K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • predict what is going to happen in a story.
  • state three things to look for at the beginning of predicting (author, title, picture).
  • change their predictions as the story is read to them.
  • The students will tell why using predictions is a good skill to have.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

45 minutes



  • I will show the children three wrapped boxes of different sizes and tell them that today we are going to practice their predicting skills. I will ask, “Who knows what predicting is?” I will let them discuss it and then we will talk about the different ways of predicting.
  • I will show them the wrapped boxes and ask them how they could predict what was inside them. We will brainstorm as many ideas as possible. Half the fun of predicting is seeing if your predictions are correct.
  • I will let them open their boxes to check their predictions. I will ask them if they were correct. “How close were you? What things helped your predicting the most? (movement, shaking, smelling, etc.) How could you use this in your reading? How would predicting something you are about to read help you?”


  1. I will show them the book Septimus Bean. “What are some things we could do to predict what this story is going to be about?” (I will write their ideas down on paper so that we can go back to them later) “Can the pictures give us any clues? The title? The author?”
  2. I will ask them to write down what they think is going to happen in the story. Then we will look together to see if their predictions were correct.
  3. I will read the first three pages of the story and stop. I will then ask them to tell me the steps we should use to predict what they think is going to happen. We will discuss how predicting is not just a one time thing you do at the beginning of a story. We should stop and think about our predictions to see if they are correct and modify them. I will ask them to make changes to their predictions. We will do this several times in the story.
  4. At the end of the story, I will ask them to discuss how their predictions changed as the story went along. “Is it bad if your predictions are wrong and why not? How is predicting helpful?”
  5. We will then repeat the process with the books Water Dance and When I was Young in the Mountains, going through them and brainstorming ideas.


At the end of the class, I ask questions and call on different children to answer to check for understanding. You can also observe the children and see if they use the skill on their own.

Questions to ask:

  • Why would you need to know how to predict?
  • What could you do the next time you read a story in class?
  • Why would you want to do predict while you are reading?
  • Can you tell me the steps we use to predict what is going to happen in a story?
  • What are some things you can do to help you predict? (look at pictures, titles, author)
  • Why would those things help you?
  • Why should we use predictions?

If the students can answer the questions and try the skill the next time they are reading, then they have a good grasp of predicting. It would also be a good idea to continue modeling the skill as you work on different stories in class.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Reading: Literature

        • Grade 2
          • 2.RL.1 Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
        • Grade 3
          • 3.RL.1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 2

  • Goal 2: The learner will develop and apply strategies and skills to comprehend text that is read, heard, and viewed.
    • Objective 2.04: Pose possible how, why, and what if questions to understand and/or interpret text.

Grade 3

  • Goal 2: The learner will apply strategies and skills to comprehend text that is read, heard, and viewed.
    • Objective 2.02: Interact with the text before, during, and after reading, listening, or viewing by:
      • setting a purpose.
      • previewing the text.
      • making predictions.
      • asking questions.
      • locating information for specific purposes.
      • making connections.
      • using story structure and text organization to comprehend.

Grade 4

  • Goal 2: The learner will apply strategies and skills to comprehend text that is read, heard, and viewed.
    • Objective 2.02: Interact with the text before, during, and after reading, listening, and viewing by:
      • setting a purpose using prior knowledge and text information.
      • making predictions.
      • formulating questions.
      • locating relevant information.
      • making connections with previous experiences, information, and ideas.