At my school, we spent a lot of time learning about the benefits of the seven transactional stategies. One of these strategies is using Prior Knowledge. Before reading out of the textbook, I would go through each lesson and pick out some main points on the topic covered. Then I would add a small phrase to one of the middle boxes of the Anticipation Guide, sometimes tweaking it a bit to make it untrue (change numbers, definitions, people, etc.). Then, before the students read the lesson, they would fill out the Anticipation Guide's "Before Reading" section, by marking if they agreed or disagreed with each statement. Sometimes, they had no idea and it would be a complete guess. Other times, they did have prior knowledge and I would always ask the students to raise their hands to share if that was the case. We learned a lot about each other's backgrounds this way.
Then, as they read the lesson, or afterwards if you choose, they mark the "After Reading" section and add in what evidence they had to support their choice. This was so beneficial to me in many ways. First, it kept them focused during the reading because their brains were already tuned in to the topic. Second, I could quickly assess if they had mastered the topic at hand. I found that they retained the information better when utilizing this method.
This can be used for any subject, any grade level, and any topic. Feel free to tweak as needed.