The second graders at All Saints Catholic School in Manassas, Virginia, have been working on developing their inferencing skills in the Title One reading class with Ms. DeAngelis.

What Is An Inference?


An inference is

using what you already know

What you already know


evidence from the text


to read “in between the lines” and
figure out what the author is saying.

read between the lines



According to ,“Observations occur when we can see something happening. In contrast, inferences are what we figure out based on an experience. Helping students understand when information is implied, or not directly stated, will improve their skill in drawing conclusions and making inferences. These skills will be needed for all sorts of school assignments, including reading, science and social studies. Inferential thinking is a complex skill that will develop over time and with experience.” 

Good readers infer or “read between the lines” all the time. When reading a story aloud the teacher will guide the students to

  • make predictions, and
  • draw conclusions by making connections to their background knowledge, called schema in the science world.


Following are two examples of the work the Title I second graders at All Saints Catholic School have been doing to develop their inferencing skills.


Using Inferencing Clues to Infer Jobs


In the first assignment Ms. DeAngelis gave the students shorts paragraphs describing someone doing their job. As they read the paragraphs they were to pull out clues from the text and use them to infer what the person’s job was.


Inferencing clues



Using Inferencing Clues to Infer Character Traits

The worksheet below guides the students through the thinking process they need to follow to make their inferences.

Inferencing Character Traits


Before the next assignment, students read Circle of Kindness by Beth Johnson.


After reviewing character traits, the students next applied their inferring skills to match the character’s behavior with character traits that would describe this behavior. See an example of this student work below.

Inferencing Clues about Character Traits