Improve Your Children’s Reading Comprehension by Enabling Them to Predict What They Are About to Read

Reading with children is very important. We all know that. If you are like me, you dive into book after book without hesitation.

But it turns out that as we go deeper into stories, we may be missing a key step: prediction. According to educators, we need to encourage our children to think about what they will read before they start reading.

Otis Kriegel, an elementary school teacher from New York, explains why in this video:

When your child takes time to contemplate what he is about to read, making predictions based on what he already knows, he will be more attracted to the story and more likely to understand and remember the material . It’s not about being right or wrong at the end, but about evoking the feeling of “Oooh, I can’t wait to see what comes next!” This feeling, of course, turns us into regular readers.

Here are some ways to help young children anticipate what they are reading:

  • Show them the cover and ask, “What do you think this book will be about? Why?”
  • Take a “picture walk” as Chrigel suggests. Flip through the pages of the picture book and, without reading a word, give them the opportunity to form their own view of history. (If their ideas are far from the same – say, the photographs show a tractor on a farm, and your child assumes that the monkeys will fall out of space – discuss after you finish the book how the illustrations provide clues to the story.)
  • Use stickers to cover up important words in the story, and see if they can guess what those words are when they hit them.
  • In the middle of the story, stop and ask them what they think will happen on the next page.
  • Use the structure “I think ______ because ______”. If you like the worksheets, ask them to fill out this one to help them organize their thoughts.
  • After the last page, ask, “If you could write the next chapter, what would happen?” This helps them stay curious even after the story ends.


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