Your newest tool to build knowledge and prepare for reading

You spoke up, and we listened! Many Action subscribers have reached out this year to let us know that some of their students still need additional scaffolding to fully access our lower-level texts. This got us thinking: How could we create a tool to build knowledge and prepare struggling readers for stories that require stamina and confidence?

And so the idea for our Background Builder slideshow was born! This short slideshow will accompany our Nonfiction Feature every month going forward. It lays out the information a student needs to dive into a more complex text with aplomb. It’s presented simply, chronologically, and with plenty of visual support. Plus, it’s got audio read-aloud capability for every slide! We hope it will:

  • build background knowledge and historical context
  • introduce students to cross-curricular concepts
  • reinforce important vocabulary and terms
  • allow students to go at their own pace
  • prepare students to tackle the lower-level or on-level text

Here are some ideas for how to use it:

  1. Whole-class: Project the slideshow before reading the article as a class. If you have students who are more confident reading aloud, give them the opportunity to read the slides for the class rather than playing our audio.
  2. Small group: If you have a group of students who are reading at a lower level than the rest of the class, pull them out for small-group instruction and go through the slideshow together. When they’re ready, read the lower-level version of the article together.
  3. Individual work: Get the student set up with a computer or tablet and have them go through the slideshow at their own pace. Remind them that they can listen to the audio of each slide as many times as they’d like.