What do extinct dinosaurs, shrinking planet Mercury, pygmies from Africa, Mesopotamian pottery, Roman bath houses, and the COVID-19 virus have in common? These are topics that once children know about, can build their knowledge of the world and expand their world view. Considering that in modern America, education is the best hope in minimizing the effects of inequity, we are better off exposing children to expansive topics, stories, ideas, and concepts that can frame successfully their innate curiosity and build early childhood learning readiness.
On this episode, Natalie Wexler, journalist and author of the book, The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America’s Broken Education System—and How to Fix It, shares why a comprehension problem in reality is a knowledge problem. Even though it’s well intended, she believes that the universal approach of focusing on comprehension to improve reading skills may fail to form essential knowledge. Her research emphasizes that the surprise benefit of a content rich curriculum is such that it provides an opportunity to all learners to discover something they didn’t know they were even interested in and shape them into engaged and self-driven students.
About Natalie Wexler
Natalie Wexler is the author of The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America’s Broken Education System—and How to Fix It, and the co-author, with Judith C. Hochman, of The Writing Revolution: A Guide to Advancing Thinking Through Writing in All Subjects and Grades. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and other publications, and she is a senior contributor on education to Forbes.com.
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