The Pre-Reading Plan (PreP) helps students activate prior knowledge as a starting point for better reading comprehension. The PreP strategy guides students as they . . .
Make associations between their prior knowledge and the central ideas in a reading selection.
Reflect on these associations, comparing how the new information reinforces, extends, or challenges prior knowledge.
Reformulate their prior knowledge in light of the new information.
This dialogue between prior knowledge and new information greatly increases the student's ability to comprehend a text and to retain new information.
Steps to a Pre-Reading Plan (PreP):
Select a reading passage for the class. Identify its central concept and state it in a brief sentence. Share this statement with the class as the springboard for their pre-reading activities.
Divide the class up into small groups. Ask each group to list words and phrases from their prior knowledge that are associated with the central concept of the reading selection. Have the students group the ideas into logical categories. Have the groups share their list of associated terms with the class.
Have the students reflect on the specific relationship of each term they listed to the central theme. Ask the following questions to help students clarify these associations: "What made you think of this association?" "How is the specific word related to the general concept?"
Encourage students to refine their word list by eliminating any words that do not relate as previously thought and by adding words that better relate to the central concept.
With the list of associated words in hand, have students read the passage carefully. After reading, students should revisit the list of associated terms again, evaluating how well their prior knowledge relates to the information in the reading selection.
Langer, J. (1981). "From theory to practice: A prereading plan." Journal of Reading, 25, 152-156.
Lenski, Susan D., Wham, Mary Ann, & Johns, Jerry L. (1999). Reading and learning strategies for middle and high school students. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.
Vacca, R.D., Vacca J. (1995). Content area reading. (5th. Ed.). Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman.