Building Prior Knowledge and Vocabulary in Science in the Intermediate Grades: Creating Hooks for Learning Academic Article uri icon


  • Vocabulary knowledge is a salient factor influencing success both in and out of school. The specialized vocabulary knowledge in science represents the concept-laden hooks on which learning is hung and enables students to build prior knowledge through the expansion of these conceptual hooks. We have identified four levels of learners-struggling readers (SR), English Language Learners (ELL), breakthrough learners (BL), and conceptual learners (CL)-that are found in almost every intermediate and middle school classroom in the United States, including science. We propose a focus on science learning with strong theoretical and practical supports from reading and the purposeful combination of narrative informational text, textbooks, and hands-on science activities in a manner that is adaptable to the needs of all students in learning science. Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Rupley, W. H., & Slough, S.

citation count

  • 22

complete list of authors

  • Rupley, William H||Slough, Scott

publication date

  • January 2010