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Chapter 12

Assessing and Building
Prior Knowledge
© 2008, Gronski
Some very
effective pre-
reading strategies
(also known as
schemata) for
building prior
knowledge include:
• List-Group-Label
• Graphic Organizers
• Reading
• Listening
• Writing
• List-Group-Label is a variation of
• L-G-L can be used with a whole class, a
small group, or individual students.
• Students first list all the words they can
think of associated with the new topic.
Then, they group similar words together,
words that have something in common.
Finally, they label the groups based on
the words in each one.
• Some words can be found in more than
one group; each one depends on how
the student interpreted the word(s).
• Graphic organizers can be pre-made
or made together as a class.
• Graphic organizers are used to
organize information based on a
specific topic.
• Graphic organizers can be seen
almost anywhere – tree diagrams,
fishbones, pie charts, Venn
diagrams, and KWL charts are some
frequently used organizers.
• Graphic organizers can be used
before reading or starting a new
unit, but can also be used after for
organizing new ideas found
throughout the lesson.
• Previous reading assignments
can assist in future reading
• Previous sections, chapters,
related articles, or books can
help the students to further
understand what they are
about to read.
• Listening to others’ points of
view on a subject can open up a
student’s mind to future
encounters of the same subject.
• Class discussions are important
before reading something new to
discuss what students think will
happen, what they think the
subject is about, and how
different people feel different
things about the same subject
(e.g., two different people may
have opposite views of religion or
• Writing is a special kind of
thinking – it allows students to
reflect on what they know and
choose what they want to use.
• Writing predictions, reflecting
on prior knowledge, or just
writing thoughts in a journal
can help students organize
information on a subject for
future reference.
Bird, C. M., Reddy, H., Cummins, C., &
Bates, K. (2008). Literacy and Technology In
Inclusive Educational Settings. New York,
Pearson Custom Publishing.
What teachers do
before reading to
prepare students can
be more effective in
comprehension than
what is done after