Cornelius and Predicting

Read the story, Cornelius.

Sometimes when you sit down at a really special meal you look over everything that is on the table. You might try doing that with a book. Look at the cover. You see on the cover a crocodile. I would ask my child, “What do you notice about the crocodile?”

Depending on the age, the child might say, “The crocodile is walking!”

“What’s unusual about that?”

The child is going to use background knowledge, information that she has already obtained, to predict why this is unusual. It is unusual because most crocodiles do not walk on two feet.

So already, what can we say about Cornelius? He’s not like other crocodiles.

Without even opening the book, we can predict that the main character is Cornelius, and he is going to be different. Now if you are different from everyone else, you may face some challenges.

Every good story has a problem.

So you might talk about, “What do you think is going to be Cornelius’ problem? But if you don’t want to talk about that yet, go ahead and open the book and look inside the cover. Do a picture walk. Go through the story looking at the pictures.

A picture walk is good for all ages. We do that as adults. We go through books looking at the pictures, particularly magazines. Then we go back and read the text.

Go through the book and have the child tell you about the pictures. By looking at the pictures, we have built quite a bit of background knowledge for the story.

Now read the story of Cornelius.

After the page of Cornelius walking out of the egg upright, ask, “What is going to happen to Cornelius?” Talk out it. Predict.

After the other crocodiles said, “So what!” and were annoyed, you might ask, “What do you think is going to happen?" Or, you can continue reading without predicting and asking questions.

After Cornelius meets the monkey, ask how the monkey is going to respond to Cornelius.

After Cornelius walks back to the river beach, ask, “Now what do you think is going to happen?”

After Cornelius starts to leave again, ask, “What do you think Cornelius sees when he looks back at the crocodiles?"

After reading the story, talk about the characters. Ask, “Do you think Cornelius stayed? If he left, did he ever go back? What do you think happened between Cornelius and the other crocodiles?"

These are things you can talk about when you read Cornelius with your child.