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Raising Kids Who Read: What Parents and Teachers Can Do by Daniel T. Willingham

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Chapter 3Creating a Thirst for Knowledge

In chapter 2, we saw that parents can prepare their children for reading instruction by ensuring that kids can hear individual speech sounds. It’s noteworthy that this learning takes place over months or even years, and that its impact on reading is invisible to both parents and children. Then, when reading instruction begins, the knowledge suddenly becomes relevant.

The same is true of vocabulary and background knowledge (i.e., general knowledge about the world). You’ll recall from chapter 1 that they are prime contributors to comprehension; they’re needed to fill information gaps that writers leave. Background knowledge takes a central role rather abruptly as reading shifts from being mostly about ...

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