Examples of pre-reading activities

Reading Activities

teaching reading 1Pre-reading activities help students prepare for the reading activity by activating the relevant schemata, and motivating them to read. Pre-reading activities can also help learners anticipate the topic, vocabulary and possibly important grammar structures in the texts. Here are some activities for you to think about.

  • DISCUSSION. Create a discussion about the topic. Teacher prepares 4 sentences expressing opinions about the topic, then sticks them in 4 corners of the classroom. Students go and stand near the opinion they disagree with the most. (People usually want to explain why they disagree with something.) They decide in their groups what to say to the class about the topic during a quick whole class discussion.

  • I’VE LEARNED THAT… Ask students (in advance) to bring in some objects related to the topic of the up-coming reading and some texts off the Internet about the topic. Students explain why they chose these objects/texts and give one example of a fact that they learned from this extra reading.

  • I’M LISTENING TO YOU: Ask students to work in pairs. Challenge them to talk in English (and only English) for 1 minute about a topic. Student A talks first. Student B listens actively; e.g. nodding, making appropriate eye contact, saying ‘uh-huh’, ‘mmmm’, etc. Feedback: Did the speaker feel listened to? Repeat with a new topic, students change roles. Final feedback: teacher highlights the active nature of listening.

  • QUOTATIONS: Find a quotation about the topic – try http://www.quotationspage.com. Students discuss the quotation. What does it mean? Do they agree with it? Why/Why not?

  • GUESSING FROM WORDS: Before students look at the text they are going to read, the teacher writes 5 or 6 words from the text on the board and asks the students to guess the topic.

  • GUESSING FROM PICTURES: The teacher finds 3 pictures or objects which are connected to the story and ask the students to guess how they are connected. Students read the text to check.

  • GUESSING FROM SENTENCES: The teacher dictates 3 sentences from the passage. Students write them down and check with a friend. The sentences go on the board if necessary as a final check. Then the teacher asks how these sentences might be connected. What is the text about? Students predict then read the text quickly to check their predictions.

  • HOW MANY WORDS DO YOU KNOW? The teacher prepares the board by writing the letters of the alphabet in 3 or 4 columns. The students form two lines standing behind each other (so in a class of 30, there will be 15 and 15.) You can use half of the class if you prefer but do tell the students that the other half of the class will do this activity the next day. Use 2 colored markers so you know which team wrote what. The first student at the front of each team gets the board marker. The teacher gives a topic to the class. The 2 students move to the board and write one word related to the topic on the board next to the letter it begins with, then pass the marker/chalk to the next students in their team and go to the back of the queue. The 2 teams compete to write as many words as possible on the board in 3 minutes. The team with the largest number of appropriate and correctly spelled answers wins!

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2 thoughts on “Examples of pre-reading activities

  1. What a wonderful list of pre-reading exercises. The last one reminds me of a board game I used to play, Talk About, which also used to be a TV show. Thanks 🙂

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