What do you Predict? Helping Students Develop Strategic Reading Habits

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Feb. 22, 2019, 9:44 a.m.

Interactive Read Alouds Using Semantic Impressions: 

Good readers start making inferences about a text before they even open the cover or read the first line. Illustrations, words, and schema are all contributors to helping a student build conceptual knowledge before they dive into the actual text.

The reading strategy explained below (predicting before reading), helps readers to prepare their mind for the upcoming text. Strategic readers start noticing details, activating prior knowledge, making predictions, asking questions, and establishing a purpose for reading before they begin to read the text.

To model and get your students to practice these vital before-reading strategies, we can use semantic impressions.

Semantic Impressions in Informational Texts

Using semantic impressions to predict before reading begins with a short list of teacher selected key words (only four or so) from a reading selection. These key words should relate to major concepts of the text, and should be able to be used to summarize the text later on.

* Present students with the list of key words from the selection. Do not show or discuss the text.

* Have students discuss the meaning of these key word and related topics . Here they are activating prior knowledge.

* Then have students use the words to make a prediction about what they will learn in the text.

Remember, at this point, students have not seen the text.

* Students will then relate the words to other words that they predict will be in the text.

Finally, introduce the text to the students, asking them to read it and confirm their predictions or identify their misconceptions. Your students will want to stop when one of the words is read or heard, and that is okay. Take a moment here to allow them to confirm their predictions using text evidence or discuss their misconceptions from prior knowledge compared to how the word is used in the text.

After reading, students can use the four words to summarize the big ideas of the text.

By asking students to make a prediction, they will be motivated to read, in order to find out if they are right or not. Humans like to make and confirm predictions.

Kelly Harmon and Randi Anderson

About The Authors

Kelly Harmon & Associates began in 2001 with a mission of instructional coaching and providing rich literacy resources for educators and parents. Our work incorporates research-based best practices for teaching and learning.

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