EQ revised

I’ve revised my EQ slightly: How can I use technology to promote student reading and increase their background knowledge?
As I have continued to ponder my EQ, I began to think more background knowledge. Over the summer I read Daniel T. Willingham’s book “Why Don’t Students Like School?” One point that was repeated often was the importance of background knowledge. Willingham referred to the fourth grade slump. The fourth grade slump is about “students from underprivileged homes often read at grade level through the third grade, but then suddenly in the fourth grade they fall behind, and with each successive year they fall even further behind” (p 37). Why does this happen? Reading instruction begins with sounding out and recognizing words. As students become older, reading instruction and tests emphasize comprehension and critical thinking. Comprehension depends upon background knowledge and background knowledge is what the reader uses to understand situations or problems. Often children from underprivileged homes have smaller vocabularies and less knowledge about the world.



As I continue on this EQ journey, I want to take the skills that I am learning to create opportunities to increase my student’s background knowledge. As they learn more about world, I feel that they will become excited about the topics and events that they are exposed to and this will promote their desire to read.

As I create background knowledge opportunities at school, I want to encourage and perhaps educate parents on how they need to help increase their children’s vocabulary and knowledge of their community, country, and the world.

“Background knowledge not only makes you a better reader but it also is necessary to be a good thinker” (p 37).


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Amy Snyder
    Aug 31, 2013 @ 18:08:11

    Perhaps also the background knowledge of other cultures and religions within the US? Regional and religious differences alone add a measure of diversity students will probably contend with as they leave school, and even in school. They could certainly affect reading comprehension.


  2. Suzy Collins
    Sep 02, 2013 @ 12:12:05

    I read an interesting article online about the importance of academic and nonacademic background
    knowledge(http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/104017/chapters/The-Importance-of-Background-Knowledge.aspx). I believe that exposing students to many different types of communication enhances their understanding.
    In our previous class discussion we learned the importance of transliteracy, moving across platforms to facilitate a student’s understanding. I wonder if you should refine your EQ to include transliteracy which is not just technology tools but also includes print, handwriting and orality. Just a thought. I like the focus of your essential question.


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