Teaching Strategy

Vocabulary Prediction Chart

Word Work
Grade Level


Students predict the meanings of vocabulary words before reading and confirm the accuracy of their predictions during and after reading. Students identify context clues from the text and revise their definitions accordingly.


Before, during and after reading


Vocabulary prediction charts combine two essential skills: analyzing word parts (morphemes) and using context clues. This strategy builds word-consciousness, reading comprehension and the ability to independently make meaning of text.


  1. Choose your vocabulary words and list them in the first column.
  2. Before reading, have students predict meaning from word roots, prefixes, suffixes, or through recognition of cognates and possible word relatives. Have them write their predictions in column 2.
  3. While reading, students revise their predictions (column 3) and make note of the context clues that helped (column 4). 
  4. After reading, have students look up the actual definitions or provide student-friendly definitions (column 5).
  5. Have students reflect on their process by completing the last two columns in the chart, which ask them to consider their original predictions and the usefulness of context clues.

To help students master these word-learning habits, have them complete prediction charts routinely through the year.


English language learners

Offer English language learners the option to include graphic connections (you may need to use a larger prediction chart). Pair students to fill in the first column; this allows English language learners to practice verbalizing words and ideas.

Connection to anti-bias education

Analyzing the context and structure of words develops critical awareness that is essential for anti-bias thinking. Students will not always receive explicit instruction for  every unfamiliar word. Predicting the meaning of unfamiliar words increases students’ ability to engage deeply with a text.