MAKING THE INVISIBLE VISIBLE
How do I teach students to make an inference?
  • Instead of saying something vague such as make an inference, give specific types of inferences to make.
  • Model making inferences often.
  • Make a poster of the types of inferences that can be made and reference it often.



TYPES OF INFERENCES
Skilled readers…
1. recognize the antecedents for pronouns
2. figure out the meaning of unknown words from context clues
3. figure out grammatical function of an unknown word
4. understand intonation of characters’ words
5. identify characters’ beliefs, personalities and motivations
6. understand characters’ relationships to one another
7. provide details about setting
8. provide explanations for events or ideas that are presented in the text
9. offer details for events or their own explanations for events presented in the text
10. understand the author’s view of the world
11. recognize the author’s biases
12. relate what is happening in the text to their own knowledge of the world
13. offer conclusions from facts presented in the text


COMMENTS TEACHERS CAN MAKE TO HELP STUDENTS MAKE CERTAIN TYPES OF INFERENCES

“Relate what is in the text to your own knowledge of (insert topic).”

“See if you can explain why the character acted this way.”

“Look for clues that tell you how the author feels.”

“Let’s understand why the author wrote that.”

“Look for pronouns and figure out what to connect to them.”

“Figure out explanations for these events.”

“Think about the setting and see what details you can add.”

“Look at how the character said (quote). How would you have interpreted what that character said if he had said (change how it was said or stress different words)?

“Look for words you don’t know and see if any other words in the sentence or surrounding sentences can give you an idea of what those unknown words mean.”


Teacher Examples