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Anticipation Guide

This comprehension strategy activates students' prior knowledge, builds curiosity about a new topic before learning about it, and then checks for understanding after the topic is presented.  Before beginning the lesson, students listen to or read several statements about key concepts within the new content and choose whether they agree or disagree. After the lesson presentation, students revisit the Anticipation Guide and see if they still agree with their initial decisions.

How to use

1. Construct

Write four to six short, declarative, thought-provoking statements about the new concept, some true and some false. Include two sets of columns before and after the statement. One column should be labeled “Agree” and the other “Disagree” (see template).

2. Display

Read or display the statements to the class. Allow students time to respond to each statement, either individually, with a partner, or as a class. They should use the columns to the left of each statement to mark whether they agree or disagree.

3. Discuss

Conduct a short class discussion about the statements before presenting the new material. Ask students to explain why they agree or disagree.

4. Revisit

Revisit the guide after presenting the new material and have students use the columns to the right of each statement to mark whether they now agree or disagree based on what they’ve learned. Have students compare their changes with a partner. If their responses are not the same, ask them to see if they can convince their partner to change.

When to use

Use an Anticipation Guide to structure meaningful conversation that reviews what students already know and engages them in critical thinking about the topic they will be exploring. You can use an Anticipation Guide:

  • Before/after introducing new material to tap into prior knowledge
  • Before/after watching a film clip to gauge a reaction
  • Before/after reading a short text to begin a discussion


Anticipation Guide + Why

Add an extra “why” column to get students to support their answers and explain their decision making process after they make their final decisions.

Anticipation Guide + Character POV

To help students understand point of view (POV), you can use an anticipation guide where students write down how they feel about the statements. Then, after they read the story, they write down how a specific character feels about the same statements.

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