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Making Inferencing Fun!

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Dec. 6, 2018, 3:33 p.m.

Teaching students to infer is essential to becoming a proficient reader. ,When we really dig deep into the strategy of inferring, we notice that it is a skill students (and adults) are already doing each and every moment of the day. Making an inference is making a decision or claim about something using the evidence we are seeing or hearing. Whether we are deciding which food you want off the menu (based on what sounds appealing), or deciding if someone is a good friend (based on their actions and words), we are making inferences all the time! Here are some fun activities to engage students in making inferences throughout the school day.


Primary Ideas

Guess Who?

Play this guessing game using holiday themed figures! Have students use clues to make inferences about a holiday symbol. When students have made an inference, teachers can ask students to provide the clues or textual evidence that guided their thinking. This a great quick game to play while lining up, taking a bathroom break, or even waiting in the lunch line.


Example: Gingerbread Man

I am not a human.

I have 2 legs and 2 arms.

I can run really fast.

I smell delicious.

You can't catch me!




"I think it is a......"

"What was your evidence for that inference?"


Hum It Out

One of my favorite inferring activities is called "Hum It Out". First choose a poem or short read about a topic students know something about. Next choose a word within the text that you are going to hum out (instead of say). Read the text aloud to your students, humming out the word of choice. After every couple of sentences, have them write down what word they think fits in the blank. Ask students to cite specific text evidence to support their guess. Their guesses will change as they add more textual evidence to their schema. When you're finished reading aloud, have all your students share out their thinking about the mystery hummed out word. Finally, reveal the hummed out word to your class. Recap by re-reading the text aloud without the word being hummed out.


Example: The Rat (Seymour Simon)


Elementary Idea

Riddles

Riddles are a fun way to get students using textual evidence to make inferences. Start with reading some holiday riddles about Santa Claus or a snowman with students. Have students make inferences and give evidence for their reasoning. Take this activity a step further by having students create their own riddles. You can use the easy format below to write your own riddles or have students create riddles themselves.


What am I?

I have 4 legs.

I eat hay and grass.

I am a mammal.

I can fly at night.

I love helping Santa.

What am I? (A reindeer)


Get our FREE Holiday Riddle PDF.


Secondary Ideas

What is the Text NOT Saying?

Mix up typical reading comprehension questions by asking students to focus on what the text does NOT say. This will require learners to think about the text in a new way and get inside the author's head. When students have to think about what it doesn't say, they are having to dig into the author's brain for purpose and motivation. They must think not only as the writer, but as the reader.


Script:

"What is the text saying here?" (overall message)

"Now, what is the text not saying?" (Author's feelings, motivations, or purpose)


Creating Social Media Posts for Characters

Have students create a tweet (Twitter), Instagram post, or Facebook post to show the character's feelings, motives, or changes in relationships. Provide students with a checklist of what must be included based on the standards.


Example: 7.6B (Fiction) Analyze the development of plot through the internal and external responses of the characters, including their motivations and conflicts.


Learning Target:

I can analyze the response of the character based on their motivations.

I can explain the character's response based on motivations or conflicts.


Create a social media post as the character (blank). Be sure to explain why the character internally or externally responded to the situation. Give textual evidence to illustrate the character's motives or conflicts.



Kelly Harmon and Randi Anderson

About The Authors

Kelly Harmon & Associates began in 2001 with a mission of instructional coaching and providing rich literacy resources for educators and parents. Our work incorporates research-based best practices for teaching and learning.

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