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The basics of early reading: Knowledge

Knowledge is one of the four essential reading skills. Find out if your second or third 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.

An early reader with good knowledge skills can:

  • Identify the main topic/s or theme/s in a paragraph or a chapter, and key themes in a book
  • Compare and contrast key points in a text
  • Enhance understanding of information in the text by referring to maps, graphs, charts and illustrations that accompany the text
  • Make connections between information in a text and previous knowledge of the subject and related subjects, and reader's own experience

Other necessary reading skills:

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