Stretching of amorphous polylactide above glass transition temperature can lead to strain-induced crystallization, which is mainly determined by stretching rate and temperature. This study demonstrates that thermal annealing prior to stretching is alternative to enhance strain-induced crystallization of a given polylactide at the identical stretching conditions. The local order generated during thermal annealing acts as physical crosslinks to effectively alleviate molecular relaxation and thus facilitates the advent of strain-induced crystallization. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2014, 131, 39993.