Have you ever been handed a novel by your supervisor and told you have to teach it this year? I know I have, and it was a novel I spark noted as a teen in school myself. This got me thinking, if I, a self-declared book addict, couldn’t stomach the idea of reading a book that sounded boring, how could my students? How could I engage them?
Even as my admin handed me the book, I felt a shudder of dread. I imagined my eyes crying and the exhaustion that would pour through me as I attempted to teach a novel I never even bothered reading.
Then, I discovered anticipation guides.
Amping up Engagement
Anticipation guides help engage your students, they’re like an appetizer for books.
I feel bad now in hindsight, maybe I was taught the book, Things Fall Apart in a poor way. Because now it is one of my favorites.
Creating the anticipation guide for this novel was the best thing I did for my students.
Here are the most important aspects of an anticipation guide:
- Does it ask broad, interesting questions?
- Does it challenge students to look up a topic they should be familiar with for the novel?
- Does it call on prior knowledge?
- Does it make the student draw connections to their own life or experiences?
- Does it stir anticipation?
Beyond this, you also need to make sure not to just hand students the paper. The best way to handle anticipation guides is to use it as an activity in and of itself. Have students fill it out by themselves, then as a group, then open it up to a group discussion on the topic. Maybe even have students take an educated guess on what the novel might be about given what they researched and discussed, and what clues they can gather from an image of the cover.
All in all, anticipation guides have changed the way I teach novels, and I hope help you too!