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Compiled By: kristen_teach

Teaching inferencing can be tough. Here are some great ideas for lessons

Posted by: Lori

I use the book Barefoot by Pamela Edwards to introduce inference. It is about a runaway slave called the Barefoot in the book, but it never really comes right out and says this, also the slave owners are the boots, and there are several other places to make inferences and draw conclusions in the book.

I will try and locate my lesson plan on it for more specifics.

Inferencing Ideas
Posted by: Kristen_6th

I used an inferencing strategy from a Scholastic book called KIS. I just looked the book up- Comprehension Mini-Lessons: Inference & Cause and Effect. Anyways, the K is for Key Words, I is for Inference, and S is for support or how the key words supported your inference. I first introduced what inferencing was by yawning and stretching and asking the kids how they thought I felt. Of course, they knew I was tired! Then I explained it is the same when you are reading. Sometimes the author doesn't tell you everything so you need to look for clues and figure it out. They need to "read between the lines".

Then, I introduced the strategy and read some poems from Reflections on a Gift from Watermelon Pickle. Bat, Giraffee, Apartment, Toaster, and Steam Shovel are good poems to use. Don't tell students the title- just read the poem and have the student try to figure out what they are talking about. For each poem, point out the key words that supported the poem's subject.

I did this lesson during writing time (we are doing a poetry unit) so then I had students think of their own topic and think about what key words they could use to describe it. I gave a form for struggling writers-
Smells like __________________.
Looks like ___________________.
Tastes like __________________.
Feels like ___________________.
Then, they just inserted a list of adjectives into each line. More advanced writers used another form we have learned about (such as rhyming couplets) or free verse. The kids did a really great job on these poems- one was about toast and described a burnt piece of toast. They loved sharing their poems and even reluctant poets could show off their ideas.

There are also paragraphs in the Mini-lesson book to use with this strategy. For example, one is about a library and talks about how there are kids there and they use a card to check out materials, etc. It got my small reading group thinking about how they can figure out things that authors don't come out and say!

The mini-lesson has more ideas too that look really good and I'm going to try some of them next week. Good luck!

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Posted by: tia

inference is a reading skill--in my state it falls under the category of Interpretive Reading (figuring out what's going on from clues the author gives you).

we all use inference in our daily lives--i see people in cars around me pull over, i assume an emergency vehicle is on its way. my sons look at me with my crossed arms and frowning face and realize that they are in trouble.

i use a cartoon image to get my students started with inference--it a picture of a guy about to whack a computer with a giant hammer--i have them tell me what's going on and why.

i also have students solve and write inference riddles. i have a fuzzy outside but a hard heart. i am juicy and pair up well with cream. what am i? (peach)

i too don't know this grasp/performance task, but maybe something i've shared will help you out.

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Posted by: Margaret916

I think my kids can "do" the inferencing usually but without identifying it. Then when the standardized test uses the word, it throws them for a loop.

We tried this year to make sure they knew what they were doing -- and what it was called. So I used a smartboard ready made lesson from On the screen comes "clear off your desks -- put everything away but a pencil and a piece of paper"

Immediately you hear the kids groan -- they think it's a quiz or a test (that's the first inference of the lesson). When you ask them what they think we're doing and why they think that their lightbulbs come on about what their brain is doing. Inference = clues from the text + schema (background knowledge). We do a few more of them and they have worked it all year, but it's great.

Another book that works great is "Squids will be Squids" by by Jon Scieszka, Lane Smith. the book is full of funny stories -- that aren't' funny unless you can make the inference to understand!

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Posted by: Jaime

I start out my inferring unit using poems by Douglas Florainne (spelling). His short poems are about animals and I cover the animals name so the children have to infer what the animal is.

I THINK THAT it is a _____________ because _________________.

I do several of these poems as a whole group and then have them work through a few poems with a partner.

The language above is the framework I model the entire time I teaching inferring.

I also use a four column chart with the captions listed below during read aloud. I model how the text leads to a question, and we take our schema and the text and squish it together to make an inference.

TextQuestionSchema Inference

I also do inferring of character traits and big ideas. My visual for this unit is a ven diagram with text on one side, schema on the other, and the inference being the overlapping piece. Debbie Miller has written a book that has great ideas on teaching reading comprehension.


Posted by: HEIDI

I have a great book that has reproducible activities to teach inferencing. Whiel they are usually a story with questions, let me share an idea that just popped to mind, stemming from one of the stories. Come into class one day, all excited because you saw a big, red truck go by. One with a ladder. And it had several men. Exclaim that you wonder where it was going, etc. Make a big production of it, like kids do when they see a fire truck. But don't tell them you saw a fire truck. They will jump to that conclusion. Ask them what makes them think it's a fire truck? They'll tell you becuase it's red, had a ladder, and you said it was full of men. They will probably not ever think that perhaps it was just a half-tonne pickup truck with a ladder becasue it's a company going to fix a window, or evestroughing. This might be a memorable way to target the concept that sometimes we can draw conclusions, or make an inference, based on hints that a person (or author) provides. SOmetimes, we can jump to conclusions that are completely wrong, and sometimes even cause troubles for us. But as a reader, it can be good to make inferences. When we make inferences, we connect what the author tells us to what we know from our own life and experiences. Do you think someone in a remote tribe deep in the rainforest would assume a red truck was a firetruck? No. Probably not, because their experiences are not the same as ours in North America. Authors rely on our ability to jump to certain conclusions. It would be very boring if they always came right out and told us everything they needed us to know.

Posted by: Chris

To introduce the concept, I bring in kitchen utensils that are different. I ask the students to examine them and guess at how they are used, explianing why they can make that guess. We talk about how they made educated guesses based on things they know (serated blades cut, for example), and based on what they see - thus, inferencing.

Posted by: imalithc

I agree that kids miss major parts of novels because they fail to practice good inference skills.

In order for the students to simply understand what "inference" means I have kids act out scenes that make the other students infer the reason for the person acting in such a manner. For example, I'll give a girl a card that says "A girl says something mean to you in the hall and you do not have time to respond. Walk abruptly into the room. Let out a deep breath of frustration and slap your notebook down on the desk as you sit down.

Then the kids try to guess why how she is feeling and why.

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Posted by: JJ

First, teach students to ask questions as they read....not necessarily questions that have a simple answer, but questions that involve thinking. Then, teach them to write down answers to questions they had (if the book provides the answer). Questions that don't have an answer, they will get to inference what that answer might be. This takes lots of modeling, but my first graders last year got it and were great at it! Let me know if this is unclear to you.