One of the most important skills we can teach our children is to make and confirm predictions. Why? Well, it “keeps their head in the game” I think. Kids who make and confirm predictions are thinking about their reading. This is the beauty of the Directed Reading Thinking Activity (DRTA).In this post, I’ll share a DRTA lesson I’ve done with Mr. Lincoln’s Way, a great book for predictions and character change.
Mr. Lincoln’s Way by Patricia Polacco is a great choice for any time of year. It’s about a wonderful school principal who gives guidance to a challenging little guy who is having a really difficult time. He helps him find new interests and forms a relationship with him to help him better handle his frustrations and anger AND sadly, deal with racism.
How the DRTA Method Works:
DRTA stands for Directed Reading Thinking Activity. Sounds high level, right? Well, it is, and it’s easy-peasy to follow. The only prep involved is to carefully select stopping points for students to confirm previously made predictions and for them to make new predictions. You will want to divide the total reading content into 4-5 stopping points or after each key event.For my skill lessons, I like to use anchor charts or printable handouts for skill introduction. In this lesson, I shared a printable chart about predictions that breaks it down into how, why, and when we make predictions. We used active reading to box, underline, and star important information on the chart.
Following this introduction, I explain the DRTA process to students, and we begin DRTA. Students make initial predictions after looking at the title, cover, and first few pages. They record predictions on two or three of their prediction cards. These are placed in the left side of a predictions foldable.
Then, the students read the pages they previously previewed. As they read, they record the important details on post it notes in order to use this information at the first stopping point. Once students reach the first stopping point, they check the first group of predictions. They place correct predictions in the pocket on the right. Incorrect predictions are discarded, and unconfirmed predictions remain in the pocket on the left. The idea with DRTA is for students to realize that we make and confirm predictions throughout our reading process versus just as a pre-reading exercise.
This process continues throughout the book for each stopping point, and hopefully, with these tools, they will practice this process when reading on their own.
Post Reading Extension:
Additionally, I’ve created a full unit to go with the book, Mr. Lincoln’s Way. It includes eight pages for BEFORE/DURING/AFTER discussion, a lapbook project, and a class book (writing activity) in digital and pdf. It is $5.50 in my TPT store. You can check it out HERE or by clicking the link below. Use the code, iteachela to save 10% at checkout.
If you have a student that seems like a word caller or who struggles with remembering what they’ve read, DRTA is a great strategy to utilize in addressing these struggles. It’s greatest benefit is engagement. We really want kids engaged in their reading, and DRTA can also improve students’ story retellings.