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Reading comprehension

Making predictions about a text

Explainer Video

Tutor: Kat


Making predictions about a text 

​​In a nutshell 

A prediction is a guess. Before reading a book you will probably make a few guesses on what you think the book will be about. In this summary, you will learn how to make predictions before reading. 

Making predictions before reading 

Books provide you with clues that hint what the book is going to be about. Good readers take these clues and based on what they already know about genres they predict what they think the writing is going to be about. You can use the pictures on the cover of the book, the book's title and the book description to help with your prediction. 

Pictures on the cover

Many books have photos or illustrations on the front (and sometimes the back) cover. These pictures can provide you with clues on what the book might be about. 


Book title

Description of book cover

Student's prediction

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

A shiny black horse galloping in a field.

"I think this book will be about a horse."

Charlotte's Web by E. B. White

Surrounded by a goose and a lamb, a young girl is holding a pig and looking at a spider.

"I think this story will be on a farm."

Book title

Every book has a title. Sometimes the title can provide you with an obvious clue to what the book is about. 


Book title

Student's prediction

The Scary House by May Dop

"The scary house? I think this book will be about a scary house!"

Charlotte's Web by E. B. White 

"The picture has a few farm animals but based on the name of the book - and the animals looking at the spider - I think the story will mostly be about the spider." 

Book summary 

A short description of a book is called a summary or a synopsis. The summary can be found at the back of a book, or in the book jacket. Out of the three clues, the summary will provide you with the best clue of what the book is about.


The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Book summary: The story tells the tale of a young farm girl, Dorothy, and her dog, Toto. After a tornado hits their farm, Dorothy and Toto realise they have been transported from their farm in Kansas to the land of Oz. When she arrives in Oz, Dorothy is told that the only way to return to Kansas is to follow the yellow brick road and ask for assistance from the Wizard in Emerald City. Along the way, Dorothy encounters numerous interesting characters and learns life lessons about family, friendship and courage. 

Student's prediction: "Okay, so I have a very good idea of what this books is about; Dorothy and her dog go on an adventure. Also, there's a wizard in the story so there must be magic too." 

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

Which parts of a book can provide me with context before I start reading?

What is a prediction?

What is a synopsis?


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