Making an Inference
Fourth and fifth grade students will be asked to make inferences about what they read. Learning to draw conclusions and making inferences is a skill that develops over time. The skill requires children to put together various pieces of information, and relies on their background knowledge. Help your child develop this skill by providing experiences with inferential information, making implied information more clear, and helping your child draw conclusions based on the evidence. Here are some strategies you might use.
- Explain to your child that we draw conclusions about things and make inferences all the time. Draw a conclusion together and then talk about what clues were used to come to that conclusion. For example, Erin played outside today. How can we tell? Muddy shoes, jump rope on front porch, water bottle out. Dad seems tired tonight. How can we tell? He’s rubbing his eyes, he’s on the couch, and he was yawning at the dinner table.
- Paper bag mystery person: Put a few items into a brown paper bag. Tell your child the bag belongs to a certain type of person. Their job is to tell you something about the person. Then, take out each item one by one and talk about it. Example #1: goggles, a swim cap, a swim ribbon, a stop watch Example #2: a bookmark, a library card, a stuffed animal, a book
- Play twenty questions! This familiar word game helps build inference skills. As your child develops skill with the game, encourage him to avoid asking direct questions like, “Is it a dog?” Rather, encourage him to ask broader questions, “Does it walk on four feet?” Then, when your child figures it out, ask him to tell you the clues that lead to the right answer.
- Check out wordless pictures books from the library and have your child tell the story using the clues in the picture. Some good examples are Tuesday, A Boy, A Dog, and A Frog, Journey, The Red Book, Flotsam, Flashlight, Quest, and Zoom.
- Spend some time reading with your child. Ask questions that will make your child use evidence in the text. Example questions: Why do you think that happened in the story? How is the character feeling? What do you think will happened next? Why do you think the author wrote this text? What did the author want the reader to learn?
Information from: Mrs. Judy Araujo, M. Ed., CAGS