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What Will Happen Next?

October 16, 2008

Children love story time. They sit in rapped attention, especially if they enjoy the story or the telling of it adds to their imagination.

Prerequisite and Goal For This Lesson

Prerequisite: Your child will need to be able to listen to a story.

Goal: While listening to a story, your child will be able to gather information to make the story meaningful.

What Will Happen Next?


  • Halloween book or any book that your child hasn’t heard before
  • Markers or crayons
  • Paper for drawing
  1. Before you read the story, ask your child what she thinks the story is going to be about based on the picture on the cover.
  2. Whatever she says, respond with something like this: “I can see why you think that.” Or, “Wow, I didn’t think of that, how interesting.” Neither indicates if the answer was right or wrong.
  3. Tell your child the title of the book you have selected. Ask her, “Does that give you any additional clues what the story will be about?”
  4. Then read the story. If a part lends itself to asking, “What do you think will happen next?” ask it. Even if she has no clues, it is good to get her thinking about the possibilities. You can make a game of it by saying, “I think …(add something silly but plausible).” Then encourage your child to add something. It becomes a game of who can come up with the silliest thing. This is a great way for your child to be aware of the possibilities of other things in her life.
  5. After you have read the book, ask your child some simple questions.
    • How many (insert animal, people…etc) were in the story?
    • Did the story take place in a house or outside? (fill in with the appropriate choices based on the story you selected).
    • What happened in the beginning of the story?
    • How many …(insert a number of items or places they went, something that your child would be able to figure out by looking at the pictures)?
  6. You may want to have your child draw a picture of her favorite part of the story so you can have her talk more about the story.

Re-enforcement Activities

Attending your local library story time will give your child many opportunities to hear a variety of stories that you can talk about later. The more exposure a child has to literature is a good indication of future reading success!


When you asked your child the questions, did she struggle with answering? Did she need some guidance or did she have an idea and just needed some help? The more you do this, the easier it will get. You are showing her how to be an active listener.

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