15 Examples of Pre-Reading Activities

Pre-Reading Activities

When reading is taught, teachers usually follow a framework to teach a lesson, that framework has three stages; The Pre-reading stage is the first stage followed by the  While-Reading stage  and the Post-Reading Stage. 

The Warm-up and the 3 stages made up what it is known as the Stages of a Reading Lessons

The Pre-Reading section consists of activities and exercises to prepare students before they do the actual reading

Why are Pre-Reading Activities Important?

Pre reading activities play an important role in a reading lesson.

Every reading lesson should start with activities to activate background knowledge and a series of activities to prepare student for the reading.

Pre-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.

What are some Pre-Reading Activities that You can Implement in the Classroom?

There are many pre-reading activities that you can do in the classroom. More than we can even think of

Creativity leads to the creation of more activities to suit needs and interest of a diversed community.

Here are some pre-reading activities that you can implement or modify to meet your student needs.

I hope you like them

#1 Discussion

The first pre-reading activity is about creating a discussion about the topic.

The Teacher prepares 4 sentences expressing opinions about the topic, then sticks them in the 4 corners of the classroom.

Students go and stand near the opinion they disagree with the most.

The groups explain why the disagree about the topic to the teacher and the rest of the students

#2 I’m listening to You

The second pre-listening task is called I’m listening to you. This activities can help teachers promote interaction in the class.

This activity requires students to work in pairs. One of them talks while his or her partner listens.

Then challenge them to talk in English  for 1 minute about a topic.  

Repeat with a new topic, students change roles and they can change partner after they have spoken and listened to each other.


The third activity requires the use of quotes, you can choose quotes from great books.

Good Reads, a very popular site for readers has good lists of questions that you can choose from.

Find a quotation about the topic that you are going to cover and tell students to make groups of three and discuss the quotes you chose in advance.

Students think about and answer questions like these:

  • What does it mean?
  • Do they agree with it? Why/Why not.

#4 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.

Students brainstorm ideas and then the teacher confirms how close or far they were.

#5 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 if they were right or wrong about the story connections they made.

#6 Pictionary

Select some of the key words from the text.

Put the class into two or three groups. a learner from each group (at the same time) comes to the whiteboard.

They are told the word and they have to draw that word. They are not allowed to use letters or numbers in their drawing.

The other students try to guess what the word is and earn points for their team.

#7 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.

#8 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.

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 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!

#9 Speed chatting

Prepare one or two simple questions related to the topic of the reading.

Ask the class to make two rows facing each other. Then, encourage your learners to ask each other the questions, but warn them that they only have 60 seconds to do so.

Once the 60 seconds are up, one of the rows rotates so each learner has a new partner. Repeat the process several times.

#10 Videos

There is so much good free content available these days. First, find a short video relating to the topic of the reading.

I would suggest something around three minutes long.

After watching the video yourself, prepare some simple discussion questions. Play the video and then ask the students to talk with a partner about what they watched.

#11 Brainstorming

The teacher gives the title of the reading to the learners and students have to share their all their knowledge about the topic.

The goal of this activity  is help learners create expectations about what they are about to read and then see if their expectation were met.

For example if you have to teach about the influence of social media on teenagers, students can take turn and talk about the topic, as they read they can confirm if the study they read confirm their expectations.

#12 True or False

Let’s take the example of the influence of social media on teenagers again.

You can come to the classroom and read a few statements and ask them if they think those statements are true or false.

don’t reveal the answers and let them confirm if they were  right or wrong when they are doing the reading.

#13 Introducing Vocabulary

In the context of an ESL Clasroom, it will always be important to introduce key vocabulary so students don’t get discouraged by unknown words while they read. 

Introducing vocabulary doesn’t have to be a boring  task, you can easily create a wordle with key vocabulary and see if students can tell you something about those words.

#14 KWL Charts

Have you ever used KWL Charts in the classrooms?

KWL Charts are simple.

Just have students write everything they know about the topic  (K column) and everything they want to know (W column) and what they learned after the reading (L Column)

#15 Quotations

Prepare some quotes related to the topic and ask students to comment on them.

They don’t have to do that as a class, they can make groups of  3 to 5 people and then a member of each group can share the ideas with other groups.


Remember that the pre-reading stage is the first of three stages, you should learn what types of while-reading activities you can do in the classroom  and also the most common types of a after-reading strategies. When you manage all of them, you reading lessons will succeed


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