Fun Pre-Reading Strategies to Boost Comprehension

Children are inundated with text, just as adults are. But…

Children are inundated with text, just as adults are. But it’s not necessarily the quality or quantity of text that makes reading difficult. It’s the pre-reading skills that are lacking.

What Is Pre-Reading?

Pre-reading is a strategy of approaching a text with a purposeful mindset. This is when the reader rehearses the key ideas in the text to ensure that he comprehends them. This is the step that comes before reading. It helps students gain context, access previous knowledge, and prepare for the task ahead.

One way to acquire this skill is to read closely without attempting to speed read. It helps the reader understand the words they encounter and even learn new vocabulary.

Pre-reading builds a knowledge base and an understanding of the text. As a result, the teachers know what to discuss during the book and what is appropriate for that lesson. It makes for more interesting discussions and more thought-provoking inquiry, and the topic will be well understood.

Why Is it Important?

Pre-reading helps students remain active and engaged in the material they are about to read.

But the main difference is that you do it before you start reading your book. This is advantageous because it allows you to focus on what you need to do in a flowing manner rather than along the way.

It will enable you to comprehend the text before you have fully digested it.

boy in gray sweater beside boy in gray and white plaid dress shirt
Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash

Pre-Reading Strategies to Improve Comprehension

Pre-reading strategies help students make sense of what they read and engage meaningfully with the form and content of the text. It sets a solid foundation for a successful reading experience in the future.

The goal is to get the students into strategic reading practice.

It helps children decode words and boost reading comprehension, both at home and in school. The practices apply to both adults and children. However, the following strategies are especially helpful for the younger kids to make reading fun and pique their interest.

Previewing the text

Previewing is the process of skimming through a text to gather ideas before going through the content thoroughly from start to finish. The same principle applies to children but in a playful manner.

Encourage children to gather clues from the book’s titles, covers, and inside illustrations to figure out what they will read or hear. Have them notice and speak aloud what they see in the book. This will activate their prior knowledge and help them make personal connections.

For the little older kids, it would include going through the table of contents, title, and subheadings to identify the genre of the book. Then discuss the title and point out the similarities and differences to spark interest in the readers for what they will read.

Finding the purpose for reading

For young readers, comprehending the author’s goal may be too difficult. They must, however, have a general concept of whether a story is meant to be enjoyed or if it contains a lesson.

The students need to understand that in non-fiction texts, the author will usually share knowledge, and it’s not for enjoyment. Elementary students are expected to know that the purpose of a writer is to entertain, inform, or persuade.

Ask the students to talk about what they think the author’s purpose of a particular book is to improve their understanding of the text. It will help the readers be mindful of what to expect in the story and help them set a purpose for their reading time.

Making Predictions

Based on the information gathered from the titles, illustrations, and cover, motivate the students to make predictions of the storyline. Let them express what they think would happen in the story before reading any part of the text.

Then when you start reading, try predicting the events together as the story unfolds. Ask them to predict the ending of a story or the types of information they will learn from a non-fiction book.

If they can successfully examine the text features after preview, they are likely to be able to support their predictions with text evidence.

The order of the steps could be changed based on what suits the students best. The most important thing is to teach the students these simple but effective strategies in their reading process. It will enable them to take hold of their readership independently in the future.


Many students make the mistake of reading the whole text in their class before even grasping the main idea. This can lead to underwhelming performances and increased frustration.

Pre-reading is essential in enabling students to gain conceptual understanding, typically before they start reading the text of a story. It will kindle their interest in the story and make comprehension much more effortless.

Frequently asked questions

What are the 4 pre reading strategies?

The Four Steps (4 Ps) “Pre-reading includes four steps: preview, predict, prior knowledge, and purpose. If you think of these steps as the ‘4 Ps, you can remember them. A preview is taking a quick look at a reading before trying to understand it.

How do you teach reading comprehension to third graders?

  • Play a game called Roll and Tell.
  • Establish a paper chain of connections.
  • Build inference skills
  • Balls from a beach.
  • Book Character Day
  • Play an online video game.
  • Keep track of your thoughts using sticky notes.
  • Make anchor charts together.

What are three things kindergarteners are expected to do in terms of comprehension skills?

  • Summarizing
  • Knowledge of text structure.
  • Asking Questions
  • Predicting
  • Representation of text (with reference to pictures, graphs, or graphic organizers).
  • Teachers and students talking about how to think.

What activities are there to be done in pre-reading?

  • Story telling
  • Pictionary
  • Pictures
  • Short conversations
  • Speed chatting. Think about what you’re reading and prepare two questions related to that topic.
  • Brainstorming
  • The title
  • Discussion. Discuss the topic of the reading with the learners.

How do you teach reading creatively?

  • Place letters and words in the classroom. Nature naturally curious nature.
  • Create word families
  • Play decoding games
  • Teach phonemic awareness
  • Play ‘fish’ by using sight words.
  • Word search bingo
  • Make it fun for children to read.

What are 3 pre reading strategies?

  • Second Step: Putting Your Reading Purpose on Paper.
  • Previewing the text step one.
  • Predictions in step three.

What is a comprehension activity?

Activity or game that help your students to demonstrate their knowledge of textual material.

How can I help my kindergartener with comprehension?

As a kindergartener, reading aloud is a great way to learn new words and how stories are organized. Children can also learn about the world and make connections between their own lives and what is in the book – that helps them see the world with empathy.

How do you improve literal comprehension?

Key words can be highlighted or underlined by students. Read through a text quickly to get a clear idea. Students can skim read text based on headings and sub-headings, pictures, diagrams, captions, any italicised or bold words in the text, and the first and last paragraphs.

What is a fun way to teach reading comprehension?

  • You may create a Wanted poster.
  • Put on a replicating glove.
  • Get a reading strategy fan group together.
  • Chat and roll your way to understanding.
  • Take advantage of a volcano graphic organizer.
  • Build a pyramid
  • Make a comprehension card catcher.
  • Compare characters

What are the 6 comprehension strategies?

  • Monitoring
  • Making Connections
  • Questioning
  • Summarising
  • Predicting
  • Visualising

What are some pre-reading activities?

  • Introduce yourself and build background knowledge with a visual.
  • Debate an Issue
  • Using graphic organizers, make connections.
  • Take a Field Trip Virtually.
  • Interpret a text quote.
  • Participate in a book tasting and vote.

What are pre reading strategies to use before reading a text?

  • Identify a purpose for reading.
  • By surveying the title and illustrations, you can make predictions about the text’s content.
  • Write and talk about the subject of the text.
  • Discuss difficult words, phrases, and concepts in the text and identify them.
Fun Pre-Reading Strategies to Boost Comprehension

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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