A Quick and Easy Guide to Teach Inferencing to Students
What is the skill of inferencing?
Inferencing is one of those tough skills to teach but a necessary skill for students to practice and develop so that they can get the most out of a text. Inferencing is all about using your background knowledge and experience to make new connections. For example, you asked your student to read the sentences “Martha is still hungry.” and “Her mother is baking cookies in the oven.” Our job is to help students infer something from these two sentences. After telling students these two sentences, you can make an discuss what Martha might do next. Most students will probably say that Martha will ask for cookies. You can ask your students how they came to that conclusion. We draw conclusions after we consider the evidence.
What is the skill of drawing conclusions?
Drawing conclusions requires students to use the inferences that they have figured out to understand the big idea. For example, in the previous example, “Martha will ask for cookies” was our inference. If we were to draw conclusions from these two sentences, we might say that Martha did not have enough to eat for breakfast, or maybe she was at school and forgot her lunch. Drawing conclusions is about thinking what the big picture might be, of course we would need more clues aside from those two sentences!
Making Inferences and Drawing Conclusions are Important for Reading Comprehension
These two skills are important for students as it will help them understand what they are reading. Inferencing is a skill that transfers over to critical thinking that is especially important for science, social studies, and other disciplines etc. It is also a tool that students will apply throughout their lifetime in problem solving and different contexts.
Fun Activities to Teach Students Inferencing and Drawing Conclusions
It is a good idea to model inferencing and drawing conclusions in your read alouds. Here are some activities that you can do to practice making inferences with your students.