Inferencing and Predicting Goal Ideas
- Given a picture from a picture book, NAME will make an inference and describe a clue that contributed to his inference in 4 out of 5 opportunities provided minimal verbal cues.
- Given a photo or presented scenario, NAME will make a prediction about what might happen next in 3 out of 5 opportunities across 2 sessions.
- Given a short story read aloud by the SLP, NAME will make a prediction about what might happen next with 70% accuracy across 2 data collection
- Given a photo or presented scenario, NAME will answer inferential questions with 65% accuracy across 3 consecutive sessions.
- NAME will answer inferential questions about a short story in 75% of opportunities given a familiar visual in 4 out of 5 sessions.
- After a picture book is read aloud, NAME will use their inferencing skills to make connections to their own experiences or background knowledge at least 75% of the time, as measured by SLP data collection and classroom observation.
Read more about my goals here.
Teaching Inferencing and Predicting Skills
It’s no secret that children with language disorders struggle with inferencing. As a little refresher, there are two main types of inferences:
Text-based inferences connect information you are reading/hearing with information you’ve already read/heard (information from the same book, text, movie, podcast, etc…). Learners look for clues in the story or text itself – what do you see/what did you read?
Knowledge-based inferences combine what you already know (your background knowledge) with what you’re hearing/learning/reading. Learners look for clues in their brain – what do you know/remember? what does this remind you of?
Children with language difficulties tend to struggle more with knowledge-based inferences (Kenyon, 2018). I’d hypothesis that one reason this might be true is because text-based inferences typically require recently acquired or heard information whereas knowledge-based inferences require background knowledge, or information you maybe haven’t thought of or recalled in a while.
To break down the important skill of inferencing, I like to start with real pictures.
This allows me to directly teach the concept of inferencing, provide clear steps and visuals, and lots of structured practice opportunities.
The four steps to inferencing and predicting that I use with my learners is:
Look – In this picture, I see….
Think – This reminds me of…
Infer – I think this means…
Predict – Next, I think they will…
Other common questions I ask are “What are they thinking?”, “What are they doing?”, and “How do you know?”.
Inferencing and Predicting in Context
To level up your inference interventions, target inferencing and predicting in context using texts and picture books.
Some great prompting questions I use in my therapy sessions are shown in the image below:
Click here to check out some research that gives you the order for when these different types of inferences develop.
For students at a higher language level, I love using short narrative texts to practice making simple text-based and knowledge-based inferences.
As it seems with several language skills, making inferences using narratives texts is generally an easier task than when using non-fiction texts. Once your students are ready to move onto making inferences from more complex non-fiction texts, I’d recommend finding passages on ReadWorks like this one.