Friday, June 5, 2015

Making Inferences: Resources for Teaching

"What do you have for making inferences?"

When I read this question, coming just at the end of school, I knew that I needed to create a post to gather together all of the resources that I've made for teaching inferences. And there are quite a few! Over the years, I've found that teaching students how to make inferences is essential for building reading skills. It's fun, too!

I have another reason for wanting to look over my inference resources--I'm moving to sixth grade next year! I'm excited to move down the hallway and see some of my former students again. I'm also excited to look at the resources that I have and think about what I'd like to use with older students.

Making Inferences, Making Meaning Presentation (free)
This presentation is a great place to start. In the slides, I explain different kinds of inferences with examples and teaching tips.

Building Mental Models (free)
This printable is a great tool to use to see how students in grades 2-4 are doing with making inferences. Should Zomack put liquid on the box with the moving pictures? Watch kids carefully as they work on this with a partner--kids who laugh and say "No way!" are visualizing, while kids who struggle may need some more work on this skill.

Visualizing PowerPoint and Activities ($)
With students, I love to start teaching about inferring with visualizing. Think about it--writers never tell every single detail needed to imagine a place. Instead, they rely on the background knowledge of the reader to fill in some of the necessary information to make a visual image.

This resource pack includes teaching tools for teaching about visualizing, as well as stories and activities for independent practice.

Making Inferences with Transitional Readers ($)
This unit includes texts for readers in grades 2 and 3. The texts are easy to decode, but require some level of inferring to figure out what is going on. I've had really great experiences with teaching "The Magic School", a story with embedded questions. These questions help students to see where they should be making inferences.

Making Inferences: Antarctic History (free)
I created this resource to help my students as we learned about Antarctica. This text includes both text-based inferences (like pronoun/antecedent) and more complex reader-based inferences that depend on a reader's background knowledge.

Character Traits and Emotions: Making Inferences ($)
I've loved putting this resource together, and I love teaching it. Making inferences about character traits and emotions is an important skill, made even more so by the current emphasis on complex text and more sophisticated literature. In this resource, you'll find lots of teaching materials that you can use to help students realize that they can make these inferences "online"--while they're reading--and that their understanding of the text will be enriched by these inferences.

Figurative Language PowerPoint and Activities ($)
Interpreting figurative language requires some strong inference skills! This resource includes lots of practice to help readers understand how to interpret figurative language.

Text-Based Inferences and More ($)
This resource pack includes a set of texts which require readers to make specific text-based inferences, as well as some assessments and PowerPoints. Kids have really enjoyed the "Max Mission" spy texts. Similar formatting and storylines across four short texts help students to quickly transfer skills from one text to another.

Blog Posts

Here are some blog posts that I've written over the years.

Making Inferences in Nonfiction
Questions Lead to Inferences: I firmly believe this. If kids aren't making inferences, guiding them to asking questions of text is a great place to start.
Visualizing and the Common Core
Scaffolding the Inference Process: Lots of suggestions for picture books
Inferences with the Inference Chart
Suffixes and Inferences: Surprisingly, they can go together!

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