Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us



Parent & Afterschool Resources

ReadWriteThink has a variety of resources for out-of-school use. Visit our Parent & Afterschool Resources section to learn more.



HomeParent & Afterschool ResourcesPodcast Episodes

Podcast Podcast

Episode 73 — Talking about Text Complexity


E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)


Text Messages: Recommendations for Adolescent Readers

Listen Now

Grades 6 – 12
Podcast Series Text Messages: Recommendations for Adolescent Readers
See all episodes in this series

iTunes Subscription
Duration 23:08
Original Air Date Published May 30, 2014

Music in this podcast is courtesy of Scott Andrew.


Episode 73 – Talking about Text Complexity


Episode 73 – Talking about Text Complexity

In the ongoing conversation about teens and reading, one of the things we often hear is that teens should be reading complex texts. What we need to be asking, though, is how people are defining text complexity. Rather than labeling books for their complexity, let’s talk about what readers can do with them. A text can be more or less complex based on what a reader brings to it, discovers, or sees. Complexity can be found, and it can be made. In this episode, you’ll hear about a variety of books that may deepen our thinking about complex texts, including collections of poems and works of historical fiction, graphic novels and informational texts, and novels built on interwoven storylines. Together they offer reading options for teens with diverse interests, tastes, and sensibilities.

After listening to this episode, be sure to print out this list of recommended titles to take to the library or book seller.

Books featured in this episode:

  • How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson (Dial, 2014)
  • Revolution by Deborah Wiles (Scholastic, 2014)
  • Race to Incarcerate: A Graphic Retelling by Sabrina Jones & Marc Mauer (The New Press, 2013)
  • Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin (Candlewick, 2014)
  • Holy Spokes! A Biking Bible for Everyone by Rob Coppolillo (Zest Books, 2013)
  • Pointe by Brandy Colbert (Putnam, 2014)
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (Delacorte, 2014)
  • Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King (Little Brown, 2014)
  • Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith (Dutton, 2014)