As a teacher, you know how important it is for students with dyslexia to make predictions while reading. You know it helps aid in reading comprehension; helping students both understand and retain the information they have read. The following tips can help teachers reinforce this essential skill.
- Supply students with a predictions worksheet while reading. You can create a simple worksheet by dividing a piece of paper in half, long ways, and writing "Prediction" on the left hand half and "Evidence" on the right hand half. As students read, they stop from time to time and write a prediction on what they think will happen next and write a few key words or phrases to back up why they made this prediction.
- Have students review the front and back of a book, the table of contents, the chapter names, subheadings and diagrams in a book prior to reading. This helps them gain an understanding of the material before reading and think about what the book may be about.
- Ask students to list as many possible outcomes of a story as they can think of. You might make this a class activity by reading a portion of a story and asking the class to think about different ways the story might turn out. List all the ideas on the board and review again after reading the rest of the story.
- Have students go on a treasure hunt in a story. Using a highlighter or having students write clues on a separate paper, go through the story slowly, thinking about the clues the author gives about how the story will end.
- Remind students to always look for the basics of a story: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. This information will help them separate the important and nonessential information in the story so they can guess what will happen next.
- For younger children, go through the book, looking at and discussing the pictures before reading. Ask the student what he thinks is happening in the story. Then read the story to see how well he guessed.
- For non-fiction reading, help students identify the main topic sentence. Once students can quickly identify the main idea, they can make predictions about how the rest of the paragraph or section will provide information to back up this sentence.
- Predictions are closely related to inferences. To accurately make predictions students must understand not only what the author said, but what the author is implying. Help students understand how to make inferences while they are reading.
- Read a story, stopping before you reach the ending. Have each student write their own ending to the story. Explain there is no right or wrong answers, that each student brings their own perspective to the story and wants it to end in their own way. Read the endings aloud so students can see the different possibilities. You can also have students vote on which ending they think will most closely match the author's ending. Then read the rest of the story.
- Make predictions in steps. Have students look at the title and the front cover and make a prediction. Have them read the back cover or the first few paragraphs of the story and review and revise their prediction. Have them read more of the story, maybe a few more paragraphs or maybe the rest of the chapter (based on the age and the length of the story), and review and revise their prediction. Continue doing this until you have reached the end of the story.
- Make predictions about more than story endings. Use a student's previous knowledge about a subject to predict what concepts are discussed in a chapter. Use vocabulary to discern what non-fiction text will be about. Use knowledge of an author's other works to predict writing style, plot or the structure of a book. Use the type of text, for example a textbook, to predict how information is presented.
- Share your predictions with the class. Students model teacher's behaviors so if they see you making predictions and guessing about the ending to a story, they will be more apt to employ this skill as well.
- Offer three possible endings to a story. Have the class vote on which ending they think matches the author's.
- Allow for plenty of practice. As with any skill, it improves with practice. Stop often in reading to ask the class for predictions, use worksheets and model predictions skills. The more students see and use predictions skills, the better they will be at making predictions.
"Helping Students Develop Strong Content Area Reading Skills," 201, Joelle Brummitt-Yale, K12Readers.com
"Tips for Teaching: Comprehension Strategies," Date Unknown, Staff Writer, LearningPage.com