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Making inferences is a higher-order thinking skill that may seem difficult for many students. However, my purpose today is to show you how easy it can be taught and how much fun your students can have by using their power of observation. Essentially, students learn best when they are given "real-world" examples to make inferences.
What is an inference?
is an educated guess
or a conclusion
about what is happening that is drawn from evidence and reasoning. The viewer or reader uses his knowledge and information come up with one or more possible reasons for a particular event. In many cases, the conclusion may not be accurate, however, the power of reasoning can be used convincingly. For example, take a look at picture A.
OBSERVATION: The rose is wet.
POSSIBLE INFERENCES: (1) Rain fell.
(2) It is morning dew.
(3) The sprinkler was on.
All these conclusions are based on both reasoning and background knowledge. The true answer may not be know as to why the rose is really wet, however, the list of possible inferences are good answers.
Let's take a look at another picture.
: The girl is getting her face painted.
he's at a birthday party.
(2) She's an actress.
Any of these inferences can be true but it is the viewer's responsibility to give a good reason for his answer. Without the reasoning many readers can be lost or may challenge the inferences.
Resources for Teaching Inference to Young Viewers
I created a set of printables for students who need some extra practice with this skill. They are asked to look at a picture and use their experience along with details from the pictures to make an 'educated guess'. This is a great set for budding readers for building reading comprehension skills.
Also here's a list of suggested titles that can be used to teach inference.