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Black Hands, White Sails: The Story of African-American Whalers

Black Hands, White Sails: The Story of African-American Whalers

Previously little known history unfolds as the authors relate the workings of the... Read more

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Informational Text Complexity Measures


Black Hands, White Sails: The Story of African-American Whalers

Black Hands, White Sails: The Story of African-American Whalers

by Patricia C. McKissack and Fredrick McKissack

To help put the right book in each reader's hands, consider the following comprehensive text complexity analyses within your instructional plans.

Standards Model
of Text Complexity

Text Complexity Toolkit

Quantitative Measures

Lexile Level: 1130L   |    ATOS® Reading Level: 8   |    Word Count: 28,164

Grade Band Lexile® ATOS® Degrees of Reading Power® Flesch-Kincaid Fountas & Pinnell Reading Maturity SourceRater
2-3 420L-820L 2.75-5.14 42-54 1.98-5.34 I-P 3.53-613 0.05-2.48
4-5 740L-1010L 4.97-7.03 52-60 4.51-7.72 O-V 5.42-7.92 0.84-5.75
6-8 925L-1185L 7.00-9.98 57-67 6.51-10.34 U-Z 7.04-9.57 4.11-10.66
9-10 1050L-1335L 9.67-12.01 62-72 8.32-12.12 Z+ 8.41-10.81 9.02-13.93
11-12 1185L-1385L 11.20-14.10 67-74 10.34-14.20 Z+ 9.57-12.00 12.30-14.50
View all grade bands

Source: National Governors Association for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers.[1]


Qualitative Measures


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Add your own assessment to this crowdsourced measurement.

Reader and Task Considerations

  • What do you want your students to accomplish with the text, and how will you implement this in your lesson?
  • How will you guide your students to construct meaning and grow as readers, based on the theme and content of this particular text?
  • Which readers will deeply connect with this text, and where does that fit into the instructional plan? Consider each specific reader's motivation, knowledge, and experiences, along with their age, learning needs, language, and reading skills.

Grades in which Black Hands, White Sails: The Story of African-American Whalers is Assigned


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1. National Governors Association for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers. "Supplemental Information for Appendix A of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy: New Research on Text Complexity," Common Core State Standards Initiative (2014): 4. Accessed August 8, 2014, http://www.corestandards.org/assets/E0813_Appendix_A_New_Research_on_Text_Complexity.pdf.

2. Adapted from the CCSSO's ELA State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards, and the text complexity rubrics used by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction ELA Team.

3. Lexile® is a trademark of MetaMetrics. Used under license.

4. ATOS® is a trademark of Renaissance Learning, Inc. Used under license.