S1-02. Background knowledge and education reform: Robert Pondiscio
Play • 41 min

Robert shares what inspired him to embark upon his esteemed career path and how we must acknowledge and address that children come to school from different places and backgrounds along their language trajectory in our schools. Susan and Robert discuss the latest in education reform, the knowledge gap, how it is only going to get larger as kids move through grades, the limited time we have to correct it, and how to start doing so.


“Language is heavily dependent upon readers making correct inferences about context, and that’s background knowledge.”

“Language is a series of inference-making, that’s all knowledge-dependent. And if we’re not operating from the same base of knowledge, it all breaks down.”


Robert Pondiscio's book:

How the Other Half Learns: Equality, Excellence, and the Battle Over School Choice

Robert Pondiscio's articles:

How to improve literacy after elementary school

The lost children of Hirsch: Will a fresh argument for content-rich curricula make a difference?

Additional resources: 

"How knowledge helps", an article by Daniel Willingham

Teaching Content is Teaching Reading video by Daniel Willingham

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