I hope you had a great week back with your students. I am so relieved that we have a three day weekend already! I am excited to continue creating resources for upper elementary students this semester. One of the most challenging concepts for students in all grade levels is making inferences also known as drawing conclusions. Yet it is so frustrating that this standard is often tested the most. Students have to make inferences within every passage they read, yet it is one of the hardest things for them to do as little eight and nine year olds!
An inference is often regarded as the art of reading between the lines. Let's take a moment to clarify what "making inferences" really means. Making inferences involves using clues from the text to draw conclusions that are not explicitly stated. Students need to use their background knowledge and the text to determine something new. The hardest part about this skill is that every students background knowledge is completely unique and their own. Therefore, as educators we need to help our students build background knowledge whenever possible.
When identifying background knowledge, we can teach our students a few skills that will help them activate prior knowledge. Encourage students to make a prediction before reading, use clues like the title and pictures or illustrations. This helps set the stage for making informed inferences. Next, train students to spot clues and details within the text. Have students take notes or annotations as they read. This allows them to document their background knowledge.
I practice these skills with my students every day. We have settled into a routine that supports building on their background knowledge. Furthermore, as we read together every day we also build and develop new knowledge that will be used when reading future texts.
I created a simple and engaging Making Inferences Worksheets set for my third and fourth grade students. You can grab the entire resource here, or grab a sample below. There are 16 different worksheets in the complete resource.
There is a set of What Am I worksheets, these are fun and a great way to slowly dive into the concepts of inferences. Next, we take it to a higher level by asking students to use text evidence. Then I have four pages of worksheets for Text Evidence for My Inference with both non-fiction and fiction passages.
I also encourage students to not only support inferences but generate inferences on their own as well. Students can see that making and generating inferences goes hand in hand. Finally, there are four sets of exit tickets that are all TEKS aligned.
This is a perfect resource if you need a little extra support with making inferences. I encourage you to continue to build background knowledge with your students and practice monitoring comprehension with annotations as well. I encourage you to take a deep dive into the skill of "making inferences." Let's empower our third and fourth-grade students to become insightful readers!