All Background Knowledge articles

By: Reading Rockets (2020)

Most of our schools and afterschool programs have closed in response to the COVID-19 crisis — and you may be looking for engaging ways to keep kids reading, writing, exploring, and learning at home. Here, you'll find lots of ideas to immerse kids in language and stories, build background knowledge, and inspire creative play. 



By: Melissa Stewart (2018)

It’s a great time for children’s nonfiction! In recent years, these books have evolved into five distinct categories. Learn more about the characteristics of traditional nonfiction, browse-able nonfiction, narrative nonfiction, expository literature, and active nonfiction.



By: Deborah K. Reed, Iowa Reading Research Center (2016)

By actively and independently reading text, students simultaneously can build their word identification, fluency, vocabulary, and text-dependent comprehension skills. Learn about three key steps teachers can take to help students experience success with independent active reading.



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

To comprehend a story or text, young readers need a threshold of knowledge about the topic, and new, tougher state standards place increasing demands on children's prior knowledge. This article offers practical classroom strategies to build background knowledge such as using contrasts and comparisons and encouraging topic-focused wide reading.



By: Reading Rockets (2012)

Our interconnected and digital world demands a lot of our learners. Here are five simple ways to help build your child's critical thinking and problem-solving skills.



By: Reading Rockets (2012)

Children's author and historian Marc Aronson discusses the importance of reading nonfiction in developing critical thinking skills.



By: Barbara Marinak, Linda Gambrell (2009)

Exposing young children to informational text early on can help them to handle the literacy demands of fourth grade and beyond. Practical instructional techniques can be used to promote understanding and enjoyment of informational texts. The three techniques described here — Text Impression, Guiding Questions, and the Retelling Pyramid — can help children become familiar with the language and structure of non-fiction books.



By: Reading Rockets (2009)

Day trips, vacations and special outings create special memories and great learning opportunities for families. Here are a few "stops" to make before your visit to help your child get the most out of a family or school educational experience.



By: Kristina Robertson (2008)

As you teach content areas to ELLs of diverse backgrounds, you may find that they struggle to grasp the content, and that they approach the content from very different perspectives. Drawing on your students' background knowledge and experiences can be an effective way to bridge those gaps and make content more accessible. This article offers a number of suggestions to classroom teachers as they find ways to tap into the background knowledge that students bring with them.



By: Reading Rockets (2008)

Children are full of questions about the world around them, and summer is a perfect time to tap into your child's interests. Here are some ways to start a journey of discovery together.



By: Kristina Robertson (2007)

As you teach content areas to ELLs of diverse backgrounds, you may find that they struggle to grasp the content, and that they approach the content from very different perspectives. Drawing on your students' background knowledge and experiences, can be an effective way to bridge those gaps and to make the content more accessible. This article offers a number of suggestions to classroom teachers as they find ways to tap into the background knowledge that students bring with them.



By: Reading Rockets (2007)

Interesting experiences give kids a broader framework for new information they might encounter in books, and when kids have lots of experiences to draw on, they have a better chance of making a connection with what they read! Help your child build background knowledge this summer with these activities.



By: Reading Rockets (2007)

Most words in a child's vocabulary come from everyday encounters with language. Children pick up language from books, media, and conversations with the people in their lives. Here are some ways you can increase your child's vocabulary and background knowledge, and strengthen the foundation for their reading success.



By: Daniel T. Willingham (2006)

Knowledge does much more than just help students hone their thinking skills: It actually makes learning easier. Knowledge is not only cumulative, it grows exponentially. Those with a rich base of factual knowledge find it easier to learn more — the rich get richer.



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: Texas Education Agency (2002)

How can classroom reading instruction help poor readers — indeed, all students — become more like good readers? Research suggests that the answer may lie in providing students with instruction that both teaches them the comprehension strategies that work so well for good readers and helps them to develop the necessary metacognitive awareness of how and when to use these strategies.



By: Texas Education Agency (2002)

Based on research and effective practice, these strategies help students learn how to coordinate and use a set of key comprehension techniques before, during, and after they read a variety of texts.



By: Judith Gold, Akimi Gibson (2001)

Children learn when they make connections between what they hear and what they know. One method parents can use to help make these connections is called a think aloud, where you talk through your thoughts as you read.



By: Timothy Shanahan

Much vocabulary is learned without formal teaching. We gain words from conversation, observation, television/media, and reading. However, research shows that explicitly teaching vocabulary can measurably improve reading comprehension — if we teach the right words well enough. Here are five key principles to effective vocabulary instruction.



"When I say to a parent, "read to a child", I don't want it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate. " — Mem Fox