How to build anticipation in your students for reading!

This prereading guide is designed to generate interest in an upcoming lesson and force students to find textual support for information. The anticipation guide activates background knowledge, challenges preconceived notions, and gives students a clear purpose for reading.

How to use the Anticipation Guide

Fill out the guide with statements about the topic. Before the students read about the topic, have them use the guide to answer whether they agree or disagree with the statements that you fill out. After the students have completed the reading, they will go back to the Anticipation Guide to see if their opinion changed and if so/not, explain why.

Anticipation Guided to Motivate Reading

Filled Out Anticipation Guided to Motivate Reading (what students fill out is written in red).

Find out what the students know

The Anticipation Guide can be used as a formative assessment tool. By having students fill out the guide, teachers can get an accurate perception of their knowledge and experience with a topic. The Anticipation Guideby may help identify students who are confused by a topic, or readings may need clarification. Look at the”Support in text” columns of the sheet to get insight into student’s reasoning and ability to decipher and filter important information in the text.

Support learners to change their minds based on new information

This exercise can be designed to challenge preconceived notions. The teacher can include statements that are commonly believed, but disproven in the text. This exercise can help foster intellectual humility and a disposition to be well informed. On the other hand, the statements can be used to activates background knowledge and thus help students realize that they actually know something about the topic. This can be very motivating, especially when facing a new and complex topic.


Students may rush through the “Before reading” portion so encourage them to take their time with the questions as the more time spent thinking about them, the more constructive and critical their thoughts can be after reading the assigned text.

Filled out example Final Example AG

Blank Anticipation Guide  RW-BAK-GA-S-Anticipation_Guide (Microsoft Word)

Just like all the materials at ReadingWays, this strategy can be and should be adapted to your needs. A possible way to adapt the strategy is to add an “I don’t know” option in the “Before reading” column. If you want to promote critical thinking, letting your students know that “I don’t know” is an acceptable answer might help them be open to seeking new information.

What’s next

Teachers can use student’s responses to formulate discussion points to further stimulate critical thought.


Your classes are unique, and so is your approach to instructional design. We would love to see what you come up with! Share your design with us by posting on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the following tag @readingways and hash #design4myclass #RWstrategy


Fisher, D., Brozo, W., Frey, N. & Ivey, G. (2007). 50 Content Area Strategies for Adolescent Literacy. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Duffelmeyer, R. & Baum, D. (1992). The extended anticipation guide revisited. Journal of Reading, 35, 654-656.