This collection of inferencing activities is meant to help your students understand what inferences are and how to make them!
According to Debbie Miller, author of Reading with Meaning,”When readers infer, they use their prior knowledge and textual clues to draw conclusions and form unique interpretations of text.”
This concept is so very important for our young readers to learn and understand. Our hope is that these resources will help you to teach inferencing in your classroom, and also provide your students with materials to understand what inferences are so that they can make them appropriately when they read.
***You can download ALL the resources described in this collection by clicking on the bold light blue link near the bottom of this post.***
Anchor Chart – Use this anchor chart for reference throughout your study of making inferences. It includes phrases your students might use to begin their own inferences.
Inferencing at a Glance – Making predictions can be considered a form of making inferences. Students use what they already know and what they see or read to make guesses about what something is about or what is about to happen. Give your students an initial understanding of inferences by helping them to understand predictions. Choose one of these three organizers along with some book covers to show your students how to make inferences about what the books might be about.
Wordless Books – Wordless picture books can be used to help students think about what the words could be in a story. These are also a good introduction to making inferences. As you share these kinds of books with your students and as they look through the pictures, encourage them to tell the story of what is happening in the book. Be sure to dig deeper in your questioning to ask them WHY they are able to tell a story without the books actually having words. (They use what they know about real life situations and what they see to create meaning.) There are three organizers for you to choose from for this.
Another good way to use these books to teach inferencing is to have students look at the illustrations, or more specifically – the main character(s). Discuss how to use facial expressions and the body language of the various characters to make inferences about their traits and feelings. We have created a graphic organizer for character traits and one for character’s feelings you can use for this.
Use any of these for a whole class or small group mini-lesson, or you might want to sit these at a literacy center and have students complete a graphic organizer to share their inferences.
It’s a Mystery! – This is a fun activity to reinforce your teaching of making inferences. Put an object in a bag and give the students five clues about your object. After each clue, allow students to guess what your object might be. Explain to students that they are making an inference each time they guess based on what you are telling them for each clue. You might also want to send our “It’s a Mystery!” page home with a brown paper bag attached for each student to write clues about an object from home. Be sure to give guidelines about what can go in the bag! No LIVE creatures is a good rule! Actually had a student do that once! YIKES! 🙂
Inference Cards – Print, laminate and cut out our inference cards for an engaging literacy center. Place the cards at a center with a stack of Inference Recording Pages (copied back to back if you would like your students to complete two cards). Students choose a card, write the clues they read on the card and make an inference about what is happening.
Emoji Puzzles – Another fun possibility for a practice mini-lesson, small group activity or a making inferences center is our emoji puzzles. Print these pages on card stock for durability, laminate and cut them apart. Students match the scenario with the emoji that best fits the situation. Use the Emoji Inference Recording Page so that students are required to record their thinking about some of the puzzles. EXTENSION: We have also provided these puzzles without the given scenarios. After using the original set to model how these puzzles work, have your students use Vis-a-vis markers to write their own scenarios. Or simply use this second set for students who may need a bit more of a challenge.
Who’s Been Here? Books – This series of books written by Lindsay Barrett George is great for making inferences! The pages tell about animals that have left clues in the environment as to what they might be. We have created a Who’s Been Here? Organizer for students to complete with the books. Be sure to read the first book and model the organizers with your class. Then, we place the other books at a center for students to complete independently. For younger students, you could choose to read each of the other books aloud before having them complete the center. EXTENSION: Have your students choose an animal and use the book’s format to write clues of their own for the class to read.
Creatures of the Earth, Sea, & Sky – We are always looking for great poetry books to add to our libraries and this one is an amazing addition. This book is a collection of poems and they are perfect for inferencing lessons. Students use their background knowledge to infer what animal each poem is about. We have created an organizer in case you want your students to do this at a center and want to read about their thinking. These are also great poems for encouraging students to act out!
Graphic Organizers – For this unit a great deal of modeling for making inferences will be important for students to truly understand the concept. It can be difficult for some students. We feel many days of guided practice is important, so we encourage the use of several different Making Inferences Graphic Organizers for modeling purposes. We have included seven additional organizers you can choose from for your students.
**You will find ALL the inferencing activities described in this collection here: Reading Skill: Making Inferences **
Another important reading skill is to use inferencing to determine the meaning of new vocabulary words. Ideas and suggested texts for this skill can be found here: Inferencing to Determine the Meaning of New Words.
After working on inferencing to determine the meaning of new words, you might then want to move on to using photo prompts. These are another great way to teach students the concept of making inferences. You will find prompts and activities for that here: Inferring From Photo Prompts.
Here are some books we like to accompany this inferencing activities unit: