Reading Ruddell, Chapter 2

The cognitive theories outlined by Ruddell in Chapter 2 are an excellent reference for helping to understand how our students acquire language skills. Her description of schemata, and repeated examples, drive home the point that we often need to help students build the appropriate contextual schemata before exposing them to texts that will otherwise leave them baffled. Students, especially those who struggle with reading anyway, have to be prepared for new vocabulary, new concepts, and new contexts. The likelihood that they will simply absorb meaning from the reading of texts is pretty much hopeless.

The heavy theory in this chapter is nicely balanced by practical classroom strategies implemented by Tovani in her series of Youtube videos. Her advice about slowing down is extremely valuable. I was also very interested in where she was going when the third video cut off. I have not yet had time to search and see if there is a fourth that picks up where she left off. I am all too familiar with the silence that can occur when the teacher asks a question and students hope that the answer will be told to them if they simply wait long enough. However, students are generally far more impatient with silence than teachers are, and I have found that if I wait them out, somebody will eventually say something, and I can nudge that in the direction of a conversation.


Ruddell, M. (2008). Teaching content reading and writing (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Tovani, C. (2013, November 13). Thoughtful reading parts 1, 2 and 3 [Video file]. Retrieved from


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