It all started when we were reading Henry Huggins and one of my students asked, “What’s a payphone?”
Let’s build our schema!*
I created SCHEMA BUILDERS to help build background knowledge while reading novels with my 4th and 5th graders. During our novel studies, we learn about a topic, place, event, item or time period before reading about it in the story. Students then draw from their newly acquired background knowledge to comprehend the text as they read!
This set includes:
• Mountain Gorilla Presentation – PowerPoint version
• Mountain Gorilla Presentation – PDF version
• Schema Notes Printable (students can fill in the blanks with information from the presentation as they listen/read)
• Schema Notes Answer Key
• Exit Ticket Sticky Notes template
Pairs nicely with:
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Magic Tree House #26: Good Morning, Gorillas by Mary Pope Osborne
*What is Schema?
The term "schema" was first used in psychology with the meaning of "an active organization of past reactions or experiences.” It assumes that written text does not carry meaning by itself. Rather, a text only provides directions for readers as to how they should retrieve or construct meaning from their own previously acquired knowledge. (Schema Theory in Reading)
This strategy requires readers to activate their background knowledge and to use that knowledge to help them understand what they are reading. Background knowledge is made up of a person's experiences with the world. Research has established that readers' existing knowledge is critical in determining their ability to comprehend what they read.
When they applied schema theory to reading comprehension, cognitive scientists found that good readers constantly connect their background knowledge to the new knowledge they encounter in a text. In fact, they appear to activate a schema as soon they begin to read. The initial schema then activates others, thus directly affecting how readers understand and react to a text. (Texas Education Agency for Reading Rockets)