A lack of background knowledge can hinder reading comprehension is an article in Eureka Alert summarizing a new study finding what almost all teachers know – we have to activate students’ prior knowledge AND provide them with knowledge they’ll need to access our lessons.

Obviously, the column of this post is sarcastic but, nevertheless, the study can function as an important reminder to educators.

Making sure that students get that needed prior knowledge requires a bit of planning on our part, of course.  But it doesn’t have to be hard.

If I know we’ll be reading a challenging text in my ELL classes, I try to find more accessible documents in English that can provide related prior knowledge (see The Best Places To Get The “Same” Text Written For Different “Levels”) and/or provide access to related materials in the students’ home languages (see The Best Multilingual & Bilingual Sites For Math, Social Studies, & Science).

What are some of the strategies you use?

I’m adding this info to The Best Resources For Learning About The Importance Of Prior Knowledge (& How To Activate It).