Non Fiction Big Question #2

In my persistent journey to be up to date with the newest educational research, I’ve learned about Kylene Beers and Bob Probst. They are the foremost educational researchers when dealing with fictional text and informational text. Because of my reading, I have learned about the three big questions when reading non fiction, as well as non fiction signposts.

Big Question #2

1) What does the author think I already know?

An author expects us to bring knowledge into a text.

* expects we understand his/her vocabulary
* expects that we can visualize what he/she is describing
* expects use to apply prior knowledge (schema)
* expects use to follow his/her reasoning.

When one or more of those things happen we might say, “Stop, I don’t get it.” That is NOT the way you should think! When we realize we are confused we should ask, “What does the author think I already know?” When we find out what we don’t understand this will help us decide what to do next as a reader to understand. For example, if we read a passage and have schema and a visual in our mind, but don’t understand vocabulary, we need to go back and re-read, look for context clues, or use a dictionary to learn the meaning.

Here is a video demonstrating this skill.

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