How Knowledge Helps Students Become Skilled Readers and Writers
When students learn new information, their brains look for ways to connect what they’ve just learned with what they know already. The more background knowledge students have, the broader their foundation for building new knowledge.
Background knowledge enables students to read and understand texts and build strong vocabulary to use in conversation, whether they learn new words by reading independently or through a read aloud. As their lexicon grows, they can dive more deeply into a topic and generate more ideas about it through writing. This experience not only helps them build more knowledge but improves the clarity of their communication. Students are better equipped to develop sophisticated thinking and writing skills as they encounter rich knowledge from multiple sources and diverse perspectives.
In our knowledge-building primer, we explore how educators can
- make the most of high-quality knowledge-building materials,
- use complex texts to help build students’ knowledge and vocabulary,
- prepare their class to read progressively more challenging texts, and
- help students become successful writers and communicators.