For students to benefit from a good lesson, they need to try to make connections to prior knowledge or life experiences which relate to the upcoming lesson. There are several ways to do this, but one of the most effective ones is the anticipation guide.
With anticipation guides, students are provided with a series of 10+/- statements on a topic students will be studying. Students must either AGREE with it or DISAGREE. They do this quietly first. Initially, it is not meant to be a partner activity. Once the silent reading is complete, students go to the reading and check their answers. They must note the page and paragraph number where they found their answers and be ready to defend it if other classmates disagree. As a slight variation, I have had my students take their results and discuss them with a partner before we review the answers as a class. For ELLs, this is time to practice defending their choices using academic language.
ANTICIPATION GUIDES -- This site offers two samples - one in social studies on the Japanese internment camps in the US and the other in literature on The Odyssey by Homer. Ideally, these guides should be created by classroom teachers since this is the only way to tailor them to the content and language levels of their students. Also, anticipation guides should NEVER be graded. The idea behind them is to build a student's confidence in reading core content materials.
Here is a clip of an anticipation guide activity in middle school ANTICIPATION GUIDES IN SCIENCE CLASS This teacher does an exemplary job of using this tool to fully prepare his students to tackle academic text. From the video, we can see that he has trained his students on the use of the guide. With each one respecting the routine, it becomes a positive learning experience for all.
ELL TEACHER PROS