Previewing: Pre-reading Activities

Have you been to a movie lately?  What happens before the main movie?  You typically are watching movie previews. Why do movie theaters do this?  They want to entice you to want to see the movie that they are previewing.

The same thing should happen when we are working on a read aloud with children. We need to entice them, give them a reason to perk up and listen. It is like presenting them with a nicely wrapped present that they are going to get to open.

Pre-reading activities build up background knowledge and help to frame what the child might encounter in the story. You can build the purpose of the reading into this introduction which again helps the child with language difficulties to know what you are asking them to listen for. Pre-reading assists the students in connecting what they know with new information.

Previewing or before reading activities can take many forms. Think about the theme, vocabulary, characters, genre or unusual settings to help you think about what should be in the pre-reading activity.

Here are some examples:

The Gingerbread Man by

  • Bake gingerbread men character
  • Construct gingerbread men out of ginger-scented playdough character
  • Do a glyph using an outline of a gingerbread character
  • Prepare a Venn Diagram about fairy tales literary genre

Edward the Emu by Sheena Knowles

  • Watch Youtube video about emus character
  • Locate on Map where emus live
  • Create a pretend zoo setting
  • Write an opinion piece about what animal is your favorite in the zoo story element

The Scarecrow’s Hat

  • Give the students a set of 6 letters and have them ‘swap’ with their friends to get the letters of their name. vocabulary

What are some of the pre-reading strategies that you use?


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