Anticipation Guides

Anticipation Guides were developed to appraise prior knowledge at the prereading stage and evaluate the acquisition of content based on postreading responses (Reaction Guides) to the guide questions. Since Anticipation Guides encourage a personal, experience-based response, they serve as ideal springboards for large and small group discussions. Anticipation Guides consist of the following steps:


  • Select major concepts and supporting details in a text selection, lecture, or other information source.
  • Identify students’ experiences and beliefs that will be challenged and, in some cases, supported by the material.
  • Create statements that reflect students’ prereading beliefs and that may challenge and modify those beliefs. Three to five statements are usually adequate.


  • Have students respond to each statement individually. You may ask them to justify their responses for a reference point during a later discussion.
  • Engage the students in a prereading discussion asking them to justify their responses to the statements.

Note: You may include an “I’m not sure” response, for students who do not feel comfortable with a definite answer. This will help determine the students’ prior knowledge. Let the students know the statements are designed to make them think about topics and to make them think about what they will be learning.

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