Colleen Driggs

Director of Professional Development, Teach Like a Champion team at Uncommon Schools, and co-author, ‘Reading Reconsidered’


Building Knowledge in Literacy Classrooms

In reading, the more you know, the more you learn. Research has proven that without necessary background knowledge, it’s impossible for students to make meaning of a text. In this session, I’ll describe four knowledge building tools that teachers can use to address the background knowledge gap and support students in accessing a wider variety of texts. Participants will study lesson materials and video that illustrate how teachers have used these tools to support literacy achievement and consider ways these tools might be applied in their own classrooms.


Colleen Driggs is a Director of Professional Development for the Teach Like a Champion team at Uncommon Schools and co-author of Reading Reconsidered. With her team, she works to train thousands of high-performing teachers and school leaders across the country each year—reaching over one million students. Colleen has also served as an adjunct professor for Relay Graduate School of Education’s National Principals Academy Fellowship. Before joining the Teach Like a Champion team, she taught middle school science in New York City, science and literacy in New Haven, Connecticut, and literacy in Rochester, New York. In Rochester she served as the Reading Department Chair, coaching literacy teachers.