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Anticipation Guide

Classroom Strategies

Anticipation Guides

Learn about how Anticipation Guides can support your students’ learning and see our *NEW* fillable .pdf to download and use.


An Anticipation Guide is a strategy that is used before reading to activate students’ prior knowledge and build curiosity about a new topic. Before reading a selection, students respond to several statements that challenge or support their preconceived ideas about key concepts in the text. Using this strategy stimulates students’ interest in a topic and sets a purpose for reading. Anticipation guides can be revisited after reading to evaluate how well students understood the material and to correct any misconceptions.


Anticipation Guides are loved by teachers because of their ability to engage all students in the exploration of new information by challenging them to critically think about what they know or think they know about a topic. In doing so, anticipation guides set a purpose to the reading, even for those students who initially may not be engaged by the topic.

Create the strategy

There are several ways to construct an anticipation guide for middle and high school students. Most include the following steps (Duffelmeyer, 1994):

  1. Identify the major ideas presented in the reading.
  2. Consider what beliefs your students are likely to have about the topic.
  3. Write general statements that challenge your students’ beliefs.
  4. Require students to respond to the statements with either a positive or negative response.

Use the strategy

  1. Have students complete the anticipation guide before reading. They may work by themselves, in pairs or small groups. Remind students that they should be prepared to discuss and debate their reactions to the statements on the anticipation guide after they have completed it.
  2. After students have finished the guide, encourage a class discussion of students’ reactions to the statements. Remember, you want to activate their critical thinking about the topic, so dig deeper than students’ answers and get to their justifications.
  3. Have students read the text with their anticipation guide responses fresh in their minds so they can react to the text as they read. Encourage students to mark or write down where the text supports their initial reaction to statements, or causes them to rethink those reactions.
  4. Have a class discussion after reading. Ask students if any of them changed their position on any of the statements. Encourage students to share how they reacted to the text, given their initial responses captured in the anticipation guide. Make sure students share examples from the text where their initial responses were either supported or challenged.


Duffelmeyer, F. (1994). Effective Anticipation Guide statements for learning from expository prose. Journal of Reading, 37, 452-455.

McKenna, M.C. (2002). Help for struggling readers: Strategies for grades 3-8.New York: Guilford.