• Understanding inference is the first step in teaching it to kids.
  • Teachers should prepare by selecting appropriate texts and designing engaging instructional strategies.
  • Regular assessment and feedback can help students develop their inference skills over time.

Teaching inference to kids is an essential part of learning to read and comprehend texts. Inference is the ability to draw conclusions based on evidence and reasoning, and it is a skill that kids will use throughout their lives.

By teaching inference, kids can become better readers, thinkers, and problem solvers.

Making inferences is an essential executive function skill. When kids lack this skill, it’s often necessary to accommodate them for lacking a skill and teach the skill of inference. How to teach inference to kids will be discussed here.

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A painting of a kid reading a book on a barn.

Teachers should explain to students that inference involves taking what they already know and using it to make educated guesses about what they don’t know.

Read: Inference IEP Goals

For example, if a character in a story is described as “shivering in the cold,” students can infer that the weather is cold, even if it is not explicitly stated.

Inference life

To teach inference effectively, teachers need to prepare by selecting appropriate texts and designing instructional strategies that are engaging and interactive.

They should also assess and provide feedback to students regularly to help them develop their skills over time. With the right approach, teaching inference can be a fun and rewarding experience for both teachers and students.

Understanding Inference

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When my youngest was a toddler, he LOVED Lady Gaga. I have no idea why or where it came from, but he did. He would ask me to put videos of her on my computer. So, when we were watching the Super Bowl one year, the year that Madonna did the halftime show, he asked me that question.

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Madonna at superbowl
Madonna during her Super Bowl halftime performance.

It turned out not to be just an innocent question, but a stellar example of inference, and the definition of inference.

Not a crazy question, really.

Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga at MTV Video Music Awards.

Inference Definition for Kids

In a preschooler’s head, they look the same, right? Heck, Lady Gaga has been accused of copying Madonna.

Another time we were walking on the OCNJ boardwalk and we passed by two older ladies wearing beach hats and big sunglasses. “Look Mommy! TWO Lady Gagas!” he exclaimed.

lady gaga comparison

Defining Inference

Inference is the act of drawing a conclusion based on the information available. It involves reading between the lines and making an educated guess about what is not explicitly stated.

Inference requires the reader to use their previous knowledge and experiences to make sense of the text. It is an essential executive function skill for reading comprehension and critical thinking.

Importance of Inference in Learning

Inference helps students to understand the deeper meaning of a text and to connect ideas. It enables them to make predictions, analyze characters, and draw conclusions. Inference is essential for problem-solving and decision-making in real-life situations.

Teaching inference to kids can improve their reading comprehension, critical thinking, and analytical skills.

To effectively teach inference, teachers can use various strategies such as modeling, questioning, and visual aids. By providing opportunities for students to practice inference, teachers can help them develop this essential skill.

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How to Teach Inference

Teaching inference requires preparation and planning to ensure that the lesson is effective and engaging. Here are some steps that can be taken to prepare for teaching inference:

Developing a Lesson Plan

A well-structured lesson plan is essential for teaching inference. The lesson plan should include clear learning objectives that outline what the students are expected to learn by the end of the lesson.

The objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

The lesson plan should also include a variety of activities that cater to different learning styles. For example, visual aids can be used to help students who are visual learners, while hands-on activities can be used to engage kinesthetic learners.

Selecting Appropriate Materials

Selecting appropriate materials is crucial for teaching inference. The materials should be age-appropriate, relevant, and engaging. Teachers can use a variety of materials, including books, articles, pictures, and videos, to teach inference.

Teachers can also use inference worksheets and activities to reinforce the concepts taught in class. These materials should be challenging, but not too difficult, and should be designed to help students develop their inference skills gradually.

By following these steps, teachers can prepare effectively for teaching inference and ensure that their students learn the necessary skills to become successful readers.

Instructional Strategies

Teaching inference to kids requires the use of effective instructional strategies that promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Here are some strategies that can be used to teach inference to kids:

Using Think-Alouds

Think-alouds are a powerful instructional strategy that helps students understand the thinking process that goes into making inferences. Teachers can model this strategy by reading a text aloud and verbalizing their thoughts as they make inferences.

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This will help students understand how to use clues from the text to make inferences.

Incorporating Storytelling

Storytelling is an excellent way to teach inference to kids. Teachers can use stories with ambiguous endings or open-ended questions to encourage students to make inferences.

This strategy helps students develop their critical thinking skills and encourages them to think beyond the text.

Applying Questioning Techniques

Questioning techniques are effective instructional strategies that help students make inferences by asking them questions about the text. Teachers can use open-ended questions to encourage students to think critically about the text and make inferences based on the clues provided.

