Fourth Grade Biography Worksheet THIEVES Pre Reading Template

Who: This pre-reading activity is effective for all grade levels and all levels of readers. For struggling readers or ELL students, use this as a group activity to “prime the pump” for reading. For more advanced readers, it can be used as an independent activity ahead of reading.


What: Students interact with the text before they read it.

1. In the first box (T), students record information about the title (ex: predictions, inferences, etc.). Then, they can discuss or consider these questions:

a.   What is the title?

b.   What do I already know about this topic?

c.   What does this topic have to do with the preceding chapter?

d.   Does the title express a point of view?

e.   What do I think I will be reading about?

2.   In the second box (H), students write down the different section headings from the text. Then, they can discuss or consider these questions:

a.   What does this heading tell me I will be reading about?

b.   What is the topic of the paragraph beneath it?

c.   How can I turn this heading into a question that is likely to be answered in the text?

3.   In the third box (I), students write a summary or bulleted list of information presented in the introduction of the text. Then, they can discuss or consider these questions:

a.   Is there an opening paragraph, perhaps italicized?

b.   Does the first paragraph introduce the chapter?

c.   What does the introduction tell me I will be reading about?

d.   Do I know anything about this topic already?

4.   In the fourth box (E), students write down the first sentence of every paragraph. Then, they can discuss or consider these questions:

a.   What do I think this chapter is going to be about based on the first sentence in each paragraph?

5.   In the fifth box (V), students summarize any visuals and write down any highlighted/important vocabulary words. Then, they can discuss or consider these questions:

a.   Does the chapter include photographs, drawings, maps, charts, or graphs?

b.   What can I learn from the visuals in a chapter?

c.   How do captions help me better understand the meaning?

d.   Is there a list of key vocabulary terms and definitions?

e.   Are there important words in boldface type throughout the chapter?

f. Do I know what the boldfaced words mean?

g.   Can I tell the meaning of the boldfaced words from the sentences in which they are embedded?

6.   In the sixth box (E), students write down any questions that are presented at the end of each section. Then, they can discuss or consider these questions:

a.   What do the questions ask?

b.   What information do they earmark as important?

c.   What information do I learn from the questions?

7.   In the seventh box (S), students write a summary or bulleted list of the entire text. Then, they can discuss or consider these questions:

a.   What do I understand and recall about the topics covered in the summary?


Where: This activity can be used for biographies in any subject area.


When: This before reading activity guides students to preview a text effectively by drawing their attention to important textual elements, and helping them to make predictions and anticipate meaning.  Students use the acronym THIEVES:

T: Title

H: Headings

I: Introduction

E: Every first paragraph sentence

V: Visuals and vocabulary

E: End of chapter questions

S: Summary

Why: It will help activate students’ background knowledge and help them to make predictions. It will also help set a purpose before reading.

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