The Missouri Reader Vol. 40, Issue 3 - Page 24

5. Forecast: From the first letters of each of the key terms or ideas, students predict what the word/term might be based on a given topic. This is a good strategy to use when students already have some prior knowledge about the topic, and it really gets them thinking and trying to remember. As I begin the unit on the characteristics of living things, this helps students retrieve prior knowledge and make predictions before reading the text. By their freshman year in biology, most students have some kind of prior knowledge about or can usually form reasonable guesses on the characteristics. An example of the words I use are Grow, Reproduce, Respond to Stimuli, Cells, Use Energy. Depending on the text, there are different numbers of key characteristics. Students then have a list of these characteristics after reading and determining if their forecasts were correct.

(4) G ___ ___ ___

(9) R ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

(7) R ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ to (7) S ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

(4) M ___ ___ ___ of (5) C ___ ___ ___ ___

(3) U ___ ___ (6) E ___ ___ ___ ___ ___


When planning a lesson, content area teachers not only need to be aware of the content or facts that students are to learn, but also the process by which this knowledge is acquired and then assimilated into existing information (Vacca et al., 2014). Reading strategies help turn the act of simply decoding words into comprehension. True comprehension of content allows it to be fit into the student's larger bank of knowledge in a content area.


Brown, M.W. (1949). The important book. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Hurst, B., & Pearman, C. (2013). Teach Reading? But I’m not a reading teacher! Critical

Questions in Education, 4(3), 225-234.

Hurst, B., & Reding, G. (2014). Keeping the light in your eyes: Encouragement from teachers

who still love to teach (2nd ed.). Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.

Vacca, R. T., Vacca, J. L., & Mraz. (2014). Content area reading (11th ed.). New York, NY:


Amy Johnson has nineteen years of teaching experience at both the middle and high school levels with a range of content that includes 7th/8th grade general science, high school Biology classes, and Dual Credit Chemistry and Biology courses through SBU.