Lint Roller Schema: A Simple Activity to Introduce Schema

This summer, I began reading the book Comprehension Connections: Bridges to Strategic Reading. I immediately fell in love with the suggestions that Tanny McGregor offered.  This week, we are beginning our school year by talking about schema, and this was the perfect opportunity to use Tanny's lint roller idea as inspiration.

To begin, I had several pieces of paper with various words based on experiences that I have had.  I had several clusters of words with the intent to roll them onto separate sheets of the lint roller.  The lint roller represented my brain, and each individual pieces of the paper represented the things that your brain comes into contact with.

As I "rolled" each of my experiences, the kids totally chuckled at the things that I had experienced.  It was also perfect, because some of the students had experienced these items, while other students have never had the opportunity to do them.

After watching my "brain" collect several experiences, I pulled off the lint roller paper, and we gave it a hashtag to describe it.  My students decided on #momlife!

We repeated this process a few times, and hung our hashtags on the board, each describing a part of my background knowledge.

Then, I wanted my students to create their own hashtags to share various aspects of their own background knowledge.  I particularly loved this one, because it allowed me to show my LACK of background knowledge.  I have little background knowledge in video games!  This sparked a great discussion about how background knowledge affects the reading process.

We've been displaying them on our classroom door to show them off!


  1. This is such a fun activity. I am thinking to do it myself as well. What's admirable is that the inspiration came from a book. Too good.

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