Inferences: readers’ detective work

imagesWe’ve been reviewing Dr. Goodreader as we near the end of the school year.  Today we talked about inferences.  First, we discussed types of inferences:

  • Inferring word meaning from context clues,
  • Pronoun resolution:  For example, who does “he” refer to?,
  • Anaphoric resolution: For example,  knowing that computer and Dell refer to the same thing.,
  • Predictions:  inferring what may happen (these need to be reasonable, but it is not necessary that they are accurate),
  • Who’s talking inferences:  determing the speaker when dialogue isn’t labeled,
  • Spatial inferences:  inferring the spatial relationships of people and things,
  • Cause inferences:  inferring the cause of an event,
  • Time inferences:  inferring where you are in time whether involving flashbacks and flashforwards or simply a straight timeline,
  • Emotional inferences:  inferring the characters’ feelings and emotions or what happened given the feelings and emotions of the character,
  • Stretching inferences:  inferring the “whys” and the “what-do-you-think-happens-after-the-book-ends”,
  • Authorial inferences:  why do you think the author wrote this the way he/she did?

We didn’t call them by these names, necessarily.  We gave examples from books we’ve read and are reading.  Then we discussed WHY good readers make inferences.  I thought the kids came up with a pretty good list:

  • To be more involved in the book (especially with predictions),
  • To understand the book,
  • To learn about people,
  • To learn about writing.

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