Teaching Making Predictions
Predicting is an important skill that is necessary for readers to fully comprehend and analyze text. Good readers are able to predict based on their own knowledge and information provided in the text. These skills are not always inherent, so it is important for students to build the necessary foundational skills to be able to predict successfully. Here are some strategies and resources for teaching making predictions.
What is Predicting?
Making predictions is a strategy in which readers use information from a text (including titles and pictures) and their own personal experiences to guess what they are about to read.
Why is Predicting Important?
Predicting requires the reader to actively think ahead and ask questions. It also allows students to understand the story better by recalling details, making connections, and drawing conclusions. Prediction skills have a significant impact on overall reading comprehension, so developing these skills should be integrated into reading comprehension education strategies.
How to Teach Predicting with Fiction
As with most skills, students need to observe you modeling this skill. This is part of the reason why read alouds are so crucial! If students hear what you are thinking, they will internalize the questions and thoughts you model. They will eventually translate this to their own reading.
Every read aloud should begin with a short opening for making predictions. You can think aloud and tell students their predictions, or ask students to make predictions about the characters, setting, problem, and solution. Students love to go on a “picture walk” to preview the book or text. It is also important to stop during a book to ask questions about what students think will happen next. Here are some helpful prompts:
- “Look at the title and cover. What can you predict about this story?”
- “Let’s take a quick look at the illustrations as we flip through this story.”
- “Who do you think is the main character? What do you think this character will be like?”
- “What might be the setting or settings? How do you know?”
- “What problem or major challenge might the character face?”
- “How do you think this problem will be solved?”
Visuals are powerful tools to help students remember a skill or strategy. Here are some suggestions:
- The “fortune cookie” visual is a great tool to teach kids predicting because it is a fun way to remember what predicting means.
- Process anchor charts are also helpful visuals for students to refer to, and eventually internalize the steps they can use to make predictions.
- Graphic organizers help students use the process for predicting while organizing their thoughts.
The ultimate goal is to provide enough practice so that students can predict internally, without any visuals or prompting.
If you have a wide range of learners, or your students need more support with this strategy. Some helpful differentiation tips are:
- More modeling with more read alouds.
- Use more visuals, especially graphic organizer, to model story retelling.
- Have students practice predicting in small groups to sharpen their skills.
- Students who need more support should use these visuals until they can progress to speaking or writing about their predictions with less support. Keep working towards independence!
If you are looking for differentiated units that include visuals, an anchor chart, graphic organizers, and stories written specifically for predicting, check out my Differentiated Predicting Unit Bundle.
It is also available for individual grade levels.
Looking for More?
You can also check out my predicting task cards for even more skill reinforcement.