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De-Mystifying Complex Texts: What are "Complex" Texts and How Can We Ensure ELLs/MLLs Can Access Them?

By Elsa Billings, Aída Walqui


Because the idea of complex text permeates all the disciplines and levels of schooling, concern about its implications for teaching goes far beyond the high school English teacher.

These concerns become particularly heightened when considering English language learners (ELLs) and multilingual learners (MLLs), the students who are simultaneously asked to read and comprehend complex texts in a language they are still learning.

This brief, written by Elsa Billings and Aída Walqui of WestEd’s Quality Teaching for English Learners, explores:

  • What qualifies as a complex text
  • The challenges of a narrow focus on quantitative dimensions of complexity
  • The particular difficulties of texts for ELLs and MLLs
  • How to make complex text more accessible to ELLs/MLLs

Download other briefs in this series produced by the New York State Education Department:

Resource Details

Product Information

Copyright: 2017
Format: PDF
Pages: 4
Publisher: New York State Education Department