Making predictions is a critical reading comprehension strategy to teach and practice with students. It requires students to use what they have read and know about a topic in order to anticipate what will happen in a text, or what a text will be about.
Making predictions before, during, and after reading comes very naturally to skilled readers, but for struggling readers, this skill can be just the opposite. Therefore, it is important that teachers model making predictions and continually provide ways for students to practice this reading comprehension strategy independently.
WHY IS MAKING PREDICTIONS IN READING AN IMPORTANT COMPREHENSION STRATEGY?
Making predictions helps students to:
- Choose texts they believe will interest them or that are appropriate for whatever their purpose is for reading.
- Set a purpose for reading before, during, and after reading.
- Actively read and interact with a text.
- Critically think about what they are reading.
- Monitor their own comprehension and clarify any misunderstandings while reading.
- Stay engaged in reading in order to find out if their predictions are on track or if they need to be revised.
- Ask meaningful questions.
HOW CAN STUDENTS PRACTICE MAKING PREDICTIONS IN READING?
Growing readers can have a difficult time making predictions that are meaningful and logical. By modeling and practicing this reading strategy often, students learn to create strong predictions based on text evidence and background knowledge. Below are five ways students can practice making predictions as a class or individually.
1. TEACHER THINK ALOUD
When reading aloud any piece of text, teachers can use a think aloud technique to model how good readers continually make predictions before, during, and after reading. This technique can be thoughtfully planned ahead before implementing, but is also effective to demonstrate often with any piece of text read aloud in class. Teachers can show how they piece together evidence from the text to pose predictions, as well as how they revise their predictions as they continue to read.
2. PROVIDE THINKING STEMS:
Giving students thinking stems is helpful to make using reading comprehension strategies more concrete. Offering 2 part thinking stems (i.e. “I think___because___”) is important with making predictions since they require students to have a clear reason to support their prediction.
You can display these on an anchor chart or poster for the entire class to reference.
Some examples of thinking stems for fiction texts include:
“I think_____ will happen, because___”
“Next, I think the characters will___because___”
“I can predict that___because___”
“Since____ happened, I think___”
“Based on clues from the story, my guess is___”
Some examples of thinking stems for nonfiction texts include:
“Based on the title, I think the text will be about___”
“Based on the headings/subheadings, I think the text will be about”
“Because I know that_____, I predict that___”
“Based on what I know about _____, my guess is___”
You could also give students students their own individual reference sheet or bookmark.
3. INDIVIDUAL OR CLASS CRYSTAL BALL:
Students write their predictions on sticky notes and put them in the crystal ball on an anchor chart or white board. You can make the anchor chart re-usable by keeping it general with a question like “What do we predict will happen next?”
Students could also use their own crystal ball graphic organizer for a more detailed prediction.
4. NONFICTION READING: MAKING PREDICTIONS BASED ON NONFICTION TEXT FEATURES
Students skim the text features of an informational text (table of contents, headings, images/captions, etc.) to make a prediction about the text. You could do this similar to a picture walk with students as a class, or have students complete this activity independently with their own informational texts.
5. SUPPORTED INDEPENDENT READING RESPONSE:
Offering multiple ways that students use reading strategies independently can keep students engaged and help reach the many types of learners in a classroom. Graphic organizers can be a very powerful supportive tool for students to use while reading fiction or nonfiction.
Below is also an example of Making Predictions Reading Strategy Crafts. They are similar to traditional graphic organizers, but the format really engages visual and hands-on learners.
Looking for more tips on teaching reading comprehension strategies? Check out this blog post: Teaching Students to Use Background Knowledge