Techniques of Developing Forecasting Statements

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Although the research has clearly established that reading comprehension improves when the writer forecasts the discussion in an introductory or transitional passage, technical writing textbooks offer little guidance on how to construct effective forecasts. The most common pattern, in which the items to be discussed are listed, is boring and can leave unanswered some critical questions that can prevent the reader from paying full attention. This article describes techniques, based on four of the journalistic prompts (what, where, why, and how), that can help writers create contexts for their readers, thereby improving readers' comprehension and enlisting them in the creation of the discourse.