Definition: What is the Making Inferences Reading Strategy?
Making Inferences means that the reader is making a guess about a character, setting or event based off of information in the text. Inferences are not directly told to the reader. The reader is “reading between the lines.” A reader makes an inference by connecting what the text says to what the reader knows. Making inferences helps the reader understand the text at a deeper level.
When you are teaching reading strategies, it is worth your time to put a little extra effort into these lessons. When students have strong reading strategies, they are more likely to access the rest of the curriculum during your year together.
Teaching students how to make inferences? Come and look into my crystal ball! We always start with this strategy because they LOVE this static electricity ball! Turning the lights off at stopping points in the book and having students come up to make inferences is the perfect way to get the class engaged! Every hand goes up every time!!!! Don’t have a static electricity ball? Don’t let that stop you! Any round shape works. I used a pumpkin for years!
Teacher Tip: I love looking ahead in the book I read to the class and I place Post-It notes at specific places where I want students to make inferences. I like to pick details that all of my students tend to know about, such as experiences at school. Some of my favorite inference questions to ask are: “How does the character feel?” or “Why do you think ___ happened?”
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Gestures (TPR- Total Physical Response)
Something that I have ALWAYS used in my classroom is TPR, or Total Physical Response. This is a movement or gesture that the students use to remember a concept. This helps those kinesthetic learners, not to mention, it’s just FUN! The gesture that I use for making inferences is having one hand as a book and the hand pointing to lines like I am reading the book. Then we make an addition sign with our fingers and point to our heads. Finally, students point to me. This shows as they are reading, they add their knowledge to state an inference!
Book Recommendations for Making Inferences
The best picture books to use with making inferences should have experiences that most of your students have experienced. Some examples are:
-Fireflies By Julie Brinkloe https://amzn.to/2QnOxK0
-The Wall By Eve Bunting https://amzn.to/2OaWFMl
-Two Bad Ants By Chris Van Allsburg https://amzn.to/2xbSiJY
-Piggie Pie! By Margie Palatini https://amzn.to/2NADkan
Want more book recommendations for reading strategies? We have a list HERE for all of the reading strategies!
Making Inferences Lessons
Students need to have multiple opportunities to access Making Inferences if you want the strategy to stick and become part of their reading process. Never think of reading strategies as, “Okay, I taught it, now I’m moving on.” Instead, do mini lessons throughout the year to reinforce the strategy! We love running copies of activities and putting them in a drawer. When there is an extra ten minutes or I need something quick to do, I go to the drawer, pull out the activity and grab a book! I use these ALL YEAR LONG!
Students start by filling in the notes page. We love having students glue them into their notebooks, so they can reference them all year long. Students fill in the blanks and practice the strategy with a read aloud and a book of their own. We also provide sentence frames that students use throughout the year. Other activities we use are art activities, exit tickets and foldables. Having all of these activities ready to pass out and use with students is a life-saver! They also make for amazing centers!
Want to try these lessons in your class? We have a bundle available on Teachers Pay Teachers! CLICK HERE for the link! (We also have ALL of the Reading Strategies available in a bundle to save you money! If you want to check it out, CLICK HERE!)
Independent Practice for Making Inferences
After we have taught the reading strategy using the lessons mentioned above, we like to have students work on a Reading Strategy Brochure that reviews the strategy. In the brochure, students get notes, practice and application. The brochures are the perfect follow up activity to have students master the strategy!
Intervention for Reading Strategies
Through the lessons, it becomes very clear which students are understanding the strategies. For the students that are struggling, we use Reading Strategy Groups. We have an entire blog post on this! If you haven’t read it, YOU MUST! Click HERE! Once we see around 4-6 students that need help with making connections, we pull a Making Connections Strategy Group!
Guided Reading Groups for Reading Strategies
Another way to improve Reading Strategies is to use Guided Reading Groups! Pull groups of students at the same reading level and have them complete guided reading sessions that focus on the strategies! This is yet another way to train students to be good readers! We usually hold these groups after all of the strategies have been taught.
Want to grab our Guided Reading Bundle that focuses on Reading Strategies? We have 7 passages at 3 different levels with questions that focus on reading strategies! CLICK HERE! We also have a Guided Reading Toolkit that gives you all the tools you need to successfully implement Guided Reading Groups in your classroom!
Take Reading Strategies to the NEXT LEVEL!
Are you looking to take Reading Strategies to the next level? You NEED to try Book Clubs! We have a Book Club Bundle that FOCUSES on Reading Strategies! Your students will love getting a job that connects to each reading strategy! This is the perfect way to get your students to apply what they have learned during your unit. You will love the ease of this Book Club resource. Each page walks students through exactly what they need to do! Prep once and watch your class rock reading strategies!
Let’s Wrap It All Up!
As you can see, we value reading strategies in our classrooms. If students have a hard time understanding their reading, they (and you) will be pulling your hair out all year! We start with an anticipatory set to build engagement, move to lessons, practice using MANY different resources, hold strategy groups, hold guided reading groups and then have students apply reading strategies to book clubs. When students have a strong foundation, they understand the material and enjoy reading!