Anticipation Guide

An anticipation guide is a series of statements presented to students with which they must agree or disagree, supporting their responses with reasons. It can be used in all subjects to assist in assessing background knowledge about a topic prior to study or to identify gaps or misconceptions in student knowledge. Anticipation guides are also effective for providing new knowledge when students are reading, viewing, or listening to text, especially non- fiction. An anticipation guide can also take the form of a prediction. In this case, students are asked to make predictions about a topic, giving reasons to support their responses. Anticipation guides can help motivate student learning by building student confidence in what they already know about a topic and by providing students with a purpose for reading, viewing, or listening.

The teacher:
  • can use anticipation guides to assess prior knowledge or provide new knowledge by:
    • selecting three to eight short, factual statements from text to be read, viewed, or listened to;
    • modelling the strategy by using a “think aloud” to demonstrate whether he or she agreed or disagreed with the first statement, and the reasons for doing so;
    • asking students to respond to the statements individually, then providing opportunities for students to engage in dialogue in small groups or large groups concerning their responses;
    • analysing student responses to assess their degree of prior knowledge and the gaps or misconceptions in the particular topic that will need further instruction;
  • can use anticipation guides for prediction by:
    • describing the general aspects of a theory, situation, or narrative;
    • asking students to make a prediction about the topic or story;
    • requiring students to support their predictions or hypotheses with reasons;
    • analysing student responses when appropriate to assess their degree of prior knowledge and the gaps or misconceptions in the particular topic that will need further instruction.

Anticipation guides:
  • should be used in a risk-free environment where inaccurate or absent knowledge is not discouraged initially;
  • should be used sensitively to dispel biases, inaccuracies, and stereotypes;
  • should be used for diagnostic assessment only.

Illustrations from the Mathematics Classroom

The teacher identifies some features of books and/or other materials and uses the features to help the students understand the printed text. For example, the teacher shows the students the cover and illustrations of a picture book and asks them to predict what the story is about. Students defend their prediction with evidence from the illustrations.

Students use some basic reading strategies, with guidance from the teacher. For example, prior to reading a selected piece of informational text, the teacher reads some general statements on the subject, one by one. The students think about each statement, and then indicate whether they agree or disagree and give reasons for their opinions.