Home : Literacy : Comprehension Strategies : Activating PK & Previewing Text

PACA:  Prediction and Confirming Activity:  11/17/10

Like most reading strategies, this one uses student predictions to set a purpose for reading and build background knowledge, which is so important for improving comprehension.

Here are the steps to follow:
  1. The teacher poses a general question such as "What was the world like before humans were on it?" and the students respond to the question based on their background knowledge.
  2. The teacher provides initial information:
    • Place the students into small groups for discussion
    • Give them a list of words related to the question
    • Again pose the question, "Based on the words given, what was the world like before humans were on it?"
    • Students work together to group the words and create new predictions.
  3. Teacher presents new information, such as photos, diagrams, slides, video, etc.
  4. Students revise their predictions again.
  5. Students then read the selection in their textbooks/article and revises their predictions based on the information that they read.  They use this information to answer the question and summarize what they have learned.


Anticipation Guide:  10/25/10

Anticipation Guides are a previewing tool used to spark student's critical thinking before they reading a text. 


Here are simple steps to create your anticipation guide:
  1. Identify the major ideas presented in the reading.
  2. Consider what beliefs your students are likely to have about the topic.
  3. Write general statements that challenge your students' beliefs.
  4. Require students to respond to the statements with either a positive or negative response.
Here are directions for the students on how to do it:
  1. Have students complete the anticipation guide before reading. They may work by themselves, in pairs or small groups. Remind students that they should be prepared to discuss and debate their reactions to the statements on the anticipation guide after they have completed it.
  2. After students have finished the guide, encourage a class discussion of students' reactions to the statements. Remember, you want to activate their critical thinking about the topic, so dig deeper than students' answers and get to their justifications.
  3. Have students read the text with their anticipation guide responses fresh in their minds so they can react to the text as they read. Encourage students to mark or write down where the text supports their initial reaction to statements, or causes them to rethink those reactions.
  4. Have a class discussion after reading. Ask students if any of them changed their position on any of the statements. Encourage students to share how they reacted to the text, given their initial responses captured in the anticipation guide. Make sure students share examples from the text where their initial responses were either supported or challenged.

This activity introduces significant terms and concepts to students before they encounter them in an assignment.  Follow these steps...

  1. Preview a text or story, identifying a series of 2-3 word phrases related to the content or plot events. (Wordle.net - great website to help pull out important key words in a text) List the terms vertically in the order the students will encounter them while reading the text.  Include both familiar and new terms that cue students to the sequence of events or cause/effect relationships. 
  2. Have students work with partners to brainstorm possible connections to the chain of clues on their worksheets.  Encourage them to make predictions about both the content  of the text and the meaning of the unfamiliar words.
  3. Individually, students draft their own "impression" paragraph of what the text might contain.  (Tell the students what type of text the terms come from - textbook, newspaper, short article, story, etc).  Students create a possible version of the text based on their knowledge of the key words.  All terms must be used in the paragraph in the order they are listed on the left side of the page.
  4. Have students share their summaries with the class. 
  5. As the students read the text, have them check off the terms in the chain that they used accurately in their prediction summaries.
  6. To demonstrate new learning, students write a second paragraph, using all the terms (and possibly new terms) in the order they are represented in the chain, summarizing what they have read and correcting their predictions. 

Quote and Comment

  1. Choose 5-8 pictures, sentences from a reading, famous quotes, diagrams, equations, or graphs to post around the room.  These visuals should introduce the students to something they will be learning about in their upcoming unit. Along with each visual, display a prompt for the students to think about and respond to at each station.
  2. Have the students rotate around the room and write down their responses, reactions, etc. to the figures on the wall.  Standing up and rotating gives the students a chance to get out of their seats and think about what they are learning in a different way.
  3. Bring the students back together and discuss what they learned and what they think they will be learning about in the unit.

Character Quotes

 In this activity students work in a small group to analyze quotes from a historical figure, an important character in a novel, etc.
  1. Students are given a 8-10 quotations to analyze in their small groups. To challenge the students, give each group different quotations or different people to discuss.
  2. As a group they list as many words/characteristics they might use to describe this person.
  3. Then using this list, the groups write a "personality profile" using the quotes to share with the class.
  4. Compare and contrast the characters/people based on what the students have learned.
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