Peek Inside and Predict (Lesson 2 of 2)

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SWBAT use the story structure and illustrations to ask and answer questions and make a prediction for the story.

Big Idea

Peek inside and predict - There are clues that help you make a good prediction statement!


  • There's An Alligator Under My Bed by Mercer Mayer (you could use another book if you can't find this, but make sure it has a good ending to predict)
  • 'Peek Into Predicting' worksheet
  • set up the whiteboard
  • Lesson vocabulary words from the Reading/Writing word wall: predicting, characters, setting, events, solution, questioning, beginning, middle, end, inferring, literature


I chose this book because it's a favorite of mine and it has a great ending that is predictable, but still a little surprising. The characters, setting and problem are clearly laid out and it is a great one for looking at story elements. 

This is the second lesson in my predicting unit. My goals for these lessons is the kids learn to predict based on text evidence, rhythm, rhyme, foreshadowing, story structure, voice, and other text features. This is part two of a 2 part lesson where I use this 'peek and predict' strategy, encouraging kids to look at words and illustrations to make a good prediction. In my first lesson, Peek Inside and Predict (Part 1 of 2) students are introduced to this strategy.

Get Excited!

5 minutes

Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics.  The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary.  My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words)


Gain student interest

  • "Today I brought a literature book that I LOVED to read to my own kids at home. Do you have any favorite books that mom and dad read to you?  Do you ever reread a book just because you love it? Why are they favorites?”
  • "Some of my favorite books are ones with a surprise ending.  When I read them to my kids, it's fun to see that they are surprised because the end is not what they predicted!  I brought a book today that has a surprise ending – it’s hard to predict!!"
  • "Yesterday, we used some strategies to help us with predicting. Today, we'll do that again but I'm going to add some challenges... we have to ask questions as we gather the information.  Asking and answering questions is a great skill to develop in 2nd grade!  It makes you a better reader!  Let's try some predicting with one of my favorite books!"  


One goal I have for this lesson is to make a more focused prediction. My students tend to retell several events instead of really predicting.  In yesterday's lesson Peek Inside and Predict! (Lesson 1 of 2), many students really struggled with writing a clear concise prediction.  I'm planning to focus on questioning and story elements in this lesson to help students write a better prediction statement.

Teachers' Turn

10 minutes

Review the concepts

  • "Let's review how to predict the solution using the story elements of characters, problem and events."
  • "We'll use questioning to help make a prediction and then check the evidence, changing the prediction as needed."


In this lesson, I’m referring to the SEE KNOW READ chart that we used yesterday, but not filling it out for the students.  I completed it yesterday, but I want to see what the they can do today. The Common Core emphasis on close reading and using questions with text dependent answers (RL.2.1) shifts the responsibility of reading comprehension more on students. I want them to not only think of the questions to help them focus their prediction, but also use evidence from the text (illustrations and words) to verify the answers.


Focus on questioning

  • Refer to your SEE/KNOW/READ teacher's chart
  • "Yesterday, we were able to SEE ideas on the cover and in the beginning of the story - the illustrations with characters/setting."
  • "We talked about looking at events, but let's be more focused today and identify the problem in the middle of the story and a some events that lead to the solution at the end of the story. 'What is the big problem?' and 'What is happening at the end of the story that helps us predict the solution. "
  • We used our background knowledge to add details about what we KNOW. We can ask - 'How did I feel when this happened to me?' or 'Where do these animals live?' or 'What other colors can that be?'  'What's the big problem?'"
  • "Then we READ to get more information and finally to verify the information and answer the questions. 'Were we right? What did the text show you?' and 'What happened at the end of the story?"


Based on the previous lesson, I saw that my students needed a visual to help them create a clear succinct prediction.  By using a ‘math problem’ (the formula that appears below) it helped them see what they needed to include the problem and events and help them exclude the extraneous details that they wanted to list. My focus on the structure of the story (RL.2.5), describing events in the beginning, the problem in the middle and the solution at the end, helps the students analyze the structure of the text, and see how the parts relate to each other.

Write a focused prediction

  • "Let's turn this into a math problem.  The prediction sentence should mention the major characters, the problem and important events at the end of the story."
  • "Let’s read this book and ask some questions about the story elements."
  • "You’ll have a chance to create a 'peek into prediction' project."
  • This is how my explanation about using math for reading sounded.

Students Take A Turn

20 minutes

Explain the task

  • "I'm going to show you the cover and first few pages of the book. You'll be asking questions and using the the words and illustrations to identify the characters."
  • "I'll read more and you can ask yourself questions about the problem and events that lead to the solution. Then you can make a prediction about what happened at the end of the story based on these story elements."


The Common Core Standards are shifting to an emphasis on 'close reading' that encourages students use information gained from text and illustrations (RL.2.7) to demonstrate understanding of characters, setting and plot. They are integrating and evaluating content, presented visually and in words, as they comprehend text and deepen their understanding.


Read and students identify story elements and predict

  • Show the first few pages. "Think about the characters that you saw and ask some questions. "Who is the main character? What does the alligator look like?" In the first box, write down two characters and sketch a picture.
  • Read to the page that starts with, 'It was up to me....'  "Think about what you KNOW... Ask some questions ('Why is he putting food on the stairs?"  "What's the big problem for the boy?")  In the second box, write the problem and sketch what happened.
  • "Now I'll read almost to the end of the story and think about what is happening. In the third part, add 1-2 big events. What is happening that can help you predict the solution?"
  • "Now you've used your 'math problem' to create ideas for a good prediction."
    • characters + problem + events = predict the solution
  • This is the completed whiteboard.
  • "On the lines on the bottom, put all of those parts together and write your prediction.”
  • Here's a look at a student worksheet.


Take ideas, encouraging the kids to have all of the characters (the boy, the alligator), identify the problem (the boy needs to get the alligator out of his room) and important events that make sense. Then take ideas of who can put all 3 ideas together to make a good prediction statement.

Verify and support

10 minutes

Verify and change your prediction

  • "Let's read finish the story and monitor and adjust the prediction."
  • "Remember, it’s important to make a good prediction, but it may not always be accurate. That’s part of the fun of predicting!!”
  • Read the rest of the story and check predictions.
  • "Now you job is to change your prediction if you need to. You can draw a picture of the solution on the back of the page." Take a quick peek at one of my student's drawing of the solution.
  • "Great job today predicting!!  You were really write able to write a good prediction!”


Scaffolding & Special Education: This lesson could be easily scaffolded up and down, depending on student ability.

For my special education students, they were able to participate because I read the book to them. However, they needed LOTS of support with identifying the problem and solution and writing that succinctly.  I supported them by brainstorming an idea on their slate at their desk and they copied the ideas we created.

For students with more ability, I would expect higher level vocabulary and a sentence with juicier details.  Instead of 'there's an alligator under the bed' you could encourage 'The boy can't get out of bed because the alligator is underneath.'  However, they may still need support making a succinct prediction statement.