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Before reading a book to your children or having them read one to you, you can ask your children to predict what the book will be about.

Why is it important to make predictions as we read?

  • It helps us stay interested in the book to motivate us to want to read more.
  • It helps us predict words we may encounter in the book.

How do I get my children to predict what a book will be about?

  • Show your children the cover of the book.  The cover of the book has the title and a picture.
  • Read the title to your children or have them read the title to you.
  • Ask your children to look at the picture on the cover.
  • Ask, “What do you think the book will be about?”
  • Record what your children’s predictions. These predictions can be confirmed or revised as the book is read.

How do I choose books to practice this with my children?

  • When you begin to teach your children how to make predictions, you may need to model how to make predictions. For example, using the book Here Comes Trouble (written by Corrine Demas and illustrated by Noah Z. Jones), you may say, “I think that the cat is a new pet, since the girl is carrying the cat.  Maybe the cat is named Trouble.  I see that the dog looks mad, so he may not be nice to the cat.  He may like being an only pet.”  When your children hear you do it, they will start to be able to predict what will happen in a book.
  • In the beginning, you will want to use books that have longer, more descriptive titles and a detailed cover picture that shows multiple characters and the setting. The picture on the cover of Here Comes Trouble shows three characters in the book and a grassy, outside setting.  It has a good title, because it implies that things are going to become difficult for the characters.
  • As your children get better at predicting from the book cover and title, you can begin to use books that may have titles that are less descriptive or cover pictures that are less detailed. For example, using Scaredy Squirrel (by Melanie Watts), your children may predict, “I think that the squirrel will get scared of a car, because squirrels sometimes live near roads.  Squirrels are small and cars are big.  He looks nervous, because he’s only waving only a little bit.”  The title of Scaredy Squirrel  helps with making predictions, since it describes how the squirrel feels.  However, the picture on the cover is not very detailed.  It features only one character.

My next post will deal with a common situation, a child who is reluctant to make predictions, and strategies to encourage the making of predictions.