Children enjoy participating in the shared reading of predictable stories with repetitive refrains such as The Gingerbread Man; Tikki, Tikki, Tembo; and The Three Little Pigs. Stories with predictable refrains enable our students to use what they know about spoken language to understand written language. The rhythm, rhyme, and repetition of these stories invite students to actively participate in the reading and enable them to make meaning because they can anticipate the text.

During shared reading, stop and invite students to make a "smart guess" about the word or event that should come next. This engages the readers and encourages them to make sense from print.

Tips for Predictable Books

  • Choose books that offer familiar concepts, supportive illustrations, and natural language patterns.
  • Look for predictable books where the story events and language are cumulative or where a familiar sequence such as numbers or days of the week are included.
  • Create Big Book versions of predictable books and have the students write the refrain during shared writing.

Predictable Stories

Becker, John. 1991. Seven Little Rabbits. New York: Scholastic.

Capucilli, Alyssa Satin. 1995. Inside a Barn in the Country. New York: Scholastic.

MacDonald, Margaret Read. 1995. The Old Woman Who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle. Little Rock, AK: August House Little Folk.

Ward, Cindy. 1988. Cookie's Week. New York: Scholastic.

Williams, Sue. 1990. I Went Walking. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace.