Prediction tasks to support literacy development

Introductory prediction activities, clines and cloze passages are interactive tasks that encourage students to think deeply about content, language and meaning (Dufficy, 2005, p. 119). They are particularly assistive to EAL students, supporting discussions in pairs and groups to explore text meaning, while scaffolding the introduction of new vocabulary and content. In this first of three posts focused on supporting literacy development in diverse classrooms, I pay specific attention to prediction tasks.

Prediction tasks stimulate critical thinking and create interest prior to reading. These tasks allow for greater attention to be paid to text meaning and comprehension, essentially providing an orientation to a text.

In looking at Stage 2 First Contacts through the article ‘Hundreds don bonnets at Hobart event in tribute to female convicts’, four introductory tasks were designed.

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Tasks 1, 2 and 3 have been included to get students thinking about meaning, as they need to select the statement that is likely to be closest in meaning to the article. Task 4 gets them to predict the language that they expect to encounter, engaging their knowledge and expectations of Australian convict history vocabulary, and familiarising them with Tier 2 words. This article was selected because it also raises questions relevant to symbolism, allowing for class discussion of deeper meaning.

This blog post is inspired by Paul Dufficy’s book Designing Learning for Diverse Classrooms (2005). For related posts, see an earlier one on flowcharts, and another focused on ranking tasks and sequencing tasks.

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