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“To infer as we read is to go
beyond literal interpretation and
to open a world of meaning
deeply connected to our lives.”
                                           ~ Ellin Keene
                                  Author of Mosaic of Thought

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                   Making                        Background
                 Connections                     Knowledge
   Questioning                                    (schema)


              Analysis of Text:
               Interpretation/                    Imagination/
                 Judgment                         Visualization
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“Questioning and inferring
work in tandem to enhance
understanding of text.”
                              ~ Harvey & Goudvis
                    Authors of Strategies That Work

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Students‟ language
provides a clue to
their thinking.

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Readers are able to think
inferentially when they
connect their background of
information, ideas, and
experiences with the text.

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It is important for the reader to
have background knowledge
about a text they are reading if
they are expected to read
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           Word Clues
          + Experience

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Dorothy Strickland shares, “For struggling
readers, it is critical that we not only activate
their knowledge of topics they must read about
and study, but also be aware of situations in
which they have little or no background
knowledge so that we can build essential
understandings before they begin reading.”
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 Predicting is related
   to inferring - - -
what’s the difference?
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“When you read, you use all your
senses.   You see things in your
„mind‟s eye‟ and hear the sounds you
connect to that about which you are
                     ~ Guided Reading the Four Blocks Way

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“Proficient readers use images to
draw conclusions, to create distinct
and unique interpretations of the
text, to recall details significant to the
text, and to recall a text after it has
been read.”
                                            ~ Ellin Keene
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“Inferring is the process of taking
that which is stated in text and
extrapolating it to one‟s life to create
a wholly original interpretation that,
in turn, becomes part of one‟s beliefs
or knowledge.”
                                           ~ Ellin Keene
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             “Proficient readers
             make connections
             between conclusions
             they draw and other
             beliefs or knowledge.”
                            ~ Ellin Keene

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All the processes
work together.
Each works in
concert with
the others to
aid the reader
in comprehending text.
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Step 1 – The teacher explains the strategy
(reading between the lines) using short
scenarios, riddles, or charades that require
students to add up clues and make a
Step 2 – The teacher demonstrates how to
apply the strategy successfully.
Step 3 – The teacher thinks aloud to model
the mental processes he/she uses when
he/she reads.

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• Do several think alouds for this
• Use picture books for students of all
• Students are only observers at this stage.
• Demonstrate the use of sticky notes to
code connections, questions, predictions,
conclusions, judgments, etc.
• Allow students to discuss what they
observed following the think aloud.

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 Use a variety of “lifted text” from different types of
books giving everyone a copy or using the overhead.
 Use whole group to small group model.
 Use short text such as magazine and newspaper
articles and poetry.
 Encourage students to code their inferences with
sticky notes or highlighting.
 Use concept maps, two-column notes, and margin
writing to record thinking.
 Engage students in conversation about their
inferences with the text with partners or whole group.
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 Guide students’ thinking before reading by using
anticipation guides or prediction guides.
 Show students how to do a chapter tour or preview
of nonfiction text to help them make predictions
about the chapter.
 Point out connections between inference and the
other strategies they’ve learned.
 Text sets can be used to have students reflect on
inferences and compare them with different books
within the set.
 Use a book that can create an “anchor” experience
for the class.
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 The teacher gives the students text that is easy
to read on their own.
 Students may practice their strategy alone, in
pairs, or in small groups such as book clubs or
literature circles.
 Students can discuss and compare their
inferences with other students.
 The teacher confers with the students and
gives them feedback.

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Assessing Application of Inference
 Keene’s Major Point Interview
 Anecdotal Records
 Journal Responses
 Other Written Responses

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Fiction and Poetry:
      Allows a variety of interpretation

Nonfiction/Content Area Text:
      Permits a narrow range of
      Best for drawing conclusions,
      predictions, questioning, and
      determining importance
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•Word meanings
•Meanings of text
•Meanings of larger
 themes of texts

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•Predicting Words In Text
 (before reading)
•Vocabulary Strategy:
        Connect Two
•Cloze Technique
•Guess the Covered Word
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• Anaphoric Inferences: A pronoun or noun-
  phrase that refers to a previous text constituent
  or to an entity already introduced in the mental

• Bridging Inferences: These are any inferences that a
  reader needs to systematically or conceptually relate the
  sentence being read with the previous content. These are
  sometimes called backward inferences.

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• Explanation Based Inferences: The event being read
  about is explained by a causal chain or network of previous
  events. These are sometimes called causal antecedent

• Goal Inferences: The reader infers that an agent has a
  motive that explains an intentional action.

• Elaborative Inferences: These are properties of
  entities, facts, and other associations that are not explained
  by causal mechanisms.
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• Predictive Inferences: The reader forecasts what
  events will causally unfold after the current event that is
  being read. These are sometimes called causal consequences
  or forward references.

• Process Inferences: These inferences specify the
  detailed steps, manner, or dynamic characteristics of an
  event as it unfolds.

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   “Art is so much more
 interesting if everything
      isn’t in the picture.
And so it is with inferring.”

From: I Read It But I Don’t Get It ~ Cris Tovani

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