Good readers use their prior knowledge and the information they gather as they read to develop their understanding of the text. They will make predictions, create questions, seek answers, draw conclusions and generate interpretations.
The information used in these processes is inferred or implied which means it is not clearly stated on the page.
Marzano (2010) lists four questions to facilitate a discussion about inferences:
- What is my inference (conclusion, interpretation or opinion)?
- What information did I use to make this inference (conclusion, interpretation or opinion)?
- How good was my thinking?
- Do I need to change my thinking?
“Meaning is found between the ears, not between the lines.”
– Susan Zimmermann (7 Keys to Comprehension: How to Help Your Kids Read It and Get It!)
What you can do at home
- As you read together encourage your child to talk and think about their reading by sharing ideas as equals.
- Ask them what information did they use to make this inference.
- Focus on the thinking, rather than right or wrong answers. Even though later on in the text a alternative answer may come up show them that the thinking they did was important.
- Encourage them to work out unknown words by make inferences from the picture or context clues. Approach solving unknown words as a puzzle that they can put together.