Areas of Expertise


Adolescent Literacy

Reading Strategies

Strategy: Quick Writes

Readance, J. E., Moore, D. W. & Rickelman, R. J. (2001) Prereading Activities for Content Area Reading and Learning.


Quick Writes is a motivating pre-reading activity that prepares students either for reading new material or reviewing material in preparation for understanding new information to be read. It provides the teacher with important information as to student's prior knowledge about a subject. Quick Writes can be used for any area being studied and adapted to the reading ability of the students.


  1. Begin by asking students to respond in writing to a question that relates to material that has already been explored or a new curriculum topic to be taught. (See examples below.)
  2. After the students have written down their answers to the questions posed, ask the students to share their ideas. These are written down on the blackboard or overhead.
  3. The teacher can then determine the prior knowledge of the class before necessarily introducing a new unit or to determine their level of understanding of material already taught. Quick Writes also helps students self-assess their own pool of information, as well as to monitor their own understanding.


  1. If the class is beginning a unit on the weather or conservation, the following questions may be asked:
    • Today we begin a new unit on the weather. In the next 30 seconds write down all the words you know that you think of when you think of weather.
    • Before we begin talking about water conservation, In the next minute, write down everything you know about the concept of conservation.
  2. To assess what the students have learned from previous instruction, the following questions may be asked:
    • We have been studying climates. In the next 45 seconds, write down as many climates as you can remember.
    • Yesterday's history lesson had some difficult ideas to be learned. Write down one of these concepts that you feel you don't understand well enough.


Copyright © 2011 Learning Point Associates. All rights reserved.