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How to Teach Students to Make Meaningful Predictions

What is predicting?

Making predictions is an important reading strategy that helps to improve students’ comprehension. Making predictions helps students think ahead and teaches them to ask questions. 

When making predictions, students are able to:

  • Better understand the story
  • Make connections to what they are reading
  • Make inferences
  • Become actively engaged and invested in the story and what will happen next
teaching predicting

Why is predicting so important for student comprehension?

Making predictions allows students to become actively involved in the reading process. It gets students thinking deeply about the questions that they have, the connections they can make, and guessing at what will come as the story continues. 

As you build students’ comprehension in reading workshop, each skill will be a building block for reading habits that are automatic. Making predictions is such an important part of being actively involved in the reading process.

Making predictions allows students to use critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills. This allows them to understand the deeper meaning of the text.  When students are actively involved in the story, they are more likely to remember and understand the story. 

And, the best part…students actually LIKE making predictions!  When you stop at just the right part of a story or leave kids hanging with a cliffhanger, they automatically want to “guess” what is going to happen next. 

making predictions quote

How will they know if their predictions are correct?  When you continue to read you can adjust your predictions and determine if you were correct. 

When prompting students to make predictions and adding excitement into it, you are not only boosting their comprehension, but also their engagement in the story.

Practicing the “Stop and Jot” strategy

Asking questions is an important part of making predictions. As active readers, it is so important to get students thinking as they are reading. And, to always be asking questions.

Model your thoughts and ask questions as you read aloud and encourage students to do the same. This will soon become an automatic skill where students mentally ask questions and make predictions as they read. As young readers, we must teach them and help them develop automaticity.

Encourage students to “stop and jot” their thoughts as they read. They can do this on sticky notes, on paper, or in their reader's notebooks.

jot spots

Actively thinking about their predictions, analyzing their thoughts, asking clarifying questions, and making inferences will make them aware of the instances where they stop to think and will help them as they develop their predicting skills.

Before, during, and after reading

You can help students make predictions before they read, adjust them as you continue reading, and confirm after reading.

Making predictions and synthesizing as you read with students will help them pay close attention to the details in the text. Ultimately resulting in a better understanding of the text as a whole.

  • Before reading: think about what the book will be about, what do you think will happen in the story, look at the title, read the blurb on the back, look at any pictures.
  • During reading: think about how characters will respond to problems, will others help the character with the problem?
  • After reading: think about your own predictions, what was correct, what was incorrect?
reading workshop anchor chart

How to help struggling readers

If students are struggling with making reasonable predictions you can model using pictures or by sharing your own prior knowledge that helps you make a prediction.

Model how you can revise a prediction and discuss what is reasonable based on the information in the text. 

making predictions lessons

Helping students change or confirm their predictions will help them realize there is no right or wrong when we are basing our predictions on the information in the text.

You can find a free list of my favorite mentor text for predicting lessons and a set of exit tickets below.

free exit tickets

Happy reading!!

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