Before my students begin reading The Outsiders novel, they complete this anticipation guide that has been set up in a case file/detective format.
Included in this document are newspaper clippings, signs, images (knife/switchblade), and names (Ponyboy, Greasers, Sodapop, Socs). The students then use a Probable Passage sheet (included) to try to figure out who the characters are, what the setting is, what the conflict is, and what the outcome is. They write a gist statement based on this information.
**Note: I print out the pictures, tear them (instead of cutting them out--it makes it look more like "evidence"), and put them in a large envelope marked "TOP SECRET CASE FILE INFORMATION." I also include whatever I have lying around that may be of help; this year I included charred/burned wood and some caution tape.
I have found this is an excellent way to get my students thinking about the book before we begin reading--they are eager to see if their gist statements are correct!