Well, it is that time of year again. My kids are off to school, and I am excited to begin writing a brand new book. I will be creating the book through this blog, and you will have free access to all of it’s content here. This book/blog series is called Seven Habits of Highly Effective Readers and will give you information on what you can do to create an avid reader.
Before a scientist ever begins an experiment he always makes a hypothesis. This means that he makes an educated guess about what the outcome is going to be. Why is this? Well it drives the whole experiment. It motivates the scientist to start the experiment and continues to motivate the scientist throughout as he is able to determine how accurate he was. Throughout the experiment the scientist continues to come back to that hypothesis and decide if he wants to keep it, or change it. When he sees how his hypothesis is being validified he becomes excited and as he sees how it is different from his original thinking he is intrigued even more.
Highly effective readers do the same exact thing, but in reading it is called a prediction. These readers make these predictions because it motivates them to validify if what they predicted is true and it intrigues them when it veers off from what they think is true.
Predictions also get the reader’s mind to become engaged with the text she is going to read right off the bat. In order to make a prediction a reader usually looks at
1. The title
2. The cover picture
3. The table of contents
4. The book summary on the front flap, back flap or the back cover.
After using all of this information the reader makes a prediction about what the story is going to be about. I have witnessed many readers who go into this process without making a prediction, and they also struggle with reading. When you ask them what they think it will be about, they respond with, “I don’t know.” These readers need more guidance in how to make a prediction. Using the list above you can begin to model the things that go through your mind as you see the them.
I will give an example of what that modeling would look like with the book Monster by Walter Dean Myers. The front of the cover shows a young boy that is in jail. I can tell that he is in jail because if you look at the back of the cover they show a side profile with numbers on the bottom. Based just off of this cover and the title I can make a prediction that this book is going to be about a young man that is going to jail for a crime that he possibly committed, and he is seen as a monster because of what he did. This is a good enough prediction for this time. As the story proceeds I will continue to make more predictions about the book and see if they come true as well. This makes the reading more exciting, especially when the predictions are true.
Another place highly effective readers make predictions is before they begin to read a chapter. This is a natural place to begin to think about what is going to happen next and to back up why they believe it is going to happen. This is a continual process throughout reading the book.
Sometimes authors leave off the ending of a book, then the reader is left to determine what happens next. Some people enjoy this and others do not. Whichever your take happens to be, you can use this to get the reader talking about what their prediction would be. Who knows, maybe the author will write another story and the child’s prediction will come true.
Do you find it exciting when your predictions come true when you are reading a book and intrigued when they don’t? I would love to hear what you have to say about making predictions.