Using and creating schema, or background knowledge

Good readers make connections between what they know and what they read. This can take the form of text-to-self connections, text-to-text connections, and text-to-world connections. But it can also mean that readers use what they know about a particular author or genre or type of text to help them comprehend.

Proficient readers...

  • activate their background knowledge before, during, and after they read texts
  • add new information to their schema and change existing schema as they read
  • recognize when they lack background knowledge about a topic and they know how to create it to get the information they need

Anchor Charts:


Our schema is organized like file folders in a cabinet.
We can add to and change our schema as we read.



Once students know they have schema, they can then
begin to activate it as they read.





Forms and Resources:

Texts for Teaching Schema:

  • Fireflies by Julie Brinkloe
  • Hazel's Amazing Mother by Rosemary Wells
  • I Know a Lady by Charlotte Zolotow
  • Ira Sleeps Over by Bernard Waber
  • Koala Lou by Mem Fox
  • My Great-Aunt Arizona by Gloria Houston
  • Now One Foot, Now the Other by Tomie dePaola
  • The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant
  • Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran
  • The Two of Them by Aliki
  • Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
  • Oliver Button is a Sissy by Tomie dePaola

Comprehension Resources:

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