Teaching the reading strategy of inferring can be a bit tricky since it is a complex task that requires synthesis of various bits of information and what we do with them. Some readers seem to be born inferring: they naturally infer as they read, although they may not even be aware that they are doing so. Others, have great difficulty with the strategy. They may struggle to go beyond the literal and to "read between the lines". Others may be able to make an inference, but are not sure how they arrived at that conclusion.
When teaching inferring, I recommend two very useful books: The Cafe Book by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser ( a great resource for primary teachers) and Mosaic of Thought by Ellin Oliver Keene and Susan Zimmerman (very inspiring for upper elementary and middle school). Both books offer a thorough explanation of inferring and concrete examples and suggestions for teaching. This quote from my reading is beautifully expressed and captures the essence of making inferences:
I enjoy teaching inferencing and so I created my "Inference Investigators" mini-unit for my freebie! This packet can be used to introduce or review what good readers do when they infer for first and second grades. I begin with a charades-type game that I have used for years. "The Sisters" explain a similar activity that they call "The inferring Game". My game is used at the beginning of your whole group time to show kids that they infer everyday in their own lives and not just when reading.
In my packet, I explain in detail how to play this game and set the stage for digging deeper when reading. I use two texts, Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie DePaola and Young Cam Jansen and the Missing Cookie by David A. Adler. Using these texts allows you to model your thinking process as you infer by thinking out loud. Students are urged to be a "reading detective" to find the clues in the story to figure out what is happening, to make a prediction (which is inferring!), and to draw conclusions. I also include two mini-posters ( for instruction, your focus wall, etc.) and a few generic graphic organizers that I created to use with any story.
Before I give you the link to download this FREEBIE, I want to share two websites that you can use when teaching inferring. The first is a site where clues are given and the reader has to solve the riddle (great for inferential thinking!). Click here to check it out. The second is an information page from BrainPOP that provides several creative ideas for using in the classroom. You can't watch the video unless you have a subscription, but there are still many good ideas on this page.
To download my inferencing mini-unit for FREE click the picture below. Remember, it will only be free from 10/25/13- 10/27/13.
Now that you've learned a little about mini-unit, you're ready for my clue. On your form (click here if you need to download the recording form to crack the code!), you can record the letter...
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