Metacognitive SKills - Predicting


Brief Explanation

  • The readers anticipate what will happen based on thoughtful use of prior knowledge and topic clues provided.


  • Predicting is directly related to engagement because, as the reader forms ideas about what will happen, he is compelled to read onwards and confirm these hunches.  By forming predictions it helps the reader to establish a purpose for reading.  Readers must activate their prior knowledge about a topic and, as the reading progresses, they must constantly revisit, review and revise their predictions as they read.  Gillet and Temple (1990) point out that predictions are the connecting links between prior knowledge and the new information in a book.
  • The book, Teaching Reading In Middle School by Laura Robb (2000) details the strategies listed below.

Clearly Identified Key Outcomes

Use your programs of study for curriculum outcomes related to predicting

Please refer to CESD’s Essential Outcomes work if you are using the previous Alberta Curriculum (Grade 7+).

Here is the New Alberta ELAL Curriculum, from the New Learn Alberta website, laid out like a scope and sequence.

Balanced Assessment Practices

  • T-Charts that list predictions (before) and support (during) reading.  After finishing a selection, a third column should be added where students can adjust their predictions.  Evaluate students based on whether or not their prediction is logical rather than if it’s correct.
  • Teacher-student discussions.
  • Student-student conversations.
  • Journaling

    Purposeful Instructional Strategies


    • Model Predict & Support strategy.
    • Predict with a partner before free-choice reading.
    • Previewing text.
    • Skim/scan.
    • Look at titles, heading, etc
    • Predict and support strategy (Laura Robb):
      • Prepare a chart:  Write “Predictions” on the left hand side and “Support” on the right.
      • Think aloud and show students why it is important to predict and support before reading.
      • Have students study front and back covers before thinking aloud.


    • While reading, students use the predict & support strategy, continuously setting and adjusting predictions as they complete more and more of the text.  Add “confirm & adjust” as a part of the strategy.
    • If students are writing down their predictions and support in journals, wait until they have completed the entire text before asking them to adjust their predictions and supports. If you interrupt the natural flow of reading by constantly stopping, it can cause students to lose interest in the act of reading. 
    • Predict & Support Strategy (Laura Robb):
      • Read first two pages of book to students and explain how to predict and support.
      • Have students comment and raise questions
    • With short selections, when it is tempting to read ahead, cut the story into three parts and give them to students one section at a time.

    • Students who understand the predict & support strategy:

      • Make logical predictions that grow out of the title, plot, setting, characters and illustrations.  They are not seeking the “right” prediction, but one that can be supported with evidence from the text.
      • Use detailed, specific examples from the story to support their predictions.
      • Make inferences based upon what they have read.
      • Reread and skim to find support


    • Have students return to their initial predictions and supports and confirm and adjust them as necessary.


    • Fountas & Pinnell
    • “Strategies That Work” Harvey & Goudvis (2007)

    Personalization of Learning

    • If students are struggling with this strategy it is important to find out if the book is at an appropriate reading level.
    • Have students to explain their predictions to you? Is the prediction logical?
    • Ensure that students are not trying to only use one strategy. Strategies are not to be used in isolation – rather, good readers use multiple strategies at the same time. 
    • It is important that students have activated prior knowledge of the topic at hand and that they have sufficient background information to draw upon in order to make predictions.