindergarten; Grade 1; Elementary Education; Grade 2
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A