One of the key requirements of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English Language Arts is that students are able to read and access complex texts across all grade levels. The CCSS authors emphasize both the limitations and lack of accuracy in the current CCSS model of text complexity, calling for the development of new frameworks. In response to this call, our article focuses on complexity found in K-3 picture books as an area in need of clarification and extension. Since K-3 literature primarily relies on illustrations to convey meaning, we extend the CCSS definition of complexity and provide a framework for teachers to analyze picture books with a focus on textual-visual relationships. Further, we offer a rationale for including the reader as part of the qualitative dimension of text complexity. A recommended list of more recent complex literary and informational picture books for students in K-3 is presented.
The Reading Teacher
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Sierschynski, Jarek; Louie, Belinda; and Pughe, Bronwyn, "Complexity in Picture Books" (2014). Education Publications. 83.