Pupil-led enquiry: the reading problem

Clio et cetera

It is widely known (and I think accepted?) that a person’s ability to comprehend something they read is closely tied to their prior knowledge of that subject. This creates problems for using reading to teach new knowledge, because pupils often do not know enough about the topic they are studying to comprehend easily what they are reading. Giving a child a book and saying ‘get on with it’ is, in this way, quite an inefficient way of teaching them.

This is a point that Doug Lemov makes in his new book on learning to read, in which he recommends that teachers use a variety of strategies to check that pupils are understanding what they are reading as they go along: a teacher who has close oversight over what is being read (down to the word and sentence level) is able to intervene quickly if a misunderstanding emerges. It is for…

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