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Making Inferences. What is an Inference?. An inference is something that you conclude based partly on evidence and partly on your own knowledge. When you make an inference, you read something, add what you know to it, and draw a conclusion.

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what is an inference
What is an Inference?
  • An inference is something that you conclude based partly on evidence and partly on your own knowledge.
  • When you make an inference, you read something, add what you know to it, and draw a conclusion.
  • You put two and two together, or read between the lines.

A formula for making an inference…

Why Is Scooby Hiding??

Why Is Shaggy Running??


Did you know that you make inferences everyday in the real world?

You Compare Things

You evaluate situations

You make predictions

I wonder if the picnic will be cancelled?

Is this project going well or not?

Which would you rather play with?


How do I make inferences when I read?

The school is brightly lit, even though it is already after 7 p.m. Parents rush from the parking lot to the front door. Student ushers direct them to the Gym. Inside the Gym there are 100 folding chairs set up in rows. All of the teachers are seated up front facing the chairs. The principal stands up at a podium and waits for the crowd to settle down. There is a large poster that hangs on the wall that says “Welcome Parents! We are glad you are here!”


Oh, I had a balloon

It was round, it was red

Such a lovely balloon

Almost as big as my head

But I heard a loud noise

And I turned my head to see

For I wondered just what

Made that loud noise at me!

What can you infer about the balloon?


Fireworks lit up the night with splashes of purple, red, and yellow. People sat of blankets gazing up at the night sky. Children played with sparklers near by. Everyone drank cold lemonade from the nearby concession stand. Laughter could be heard across the field.

What can you infer about the event that is happening in the paragraph?


Warm sand shifted under my feet as I walked across the beach. The soothing sound of the waves calmed my thoughts. A soft breeze made the heat of the day feel like a warm cozy blanket in the middle of winter. I hope this day never ends.

What can you infer about how the character feels about the beach based on the mood and what the setting infers?


Making Inferences Sheet

Everyday after work Paul took his muddy boots off on the steps of the front porch. Alice would have a fit if the boots made it so far as the welcome mat. He then took off his dusty overalls and threw them into a plastic garbage bag; Alice left a new garbage bag tied to the porch railing for him every morning. On his way in the house, he dropped the garbage bag off at the washing machine and went straight up stairs to the shower as he was instructed. He would eat dinner with her after he was “presentable,” as Alice had often said.

What kind of work does Paul do? How do you know?

Describe Alice. What in the text supports that description?

What kind of relationship do Paul and Alice have?


Making Inferences continued…

Valerie opened up the letter from the military department. She felt the pit of her stomach drop to the bottom of the earth before she even opened it. She knew it was news about John. As she read the first line, she thought of all of the lunches she had packed him and all the nights she tucked him in his bed and warded off the nighttime monsters. The man carrying the flag put his hand on her shoulder. She thought of the day that John signed up for the military. Her tears wet the letter. She stopped reading after the first line.

What does the letter say?

What is Valerie’s Relationship to John?


Making Inferences continued…

“Tommy!” Mom called out as she walked in the front door. “Tommy,” she continued shouting, “I sure could use some help with these groceries. There was still no reply. Mom walked into the kitchen to put the grocery bags down on the counter when she noticed shattered glass from the picture window all over the living room floor and a baseball not far from there. “I’m going to kill you, Tommy!” Mom yelled to herself as she realized that Tommy’s shoes were gone.

What happened to the window?

Why did Tommy Leave?


Making Inferences continued…

Ruby sat on the bed she shared with her husband holding a hairclip. There was something mysterious and powerful about the cheaply manufactured neon clip that she was fondling in her newly suspicious palms. She didn’t recognize the hairclip. It was too big to be their daughter’s, and Ruby was sure that it wasn’t hers. She hadn’t had friends over in weeks but here was this hairclip, little and green with a few long black hair strands caught in it. Ruby ran her fingers through her own blonde hair. She had just been vacuuming when she noticed this small, bright green object under the bed. Now their life would never be the same. She would wait here until Mike returned home.

Why is Ruby so affected by the hairclip?

How has the hairclip affected Ruby’s relationship?

Where did the clip most likely come from?


Making Inferences continued…

Kyle ran into his house and slammed the door behind him. He paused with his back to the wall and tried to catch his breath. The puppy in his coat struggled to get out. Kyle looked out the window worriedly, but he saw that nobody was coming. Then he let the puppy out of his jacket. The puppy yelped while Kyle took the collar off of him. He threw the collar in an old soup can in the trash, carefully flipping over the can. The dog looked around nervously.

Why is Kyle out of breath?

Why is the puppy nervous?

Why did Kyle put the puppy’s collar in a soup can?


Making Inferences continued…

Anastasia sat by the fountain in the park with her head in her palms. She was weeping mournfully and wearing all black. In between gasps and sobs, Anastasia cried out a name: “Oh... John…” And then her cell phone beeped. Her hand ran into her purse and her heart fluttered. The text message was from John. She opened up the message and read the few bare words, “I need to get my jacket back from you.” Anastasia threw her head into her arms and continued sobbing.

What relationship do Anastasia and John have?

Why is Anastasia sad?


Making Inferences continued…

Cassie rolled over in her bed as she felt the sunlight hit her face. The beams were warming the back of her neck when she slowly realized that it was a Thursday, and she felt a little too good for a Thursday. Struggling to open her eyes, she looked up at the clock. “9:48,” she shouted, “Holy cow!” Cassie jumped out of bed, threw on the first outfit that she grabbed, brushed her teeth in two swipes, threw her books into her backpack, and then ran out the door.

What problem is Cassie having?

Where is Cassie going?


Making Inferences continued…

Kelvin was waiting in front of the corner store at 3:56. His muscles were tense and he was sweating a bit more than usual. The other kids gathered in front of the little storefront were much more relaxed, even playful. They joked back and forth lightly to each other but for Kelvin, time slowed. 3:57. “Don’t worry, Kelvin. He ain’t even gonna show up.” Kelvin hoped that he wouldn’t. A black four-door Camry with tinted windows pulled up and parked across the street. Kelvin gulped. 3:58. A group of teenagers piled out of the car. James was in the front. “Hi-ya, Kelvin. Glad you could make it,” James said. Kelvin felt smaller.

Why is Kelvin waiting at the corner store?

Are James and Kelvin friends?

Why is Kelvin so nervous?