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Introduce: Making Inferences

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Lesson Type: Introduce
Grade: K, 1, 2, 3
Group Size: Small Group, Large Group, Whole Class
Length: 15 minutes
Goal: Given a fictional text, students will be able to make logical inferences about the book’s main character.

Materials: A fiction book to read out loud, chart paper or board

What to Do


Choose a book that appeals to early readers and features a round main character.


1. Write the phrase reading between the lines on the board or chart paper. Ask students what they think this phrase means.

Look at the phrase on the board. What do you think reading between the lines means?

2. Record the students’ comments on the chart paper or board.

3. Explain the meaning of making inferences.

When you read between the lines of what you read, you are making inferences. You have been given some information, but not everything, and you have to fill in the blanks. You use information in the book to draw conclusions. You are like a detective, gathering clues and using those clues to make inferences.

4. Give examples of the ways students have already used strategies to make inferences.

When you walk into a room, what inferences do you make? Have you ever walked into class and seen a substitute teacher and made the inference that I was sick? Have you ever made inferences about a character on a television show or in a movie?


5. Read the book, pausing at appropriate points to note context clues.

We are going to focus on the main character when we read this book. I will stop at points and we will write down things that the character says and does. Then, we will read between the lines. We will use the information we have to make inferences about the main character. What do we know about the character? What can we infer based on what we know?

6. Record students’ comments about what the character says and does on the chart paper or board.

7. Finish reading the book.

8. Make inferences about the main character using the information from the chart paper or board.

Now let’s look back at all of the things the character says or does. It looks like we were able to gather some good information about our character. What do these things tell us about our character? What can we learn from reading between the lines? When you make inferences, you are able to understand the book on a deeper level.

9. Record students’ inferences on the board or chart paper.


For Advanced Students:

Encourage these students to use the inferences to come up with character traits that describe the main character. (If a character makes his bed every morning, for instance, an inference might be that he likes a clean room. The character trait is neatness.)

For Struggling Students:

Some students may have difficulty understanding the difference between making inferences and making predictions. Explain to students that predictions are about what will happen in the plot and inferences are about characters. Encourage them to ask questions like:

What does the character say? What does the character do? What do the character’s actions and thoughts tell me about the character?

For ELL Students:

Before reading the book, explain the meaning of any key vocabulary or concepts. Also, make sure that students understand the phrase reading between the lines, as it cannot be translated literally. Use the questions above to guide your discussion on making inferences.

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