Previewing a text involves skimming over a passage to get the general idea of its content and to help focus the reader’s mind on the topic. It is a valuable skill for ELL’s to learn – forcing them to focus on the “big picture” rather than getting bogged down by too many details at first.
Here is an outline for what pre-reading may look like:
1. Have students look at the title, subtitles and images. Ask questions – What do you think this piece is about? What do you expect to learn? What to you already know about this topic? What do you hope this article/passage will teach you?
2. Quickly read over the first and last paragraphs and skim through the rest of the passage – depending on length – to get an idea of what it is about.
3. If there are comprehension questions associated with the text, have the students read them. This will help focus the mind on specific information/ideas to look for. If there are no comprehension questions, try turning the title or subtitle into comprehension questions to help establish meaning in the writing.
4. If you anticipate that there are major concepts or important words used in the passage that students may not know, go over them now.