Your Reading Comprehension Toolkit: Making Predictions

By Amy Mackenzie | Reading Comprehension

Students love making predictions. And building anticipation for what might happen next is an easy way to make reading fun.

By prompting readers to wonder what might happen next and whether or not their prediction will come true, you'll quickly boost reading comprehension and engagement. That's becuase when we ask students to make predictions, we are asking them to think about what they already know about the story, and what they think will logically happen next. Here are some common predictions you can try during your read alouds:

  • Before Reading- What will the book be about? Who will the main characters be? What big events will happen in the story? Where will the events take place?
  • During Reading- How will a character respond to the problem? Who might help the character solve the problem?
  • After Reading- Which predictions were correct? Which predictions were incorrect? Why were the predictions incorrect?

Once students have mastered answering these types of simple questions. It's time to take it up a notch. For predictions to be a truly useful comprehension tool, students need to base their predictions on evidence from the text. So, for example, if your students predict that the main character will meet an alien, ask the students to point to the evidence. If there’s a spaceship hovering ominously above the main character, great, the aliens are probably coming! If not, encourage them to take a closer look at the clues left by the author.

You can help your students master the art of making predictions with any text. But, if you'd like to save some time, try paring a BookPagez lesson plan with one of these books:

Making predictions will quickly become one of your students' favorite reading activities. Here are four ways to help them make better predictions to improve comprehension.

#1: Build a Prediction Puzzle

Teach students to support their predictions with evidence from the text by building Prediction Puzzles.

Start by writing a prediction on a puzzle piece. Then help students gather clues from the pictures or the text that support the prediction. Write each clue on a puzzle piece. Then put the puzzle together. By providing readers with a visual representation of how predictions are tied to the text, they will begin to make more logical predictions.

Or, try using this Prediction Puzzle printable.

#2: Play Prediction Kings and Queens

Who doesn’t love a little friendly competition? Before reading or during reading, ask students to stop and make a prediction (e.g., what a character will do, how a character will react, how a situation will turn out). Once you’ve brainstormed some predictions, have students vote on which one they think will be true. Have students sit in “teams” according to their predictions.

Then read the story and see which group was right. You could let the winning group do a happy dance, or you could give them paper crowns and let them be Prediction Kings and Queens for the remainder of the day.

Bonus: This can be more than just a language arts activity! Use prediction teams to make predictions about the outcome of a science experiment. Or have students make predictions about daily or school events (e.g., which class will collect the most cans for a can drive).

#3: Become Fortune Tellers

Make predicting magical. Invite students to pull out their imaginary prediction balls. Gaze into them and tell the future of a story. Help students tell logical fortunes using prediction task cards or by prompting them with prediction sentence starters like these:

  • I'm guessing...
  • Maybe this means...
  • I predict ______ because _______ ...

#4: Take Predicting to the Next Level

Predicting is a natural link to cause and effect. Use what students know about making predictions to identify cause and effect within a text. For example, ask: What caused this character to be so upset? What do you think will happen if the character misses the bus—will it have a positive or negative effect?

Want More Ideas Like These?

This post is part of a 10-part series. In each post, we share ideas for making comprehension strategy practice more engaging.

Click here to see tips and activity ideas for the other reading comprehension strategies.