Before Reading Strategies Useful in the Middle School Classroom
Probable Passage
  • The teacher selects a set of 8-15 key terms from the piece to be read.  Working in small groups, students place the terms in categories the teachers has established.  Each group creates a "gist statement," which they predict will summarize the reading.  Finally, they list things they hope to discover as a result of words they didn't understand or questions that were inspired by the process. 
  • Students are asked to generate a list of words, group them according to their similarities, then label the group. 
Character Quotes
  • A powerful pre-reading strategy is to pull an important quotation from the story and place it on the board.  This quote focuses students’ reading and can also form the basis of a role play.  Additionally, you could pull a series of quotes from a single character and hand them out to students before reading.  Students would have a chance to get insight into the character before they read.  Discuss things like: Who is this person?  What is his problem?  How is she like me?

Word Splash
  • Teachers orally dictate a list of words that originate from a specific text.  Students should circle the words they think they know the meaning of and underline words that they are unsure of their spelling.  Students have five minutes to independently write a story using all of the above words.  Students pair/share their stories. 
Concept Ladder
  • Read a short engaging text to your students that relates to your topic of study.  Ask student to generate questions they expect will be answered with further investigation.  Students chart these questions on the Concept Ladder and record answers as they are discovered.   
Anticipation Guide
  • Distribute a list of statements to students that relate to the topic of study.  Students place a check next to any statement they agree with.  After reading, students compare their opinions with information in the text.    
Carousel Brainstorm
  • Each group of 3-4 receives a piece of chart paper with a given topic on it.  The group writes as many words that they can think of associated with the topic.  After 30 seconds, each group passes their chart paper and tries to add new words to the new chart (time increases to 40). 

Text Impressions

  • Present students with a group of words that illustrates a good impression of the text but does not tell everything.  Students use these words to predict what the text will be about.