• What do we already know about a topic?
  • How can we use our 5 senses to activate our prior knowledge?

Activate Prior Knowledge: Activate Your 5 Senses

We used the picture book ‘Seashore’ by to help us explore this strategy.

The Text:

The Seashore Book’ written by Charlotte Zolotow, and illustrated by Wendell Minor shares a story about a young boy, who has never seen the sea. The child asks his mother to describe the sea. The author carefully chooses her words to create a poem full of the colours, sounds, and sights of a day at the beach. 


First, we looked at the cover, the title and wondered what we already know about the seashore. Then, we used a graphic organiser to help us record our thoughts. The 5 senses chart helped us organise our ideas into groups.

Next, the students referred to their 5 senses task and contributed to create a web of information about the topic.

This strategy helped students understand how thinking about the topic and their 5 senses before reading helps them understand the text and makes the text a more enriching read.

Creating Images

When we listened to the story, we began to create an image in our mind. We wondered what we could visualise while we read/listened to the story. We thought about our senses and how we connect with the story.

What we we see when we close our eyes?

The students drew a picture of the image they had in their mind. They recorded their own thoughts, feelings and ideas.

Through this task the students had opportunities to:

  • connect with what they already know
  • express ideas and thinking clearly
  • use images and writing to make thinking visible
  • listen to multiple perspectives and ideas
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