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Making Inferences. By: Jaime Johnson REED 663 Dr. Pitcher. Introduction Inferencing is an essential comprehension strategy. Students who make inferences while reading are more engaged, able to make personal connections to the text, and are able to comprehend a story better.

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Making inferences

Making Inferences

By: Jaime Johnson

REED 663

Dr. Pitcher

  • Introduction

  • Inferencing is an essential comprehension strategy.

  • Students who make inferences while reading are more engaged, able to make personal connections to the text, and are able to comprehend a story better.

  • Teachers need to point out to their students that inferences are made at all times in their daily lives.

  • When taught how to correctly make inferences, students will become successful strategic and critical readers.

  • Purpose

  • The purpose of the lessons was to apply the strategy of making inferences.

  • There were four lessons that worked on increasing my students inferential thinking.

  • The lessons were taught to a small group of eight students of different abilities.

  • Each lesson built upon each other and followed the gradual release of responsibility.

  • Each lesson used a variety of different books and levels of books. Each lesson was 25 – 30 minutes long.

  • Lesson One – Dirty Shoe &

  • Mystery House

  • This lesson introduced students to the inferencing strategy. They had to use a picture of a dirty shoe and a bag of trash to infer who owned the items.

  • Before

  • I started the lesson by asking the students what they knew about making inferences. I will explain to the group that they will look at a picture of a shoe and make inference about who owns the shoe by the way it looks.

  • During

  • I will show the picture of the shoe and show the students how to make inferences by giving a few inferences, the evidence to support those inferences and the prior knowledge that I used to come up with the inferences. I will then have the students form their own inferences with a partner after modeling the process a few times and doing a few together. As they make inferences, I will record their answers on a chart and ask them questions.

  • Lesson One Continued

  • After

  • I will ask the students how they were able to decide that the picture of the shoe belongs to a boy without anything to tell them that. Then I will hand out the mystery house inference chart and explain that they will now work on making inferences about who my mystery neighbor is by looking at a few pieces of trash. I will show them a piece of trash and they will work on their own to come up with an inference about what it tells them about the person who lives at the house.

  • Lesson One Results

  • The lesson was taught to a small group of eight students and was explicitly taught and had a lot of guided practice.

  • They were able to make inferences about the picture and the bag of trash with out any problem.

  • They did have some trouble with supporting their inferences with the evidence that they found and also use their prior knowledge to help support their inference.

  • They really liked trying to figure out who my mystery neighbor was and they couldn’t wait to find out if they correct or not.

  • After modeling with the students, they were able to successfully complete the mystery house inference chart on their own.

  • Lesson Two- “Ring! Yo?”

  • In this lesson, I introduced the students to text by using the story/picture book “Ring! Yo?” by Chris Raschka. This story provided the students with a one sided phone conversation. The students had to infer what the other child was saying based off their background knowledge and the text and illustrations.

  • Before

  • I will ask the students what they learned yesterday from our lesson. I then introduced them to the book “Ring! Yo?” and asked them what they think the book might be about by the title and front cover. To build their background knowledge I told the students to think about a time when they heard their parents on the phone. I told them that they were probably able to infer what they were talking about based off what they heard and the facial expressions of their parents.

  • Lesson Two Continued

  • During

  • While reading, I modeled to the students what I inferred the conversation was about by using my background knowledge, looking at the illustrations (especially the characters facial expressions), and the text. I passed out and modeled how to fill out the T-chart. After the first read of the story, we went back and I modeled the first two rows of the conversation. We then worked together to do the next two. They then worked with their partner to fill in the next three rows. As they went along, I asked them questions about their thinking.

  • After

  • I then had the students then work on their own and finish filling out the T-chart with inferences about the conversation. After they finished the T-chart, I had the students write a quick response as to what they thought the whole conversation was about.

  • Lesson Two Results

  • The lesson was also taught to a small group of eight students and was explicitly taught and had a lot of guided practice.

  • The students really enjoyed the book and had fun trying to figure out what the conversation was all about, but did struggle with inferring what the other boy was saying.

  • While I was reading the story and modeling how to make inferences, the students were saying “I think the one boy is asking the other boy to come over and play”

  • The students were able to write a quick response to what they thought the conversation was about, but some of them had trouble matching the T-chart to the response.

  • Lesson Three – Poetry

  • This was the third lesson in the series that I taught to a small group of eight students. The students were introduced to poems in an engaging way. They applied the strategy of making inferences to the different poems that they read.

