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Digital Welcome to Reading Kit: Background Knowledge

Help your reader develop their Background Knowledge skills using the books, tips and activity in this kit!

Background Knowledge is everything readers know before they start to read. All of the vocabulary and concepts they already know will help when they try to decode and comprehend new words and ideas. Help your reader build background knowledge by introducing new ideas and experiences--and then talking about them. 

If you like this Digital Welcome to Reading Kit, you can find more right here!

eBooks (always available on OverDrive with your Denver Public Library card)

Click here for help using OverDrive


  • Connect - Make real world connections to familiar things as you read. Share your memories and thoughts when you see something you know. Invite your reader to do the same. 
  • Explore - Introduce new vocabulary by exploring the glossary of a nonfiction book together before reading the text. Point out new words as they come up. 
  • Talk - Discuss the features of a nonfiction book (table of contents, glossary, maps) and how they make it easier to find information. 
  • Expand - Use your library card for free access to museums or cultural institute to expand your reader’s worldview.
  • Write - Fold pieces of paper in half and staple them to make a book. Ask your reader to write a story and add pictures.
  • Look It Up - Let your reader see you use a dictionary. Say, "Hmm, I'm not sure what that word means... I think I'll look it up."
  • Read Aloud - Continue reading aloud to your new reader to expose them to richer vocabulary and more complex concepts. 
  • Personalize - Looking for more great books for your developing reader? Request a Personalized Reading List at



Listen to some of the songs in the playlists provided, or revisit some of your favorites to use with the following activities:

  • Spotify Playlist
  • YouTube Playlist
  • Talk about the ways topics in songs relate to your lives.
  • Discuss unknown words and concepts that come up in songs or look up their definitions. Does knowing them change what you think about the song?
  • If something makes you laugh, talk about why you thought it was funny. 
  • If there’s a part of the song you cannot make out the lyrics for, look them up. Read  through and listen to the song again. Can you hear it now? 
  • Why do you think the musician wrote the song?