Part of the reason my students have such a hard time reading is because they bring little prior knowledge and background to the written page. They can decode the words, but the words remain meaningless without a foundation of knowledge.
To help build my students’ prior knowledge, I assign them an "Article of the Week" every Monday morning. By the end of the school year I want them to have read 35 to 40 articles about what is going on in the world. It is not enough to simply teach my students to recognize theme in a given novel; if my students are to become literate, they must broaden their reading experiences into real-world text. (from Kelly Gallagher's website)
Click the above text to learn more and see some of the articles Gallagher has used.
Thanks, Sarah Burger, for information about Gallagher and his work.