Background knowledge is a crucial piece of the language comprehension process. Your child may be able to read a story perfectly fine, but unless they have learned about the context of the story previously, they may be confused by the content. Working on increasing background knowledge can help your child read and answer questions with confidence.
Summer is the perfect time to build this knowledge. Summer is a time of days at the park, visits to the zoo, trips to the aquarium, and all of these places are treasure troves of knowledge. Other great sources of knowledge are sporting events, historical landmarks, and children’s museums. If you’re staying staying indoors for the day, check out educational TV programs or use the internet to take a “field trip” to a faraway place.
After you absorb all of that information together, it is important to talk about it. Discuss the plants and animals you saw at the zoo or aquarium. Chat about the rules of the sporting event you went to. Discuss whatever you learned that day. Don’t ask yes or no questions, but instead ask questions that really make your child talk, like “if you could be one of those animals we saw today, which would you be?”
Follow up the day of fun and discussion by visiting the library for more information about whatever caught your child’s attention. You could even have them write their own book using what they learned from the day of fun!