What is Probable Passage?

Probable passage is a strategy to improve comprehension, develop an awareness of story structure, and increase vocabulary development.

What is its purpose?

Using this strategy as a prereading activity not only introduces readers to vocabulary they will encounter, it also provides a powerful incentive to read and discover that the story follows the outline that has been suggested. When the strategy is introduced for the first time, it is important that the teacher model each stage, always thinking aloud.

How can I do it?

  • Choose eight to fourteen words or phrases from the story and write them on an overhead or the chalkboard. The words should include ones that reflect the characters, setting, problem, and outcomes, as well as some unknown words that are critical to the theme of the selection.
  • Divide class into groups of three and present with a Probable Passage worksheet that includes boxes that are labeled "Characters," "Setting," "Problem," "Outcomes," and "Unknown Words." In addition to these boxes, there are lines designated for writing a gist or prediction statement. Finally, there is a "Question" section that encourages the group to write down what they hope to find out during the reading.
    3. Working as a group, the students discuss all of the words and phrases and decide into which box to put each one. As many of these as possible should be used, but it is not necessary to place all of them in a box. It is important to remind the class that the "Unknown Words" are ones that the meanings are not known, not just those that the group can't decide into which box they should go.
    4. The gist or prediction statement is written, as well as the questions.
    5. When the worksheets are finished, each group shares the results and reads their gist statement aloud.
    6. Brainstorm as a class what they want to discover when reading the selection.
    7. Read the text.
    8. After reading, compare the Probable Passages and discuss into what categories the author would have placed the words. Also, students can reflect how using this strategy helped in understanding the text

Teacher Resources


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