Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us



Contribute to ReadWriteThink

ReadWriteThink couldn't publish all of this great content without literacy experts to write and review for us. If you've got lessons plans, videos, activities, or other ideas you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.



Professional Development

Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.



Did You Know?

Your students can save their work with Student Interactives.

More more

HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Using THIEVES to Preview Nonfiction Texts

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 40-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Cynthia A. Lassonde

Schoharie, New York


International Literacy Association



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Students use previewing skills in their everyday lives to decide what foods to eat, clothes to buy, and movies to watch. In this lesson, students use previewing to activate their prior knowledge and set a purpose for reading. Using a strategy called THIEVES, which is an acronym for title, headings, introduction, every first sentence in a paragraph, visuals and vocabulary, end-of-chapter questions, and summary, students are guided through a preview of a nonfiction text. After guided practice, partners work together to use the strategy to preview a chapter from a textbook. Students discuss what information they "stole" from the chapter and discuss how the strategy is useful in better understanding a text. In a culminating activity, students write a letter to their partner in which they describe why previewing is a helpful strategy and describe how to use the THIEVES approach.

back to top



The Elements of THIEVES: Students can use this handout to help them use the THIEVES strategy to preview a nonfiction text.

back to top



Manz, S.L. (2002). A strategy for previewing textbooks: Teaching readers to become THIEVES. The Reading Teacher, 55, 434435.

  • Surveying the specific elements of a textbook chapter will help students activate prior knowledge, as well as identify their purpose and expectations for reading the chapter.

  • Perusing the title, headings, introduction, topic sentences, visuals, vocabulary, end-of-chapter questions, and summary before reading the text itself helps readers identify important concepts, establish a context, and note significant points.

back to top