"List Everything You Know About. . ." Comprehension Strategy

As with other subject areas, it is essential to activate background knowledge.  A great way to do this while relinquishing an element of control in the classroom to the students is to create an “Everything You Know About. . .” list (Tovani, 2000).  When using this strategy, the teacher posts the main topic for the day in a visible area.  Students then generate a list of everything that they know about that topic.  This method may be done in several ways.  This may be started as an individual activity, with students generating independent lists.   Students may also generate a list as a class.  As a bell ringer, students become immediately engaged with the opportunity to write their thoughts on a piece of chart paper.  Also, reading the information that other classmates include can help jolt other memories and bring forth more knowledge.  Finally, at the end of the lesson, the “Everything You Know About. . .” list may be altered to also include what has been learned.  Such a list can be posted in a visible location and use for review at a later time. 

Strategy Steps

  1. Select a topic.
  2. Write "Everything you know about (topic)" on the board, interactive white-board, or a piece of chart paper.  Choosing the interactive white-board or chart paper allows for access at a later time.
  3. Give students writing utensil of choice as writing surface requires.
  4. Discuss list items for connections and questions.
  5. While reading, connect text to the list.
  6. After reading, hopefully it is necessary to make additions to the list of "Everything you know about (topic)."

Strategy Example

Everything you know about Egypt. . .

Implementation Guide

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