Added: Joell Glassman - Date: 28.01.2022 18:40 - Views: 31754 - Clicks: 1506
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.
We've had our share of lively debates in the field of reading, but not on this particular topic: background knowledge. There is a virtual consensus that background knowledge is essential for reading comprehension.
Put simply, the more you know about a topic, the easier it is to read a text, understand it, and retain the information. A toma is a bird. Can a toma live in a nest? Low-SES children had ificantly more Girls read thisim real btw background knowledge than their middle-class peers. So, to tap how these differences in background knowledge might relate to comprehension in text, we created an illustrated storybook in our second experiment that featured the adventures of four types of birds named for extinct species : the moa, faroe, cupido, and kona.
The book had a total of words and shared a common plot and story grammar, including the setting i. Using a receptive comprehension measure that examined children's understanding of critical story events and their ability to make causal inferences, we found once again that the low-SES children experienced greater difficulty comprehending the story than their middle-SES peers. Consequently, in our third study, we attempted to neutralize background knowledge by introducing a storybook narrative context that would be novel to both groups.
Here was our reasoning: If children's preexisting background knowledge underlies these differences in comprehension, then we would expect that there would be no differences in learning among our differing SES groups. For this study, we created an illustrated storybook similar to the one we used in our study—with one difference: The storybook used a novel category, wugs a pseudo-wordand was deed around the adventures of four species of wugs.
And our sustained our hypothesis about background knowledge and comprehension. When we held background knowledge constant by introducing an unknown topic, there were no ificant differences between SES groups in children's word learning, comprehension, or ability to make inferences.
Taken together, these suggest that differences in low-SES children's comprehension skills may be attributed, in part, to limitations in their preexisting knowledge base. For example, studies have shown that individual differences in prior knowledge affect the ability to extract explicit and implicit information from text and integrate this text-based information in reading comprehension Kintsch, Other studies e. It makes good sense that to comprehend a story or text, readers will need a threshold of knowledge about the topic.
Sometimes we call it domain-specific knowledge or topical knowledge. Without such knowledge, it becomes difficult to construct a meaningful mental model of what the text is about. Consider the following examples. For example, think about the word operation. If you were to read the word in a sports article about the Yankees, you might think about Derek Jeter recovering from his latest baseball injury. If you read the word in a math text, on the other hand, you'd think about a mathematical process like multiplication or division.
Words have multiple purposes and meanings, and their meanings in particular instances are cued by the reader's domain knowledge. From infancy on, oral language comprehension requires children to actively construct meaning by supplying missing knowledge and making inferences. This, of course, becomes even more complicated when we turn to written texts, since it may require students to make inferences based on limited information in the text itself.
In fact, many of our greatest writers engage readers through their writing to think beyond the text. Understanding text depends on readers supplying enough of the unstated premises to make coherent sense of what is being read. But to do this well, readers need to have a foundation of knowledge about the topic. Background knowledge, in contrast, acts as a road map for students, allowing them to stay on target despite the interesting details. This suggests that once print has been decoded into words, reading comprehension and listening comprehension requires the active construction of inferences that rely on background knowledge and are implicit in the text.
Second-language learners know for certain that many metaphors, idioms, and other literary devices are based on background knowledge. We know that it can't be taken literally because we know what the saying refers to. Writings are heavily dependent on metaphors and idioms. Studies e. And these demands placed on background knowledge only accelerate as students progress through the grade levels. Students will be required to apply ly learned concepts to increasingly complex text. They must read, discuss, and write about topics that are conceptually more difficult, and they will need to increasingly draw on intertextual linkages across Girls read thisim real btw areas.
They'll be required to provide evidence from text, show deep and thorough understanding of these concepts, and think creatively about applying these concepts in new ways. Consequently, in much of the literature in reading, we have focused on skills associated with comprehension: decoding, vocabulary development, strategy instruction, and metacognition, among many others. But what we can see from this brief summary is that we have given very little instructional time to a skill that can play an enormous role in comprehending text.
We would venture to guess that students' understanding of text is unlikely to improve unless we begin to more deliberately teach background knowledge. The question then becomes, how do we build children's background knowledge? Core reading materials often encourage us to activate, support, build on, and tie to children's existing knowledge base.
But what do we do when there is no existing knowledge base? Or when there is little to build on? If you asked us, for example, to read an elementary physics text building on our knowledge base of physics, you would likely see blank stares, akin to a deer in headlights. The CCSS place a premium on the amount of background knowledge we provide to children prior to reading a text. Although at times, this clash of perspectives might seem like a catch, the problem is solvable.
However, at the same time, we must recognize that knowledge is not just accumulating Girls read thisim real btw rather, children need to develop knowledge networks, comprised of clusters of concepts that are coherent, generative, and supportive of future learning in a domain. Here's how we do it:. The importance of background knowledge is especially salient in the age of Common Core. To meet the demands of these new standards, children will be expected to develop knowledge through text, both narrative and informational, within specified difficulty ranges at each grade level. Informational text, in particular, is likely to have a greater density of conceptual language and academic terms than typical storybooks or narrative texts.
Consequently, these texts will place increasing demands on children's prior knowledge, further attenuating other risk factors. Without greater efforts to enhance background knowledge, differences in children's knowledge base may further exacerbate the differences in children's vocabulary and comprehension.
The imperative to foster children's background knowledge as a means for providing a firm foundation for learning, therefore, is greater than ever. Susan B. Coppola, Shawna Building Background Knowledge. The Reading Teacher, 68 2— doi: I enjoyed your article on background knowledge. There was really insightful information in this article that was very helpful for me in thinking about my future career as a teacher.
One thing I notice that I would suggest changing is that the very first sentence in the introduction to the article, there is a typo.
That kind of makes the reader weary of the information to follow even though the article is obviously credible and has credible authors. The mistake is "This article make a case I just wanted to let you know! Thank you for sharing your research! Classroom Strategies Research-based teaching strategies. Reading Basics From print awareness to comprehension. Reading Course K-3 professional development course. Looking at Writing Writing samples from real kids pre-K—3. Why Some Kids Struggle The reasons why some kids struggle with reading.
Target the Problem! Pinpoint the problem a struggling reader is having and how to help. Reading Interventions Watch one-on-one reading support in action with K-3 students. FAQs Questions about reading, writing, dyslexia and more. Author Interviews Meet your favorite authors and illustrators in our video interviews. Book Finder Create your own booklists from our library of 5, books! Themed Booklists Dozens of carefully selected booklists, for kids years old. Nonfiction for Kids Tips on finding great books, reading nonfiction and more.
You are here Home. How We Neglect Knowledge and Why. Why is background knowledge so important? Background knowledge enables readers to choose between multiple meanings of words For example, think about the word operation. Literacy language requires background knowledge Second-language learners know for certain that many metaphors, idioms, and other literary devices are based on background knowledge. How to build background knowledge The question then becomes, how do we build children's background knowledge?
Here's how we do it: Begin by teaching words in. They all are a type of… fruit. Use contrasts and comparisons. Why is it or is it not a kind of Girls read thisim real btw Use analogies. An analogy is another type of comparison, but this time the comparison is made between two things that are usually thought to be different from each other.Girls read thisim real btw
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