Making Predictions

English Language Arts, Grade 6

Good readers make logical guesses about what will happen based on clues from the text. Predictions are like inferences. The difference is that you make inferences about nonfiction text and predictions about fiction. Here’s an excerpt from Johann Wyss’s The Swiss Family Robinson ; the father is the narrator. This occurs near the novel’s beginning; knowing that will help you to predict what happens next. Amid the roar of the thundering waves I suddenly heard the cry of “Land ho!” while at the same instant the ship ran aground with a frightful shock. It threw everyone to the floor and seemed to portend the vessel’s immediate destruction. The breaking of the ship caused dreadful sounds, and water poured in on all sides. I heard the voice of the captain above the tumult, shouting, “Lower the lifeboats!” His words went like a dagger to my heart, but seeing my sons’ terror, I composed myself, calling out, “Take courage, my boys! We are all above water yet. There is the land not far off; let us do our best to reach it. Remain with your mother, while I go to see what is to be done.” With that, I left them and went on deck. How to Make Predictions About Characters 1. Determine what motivates a character to predict what his or her next action will be. 2. Use the character’s past behavior to predict the character’s future behavior. 3. Be ready for plot twists. If events unfolded exactly as you expected, it wouldn't be a very interesting story. 4. Change your prediction as new information comes to light. Foreshadowing Foreshadowing occurs when the author hints at future events or even the final outcome of a story. Authors use foreshadowing to build suspense. They also use it to get the reader to anticipate that something is going to happen and then throw in a plot twist to surprise the reader. Here’s an example of foreshadowing: Abdu had no idea when he left home that morning that he would never see his parents again. Based on that sentence, your prediction could be: Abdu’s parents will die. Abdu will be kidnapped by slave traders. Abdu will be abducted by aliens. Part of your prediction is based on the time period, place, and genre of story you’re reading. For example, the last idea would only work if the book is science fiction. Making Predictions Visit for Online Learning Resources. © Copyright NewPath Learning. All Rights Reserved. 92-4061
Read this excerpt from the novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. Make a prediction about what will happen next. "Aunt Polly , I really did think my toe had gangrene, and it hurt so I never minded my tooth at all." "Your tooth, indeed! What's the matter with your tooth?" "One of them's loose, and it aches perfectly awful." "There, there, now , don't begin that groaning again. Open your mouth. Well—your tooth is loose, but you're not going to die about that. Mary, get me a silk thread, and a chunk of fire out of the kitchen stove." Filled with dread, Tom said, "Oh, please, auntie, don't pull it out. It don't hurt me any more. I wish I may never stir if it does! Please don't, auntie; I don't want to stay home from school." "Oh, you don't, don't you? So all this fuss was because you thought you'd get to stay home from school and go a-fishing? Tom, Tom, I love you so, and you seem to try every way you can to break my old heart with your outrageousness." The old lady made one end of the silk thread fast to Tom's loose tooth with a loop and tied the other to the bedpost. What happens next? Make a prediction in the crystal ball. After you have made your prediction, check its accuracy by reading the next part of the The Adventures of Tom Sawyer either in hard copy or online. This passage comes at the start of the sixth chapter. Making Predictions Visit for Online Learning Resources. © Copyright NewPath Learning. All Rights Reserved. 92-4061 illustration by E. W. Kemble