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  • Writer's pictureWrite and Read (Laura)

Pre-Reading Strategies for Secondary ELA

Updated: Feb 2, 2023

Use pre-reading strategies to get students hooked on a novel before they even begin reading. A great pre-reading activity will provide students with needed background information and spark curiosity. Check out these four pre-reading strategies for engaged readers.

Carousel Discussions

Carousel discussions work well for novels that may be controversial. In a carousel discussion, students move from station to station and share their opinions about statements related to the themes and topics in the novel. It’s an opportunity to teach students how to respectfully discuss topics when they don’t all agree. Click here to check out all of my carousel discussions.

Anticipation Guides

Anticipation guides are a great pre-reading activity when you are limited on time. Give students a list of statements based on themes from the novel. Students will decide if they agree or disagree with each statement. After finishing the novel, students can review their previous answers and evaluate them again.

Gallery Walks

Gallery walks work well for historical fiction when students need background information and context to understand the reading. To do your own gallery walk, hang pictures around the room that were taken during the time period of the novel’s setting. Have students walk around the room with a notebook and take notes about each picture. Have them list things that they notice and things they have questions about. When all students have reviewed the pictures, come back together as a class to discuss them.


Predictions are a great last minute pre-reading option because they don’t require any prep. Have students examine the book cover and write predictions based on the title and cover art. You can also have students read the blurb about the author and explain how the author’s background may play a role in the novel’s events or character’s actions.

Happy reading!


Want to try a pre-reading carousel discussion? Check these out:



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