When I teach students to make predictions in reading, I usually start by connecting it to real life.
We might talk about what we predict when we see dark clouds, what we predict when our dog starts barking, or what we think might happen next if our neighbor accidentally breaks a window while playing baseball.
These real life scenarios set the stage for making predictions in reading.
As always, it’s important to directly teach students to make predictions as they read. Strong readers do this naturally, but other readers need to learn to do this any time they pick up a book.
Making predictions as they read helps passive readers to become active, thinking readers, which is definitely what we want!
Using quality mentor texts in mini-lessons can help encourage students to use their background knowledge, coupled with clues from the text to make predictions.
The next step after making predictions is to train students to read on to see if their predictions are confirmed or altered.
The picture books below are some that I like to use to help students practice making predictions.
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1. Dory Story
Dory Story by Jerry Pallotta follows a young boy, Danny, as he ventures out into the bay in his dory. He sees an abundance of sea creatures, learning about the ocean food chain as he goes, and just when you think you can guess what will happen next, the story takes a surprising turn!
2. Enemy Pie
Enemy Pie by Derek Munson is about the new boy in the house down the street, Jeremy Ross, and how his move suddenly makes him enemy #1. That is, until he figures out the perfect recipe for turning an enemy into a friend.
Fearless Mary: Mary Fields, American Stagecoach Driver by Tami Charles is about the pioneering African American women who helped settle the American West, Mary Fields. Readers follow Mary in her journey west and in her goal to pave the way for other women and people of color to become stagecoach drivers and postal workers.
A River Ran Wild by Lynne Cherry is an environmental history of the Nashua River about its restoration, renewal, and how we must practice awareness in protecting the nature that surrounds us.
5. The Rag Coat
The Rag Coat by Lauren A. Mills is a beautiful story about a young girl named Minna’s special coat that, since her family could not afford to buy a new coat, was made with love, put together from neighbor’s scraps. While she was teased at first, her peers soon realize the stories that lie in each piece of fabric that are a part of their community’s history.
Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto celebrates the tradition of tamales and family bonding at Christmas and the commotion that ensues when a young girl, Maria, loses her mother’s diamond ring in a big batch!
The Sweetest Fig by Chris Van Allsburg is about a picky, French dentist who eats a fig which makes his wildest dreams come true.
Doctor De Soto by William Steig is an amusing tale about a mouse dentist who must help a fox with a toothache without being eaten.
Meteor! by Patricia Polacco is a curious story of a young girl Patricia, her brother Steve, and her cousin Steve, who spend the summer at their grandparent’s farm only to find that a fallen star has landed in their backyard.
Here are a few more mentor texts for making predictions:
The Empty Pot by Demi
Ruby the Copycat by Peggy Rathmann
What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins
Dude by Aaron Reynolds
The Road to Mumbai by Ruth Jeyaveeran
Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun by Maria Dismondy
Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens
Piggie Pie by Margie Palatini
Twenty-One Elephants and Still Standing by April Jones Prince
If you’re looking for reading resources to help teach about synthesizing, this one might help! The Launching Reading Workshop unit includes an entire month’s worth of mini-lessons as well as an entire year’s worth of framework or supporting materials for Reading Workshop.
The first two weeks are about routines and expectations and the second two weeks are all about reading comprehension strategies. “Synthesizing” is one of the 10 key reading comprehension strategy mini-lessons. There are also anchor charts and graphic organizers about synthesizing too!
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