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Anticipation Guide  #5
9-12 Comprehension Instruction


Essential Element:  Comprehension

Framework:  Reading
                     Standard 9:  Students shall apply a variety of strategies to read and comprehend printed material.

Preparation for the secondary English teacher has traditionally not included instruction in reading comprehension strategies; moreover, the typical reading focus for English classes has been the extensive and intensive analysis of literature.  While teachers have not been fully equipped to teach reading, at the same time they are being asked to deliver instruction to an increasing number of students who find the complexities of grade-level literature inaccessible.  Expecting teachers to be able to support struggling readers without equipping them with information and strategies is both unrealistic and unfair.  However, when teachers do have this kind of help and information, they can embed comprehension strategies in their delivery of curriculum content.  More importantly, reluctant and striving readers can become more engaged and can acquire proficient-reader strategies, thus becoming more successful in both language arts and other content areas.  (Note: For additional information on reading comprehension strategies, see Strategies That Work by Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis).   

Because the ultimate goal of reading instruction is to improve critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills, content teachers must include explicit reading strategies as an integral element of their instructional plans.  They should integrate effective comprehension strategies before, during, and after reading.  “Pre-reading prepares students for learning by activating their prior knowledge.  Pre-reading activities can benefit those whose background knowledge, command of key concepts and vocabulary may be insufficient.  In addition, pre-reading activities help students focus attention on what is most important…  Pre-reading strategies often used by proficient-level readers involve making connections, generating questions and determining important concepts…  During-reading activities prompt students to visualize, make inferences and monitor their comprehension. . . Using during-reading activities, the teacher can help students prioritize what is most essential and connect this information in a meaningful and organized way.  After-reading activities deepen understanding, helping students summarize and understand what they read. . . [these activities] go beyond merely identifying what was read and assist students with integrating new learning with previous knowledge”  (Literacy Across the Curriculum, Gene Bottoms).


  • Interesting and engaging authentic literature in a variety of genres, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, and content specific areas, i.e., science, history, etc.  (These pieces may be chosen for whole-class instruction or they may be chosen on an individual basis to stimulate interest in reading.)

These comprehension activities are research based strategies taken directly from the Smart Step/Next Step Strategies for the Content Areas.  (Many of these activities are designed as mini-lessons requiring five to ten minutes.)  


Anticipation Guide  #5

The anticipation guide is a pre-reading comprehension strategy that offers several benefits:

  • It generates student interest in the topic about which they will read.
  • It builds background knowledge.
  • It leads students to develop questions and to establish a purpose for reading.
  • It develops students’ investment in their learning.
  • It requires little time to complete in terms of teacher preparation.
  • It provides an assessment tool so that teachers can identify concepts on which the class may need additional work.
  • It uncovers misconceptions or strongly held beliefs that may need to be examined before, during, or after reading.



  • Brief passage of informational text.  (See “Exploring the Environment:  Mountain Gorillas” located at the end of this lesson.)
  • Anticipation guide as a sample for modeling this activity with students.

Guided Practice

  1. After choosing the text that students will read, determine several key concepts about which students may have misconceptions or may lack information.
  2. Create an anticipation guide by writing several statements that will generate discussion of these key concepts.  Some of these should be accurate statements of fact; others should be inaccurate statements.  Prepare the statements so that students are asked to respond in one of the following ways:  agree, disagree, not sure.
  3. Prior to reading the text, have students share their responses and defend their opinions, but do not clarify or correct misconceptions of inaccuracies.
  4. Ask students to read the selected text and look for confirmation of their ideas. 
  5. Tell students to correct any items that were deliberately misstated and to adjust their answers if they were wrong initially. 
  6. Discuss with the class the results of their work.  

Tier II Additions

  • Place student in small group with a proficient reader.
  • Provide the passage in advance to student so they can read outside of class with assistance.

Tier III Accommodations/Modifications

  • Provide the passage in advance to student so they can read outside of class with assistance from student peer or paraprofessional.
  • Read aloud anticipation guide for student.


Tier IV Modifications

  • Provide student with a taped passage beforehand to allow student to practice outside of class with assistance from student peer or paraprofessional.
  • Provide a copy of a partially completed anticipation guide to student to complete with the help of a student peer or paraprofessional.


Tier V Modifications


  • Allow student to respond to 1 teacher-selected section of the anticipation guide via any electronic means (i.e., computer, AlphaSmart, etc.).


Download the "Mountain Gorillas" Worksheet

Copyright © 2006 Arkansas Department of Education.  All rights reserved.  School districts may reproduce these materials for in-school student use only.  No resale.  Materials may not be reproduced, distributed or sold for commercial use or profit.  ADE employees are not authorized to waive these restrictions.



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