There is little doubt that a student stands a good chance of comprehending difficult content area material when actual life experiences can be related to an author's intent. The importance of a reader's prior knowledge and experiences in the meaningful reception, integration, and retention of new concepts is a widely held precept in learning theory (Ausubel, 1968; Smith, 1978).
Bean, T. W., & Peterson, J. (1981). Reasoning Guides: Fostering Reading in Content Areas. Reading Horizons, 21 (3). Retrieved from http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/reading_horizons/vol21/iss3/8