Tight, strategically focused background knowledge building

In my practice, I’ve been exploring how to build or activate background knowledge in a tight way that’s strategically focused on supporting students’ understanding of a text. I plan on sharing more in the next few blog entries about how I did this with 2nd and 3rd grade students recently. Before that, though, I want to recommend reading Timothy Shanahan’s recent blogs on the necessity of background knowledge (BK) to better comprehension and how we can activate or build this knowledge and still spend the majority of our time with the text.

A CAVEAT – I follow Shanahan’s blog, BUT this does not mean I always agree with him. 🙂 This time I do–in general.

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 3.20.05 PM

Part One of his two-part blog on BK – reminds us of the research base on the role of background knowledge in reading comprehension


Part Two – some quick tips (numbered and in bold) for activating or building background knowledge


I’ll share what I’ve tried in recent lessons soon!




2 thoughts on “Tight, strategically focused background knowledge building

  1. Newhouse, Carolyn


    I enjoy your posts! Just wanted to let you know that I’ve been using the games you gave me. This week, my kids had a great time playing “The Main Idea.” Thanks so much for sharing them with me.

    Hope you are well. Enjoy the holidays!

    Lyn Newhouse


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