Make Inferences In Reading Comprehension

Inferring is necessary for meaningful reading.

Inferring is a skill that is necessary for reading comprehension. It involves several processes that simultaneously take place while reading. Inferring, sometimes called “reading between the lines”, is what occurs when the reader draws upon prior knowledge to make a prediction about upcoming events in the story. Good readers infer without realizing it because they read often and become proficient with increased practiced. Inferring aids comprehension by causing the reader to ask questions as they read and use context clues to determine the author’s purpose and meaning of the entire book.


1. Complete pre-reading activities that guide you into inferential thinking. Pre-reading includes skimming the text and previewing the book. To begin previewing the book, read the information on the back or the inside jacket cover that gives details about the plot and characters. Skim any existing chapter titles to get insight about what might happen in the story. This practice builds interest in the story and prompts you to make predictions and generate questions about additional details and meaning.

2. Use prior knowledge from similar experiences to make inferences. This process is called “making connections”. Readers do this when they identify with characters, their conflicts and actions. This is a skill that improves with practice. After you have read a chapter in a fiction book, reflect on the events that just occurred. Ask yourself if anything reminds you of a particular situation you experienced and how you reacted. This practice helps you to make a reasonable inference about what might happen next.

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3. Record your inferences on a graphic organizer. This is a helpful exercise for comprehending the entire book. Free and Reading have free organizers that are easy to complete. When you encounter an unfamiliar word, record the inferred definition based on context clues. After reading, record the actual definition and compare the results. Follow the same procedure when inferring characters’ motives and actions.

4. Practice inferring with online activities. There are free resources available on the Internet that you can access. has an inferring activity that presents the reader with brief scenarios and a multiple-choice selection of reasonable inferences. The player clicks on one answer and the game gives instant feedback on the results.