Hover to see how Factors connect to Background Knowledge. Then click connected Factors to explore strategies related to multiple Factors.
We all bring our own Background Knowledge, that is what we know and have experienced, to what we read. Helping students build their Background Knowledge can ensure they have the information they need to understand increasingly complex texts.
Understanding a text can be difficult without basic Background Knowledge in the topic for several reasons:
The reliance on Background Knowledge grows as students progress through school, and they are required to build upon prior Background Knowledge to acquire new Background Knowledge. Specifically, the comprehension of informational texts requires students to have more Background Knowledge than they need for storybook texts, as informational texts typically use more complex vocabulary and require students to apply information from prior lessons.
However, Background Knowledge goes beyond Vocabulary learning because Background Knowledge refers to a deeper understanding of a topic. For example, a child who has never been to the beach before may know the relevant Vocabulary (e.g. waves, seaweed, sand) but may not immediately understand metaphors used in a story in the same way as a child who has experience going to the beach.
Advance graphic organizers link prior knowledge to upcoming learning to help students anticipate and understand the structure of new information.
With this interactive technique, teachers help students become story-tellers by listening and questioning.
Visiting places connected to classroom learning provides opportunities to deepen understanding through firsthand experiences.
With this interactive technique, teachers help students use their own language for constructing knowledge by listening and questioning.
Learning about students' cultures and connecting them to instructional practices helps all students feel like valued members of the community.
Independent reading promotes reading development by emphasizing student choice with teacher support in selecting books, as well as by making time for free reading.
Rhyming, alliteration, and other sound devices reinforce language development by activating the mental processes that promote memory.
Reading aloud helps students to hear and practice reading and fluency skills.
Students with low early literacy skills benefit from a focus on phonics and Phonological Awareness.
Talking with students about what they know about the topic of upcoming work helps activate their Background Knowledge or reveals gaps.
Reading aloud regularly exposes students to new and familiar vocabulary and texts.
Reading aloud books about skills children are learning provides another model for their development.
Books for vision differences support reading development for learners with visual needs.
Books of varying complexity and reading levels are necessary for all students to experience reading success.
Multicultural and Primary Language books are critical for supporting all students.
With rhyming and creative word use, poetry is a genre that supports the development of early literacy skills in particular.
Books with SEL topics, such as developing friendships and identifying emotions, help teach these skills.
Videos developed with discussion guides can teach students about SEL skills.
A web dictionary can serve as a resource for students to expand their Vocabulary knowledge.
Puzzles and games help students visualize how to connect one fact to another.
A word wall helps build Vocabulary for reading fluidity.
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