What should content-area teachers know about comprehension instruction?
Page 9: Activating Prior Knowledge
Did You Know?
By having students participate in activities or discussions, content-area teachers can identify incomplete, faulty, or conflicting ideas or misconceptions that could interfere with the students’ ability to successfully learn and apply new information.
- Explain the topic or standard about which students will be learning
- Provide an overview of requisite content or concepts (e.g., review preceding content, use media or a hands-on activity to create the necessary context for learning new material)
- Preview the reading material to note headings and subheadings, words in bold or italic font, and titles and captions on graphic sources
- Actively engage students in discussing and integrating information
View the video to see how Anita Archer, an educational consultant, connects the students’ prior knowledge about the term depression to help them to learn about the Great Depression (time: 2:37).
Sharon Vaughn, PhD
Professor of Special Education
Director of the Vaughn Gross
Center for Reading and Language Arts
University of Texas, Austin
For those students who do not have the requisite knowledge to take full part in a lesson, teachers might need to provide additional instruction. Listen as Sharon Vaughn discusses some ways to address this issue (time:1:04).
List three things Anita Archer does to help students activate their prior knowledge in order to learn the term corporation (time: 3:51).