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The basics of beginning reading: Knowledge

Knowledge is one of the four essential reading skills. Find out if your kindergartner or first grader is on track.

By GreatSchools Staff

Reading knowledge describes a reader's knowledge base. Unlike comprehension, which is about understanding what is read, knowledge is the developing wealth of information a reader accumulates. Knowledge both informs and is informed by what we read: as we read, we build knowledge, and what we already know enhances and enriches our reading experience. Reading knowledge is often associated with nonfiction texts that increase our understanding of the world around us, but fiction texts can also teach us something new or help us see the world through another's eyes. A child with strong knowledge skills is an active, engaged reader who reads to learn, and can make connections between what she reads and the world around her.

A beginning reader with good knowledge skills can:

  • Understand the difference between fiction and non-fiction texts
  • Identify basic parts of a book, including the front page, back page, and title page
  • By first grade, identify and begin to use table of context and index
  • Ask and answer questions about the text (such as, "What did you learn?")
  • With prompting, make connections between information in a book and previous knowledge and experiences

Other necessary reading skills:

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