Activating Prior Knowledge
What is it?
When you activate prior knowledge, you call on information or life lessons that you have already learned. Applying prior knowledge and drawing on past experience helps you understand what you read. For instance, if you've been camping you can use the know-how you gained on your trip to relate to and understand a selection about camping.
Why is it important?
Recalling what you've read, seen, or experienced in life will help you make predictions as you read. It's easier to relate to a character in a story if you've been in her shoes. For example, if you know how it feels to take that first step into a new school, you'll better understand the feelings of a character who changes schools.
How do I do it?
It's always good to familiarize yourself with the selection before you start reading. The best way to activate prior knowledge is to skim the title and text. Take some time to look at the photographs and illustrations. Ask yourself: What do I already know about this topic? What experiences have I had with this topic?
Practice this skill!
Need more information? Review this skill in your Reading Handbook.