A child can learn inference skills with graphic organizers.
Learning inference skills is an important part of thinking processes that help in understanding higher learning concepts. Inference skills are the most important “sub-skill” related to comprehension, according to Kathryn S. Carr in The Reading Teacher, February 1983. Inference simply means that the student combines prior knowledge with facts, or clues, provided in the text to derive meaning or determine what will happen next. Graphic organizers are visual teaching tools that arrange thoughts, by writing them onto paper, so the student can easily see the steps needed to learn. You can use graphic organizers to teach inference skills.
1. Use the marker to draw a graph containing 3 columns, on a blank piece of paper. Draw a horizontal line across the top portion of the graph to make space for the headers.
2. Use a pen to label the first column header “I Think.” Select a portion of a story book and ask the child “What do you think will happen next?” This is where the inference skill comes into play. Use a pencil to fill in this column with the responses of inferences the child gives.
3. Label the second column header “Facts” or “Clues,” using a pen. Use the word “clue” if you want to make the child feel more like the learning process is a game like a spy mission.
4. Look through the text and at pictures in the story, to discover the factual evidence given by the author and illustrator. Use a pencil to fill in the second column, by writing down these facts.
5. Use the pen to label the third column “What Really Happened.” After you have gathered the clues and used inference skills, it is now time to go back to the story and find out if the child’s inference was correct. Not every story or picture will provide this answer.