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Reading and Teaching Complex Texts

Course Description: 

Complex texts make many demands on their readers at the same time that they offer readers, and teachers, many rewards. In this workshop we will consider features that make literary texts complex. Teachers will practice techniques such as anchoring, reading role plays and conducting reading conferences. We will also discuss current research on reading, reading test scores and demographics, and what the field of young adult literature tells us about what young people can do with complex texts outside of school. This course is designed for upper elementary and secondary teachers whose courses ask students to read literary fiction and nonfiction texts (including novels, memoirs, speeches, poetry, scripts, letters, biographies). Teachers are encouraged to bring the complex texts they plan to teach as time and resources will be provided for individual lesson design. We will continue by focusing on best practices for teaching students to independently make meaning as they read. 

Keywords: reading, ELA, making meaning, fiction, non-fiction, complex texts

Audience: Designed for grades 4 - 12 English Language Arts teachers

Dates & Times: Jul 31 - Aug 4, 2017

  • Mon | 10:00a - 4:00p
  • Tue - Thu | 9:00a - 4:00p
  • Fri | 9:00a - 1:30p
Format of Course: In-person at Stanford University with follow-up learning communities throughout the school year


  • $750 (Individual)
  • $700 (Group - 3 or more teachers from the same school or district)
Units: 2 Status: Registration opens Tuesday, Jan 17, 4:00p PT

*Please note: The cost for this course includes morning coffee/tea service, lunch, and a reception. This cost does not include lodging or transportation. Please see the Festival Location, Lodging, & Transportation page. 

Connecting teachers from around the globe to share and grow in teaching excellence. This course is part of the Stanford Teaching Festival (STF). The STF aims to bring together teachers from varied classrooms and contexts worldwide. Teachers participate in a common, in-person, high-quality professional learning experience over the summer, and are provided with the resources, tools, and support to engage and grow with one another in meaningful learning communities throughout the school year. LEARN MORE

Course Facilitators: 

Jennifer Wolf Before coming to Stanford, Dr. Wolf taught high school English and drama in underserved California public schools for fifteen years. Her interest is in the role of literature and the arts in learning. She is a recipient of the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for Undergraduate Education for creating and directing the new undergraduate Minor in Education. Dr. Wolf has taught in the Stanford Humanities Studio with CSET.