Why Blog

I’m passionate about finding ways to simplify comprehension instruction and learning. I’m concerned that we are defining comprehension too narrowly as an accumulation of five or six meta-cognitive strategies when cultivating comprehension involves so much more than that. We need to help children acquire accurate fluent reading skills and strategies; build background knowledge; develop their oral language and vocabulary; make reading-writing connections, and acquire a repertoire of meta-cognitive strategies to use as and if needed.

So I invite you to join me in blogging about this ever-so-important topic. I look forward to hearing your ideas, teaching strategies, book recommendations, classroom stories, etc., basically anything that will inspire a healthy conversation among colleagues.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Daniel Willingham Podcast-Background Knowledge and Reading Strategies

I was going through some files preparing for an institute I'm doing this week in ohio and came across a link to a podcast given to me by a soul-mate teacher in Portland, Oregon. Well...I finally listened to all 15-minutes of it and am so glad I did! It's Daniel Willingham talking about background knowledge—how important background knowledge is and how comprehension strategy instruction is being over-done. Now that you have a bit more time—assuming you've already begun your well-deserved summer break—take your laptop on your deck, grab a cool drink, and listen... Bet it will start you thinking about next year.


  1. I just found your blog, and now I'm a follower, I've bookmarked it, and emailed it to one of my teaching partners. Everyone of the posts I've read were wonderful, and I couldn't agree with you more. I can't wait to really look at everything closely.

  2. testing...i've tried sending a response 3 times and it won't go through. can't figure it out.

  3. hey ashleigh...let's try it (a response) for real this time.
    thanks for your comment and kind words. perhaps they will motivate me to get back on track with blogging. i've been totally consumed these past two month with consulting and am obviously not good at multi-tasking. onward...

  4. I just finished the chapter in your book where you quoted Willingham and listened to this podcast again. My wheels are cranking as I turn over ideas for building more content-area reading, exploring, listening, seeing into my 2nd grade class next year. BTW, are you doing any prof. dev. workshops in Ct.? hint hint.... :) :) :)

  5. hey wendi, good to hear from you. glad the willingham stuff resonates. it's important. and in fact i will be speaking in connecticut this coming year—perhaps twice. once on november 3 at the CRA conference and maybe in the spring in trumbull. that one's pending but if you remind me i'll let you know if it's happening. hope you're enjoying the summer.

  6. Yes, Sharon, please keep me posted on your Ct. talks. I'd love to hear you again. (I did go to the CRA website, but it's, quite frankly, a mess and out-of-date. Hopefully they'll have it back up and running soon. Take care and I'll keep reading!