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All Basics articles

By: Susan Neuman, Tanya Kaefer, Ashley Pinkham (2014)

This article make a case for the importance of background knowledge in children's comprehension. It suggests that differences in background knowledge may account for differences in understanding text for low- and middle-income children. It then describes strategies for building background knowledge in the age of common core standards.



By: Alice Thomas, Glenda Thorne (2009)
Parents and teachers can do a lot to encourage higher order thinking. Here are some strategies to help foster children's complex thinking.

By: Alice Thomas, Glenda Thorne (2009)

As students grow older, they are asked by their teachers to do more and more with the information they have stored in their brains. These types of requests require accessing higher order thinking (HOT).



By: Daniel T. Willingham (2006)

The author, a professor of cognitive psychology, notes, "it's true that knowledge gives students something to think about, but… knowledge does much more than just help students hone their thinking skills, it actually makes learning easier." Factual knowledge enhances cognitive processes like problem solving and reasoning, and once you have some knowledge, the brain finds it easier to get more and more knowledge.



By: Gina Carrier (2006)

In the last few years, an alarm has sounded throughout the nation's middle and high schools: too many students cannot read well. It isn't that they don't know their ABCs or how to read words. It's that they cannot understand or explain what they're reading. Johnny can read, but he doesn't understand.



By: Daniel T. Willingham (2006)
Learning happens when we connect new information to what we already know. When children have limited knowledge about the world, they have a smaller capacity to learn more about it. Here are four ways teachers can build content knowledge that will expand the opportunity for students to forge new connections — and make them better independent readers and learners.

By: E. D. Hirsch, Jr. (2006)

The federal No Child Left Behind law requires more testing of students, and has spurred some frantic and ineffectual test preparation in many schools, says the author, E. D. Hirsch, Jr. Reading tests must use unpredictable texts to be accurate measures of reading ability, but if you cannot predict the subject matter on a valid reading test, how can you prepare students? Hirsch says you can't, and, therefore, you shouldn't try. The only useful way to prepare for a reading test is indirectly by becoming a good reader of a broad range of texts, an ability that requires broad general knowledge."



By: Sebastian Wren (2005)
This article illustrates the difference between being able to decode words on a page and being able to derive meaning from the words and the concepts they are trying to convey.

By: Judith Gold, Akimi Gibson (2001)

This article discusses the power of reading aloud and goes a step further to discuss the power of thinking out loud while reading to children as a way to highlight the strategies used by thoughtful readers.



"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." — Emilie Buchwald