How To Teach Your Child To Pass A Reading Test: Making Predictions

Mark it Up!  Your child’s reading tests require more than scribbling in an answer sheet the  a,b,c, or d answer.  Today’s reading exams require even the youngest of children, to think analyze and explain their thinking.  Amazing right?   It’s unbelievable.  I am dating myself, but I remember the old school SRA reading tests.  You read a snippet of a story and you bubbled in an answer either a,b, c, or d,  That is it !! But not today.  Your children are expected to think, and see beyond what is written and pretty much write a synopsis if required. However, this prepares them for college rigor.   

Marking it Up ?

Nevertheless, your child can master a reading test.  They can master it by marking up the reading test.  Marking up a reading test helps the reader comprehend or understand the requisite reading before answering questions. Mark it up basically requires the reader to take notes by reacting to the text and recording those reactions on the test material.  They can refer to these notes later when answering the questions.

  There are seven key ways to react to or mark up a reading passage. Here are the seven reactions;  a prediction, a personal connection, questioning, react, visualize, summarize and infer.  Recording these reactions is called active reading strategies.  

 DIY At Home

You can teach active reading strategies to your child at home.  This writing will explain recording predictions, the first active reading strategy a child will  document on the reading test.

Take any movie or television title, for instance and ask your child to predict or guess what the movie or television show will be about.  Before your child begins to read a story , fiction or nonfiction, have them read the title.  After reading the title ask , based on the title what  do you think  this story will be about?

For example, the story title  is “Jack and Jill”.  Consequently, a good reader will write next to the title, the story might be about, a boy and a girl named Jack and Jill. It would not be enough to write the story is about Jack and Jill – that is too concrete.  The reader should have a good insight into the fact that Jack is a boy’s name and Jill is a girl and the story will most likely (guessing) be about a boy and a girl. 

A reading test usually adds pictures to the title.  The pictures could be two children, two animals etc.  When the reader considers the visuals, a prediction can be enhanced , the story is about two children, two animals etc. named Jack and Jill . 

In the upper grades the title could be vague “ The Lighting Thief”. In this case the reader must absolutely depend on the story’s pictures to make a strong prediction.  

Predictions lay the foundation for the readers interest in a story. Predictions also create a mental outline  of the author’s ideas.  The earlier your child learns to use predictions the easier it will be to use active reading strategies on a reading test.   

L. Hughes-Page, M.Ed.


L. Hughes Page is a Field Supervisor to student teachers in the Graduate Department of Education at Gwynedd Mercy University.