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Announcing a Study Guide for the Knowledge Matters Podcast
The first season is reaching lots of listeners, including schools and districts that are using it for professional development.
The first season of the Knowledge Matters Podcast—called Reading Comprehension Revisited, and hosted by me—has now reached a significant milestone: over 100,000 downloads since the six episodes were released this summer.
I’m thrilled that the podcast is reaching so many people, and I think it’s a testament to the power of the voices featured in the series: mainly teachers and district leaders who have made the transition from the typical approach to reading comprehension to a curriculum that builds students’ knowledge by going deeply into topics in history, science, and the arts.
I’m grateful to all of those who spoke with me for sharing their stories so eloquently and, in some cases, being so honest about the reservations they had about the switch to a knowledge-building curriculum. All three of the teachers whose stories I focus on in depth were at first skeptical and wary, but after seeing how the new approach benefited their students, they changed their minds. It’s hard for any of us to acknowledge that we were wrong about something, but it’s also vital for others to hear how and why we came to recognize that fact if we want to bring about positive change.
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My book, The Knowledge Gap, has now reached far more people than I ever expected. It’s now sold well over 120,000 copies, and four years after its publication it’s still selling briskly. I’ve heard from hundreds of educators who have told me it’s changed curriculum and instruction in their classrooms.
I also know that in many schools and districts, educators have organized study groups based on the book. When I became aware that was happening, I created a discussion guide that appears on my website and at the back of the paperback edition.
Recently, I became aware that educators were using the podcast in the same way, organizing study groups based on it as part of the professional learning in their districts. I hadn’t anticipated that, but it makes sense. Teachers are busy, and the episodes are pretty easy to digest—just about 30 minutes each, about the right length for many commutes.
After three different teachers told me they were organizing podcast study groups in the course of one week—with at least one asking if there was a study guide—I decided it would make sense to create a set of questions based on each episode of the podcast. The Knowledge Matters Campaign, which produced the podcast, was getting similar inquiries. The guide is now posted and freely available on the Knowledge Matters campaign website.
I came up with lots of questions about each episode, so groups can choose those that seem most applicable to their particular situations—and, of course, add any that I haven’t thought of. I hope the guide will help stimulate discussion and provoke reflection.
If you haven’t listened to the podcast yet, please give it a try. And if you know others who might be interested, please spread the word about it—and maybe even organize a group to discuss it.