Teaching Strategy

Directed Reading - Thinking Activity (DR-TA)

Close and Critical Reading
Grade Level


While engaging in DR-TA, students interrupt their reading periodically to predict what developments might logically follow. This strategy works well with texts in which the outcome of the narrative is uncertain (e.g., “cliffhangers”).


During reading



DR-TA encourages active strategic thinking while listening to or reading a central text. The strategy activates prior knowledge and helps students monitor their understanding of the text.


Select a central text.
  1. Begin by having students read and examine the text title, headings, subheads and illustrations.
  2. Ask students:
    • What do you predict the text is about based on [title, headings, subheadings, illustrations]?
    • With a title like… what do you think you will learn from this text?
    • What do you need to read to find out…?
    • What do you think is going to happen? What makes you think so?
    • What do we know about the author?
    • What do we know about characters in the text?
    • What do you want to know more about?
  3. Chart student responses and predictions in a visible location.
  4. Invite students to vote on predictions and explain why their predictions is the most likely.
  5. Have students fill out sections 1-3 in the DR-TA graphic organizer.
  6. Have students read the text independently, in pairs or in small groups.
  7. Explore the text using text-dependent questions and tasks like:
    • What is the author’s central message? How does he convey that message in the text?
    • Summarize the text.
    • Describe the characters, setting and key details in the text.
    • What motivates the characters? What problems do characters face?
    • How does the plot unfold?
    • How do the text's illustrations or graphics contribute to what the text is saying?
  8. Revisit students' original predictions and discuss how prediction (and confirmation or refutation) impacts reading comprehension. Ask students:
    • What do you think about your predictions now?
    • What did you find in the text to prove your predictions?
    • What did you read in the text that made you change your predictions?
  9. Have students record thoughts from the discussion in section 4 of the DR-TA graphic organizer.

English language learners

Children of all language backgrounds learn the concept of prediction through play and life experiences. The visual component of the DR-TA strategy (charting student responses) provides a visual reminder and opportunity for reflection. Discussing the predictions after reading the text allows English language learners to practice discussing their thoughts.

Connection to anti-bias education

Throughout the DR-TA strategy students can use what they learn from home, school and other areas of life to connect to social justice themes that matter to them. Interacting with the central text offers students opportunities to reflect on their own culture, family and personal experiences as they make and reflect upon predictions.

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