  • Before

  • I told the students that they would be reading poetry today and we would understand what the poems mean by making inferences. I first had to build their background knowledge about the different poems before we read each one.

  • During

  • The first poem we worked with was Pancake by Shel Silverstein. I read the poem and modeled how to properly make inferences from a poem. Next we worked together to make inferences from the poem The Land of Happy by Shel Silverstein. We answered inferential questions about the poem. Then they worked with their partner to read the poem Band-Aids by Shel Silverstein. After they read the poem, they answered inferential questions.

  • Lesson Three Continued

  • After

  • I introduced the poem Snowmanby Shel Silverstein and told the students that they going to draw a picture of what the poem means. The students read the poem Snowman independently and drew a picture of what the poem means and then wrote in words what it means. After everyone finished we looked at every ones picture and found out what they thought it meant.

  • Lesson Three Results

  • The students were very engaged throughout the whole lesson. They were able to answer the inferential questions and were able to draw what they thought the poem Snowman was about.

  • I followed the gradual release of responsibility, which really seemed to help the students understand the poems better.

  • The students worked well with their partners and were able to refer back to the poem to find evidence to help support their inferences.

  • One student was able to make a connection to the poem Pancake, when Terrible Theresa says I want the pancake in the middle. He said “I do that to my mom sometimes and she gets mad at me.” We talked about what that meant and why was she “labeled” as terrible for wanting one from the middle of the tall stack, and why Grace was good for wanting the one on top.

  • Lesson Four – The Stranger

  • This is the last lesson that I completed but it was done with a whole group and it was using the story “The Stranger” from their Houghton Mifflin Reading book. The students made inferences about the main characters actions in order to figure out who the stranger was.

  • Before

  • We built background knowledge by talking about the different seasons and the characteristics that go along with each season. We also built background knowledge about living on a farm in order to help understand the story. After passing out the inference chart, I again asked what it means to make inferences and why it is important.

  • During

  • As we read the story, The Stranger, I first modeled the evidence from the story I was looking for by doing the first 2 rows. Then the students continued to read and we followed the gradual release of responsibility and we worked together to complete the next 3 rows together. Then they did the next 4 rows with a partner.

  • Lesson Four Continued

  • After

  • The students then completed the rest of the chart on their own. Then they were asked to answer the inferential question, “Who is the stranger?” We then shared their answers from the rest of the inference chart and their answer to the question of who they think the stranger is.

  • Lesson Four Results

  • This final lesson was taught to a whole group of students using the gradual release of responsibility.

  • The students did really well with asking questions and then making an inference based off of their questions.

  • The students really enjoyed reading this story and it sparked a lot of discussion as to who the stranger is. One student said “ I think the stranger is Father Nature because every time something happens on the farm it is always dealing with the weather and I know that he controls the weather.”

  • I was glad to see that they were connecting their background knowledge to figure out who the stranger is because they were having trouble with this in earlier lessons.

  • Almost all of the students were correctly able to answer the inferential question of “Who is the stranger?” I was very pleased with the results of the lesson.

  • Relevance

  • I had another fourth grade teacher teach a making inferences lesson using poetry.

  • The other class has students who are on grade level and some who are below grade level. There are some students who have 504 plans in the class. She taught the lesson to her whole class.

  • The teacher said “I really like how this lesson used a variety of poems and how it allowed the students to piggyback on ideas which helped elaborate their understanding of the poems.”

  • She also said that “the students loved how it let them be creative and draw a picture of what the poem meant to them.”

  • She said that this was a great lesson to help the students to make inferences and that she will probably plan on using this again next year.

  • Conclusion

  • After teaching these four lessons, I realized that students have a hard time understanding how to properly make inferences and especially relating it to their personal experience. Sometimes you need to go beyond the curriculum to help them grasp a particular concept.

  • I plan on using these lesson in the years to come! The students seemed to really enjoy the stories and I think I might use them as whole group lessons instead of small group to better help all the students understand how to make inferences.

  • Making inferences is a difficult skill but when they understand what it means and how it is done, they will enjoy it!

  • My classmates can use these lessons to help their students to make inferences. There are a variety of different levels of texts that will work with all ages. Many of the activities can be adapted to meet the needs of their students. The students I worked with were 4th graders, so I needed to make it a little more challenging for them but they can be easily changed to fit any grade level.