42 of the Best Picture Books to Teach Inference

42 of the Best Picture Books to Teach Inference

Inferring is difficult, but using picture books to teach inference makes the process easier for many children. Explore 40 of the best books to use, and a list of inference discussion questions you can adapt for any book.

42 of the Beat Picture Books to Teach Inference

What is Inferring?

Making inferences involves reading between the lines by analysing what is not directly stated by the author. Students can do this by using text, illustrations, and their own experiences and knowledge.

Using picture books, particularly wordless ones, are a wonderful teaching tool to give your students to opportunity to use obvious facts, reasoning and the illustrations to make an inference about something in the book. (See example discussion questions after the book recommendations).

It is easy for children to confuse inference with prediction, but there is a difference.
Inference involves the reader making an educated guess based on information in the book and their own knowledge.
Prediction is what the reader thinks will happen in the story and will be confirmed (or not) while reading.

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Picture Books to Teach Inference

During a read-aloud session use these books to teach inference and focus on asking your students to read between the lines when information is implied by the text or illustrations.

Wordless books are particularly useful books to teach inference. You can find more information about wordless books at 7 Reasons Why Wordless Picture Books are so Powerful.

Inference Discussion Questions

  • What is [character] doing
  • Where is [character]?
  • Why is [character]….?
  • Why do you think [character]…?
  • When did the situation/event happen? How do you know?
  • How do you think [character] feels about situation/event?
  • Why was it important to [character] …?
  • Why do you think [character] feels…?
  • Why did [character] say…?
  • Why made [character] behave/react in that way?
  • What is [character] thinking about?
  • Why doesn’t [character]…?
  • What can you infer from the illustrations?
  • What was the message of the book?
  • Why did the author…?
  • Why did the author choose [title] as the title?
  • What does [author] want us to learn from the book?

In Conclusion...

What are your favourite books to teach inference? I know there are loads more than the 40 I have recommended. Also, check out this website, Once Upon a Picture. I came across it recently and it has a page with images and inference questions. Using individual picture is another way to get your student inferring.

Further Reading

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42 of the Beat Picture Books to Teach Inference

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