First Lines

Text Preview, Making Predictions

UDL 3.1

First Lines is a pre-reading strategy in which students read the first few sentences of a text (e.g., article, short story, poem, play, etc.) and use this information to make predictions about that text. First Lines helps students focus their attention on what they can learn from the beginning lines of a text about the content that will be covered or important events and characters. Making predictions improves comprehension by activating students’ background knowledge and priming them for engaged reading. After making predictions, students continue reading the text and reflect on, discuss, and revise their original predictions.

Implementation Tips

Graphic Organizers
Encourage students to write down their predictions in their notes or on a provided form. This [[|graphic organizer]] from Reading Rockets can be used by students to record predictions and new discoveries after reading.
Sentence Frames
Provide sentence starters to help students formulate predictions that are supported by the text. Some examples of sentence starters include:
-- I predict \_\_\_ will happen because \_\_\_.
-- I expect to learn about \_\_\_ because \_\_\_.
-- \_\_\_ reminds me of \_\_\_. So, I think \_\_\_ will happen.
Think Alouds
Use Think Alouds to model reading the first few lines of a text and making a relevant prediction. When introducing First Lines, a teacher can project or read the beginning sentences of a text aloud. After modeling making a prediction, the teacher can then ask students to share other predictions they have based on the lines read.
Reviewing Predictions
Review and discuss predictions as the text is being read or after it has been completed. For example, a teacher can ask students to write predictions on a sticky note prior to reading. After they have finished they can discuss whether their prediction was accurate or not with a partner.
Selecting Texts
Use First Lines for a variety of texts (e.g., lyrics, primary source documents, opening scene from a movie, etc.) across content areas. Remind students before reading to use the clues in the first couple of lines to predict the main idea, theme, or concepts that will be covered.
Visual Representations
Encourage students with limited language proficiency or who are visual learners to draw their predictions. After reading the beginning lines of a text aloud, a teacher can ask, “What picture comes to mind when you hear this?” or “Draw what you think will happen in the story.”


Using Predictions to Guide Note-taking
Before reading a chapter on photosynthesis, students fill in a web diagram with questions about the topic based on the first few sentences of the text (e.g., Does it affect all plants? What does the sun do?). As students read, they use a marker to circle the questions that are addressed in the chapter and write the answer beneath it. After reading, students review the web diagram and write a short summary about the chapter.
Unit Preview
To introduce a unit on western expansion a teacher sets up stations with texts representing different perspectives (e.g., Native Americans, pioneers, children, etc.). At each station, students read the first few sentences of the text and write predictions about how that person/group might feel about western expansion on chart paper. After students have rotated through all of the stations, the teacher asks students to choose a perspective they would like to explore more deeply. Students then create groups to research how western expansion affected the selected group or person.
Drawing Predictions
After reading aloud the first few lines of a story, a teacher gives students three minutes to draw a prediction of what they think will happen to the main character on their individual whiteboards. Students then share their predictions with partners using the sentence frame on the board (My picture shows___. I think this will happen because ___.). The teacher stops two more times while reading the rest of the story and asks students if things are occurring as they expected. The teacher gives students a few more minutes to revise their drawing and share with a partner.

Related Strategies