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Ready, Set, Read

Activating Prior Knowledge


RPDP Secondary Literacy

RPDP Secondary Literacy
RPDP Secondary Literacy
RPDP Secondary Literacy
RPDP Secondary Literacy
RPDP Secondary Literacy
We will discuss –
• Reasons for accessing your own prior
knowledge when you read
• Strategies to activate prior knowledge
• Importance of making connections
RPDP Secondary Literacy
Have you ever read a story
that reminded you of
something that happened
in your own life?

Or maybe you read about a

character who reminded
you of someone
you knew?
RPDP Secondary Literacy
• Finding similarities between what you’re
reading and your own experiences in life
is called activating prior knowledge.

• Prior means before,

so prior knowledge is
what you already knew
before you started reading
the story.

• Using this knowledge helps you

understand what you read.
RPDP Secondary Literacy
Prior knowledge is a combination of your -
• preexisting attitudes and beliefs
• life experiences and activities
• knowledge and strategies
• motivation for reading
• present mood
• personality
• memories

RPDP Secondary Literacy

• You bring your own personality, mood,
memories, etc. to everything you read.
• What you, as a reader, bring to a page
affects your ability to understand the
writer’s words and ideas.
• This makes your experience while
reading almost as unique
as a fingerprint.
RPDP Secondary Literacy
Your teacher may use different words
when referring to prior knowledge:
• Background knowledge
• Previous knowledge
• Personal knowledge
• Frame of reference

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• Good readers activate relevant prior
knowledge before, during and after
• They use this knowledge
as a framework for learning
new information.
• They also decide if they
need more information
for understanding.
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By finding connections
between your life and
the lives of the people
you’re reading about,
you can better
what those people
do and why.

RPDP Secondary Literacy

Add to or
change their
thinking as
they discover
new ideas
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• Confirm their hypotheses
or theories.

• They say: “That’s what I

expected,” or

• “That’s really surprising.”

RPDP Secondary Literacy

RPDP Secondary Literacy
3 types of connections:

TEXT to SELF: How does this text connect

to my past experiences, or prior knowledge?

TEXT to TEXT: How does this text connect

to another piece of writing?

TEXT TO WORLD: How does this text

connect to what I know about the world?

RPDP Secondary Literacy

Good readers ask questions:
• before reading
• during reading
• after reading

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• What knowledge will help you understand
the information in this selection?
• Which details connect to your own life
• What background knowledge would help
a reader understand this?
• Would you recommend this to
other readers? Why? Why not?

RPDP Secondary Literacy

• What connections did you make with
the information in this selection?

• What other selections did this article

remind you of?

• What did you learn about the

world from this article?

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• Where would you find more information
for the topic of this article?
• Based on the topic, what information did
you expect to read in this selection?
• What details did you add to your own
knowledge based on this article?

RPDP Secondary Literacy

• How are the events described in this
article related to your life?
• Are there similarities?
• Are there differences?
• How are the events similar or
different to the lives of people
you know?
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Memory often plays tricks
on us. Much of what we
already know lies hidden
in our brains.
Successful readers learn
how to reawaken this

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• Many things you need to figure out
on your own.
• Good readers learn how to use what
they read and connect it to what
they already know.
• They come to conclusions
after studying the facts.

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Prior knowledge helps you make inferences.
When reading about a football game, imagine:
• the cheering fans
• the half time band
• the score board
• the smell of hot dogs
• the victory for the winning team
RPDP Secondary Literacy
• Always preview the text content and
• Read the title. Titles provide clues about
the main idea.
• Try to predict what the passage
will be about.
• Continue to make predictions.
Modify them as you get deeper
into the passage.
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Really read the title.
Don’t just glance at it
and move on.
Think about it.

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• Connect what you read to what you
already know. The more connections
you make, the easier job you’ll have
with comprehension.

• Remember to ask yourself questions.

• Then try to answer them.

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• Read the questions before you read the
passages. This helps activate your
memory and prior information.
• Have a purpose for reading. This will
focus your attention.
• Reread information that seems
important or difficult to understand.

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It’s important to visualize
what you read.
“Visualization is one
of our strongest
memory techniques.”
It will help you to focus
and connect.
Saralyn Lasley, Clark County School District
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If I can’t picture it, I can’t
understand it.
RPDP Secondary Literacy -Albert Einstein
What I Know What I Want to What I’ve
Know Learned

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What the passage is What it reminds me of
Dinosaurs are extinct. I saw a dinosaur exhibit
with my 6th grade class.

After the dinosaurs died I just saw the movie

out, 65 million years Jurassic Park.
passed before people
appeared on Earth.

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Your teacher asks you to complete
an anticipation guide.
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Directions: Read each statement. If you believe that
a statement is true, check the Agree column. If you
believe the statement is false, check the Disagree
column. Be ready to explain your choices.

Agree Disagree
_____ _____ 1. The average worker in the USA
spends more than 2 hours a day
using computers in the workplace.

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• Try to identify important information in a text
• Read the parts that present “news” more
• Process that important information differently:
 reread it
 underline it
 paraphrase it
 connect it
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Brainstorm with
classmates whenever
This will allow you to
share your knowledge
and experiences with
others and create
interest in the topic.
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The best advice
your teachers
can give you is
to always
read and think.

Reading will help you build more

RPDP Secondary Literacy background knowledge.
And remember to always connect
what you’re reading to what you
already know.
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Today we discussed:
• Importance of prior knowledge
• Accessing prior knowledge
• Connecting prior knowledge

RPDP Secondary Literacy