This activity provides a good way to increase reading comprehension in the content areas.
anticipation guide, anticipation questions, anticipation statements, setting a purpose for reading, comprehension, key concepts, reading comprehension
This activity provides a good way to increase reading comprehension in the content areas. This approach will 1) set a distinct purpose for reading and 2) help focus students' reading on the most important concepts you want them to learn.
Select a reading passage in advance. For young students, that passage might be a page or two in a text; for older students it might be longer.
Determine the key ideas that you would like students to take from their reading. (Don't overwhelm students; the key ideas for most reading passages can be summarized in a few statements; even most long text passages can be summarized in five statements or fewer.) Write down those key ideas.
Once your key-idea statements are written, revise two or three of them so that they tell something false -- but still believable -- about the passage.
Education World's News for KIDS feature provides some good examples of content-area reading; and many of the teacher guides for those news stories include an anticipation guide. For example, the teacher's guide for the news story Japanese Scientists Photograph Giant Squid offers the following "anticipation guide" statements:
Some of the statements above are true; others are false.
- For many years, scientists have studied giant squids in their natural habitat.
- Giant squids live in shallow waters of the Pacific Ocean.
- Giant squids are very slow and "lazy" creatures.
- Giant squids have the largest eyes of any living creature.
Before students read ask them to respond to each of your "anticipation" statements. Based on what they know or might guess to be correct, they should identify if each statement is true or false. Doing this in advance sets students' assumptions in place. As they read, they will be looking to confirm those assumptions -- or to "have their eyes open" to learning new information that refutes them.
After reading, students should once again read the "anticipation" statements. Is each statement true or false?
The teacher's guide for the news story Japanese Scientists Photograph Giant Squid provides the correct responses to the anticipation statements that were posed:
- For many years, scientists have studied giant squids in their natural habitat. (false, few squids have been seen in their natural habitat)
- Giant squids live in shallow waters of the Pacific Ocean. (false, they live in the deepest parts of the ocean)
- Giant squids are very slow and "lazy" creatures. (false, the new photographs show squid to be more active creatures than previously believed)
- Giant squids have the largest eyes of any living creature. (true)
Do your students' post-reading responses to the statements differ from their pre-reading responses? Those changes in response are clear indicators of information learned.
Try the "anticipation guide" approach. Well written statements focused on the most important concepts will help you achieve your goals of 1) setting a distinct purpose for reading and 2) helping to focus students' reading on the most important concepts you want them to learn.
Did the anticipation guide help focus students' reading of the selected content-area text? Did they learn the most important concepts presented in that text?
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