By using these instructional strategies, teachers can help students develop their inference skills and become better readers. It is important to remember that teaching inference is a process that takes time and practice.

With consistent use of effective instructional strategies, students can develop their inference skills and become proficient readers.

Interactive Activities

There are many interactive activities that can help teach inference to kids. These activities are not only fun but also help in developing critical thinking skills. Here are some interactive activities that can be used to teach inference to kids.

Here are some slides to use with kids to gauge their inferencing skills.

Picture Analysis Games

Picture analysis games are a great way to teach inference to kids. Teachers can provide pictures to the students and ask them to analyze the picture and make inferences based on what they see.

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For example, if a picture shows a boy standing in front of a broken vase, the teacher can ask the students to infer what might have happened to the vase.

This activity helps students to develop their observation skills and make logical inferences.

Here are some inference picture cards to try.

Role-Playing Scenarios

Role-playing scenarios are another interactive activity that can be used to teach inference to kids. Teachers can create scenarios and ask students to infer what might happen next.

For example, a teacher can ask students to imagine that they are lost in the jungle and have to find their way back to civilization. The teacher can then ask the students to infer what they might do to survive in the jungle.

This activity helps students to develop their imagination and make logical inferences.

Inference with Riddles

Inference with riddles is a fun way to teach inference to kids. Teachers can provide riddles to the students and ask them to infer the answer based on the clues provided in the riddle.

For example, a riddle might be “I am always hungry, I must always be fed. The finger I touch, will soon turn red.” The answer is “fire”. This activity helps students to develop their critical thinking skills and make logical inferences.

Interactive activities are a great way to teach inference to kids. Teachers can use picture analysis games, role-playing scenarios, and inference with riddles to help students develop their critical thinking skills and make logical inferences.

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Assessment and Feedback

It’s important to note here, that students with autism or other learning disabilities are often considered to lack inferencing skills.

But, lacking inference skills and inferring other than what is expected are not the same thing. It’s important for the adults around the child to discern what is really lacking. It may not be a lack of inference skills.

This is why it’s also important to incorporate culturally sensitive and neurodiversity affirming practices in the classroom. One’s inferences are based on their life experiences, not ours.

Creating Inference-Based Assessments

One effective way to assess a child’s inference skills is to provide them with a reading passage or a picture and ask them to make inferences based on it. Teachers can create assessments that require students to identify the clues and evidence from the text or picture and use them to make logical inferences.

Another way to assess inference skills is through multiple-choice questions that require students to identify the correct inference based on the given information. Teachers can also use open-ended questions that require students to explain their inferences and provide evidence from the text or picture to support their answers.

Providing Constructive Feedback

Feedback is an essential part of the learning process, and it is crucial to provide constructive feedback to students to help them improve their inference skills. Teachers can provide feedback by highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of a student‘s inference skills.

When providing feedback, teachers should focus on the process rather than the outcome. They can provide specific feedback on how the student used the clues and evidence to make inferences and provide suggestions for improvement.

Teachers can also provide opportunities for students to practice their inference skills and provide feedback on their progress.

Creating inference-based assessments and providing constructive feedback can be effective ways to teach inference skills to kids. Teachers can use a variety of assessment methods and feedback strategies to help students improve their inference skills and become proficient in making logical inferences.

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Supporting Struggling Students

When teaching inference to kids, it’s important to remember that not all students learn at the same pace or in the same way. Here are some strategies that can be used to support struggling students:

Tailoring Instruction to Individual Needs

One way to support struggling students is by tailoring instruction to their individual needs. This can involve providing additional support and guidance during instruction, as well as differentiating instruction to meet the needs of individual students.

For example, some students may benefit from additional practice with making inferences. Teachers can provide these students with extra practice materials or work with them one-on-one to help them develop their inference skills.

Other students may struggle with reading comprehension more generally. In this case, teachers may need to provide additional support with decoding or vocabulary development in order to help these students better understand the text and make inferences based on what they have read.

Using Peer Support

Another strategy for supporting struggling students is to use peer support. This can involve pairing struggling students with more advanced readers who can help them develop their inference skills.

For example, teachers can create reading groups in which struggling students are paired with more advanced readers. The more advanced readers can help struggling students with decoding and comprehension, as well as provide guidance and support with making inferences.

Peer support can also be used during class discussions and activities. Teachers can encourage students to work together in small groups to discuss the text and make inferences based on what they have read. This can help struggling students feel more comfortable and confident, as well as provide them with additional support and guidance as they work to develop their inference skills.

