This study investigated the effects of previewing and providing background knowledge for American short stories on Taiwanese college students' comprehension of the stories and attitudes toward the treatments. Approximately 240 college freshmen were randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups and read two short stories. Before reading each story, one group listened to a 200-word preview, a second group listened to a 200-word presentation of background knowledge, and a third group listened to both the preview and, the background knowledge presentation. The fourth group read each story without any prereading assistance. Results on short-answer and multiple-choice posttests showed strong positive effects of the previewing and combined treatments and weaker positive effects of the background knowledge treatment. Students' responses to a semantic differential and an open-ended attitude question showed that they generally responded positively to all experimental treatments. Implications of the findings for reading instruction in L2 classrooms are discussed.