As a tutor for nine years, I get this question a lot. One of my students will always ask, “What is an inference?”
If I gave the textbook definition, “a conclusion reached on the basis of evidence and reasoning,” the student would look at me as if I had two heads.
Students need to infer in every subject area: reading, math (word problems), science (experimental outcomes), and social studies. It allows children and even adults to a find a deeper, hidden meaning in the stories we read.
Instead of giving the textbook definition, I go through these simple steps during a tutoring session.
1. Relate to the Student
Question: If your best friend (Insert Name), comes to school with you one day and he is holding his stomach, sweaty, pale, and didn’t come to school with you the next day, what can you infer?
Answer: He is sick!
2. Relate to Life
Question: What necessary skill does a detective need to solve a crime?
Answer: He needs to infer!
3. Relate to Reading
An inference is an educated guess. As a student, your job is to take all the clues in the passage just like a detective and come up with the best answer.
Now, it is time to start reading passages and practice inference questions.
I also remind students that inference questions can look different. Be on the lookout for other words such as conclude, imply, guess, assume, predict, suggest, and even analogous.
At Think Tutoring, our students learn and master inference skills starting in Pre-K and work on this comprehension skill until our students leave Think Tutoring in 12th grade. Think Tutoring is offering 15% off our reading programs for the month of March.
Call 973-593-0050 for more information. Exclusions apply.