Lesson 7 - Reading Techniques for Adult Basic Education (ABE) Learners Illinois State Library

Predicting and Confirming

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Predicting and confirming is a reading technique that can help your learners. Depending on the reading proficiency of your learner, you can use a predicting activity with sentences, paragraphs, or stories.

Look at the following example of a predicting activity with a sentence and supply the last word:

This restaurant is famous for its sandwiches. My favorite is bacon, lettuce, and __________.

Now look at this sentence:

This restaurant is famous for its sandwiches. My favorite is bacon, lettuce, and turtle.

What happened when you discovered the word turtle in place of tomato? Did you reread the sentences? Did you feel a bit uneasy about the unexpected word? The predicted missing word, tomato, was not confirmed; instead, turtle appeared. Now read this sentence:

This restaurant is famous for its sandwiches. My favorite is bacon, lettuce, and tomato.

Here, predictions are confirmed with the familiar word. Predicting and confirming is what good readers do naturally, as part of the comprehension process. Our minds actively predict what is coming next. As they read, learners should be encouraged to predict what is coming next. The confirmation of these predictions makes their reading purposeful.

Place of Wisdom

The following is a Hindu story, retold by Myra Johnson, Illinois State Library Literacy Office.

When the world was created and all the trees, rivers, oceans and mountains were in place, the spirits of the world had a problem. Everything was in its place and everything was beautiful including all the people. There was a place for everything except wisdom.

So the spirits of the world came together to decide where to place wisdom. They wanted wisdom to be accessible to everyone but not to be so easy to find that people would not appreciate it.

Some said to place it in the river since rivers are clear and clean and water is on every continent. But others said no because it would be too easy to find.

Another idea was to place wisdom on a high mountain, but that was rejected because only the physically fit and energetic could climb mountains and when the mountain climbers found wisdom they would believe they deserved it because they were special people.

Then one of the spirits of the world said, "What about the ocean? We could put wisdom on the bottom of the ocean." But, again, only the good divers would find it and the others would not have access to it.

Finally one of the spirits said, "Let us place wisdom deep inside every human heart. People will never think to look there!" And so it was. Wisdom was placed deep inside every human heart.

So we are all capable of finding wisdom. We can look to each other for wisdom. And no one is so poor that they have no wisdom to share with everyone else in the community.

Predicting and Confirming Activity

You could prepare a chart that will help the adult learner visualize the predictions and confirmations. Prepare a table with four columns. The columns are headed, Prediction, Confirmation, Disconfirmed or Modified, and No Evidence. As the tutor asks the learner what their prediction is, the tutor notes it in the Prediction column, and then notes the result (Confirmed, Disconfirmed or Modified, or No Evidence) in the correct column.