Inferring is probably one of the most important strategies we apply to reading and to life. If our boss looks grumpy when we get to work, we could infer that it is probably not the best day to ask for a raise. If our friend looks down, we could infer that she probably needs a hug. Reading someone’s actions, words, and feelings enable us to reach out and connect. Inferring, when applied to reading, allows us the same opportunity. We can use the author’s language or tone to infer additional meaning that might not be spelled out in the text. We can use a character’s personality traits to predict how he/she might react to a particular conflict in a story. Inferring helps us connect and predict and can aid in understanding and finding meaning to help us comprehend.

Inferring is a great tool to use when encountering unfamiliar vocabulary. When readers encounter unfamiliar words, they can use clues from the text, such as a picture, reading ahead, or rereading, to help them get an idea of what the word means. (Make sure they have decoded the unfamiliar word first to check for correct pronunciation, which is often a stumbling block.) Using the clues offered around them and making an inference, they are often able to get the gist of the word. Inferring basically means to read between the lines and get to the deeper meaning. This is another wonderful strategy, when paired with decoding skills, that can help readers understand and comprehend and – most importantly – enjoy what they are reading.

When did you make an inferrance that helped you make a decison?