One way that our students can demonstrate their higher-order thinking skills is to make inferences. When we ask students to infer, they must understand the facts or concepts, apply what they know, analyze and evaluate the content, and then create a new idea. What better activity to support students’ interaction with multiple levels of Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy. When students make inferences, they connect what they know to what they are learning. Research tells us that by connecting new information to what students already know, we increase their capacity for retention.
Good readers realize that reading is an active process and that making inferences is a natural part of interacting with any piece of new information they encounter. They realize that making inferences helps to connect them personally to the information, helps them visualize, and ultimately leads to deeper understanding. Reluctant readers, however, struggle with making inferences for a number of reasons. Furthermore, it is often difficult for many teachers to guide students through the process of making inferences without support, tools, and strategies in place.
This week, Thinkfinity posted a great resource from the South Dakota Education Service Agency that provides insight, resources, tools, and examples of instructional strategies teachers can use to support students as they make inferences. The document, On Target: Strategies to Help Readers Make Meaning through Inferences – Grades 4-12, is a great resource for any teacher who is looking for tools and strategies for supporting students as they make inferences about their reading, advertisements, non-print sources, or even body language.