Teaching Prediction in Picture Books and Non-Fiction Texts

Prediction is an important way to encourage children to consolidate their information by thinking about possibilities about a text. Prediction and anticipation are types of pre-reading strategies where students make educated guesses about what they going to read on the basis of their world knowledge and prior information about the text.

Prediction strategies help students build up their expectations and understandings about a text before they actually begin reading it.

Use Pictures Before Reading the Picture Book or a Non-Fiction Text

A helpful way to teach and reinforce prediction is through the use of pictures. Pictures are great visual clues for helping children see how ideas relate to one another.

Parents, caregivers and teachers can start by showing the front and back covers of a read-aloud. If applicable, they can also show the inside covers. To get started, they can write or ask the following lead-in questions: Who? What? When? How? How much? Where? Why? Students should be encouraged to say even one or two word responses in order to cater to their oral abilities.

Prediction Techniques in Action

When predicting, children activate their knowledge on a particular text. If they are predicting the contents of a non-fiction text, they will probably understand that there is an introduction to the passage, which will probably include a main topic sentence. They will be able to identify various examples in the text that support the main idea, and can even predict the conclusion of the passage.

For longer chunks of non-fiction or a work of fiction, write only the chapter title, headings, and conclusion questions of a nonfiction text. Have children make predictions about what they will learn in a particular chapter.

As the teacher or students read the story, they can then see what was similar or different to what they originally predicted. As children learn more about the story, they can confirm their predictions in terms of plot, characters, story sequence during the while reading stages of the read-aloud.

Tips for Maximizing Prediction

It's important not to rush the prediction stage before children begin reading. This helps create suspense. That way, they will want to confirm their predictions as they start to read. When children make general conclusions about what they will find in the rest of the text, they will feel more confident to continue reading about the subject and other reading strategies will be of use to them in the later stages of reading.

By encouraging students to predict, they think of various possibilities of a text that will engage them before they actually begin to read. Predicting a story then becomes a natural and organic part of the teaching process as students become more independent in their own reading.

SOURCE: Suite 101 - Teaching Prediction in Picture Books and Non-Fiction Texts


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