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ERIC Number: ED564732
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 171
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3036-3584-7
Background Knowledge, Curriculum, and Socioeconomic Status: What Do Second-Grade Readers Know about Topics in Core Reading Programs?
Knight, Jennifer A.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State University
Students living in poverty continually score significantly lower than their more affluent peers on reading and writing achievement tests. One reason this literacy difference or gap may exist is a mismatch between students' background knowledge relevant to the text and the texts the students read daily in classrooms. It is well documented that students with limited background knowledge struggle with comprehension, and therefore, achieving strong background knowledge is a critical component of reading achievement. However, little is known about how students' background knowledge aligns with the knowledge that texts assume of students. This study examined the background knowledge of second-grade students in high-socioeconomic status schools and in low-socioeconomic status schools. Specifically, the study investigated how much each student knew about concepts and topics important for comprehension, but not easily inferred, in program selections in three widely used core reading programs. Results indicate that socioeconomic status (SES) is related to student background knowledge at a level of statistical significance, with high-SES students demonstrating higher background knowledge on a majority of the questions and selections, and across texts of each of the three core reading program publishers. These findings suggest that high-SES students have, on average, substantially more knowledge assumed by the texts used for reading instruction in school, while low-SES students have some knowledge, but substantially less than their more affluent peers. Careful review of core reading programs for the background knowledge assumed by their texts and greater attention to building background knowledge in low-SES school settings is encouraged. Future research could examine background knowledge relative to key texts at other grade levels and in other subjects, such as science and social studies. Research could also look at what teachers are doing in the classrooms to support building of new knowledge and activation of existing background knowledge for students, especially students from low-SES backgrounds. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Grade 2; Primary Education; Elementary Education; Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A