Picture Books to Teach Inference in the Classroom
Teaching inference is not an easy task. These picture books are a great way to teach inference to your students, no matter their age. You will also find a list of questions to use with these books.
Why Use Picture Books to Teach Inference?
Making inferences involves reading between the lines by analysing what is not directly said by the author. Students can do this by using their own experiences and knowledge along with the text and illustrations.
Teaching inference with picture books, particularly wordless ones, gives your students the opportunity to use facts, reasoning and illustrations to make an inference about something in the book. (See example discussion questions below).
Inference and Prediction
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.
Discussion Questions to Teach Inference
- 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 the situation/event?
- Why was it important to [character] to …?
- Why do you think [character] feels …?
- Why did [character] say …?
- What made [character] behave/react in that way?
- What is [character] thinking about/feeling?
- Why doesn’t [character] …?
- What can you infer from the illustrations?
- Why did the author …?
- Why did the author choose the title [title]?
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Picture Books to Teach Inference
During a read-aloud session use these books to teach inference. 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.
14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy
AAAlligator! by Judith Henderson
The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach
The Boy Who Grew Flowers by Jen Wojtowicz
The Bracelet by Yoshiko Uchida
Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
Draw! by Raúl Colón
Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis
Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee
Flotsam by David Wiesner
Fossil by Bill Thomson
Gleam and Glow by Eve Bunting
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
The Line by Paula Bossio
The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey Wood and Don Wood
The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg
The Night Gardener by Terry Fan
Red by Jan De Kinder
The Royal Bee by Frances and Ginger Park
Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young
Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson
Smoky Night by Eve Bunting
Something Beautiful by Sharon Dennis Wyeth
This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
Tuesday by David Wiesner
Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg
Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole
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What are your favourite books to teach inference?
Using individual pictures is another way to get your student inferring. Check out this website, Once Upon a Picture. I came across it recently and it has a page with images and inference questions.