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This month’s Book Nook topic is...

Predicting with This Is Not My Hat


Reading comprehension is much more than just recognizing the words on a page. It’s about understanding what the words mean and filling in what the writer is “saying” but hasn’t specifically stated. In other words, children must read between the lines to truly understand the book they are reading. To read between the lines, readers must draw on what they already know, as well as their problem-solving and reasoning skills. You can help children learn to do this by encouraging them to look for meaning beyond the information provided by the illustrations and the words you read.

One way to help children look beyond the illustrations and words is to encourage them to use their knowledge and experience to predict what will happen in a story. Children who are encouraged to predict what will happen in a story get into the habit of searching for meaning, which is what reading is all about.

My chosen book:

This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

Why I chose it

In this book, a tiny fish decides to steal a larger fish’s hat. Throughout the story, the little fish thinks he is going to get away with his crime, but the larger fish is in hot pursuit of the thief. There are many opportunities to predict throughout the story as we wonder if the little fish will be successful, or if the bigger fish is going to catch him.

Help your child predict

The first time you read a story is an excellent opportunity to predict, because your child does not yet know the answer. Predicting is not about being right or wrong – it’s about thinking about what might happen. Once your child has heard a story, you can still predict by thinking about what happens to the characters after the story is finished.

You can encourage your child to predict by:

  1. Making “thinking-out-loud” comments
  2. Asking questions that build understanding

Thinking-out-loud comments show your child that you are thinking about the story and trying to figure out what might happen next.

Thinking-out-loud comments start with words like:

  • “I’m thinking that…”
  • “I’m wondering about…”
  • “I’m trying to figure out…”

Unlike questions, comments don’t require a response. However, if you make a comment and then wait, chances are your child will want to respond to your comment!

You can also encourage your child to make predictions by asking questions like:

  • Do you think the big fish is going to catch the little fish?
  • Is the crab going to tell the big fish where to find the little fish? Why?
  • What do you think the big fish is going to do when he finds the little fish?

If your child has difficulty answering these questions, just provide your own answer and keep reading.

Get your child predicting before the reading

Before you read this book for the first time, look at the cover with your child and encourage him to predict what the story will be about. When talking about the cover of This Is Not My Hat, which shows the little fish wearing a hat, you could say, “This story is called This Is Not My Hat. I’m thinking that if that fish took someone else’s hat, he’s going to get into trouble. What do you think?” Then you could wait to see if your child responds to your question. Once your child responds, you could say, “Maybe. Let’s read the book and find out.”

Help your child predict during the reading

During the first reading, make comments or ask questions about what’s happening, and what will happen next. For example, if your child likes the page where the large fish follows the little fish into the reeds, you might say:

  • “I wonder what the big fish is going to say to the little fish.”

Or, you could ask:

  • “Do you think the big fish will be able to find the little fish in all of those reeds?”
Keep your child predicting after the reading

When you finish reading the book with your child, you can continue to predict by asking questions and making comments about what might happen after the story ends.

For example, you might make a thinking-out-loud comment like, “I’m thinking that the little fish is never going to steal again,” or ask a question like, “What do you think the big fish is going to do now that he has his hat back?”

Encouraging your child to think about what might happen after the story ends is one way to keep predicting even after he already knows the whole story.

Happy reading!


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