Easy Ways to Build Your Students Background Knowledge

Are you always trying to find ways to build comprehension in students? I’m sure you are! Teachers have an enormous goal of helping students learn to understand what they read. It is important to remember that this does not require any fancy strategies or expensive programs. One of the best ways to build understanding involves background knowledge. This allows students to have context, develop their schema, and gain insight into the topic. Thankfully, there are easy ways to build your students’ background knowledge! So, let’s dive in and review a few options. 

Building background knowledge

Strategy 1: Diverse Exploration of Nonfiction Texts 

When building background knowledge in students, nonfiction texts build a robust foundation. This is because they include so many diverse topics, allowing students to build background knowledge in multiple areas. 

Students reading nonfiction books regularly also learn about science, history, biographies, and more! Students can then discuss what they’ve read, ask further questions, and learn about many topics. It is so important to encourage students to read nonfiction when looking for easy ways to build your students background knowledge! 

When reading nonfiction, it will be incredibly helpful to analyze text features. This includes headings, captions, and diagrams. Since students will not know how to do this, it is crucial to have activities that show them how to extract valuable information. After explicitly teaching students how to do this, provide time for them to practice independently. This will allow them to build background knowledge and independence simultaneously. 

If you’re looking for a great project incorporating nonfiction books, allow students choice. Take them to the library or bring in lots of options. Then, give them time to pick one, analyze its text features, and read it. They can then present their summary to the class. This will be a fantastic way to build background knowledge on many topics while developing a love of reading! 

Close Reading Passages

Check out the Close Reading Mega Bundle for incredible daily reading activities. 

Strategy 2: Integration of Science and Social Studies

When looking for easy ways to build your students’ background knowledge, it is helpful to incorporate science and social studies! By doing this, students see real-world subjects and learn about many topics. So, students can have a reading assignment on one of these subjects while building their comprehension and critical thinking. Students can even talk about how the different topics connect to their life, community, and world. 

Students will love hands-on activities when bringing in nonfiction books within these subjects. This includes STEM projects, challenges, and real-life ways to apply their theoretical knowledge. 

When bringing this strategy to the classroom, allow students to pick their science or social studies topic. They can study it throughout the quarter by reading different nonfiction sources. Once they have ample research, they can present their findings to the class. 

Check out the Social Studies Smash Ups and Science Smash Ups to see how subjects combine. This connection is an amazing way to ensure students have time to understand the material deeply.

Strategy 3: Multimedia Exploration and Real-World Connections 

When looking for easy ways to build your students background knowledge, this one is powerful! Students love looking at pictures and other parts of the world. So, stress the value of real-world connections to bring in background knowledge. In other words, acknowledge the multimedia landscape and its role in conveying information. It will be so helpful for students to see what they will learn about!

You can include documentaries, educational videos, and interactive websites to do this. Since students will be new to use, guide them through extracting information. After analyzing these sources, the class can have a discussion together. This can include the pros and cons of learning through multimedia. 

As a bonus, see if it is possible to bring in guest speakers or attend virtual visits from experts in the field. Students will love listening and asking questions when gaining insight from real-world perspectives. This will be an incredible way to deepen their understanding! 

Check out the Math Fact of the Day resource. It includes a real-world problem or situation for students to solve each day. 

Building background knowledge is an essential way to build comprehension. Students need to know and see what they will learn about to truly understand it. Thankfully, there are easy ways to build your students background knowledge with these strategies!

If you do not want to miss any of the upcoming lessons, join my email list to be notified of all the interactive lessons coming up! By joining the email list, you will receive freebies for blog exclusive subscribers!  

Grab the Ultimate Comprehension Toolkit!

ultimate comprehension toolkit

Easy Ways to Build Background Knowledge


You might also like...

I’m a wife, a mommy of 3, blogger, and a full time teacher author and presenter. I love to read, shop, and spend time with my family! My hands are always busy, but my heart is so full!

Find what you need

Newsletter Signup

Teach Comprehension Confidently

and get the results you've always been looking for!

Download your FREE Ultimate Comprehension Toolkit for