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In my last post, I talked about how to help your children make predictions about a book based on the book’s title and its cover picture.  When we predict, we can only make our best guesses based on evidence (in this case, the title of the book and the picture on the front cover).  You may find that some children are reluctant to make predictions.

Why are some children reluctant to make predictions?

  • I find that this is usually due to fear of making the wrong prediction. They do not want to give a wrong answer.

How can I help my children overcome their reluctance to predict?

  • Reassure your children that it is okay to change a prediction based on what you find out when you read the book.
    • Model predictions that you know are not going to occur. For example, after reading the title of the book Here Comes Trouble (words by Corinne Demas and pictures by Noah Z. Jones) and looking at its front cover, you can predict I think that the cat is a new pet, since the girl is carrying the cat.  Maybe the cat is named Trouble.  I don’t think the cat and the dog will get along with each other.” 
    • Then, model a positive response when it is read that the cat is just visiting. You can say, “The cat was not a new pet.  That’s okay.  I still made a good prediction, since I used the illustration of the cat in the girl’s arms, the way that dog and cat are looking at each other, and the word ‘trouble’ from the title to guess that the cat was a new pet, but it turns out the cat was just visiting and the dog was not happy to have a guest in the house.”
  • Teach your children how to monitor if their predictions are accurate or if they need to be changed.
    • When your children make a prediction, you can write the prediction on a sticky note or your children can record their own predictions.
    • After reading a little of the text, ask your child, “Was your prediction confirmed or do you need to change your prediction?”
    • If the prediction was confirmed, your child can put a check mark on the sticky note.
    • If the prediction was not confirmed, ask your child to revise or change his or her prediction and put that new prediction on another sticky note.
    • You may model revising a prediction by making an initial prediction that has to be modified. For example, before reading Scaredy Squirrel (by Melanie Watt), you could make the prediction, “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.”  When you get to page 24, it is evident that squirrel is afraid of a bee, not a car.  You can say, “I predicted that Scaredy Squirrel would be afraid of a car, but it looks like he’s afraid of a bee.  I will have to change my prediction.  Now, I think that he has to leave the tree to get away from the bee.”