The George Graham Lecture In Reading 2014

The lecture will be held in the UVA Rotunda on April 24, 2014

Topic:  Reader-Text Matching in the Common Core Era: Envisioning the Future, Learning from the Past

Speaker:  Heidi Anne Mesmer, Ph.D.,  Associate Professor of Reading, Virginia Tech

The text complexity standard of the Common Core State Standards for the English Language Arts (CCSS/ELA) brings unprecedented attention to reader-text matching. 

Dr. Mesmer will address the difference between text complexity and text difficulty and why this difference is important to teachers.  She will clarify what is behind the number and letter labels commonly used in classrooms to describe the difficulty of texts. The lecture will examine the latest innovations in text difficulty including tools that are being used to capture of the cohesion of entire passages and methods for analyzing the meaning vocabulary in passages. Dr. Mesmer will draw on her own scholarship to inform questions about exactly how students can be “stretched” in text, how text length impacts readers, what is known about beginning reading materials, and why schools must think beyond individual books to programs of text that support readers across years and developmental junctures.

In the tradition of William Holmes McGuffey, whose text scholarship heavily impacted educators of his day, the Curry School brings Dr. Mesmer on-Grounds for a day of invigorating discussion on the latest developments in reader-text matching.

Short Bio:  Heidi Anne Mesmer has studied reader-text matching since 1999 when her instruction of a beginning reader ignited an interest in text. Her recent co-authored piece, Upping the Ante of Text Complexity in The Common Core Standards, was one of the Top 10 AERA Journal Articles in 2013. 

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