What is Anticipation Guide?

Anticipation guides, according to Frank Smith (1978) allow the reader to make predictions about text that will be read by eliminating possibilities that are unlikely.

What is its purpose?

Also called reaction or prediction guides, the anticipation guide is a way to prepare a reader prior to a reading assignment by asking them to react to a series of statements related to the content of the material.

Reasons for using anticipation guides include:

  1. relating prior knowledge to new information to enhance comprehension,
  2. creating interest which stimulates discussion on the topic, and
  3. creating possibilities for integrating reading and writing instruction.

How can I do it?

  • Read the passage or story
    • Read and analyze the text to identify the major concepts (both explicit and implicit).
  • Decide on majour concepts
    • Decide which concepts are most important. Use these to create student interest and to agitate or stimulate reflection on prior knowledge and beliefs.
  • Write statements on major concepts
    • Write short, declarative statements about the major concepts. There can be as few as 3-5 statements or up to about 15. The statements should be thought-provoking and reflect the students' backgrounds. General statements are better than abstract or overly specific ones. Famous quotations and idioms work well. The statements should be written in a format that will elicit students to predict and anticipate.
  • Display the guide
    • To allow students time to react to each statement, display the guide either on the blackboard or on an overhead, or distribute individual worksheets. Give clear directions for what the students are to do with the guide, such as writing an "A" for agreeing or a "D" for disagreeing in the left-hand column for each statement. Make sure to leave space for responses on the sheet. Students can complete the guides individually, in pairs or small groups, or as a whole class.
  • Discuss
    • Conduct a class discussion about the concepts before the students read the text. Students are expected to support their answers with more than a "yes" or "no" response. Students are to give examples from past experience and explain the decision-making process by which they arrive at their answers.
  • Read
    • Have students read the selected text, evaluating the statements from the anticipation guide in light of the author's intent and purpose.
  • Revisit the guide
    • Revisit the guide after you have read the passage to allow students to compare and contrast their original responses with current ones. The objective is to see what information the reading of the passage has allowed them to assimilate or learn.

Assessment and Evaluation Considerations

  • The anticipation guide allows students to anticipate major concepts that will be encountered during their reading of a text. Discussion stimulates review of what students know and believe and allow them to expand these concepts. This type of previewing allows students to take charge of their own learning and to focus their reading. The teacher can use the anticipation guide to preview students' beliefs and knowledge about a subject.

Teacher Resources

Smith, F. (1978). Reading. New York, NY: Teachers College Press


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