What is an inference? And how to teach it.
An inference is an educated guess. We learn about some things by experiencing them first-hand, but we gain other knowledge by inference — the process of inferring things based on what is already known. When you make an inference, you're reading . Aug 19, · An inference is an assumption made based on specific evidence, and though students make inferences in their lives every day, it may be difficult for some to demonstrate an ability to make assumptions on a piece of writing, such as defining a word by examing the vocabulary term in context.
When evaluating a student's reading comprehensionhis or her ability to make an inference based on the assigned critical reading section will greatly influence overall performance.
This critical reading comprehension skill is necessary to grasp concepts related to the main ideathe author's purposeand the writer's tone. An inference is an assumption made based on specific evidence, and though students make inferences in their lives every day, it may be difficult for some to demonstrate an ability to make assumptions on a piece of writing, such as defining a word by examing the vocabulary term in context.
Allowing students to observe real-life examples of making inferences and routinely asking practice questions that require them to make educated guesses using specific examples will help improve their ability to make inferences, which can go a long way to ensuring they pass standardized reading comprehension tests. In order to develop this critical reading comprehension skill, teachers should help students understand the concept by explaining it in a "real world" context, then applying it to testing questions which require students to make inferences given a what does inferences mean in reading of facts and information.
All sorts of people use inferences in both their daily and professional lives all the time. Doctors make inferences when they diagnose conditions by looking at X-rays, MRIs, and communication with the patient; crime scene investigators make inferences when they follow clues like fingerprints, DNA, and footprints to find out how and when the crime was committed; mechanics make inferences when they run diagnostics, tinker around in the engine, and chat with you about how your car is acting to figure out what's wrong under the hood.
Presenting students with a situation without giving them the full story than asking them to guess what happens next is a good way to practice making inferences on given information. Students will have to use your tone, character and action descriptions, and language style and usage to determine what could possibly happen, which what does inferences mean in reading exactly what they'll need to do on a test of their reading comprehension skills.
Most standardized tests for reading comprehension and vocabulary include a multitude of inference questions that challenge students to use context clues to answer questions based on either the vocabulary used or the events that happened in the passage.
Common questions what is aclu stand for reading comprehension tests include:. An inference question will often use the words "suggest" or "infer" right in the tag, what is a female womanizer since your students will be educated about what an inference is and what it is not, they will understand that in order to come to a conclusion, they must use evidence or support presented in the passage.
Once what does inferences mean in reading are able to process this, they can then choose the best answer on multiple-choice tests or write in what bacteria does hydrogen peroxide kill brief explanation on open-ended quizzes. Share Flipboard Email. Kelly Roell. Education Expert. Updated August 19, Cite this Article Format. Roell, Kelly. Inference: A Critical Assumption.
Reading Comprehension Practice Questions. How to Make an Inference in 5 Easy Steps. Making Inferences to Improve Reading Comprehension. How to Assess and Teach Reading Comprehension. Free Inference Worksheets and Exercises. High School Vocabulary in Context Worksheets. Third Grade Reading Comprehension Books. Fourth Grade Reading Comprehension Books. Reading Comprehension Checklist and Questions for Students.
Inference and Reading: A Practical Guide for School-Age Students
Inference can be defined as the process of drawing of a conclusion based on the available evidence plus previous knowledge and experience. In teacher-speak, inference questions are the types of questions that involve reading between the lines. Students are required to make an educated guess, as the answer will not be stated explicitly. Definition of inference. 1: something that is inferred especially: a conclusion or opinion that is formed because of known facts or evidence. 2: the act or process of inferring (see infer): such as. Inference and Reading: Much of what an author writes is implied. Authors expect their readers to fill in the gaps. So, to truly comprehend or understand much of what an author writes, we, as readers, have to use our inference skills. The more we are able to do this the better our inference and reading comprehension becomes.
Authors expect their readers to fill in the gaps. So, to truly comprehend or understand much of what an author writes, we, as readers, have to use our inference skills. The more we are able to do this the better our inference and reading comprehension becomes.
And successful inference of written text is often reliant on us having good word and world knowledge. To have a good vocabulary is important. But perhaps even more important is to have a solid understanding of semantic categories, and the links between words in our mental lexicon, or mental dictionary.
If we are able to access the connections well then our ability to make inferences from complex text is that much stronger. How do we infer?
Successful inferential comprehension requires us to do 3 things. We must use the information presented in the text as our starting point. We look for key words in the text that give us little hints or clues of a hidden meaning. Using our background knowledge, or our world knowledge, we fill in the gaps using the key words to select a best fit answer.
The best way to illustrate this is to use an example from a children's book: Schumann the Shoeman. To give you some background, Schumann the Shoeman is an old style cobbler who lovingly makes pairs of shoes that are true works of art. No two pairs are the same. Example text: 'One grey wintery morning, a shoe factory opened in town. Before long, everyone was wearing the shoes that spilled from its conveyer belts.
The shoes came in just one style - sensible. They came in just one colour - salmon. And they wore out after only one season.
This excerpt is a particularly rich example of effective language written for children, and has much gold buried just beneath the surface. Often, children, particularly those with oral and written language difficulty, need a little push from us to discover for themselves the themes and depth of certain stories. At a literal level, the author presents us with a shoe factory, which makes shoes that everybody buys.
The shoes don't last particularly long in that they wear out after one season. Inference and Reading cont But there's much more going on in the text than is revealed at surface level. We can sense that the author doesn't really approve of this situation. Nothing is stated explicitly, yet we can feel the disapproval nonetheless. We need to dig a little deeper here. We start by identifying the key words. The author repeats the words one grey wintery morning , and one style, one colour, one season.
He adds words such as 'conveyer belts' and 'spilled' to denote a lack of care and absence of originality. At a deeper inferential level, the word 'everyone' carries weight in that it hints that Schumann the Shoeman may face a difficult challenge if he were to lose all his customers to the shoe factory. This then raises the larger world view of the small businessman trying to compete with mega-companies and trans-national corporations. As we can see, there is much that the author is communicating in this one short passage.
The author relies on the reader to use their world knowledge to infer the deeper implications of the impact the shoe factory may have on Schumann the Shoeman's livelihood. A child with reading comprehension difficulty may read this book at a surface level and not dig any deeper.
The child will note only that a new factory has opened and that it makes shoes. The worksheets on this page are highly useful in directing your students' attention to the hidden meaning in much of what they read. To be good at inferencing is to be good at comprehension, which makes reading a far more enjoyable and worthwhile pursuit than simply reading words on a page. Parkin, C. Return from Inference and Reading to the Home Page. All Rights Reserved. Some Colonials U.
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