In this photo, Le Jardin Surf Team Students are checking the surf at the HSA championships. This is an example of one skill we attempt to teach students in the classroom: making predictions. How can we apply what we know to new information, and why try? In the case of competitive surfing, it is vital to look out at the waves and apply our knowledge to what we see in order to make the best out of a fifteen minute heat. But in reading? How do we get “buy in”? How do we get students to think ahead, to guess, to wonder? I think in some cases we can’t. At least not in the beginning. It is important, then, to take the plunge: jump in. To carry the surfing metaphor further- if a struggling surfer just jumps into powerful waves, they will have to use every ounce of prior physical knowledge to survive- they would need to paddle, hold their breath, stay calm- and if that’s all they can do, fine. The reflection time is then invaluable: you say to your student, “Ask yourself; what do I wish I knew ahead of time? What was my goal? What do I need to know to be successful next time?” And the realization that the only thing that will create skill is practice, will bring them into that “buy in” mode. They will want to practice. They want to win. Back to reading- when a student attempts to read without any pre-reading structures such as learning new vocabulary, looking at images, having discussions related to the content, or making predictions about the text, they are in over their head. It is frustrating. They may feel like the unskilled surfer being tossed around in the waves. Help that student to reflect: “What was difficult? What skills do you think you need to practice in order to improve?” The attachment to skill building, or “buy in”, will strengthen as the student reflects on their learning. The cycle of Prediction-Action-Reflection can start at any point and can create a solid framework for learning, especially when learning itself is difficult.