Prediction with : The Crocodile Blues – Coleman Polhemus

This funny picture book offers a main character, who is a quirky man living in a trendy city – Manhattan or Birmingham if you will, who finds an egg. Using only pictures and onomatopaeia this book leaves tonnes to the imagination for adults and children alike. As you’re reading, why not play it with a scatty blues soundtrack? (If you keep reading, you will see I try and add some kind of soundtrack to the video I filmed on IMovie – but apologies, it’s naff.)

This book is fantastic for practicising one of the key skills children need in order to comprehend as they’re reading: prediction. Briliantly hidden images behind flaps help the child build up suspense in their own mind, which is why prediction is such a key skill in order for children to enjoy reading too.

Throughout any book there will be countless opportunities to stop and question – what do you think might happen next? As mentioned in Guiding Reading – Layers of meaning, Tennant et al. refer to prediction as an on-going skill as a book is read. It helps the ‘learner play close attention to the text.’ Plus, it helps the teacher understand the childs true comprehension of the text. If a child were to predict that the big bad wolf gets rocketed off to space in the tale, (when there has been no mention of moon boots) then you know a childs imagination is kicking in and they’re actually disengaged and not understanding the story.

Strong readers make connections to similar text types as they are reading to help make their predictions more valid

Guided Reading – Layers of Meaning

Play this to your class as an early morning activity or as they settle back into lunch.

Ask: Do you think this is a normal egg?
The children may say yes, but those who have followed the ‘story’ so far, will say no due to the machine the egg ‘popped’ out of. They may also use background knowledge of where an egg comes from. Activating prior knowledge is another skill necessary for a child who is comprehending as they’re reading. Of course, if they know nothing of the life cycle and which mammals lay eggs, then offer that information up. It’s our job as practitioners to activate it and this can be as brief as a short paragraph which you read together, or the book can be used as the opening to a core sequence of scientific learning about eggs.

Do you think this is a normal egg?’

Using the same question starters for each skill provide routine for the children so keeping the below in mind when planning for prediction would be helpful:
Do you think that…?
Explain what you think will happen? Be the consequence of…?
Will the character…?


Inference is another fantastic skill children can practice throughout this picture book and is a skill I cannot wait to delve into more on this blog.

Once the main character has awoken, he sees a crocodile under his bed and then makes a run for it! You can ask ‘how do you think the crocodile feels here?’ Provide the children with some tier 2 vocabulary so they’re not just saying ‘sad’ or ‘happy’. Satisfied perhaps, or if the children think the crocodile is a friendly one, then ‘feeling blue’ which ties in with the title. This vocabulary then must be revisited, but it has a context which is an effective way of delivering vocabulary instruction.

Coleman Polhemus has brought his drawings to life too via:

Published by readingteacher

Year 6 Teacher Assistant Head English Lead ELE

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you so much for deepening the skill of “Prediction”! I’ll be getting my hands on this book, and looking more into picture books as a whole.


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