The Knowledge Matters Podcast podcast

“A simple way of looking at a complex problem” | Reading Comprehension Revisited

15 Sekunden vorwärts
15 Sekunden vorwärts

In the second episode of "The Knowledge Matters Podcast: Reading Comprehension Revisited", host Natalie Wexler dives into persistent misconceptions about reading comprehension that have pervaded the education system for decades.

Unpacking the fact that teachers have often believed they were teaching comprehension when, in fact, they weren’t, Natalie explores the overlooked importance of knowledge in reading comprehension and its profound and under-recognized impact on student literacy. This is particularly significant for students from historically disadvantaged groups.

Featuring prominent reading researcher, Dr. Hugh Catts – a professor of communication science and disorders at Florida State University – this episode explains that reading comprehension is not a set of discrete skills that can be applied to any text. Instead, Natalie and Hugh explain that comprehension is deeply intertwined with the reader's prior knowledge about the topic and the world in general, along with the vocabulary that grows alongside that knowledge. This means that teaching reading comprehension as a set of abstract skills, often at the expense of subjects like history and science, can lead to students struggling to understand texts at higher grade levels. And while standardized reading comprehension tests purport to measure comprehension skills, they often end up assessing whether students have the knowledge and vocabulary to understand the test passages.

It’s crucial to teach kids to decode, and the attention being focused on that issue is hugely important. But unless we also start building knowledge and vocabulary in the early grades, many students will hit a wall at higher grade levels, when texts become more complex.

For more information about the information in this episode, including links to studies and pictures of the infographics mentioned, visit the episode webpage on the Knowledge Matters Podcast website.

This podcast is produced by the Knowledge Matters Campaign. You can learn more about our work at and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Search the knowledgematters hashtag and join this important conversation. If you'd like to get in touch with Natalie, you can contact her through her website,

Production by Sarah Gilmore and Aidan Shea. Original music and sound engineering by Aidan Shea. Narration recorded at Bamboo Recording Studios.

Weitere Episoden von „The Knowledge Matters Podcast“