Back to Basics: Making Predictions

Welcome to our Back to Basics series! In this series we explore some of the foundational methods, practices and terminology for teaching reading. This series is for those new to the field of literacy, beginning tutors or those who would just like a refresher. This week we are discussing the reading comprehension strategy of making predictions.

Making predictions while reading a text helps emerging readers check for understanding and glean important information while they read. Predicting means guessing what the text is about and/or what will come next. Learners use information found in the text, such as titles, pictures, headings and diagrams, to make predictions. They can also make use of their existing knowledge to make predictions. Predictions allow for the reader to be more actively involved with the text. Learners are more connected to what they are reading and therefore increase their understanding of the text.

Tutors can demonstrate predicting by using the think aloud approach before they read a text to their learner. After learners make predictions about what will come next in their selected text, they can test to see if their guesses are correct by rereading portions of the text and remembering facts they read. Tutors can also use graphic organizers to logically organize the learner’s thoughts. Learners can record clues that either support or deny their predictions and revise as necessary.

By making predictions, readers engage their critical thinking and use problem-solving skills. They are actively reflecting on and analyzing the text they are reading. This allows learners to acquire deeper meaning from what they read.

Check out these two videos created by the San Jose Public Library’s Partners in Reading program that explains and demonstrates making predictions with an adult learner.


Note: Some of the resources below are designed for teaching children, but all can be adapted for adult learners.

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