Dr. Dan Willingham: Teaching Content is Teaching Reading

Here is Dr. Dan Willingham’s video, Teaching Content is Teaching Reading. While this video is from 2009 it still applies today.

We are back to a focus on language comprehension in the simple view of reading (Gough & Tunmer, 1986) and specifically the upper strands of Scarborough’s Reading Rope (2001): background knowledge, vocabulary, language structure, verbal reasoning, and literacy knowledge.

This video speaks to the critical nature of children building content knowledge/domain-specific knowledge and its impact on reading comprehension. Our children must be able to read words accurately and automatically, having developed a large sight word vocabulary (word knowledge) AND they also need lots of world knowledge.

Children (and adults) need to know quite a bit about the world and the topic at hand if they are to comprehend what they can read. I think you will find that Dr. Willingham makes his point well and does it with a bit of humor!

Go to Dr. Dan Willingham's website for more information.

Other websites I love:

Orthographic Mapping

Speech is Beautiful

Really Great Reading

Dr. Dan Willingham's

Reading Horizons

Five Ways to Build Lasting Self-Esteem

Recognizing Dyslexia May Prevent Low Self-Esteem and Anxiety


University of Oregon


International Dyslexia Association

What Teachers Should Know About Reading

Reading Rockets!

Keys for Learning

The Orton Gillingham Online Academy


The Orton Gillingham Online Academy