IEP Accommodations for Making Inferences

Here are 10 IEP (Individualized Education Program) accommodations that can be implemented to support a student’s inference skills:

  1. Extended Time for Assignments and Assessments:
    • Allow the student extra time to complete reading assignments and assessments, recognizing that processing and making inferences may take more time.
  2. Modified Reading Materials:
    • Provide the student with modified reading materials that include simplified language or additional visual cues to facilitate inference comprehension.
  3. Visual Supports:
    • Use visual aids such as graphic organizers, charts, or diagrams to help the student organize information and make inferences from complex texts.
  4. Auditory Support:
    • Offer audiobooks or reading software with text-to-speech capabilities to accommodate students who may struggle with decoding words but can benefit from auditory support in making inferences.
  5. Small Group or One-on-One Instruction:
    • Provide opportunities for the student to work with a teacher or support staff in a smaller group setting or through individualized instruction to target inference skills directly.
  6. Pre-teaching Vocabulary and Concepts:
    • Pre-teach key vocabulary words and concepts related to a text or lesson to enhance the student’s ability to make inferences during reading or discussions.
  7. Scaffolded Questioning:
    • Offer scaffolded questioning techniques, starting with basic literal questions and gradually progressing to more inferential questions as the student’s skills improve.
  8. Visual Timelines:
    • Use visual timelines or storyboards to help the student track the sequence of events in a story, facilitating their understanding of cause-and-effect relationships and inferences.
  9. Choice of Texts:
    • Allow the student to choose from a selection of texts or reading materials that align with their interests and reading level, ensuring a higher level of engagement and motivation for making inferences.
  10. Use of Peer Support:
    • Encourage peer support by pairing the student with a peer mentor who can provide guidance and assistance in making inferences during group activities or discussions.

These accommodations should be based on the student’s individual needs and strengths, as identified through assessments and observations. Regular communication with the student, their parents, and the IEP team is crucial to ensure that the accommodations are effective and appropriately adjusted over time.

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Enhancing Inference Skills Over Time

Teaching inference skills to kids is a process that requires patience and consistency. There are several methods that can be employed to enhance inference skills over time. Here are some effective ways to help kids improve their inference skills:

Encouraging Daily Inference Practice

One of the most effective ways to enhance inference skills over time is to encourage daily inference practice. Teachers and parents can provide kids with short texts and ask them to make inferences based on the evidence presented. This could be done through reading comprehension exercises, short stories, or even news articles.

To make this practice more engaging, teachers and parents can also encourage kids to read books that require them to make inferences regularly. This could be achieved by providing them with books that have complex plots, or books that have multiple perspectives.

Incorporating Technology and Multimedia

Incorporating technology and multimedia can also be an effective way to enhance inference skills over time. Teachers and parents can provide kids with interactive games and activities that require them to make inferences based on the information presented.

Additionally, teachers and parents can also use multimedia resources such as videos and images to help kids make inferences. For example, a teacher could show a short video clip and ask the students to make inferences based on what they see.

Incorporating technology and multimedia can make the learning process more engaging and enjoyable for kids. It can also help them develop critical thinking skills that are essential in making accurate inferences.

Enhancing inference skills over time requires consistent practice and engagement. By encouraging daily inference practice and incorporating technology and multimedia, teachers and parents can help kids develop the necessary skills to make accurate inferences.

How to Teach Making Inferences

Here is a worksheet for making inferences.

What activities can help children practice making inferences while reading?

There are several activities that can help children practice making inferences while reading. One such activity is to have them read a short story or passage and then ask them to make inferences about the characters, setting, or plot. Another activity is to have them look at a picture and then ask them to make inferences about what is happening in the picture.

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How can parents support the development of inference skills at home?

Parents can support the development of inference skills at home by encouraging their children to read books that challenge them and ask them to make inferences about what they are reading. They can also ask their children questions about what they are reading and encourage them to make connections between what they are reading and their own experiences.

What are some simple examples of inferences tailored for young learners?

Some simple examples of inferences tailored for young learners include asking them to infer how a character is feeling based on their facial expression or body language, or asking them to infer what a character might do next based on what they have already done.

Can you suggest fun games that teach kids about inferencing?

Yes, there are several fun games that can teach kids about inferencing. One such game is to have them play “Guess Who?” where they have to make inferences about the other player’s character based on the questions they ask. Another game is to have them play “Clue” where they have to make inferences about who committed a crime based on the clues they are given.

What is the step-by-step process to teach inferencing to children?

The step-by-step process to teach inferencing to children includes introducing the concept of inference, providing examples of inference, teaching them how to identify clues, and then having them practice making inferences on their own.

How can worksheets be used to improve kids’ ability to make inferences?

Worksheets can be used to improve kids’ ability to make inferences by providing them with practice exercises that require them to make inferences about characters, settings, and plots. These worksheets can also provide them with feedback on their progress and help them identify areas where they need more practice.

How to Improve Executive Function Skills

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