I unearthed this prereading strategy in a journal paper on evidence based practices. The strategy was shown to improve student reading comprehension in both Primary and Secondary students.

The strategy is simple; you provide a list of words from the story/article in a vertical column and students make a prediction about the text. The screenshot below from What Works in Secondary Writing (p.35) outlines the process.

I love this strategy because of how easy and effective it is in the classroom. It is a predicting activity which develops vocabulary and gets students writing, providing me with a short text to look at the basic mechanics of what they are doing, and is a stimulus for students to articulate their thinking in a class discussion. Best of all, the evidence suggests that it works to improve student comprehension. It’s a win on all fronts!

The quote below is from a study of using Story Impression with High School Students.

SI [Story Impression] method is effective because it prompts readers to engage in several processes important to reading comprehension rather than focusing on a single process such as making predictions or the activation of prior knowledge.

The Effect of Story Impressions Preview on Learning from Narrative Text

Below is a link to a research paper on using the Story Impressions Strategy with Primary students.

Story Impressions: A Prereading Writing Activity


So, I really like this simple activity and it is one of my go to prereading tasks. Below is a sample from Roald Dahl’s Matilda. All of the resources I have developed (you can get them from the resource page) have a prebuilt story impression task

Story Impression sample

[EDIT 9.50PM – If someone reads this far, here is my offer. Go to the resource page and comment on a novel you’d like a resource for and I’ll make one for you.]

[EDIT 7.06AM – I’ve got three extra requests so I’ll have to end the offer above. Feel free to pop on over though and see what else is coming]

One thought on “Story Impressions – an excellent prereading activity

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