Making Inferences from Context

Contributor: Jessica Buch. Lesson ID: 10168

Be a text detective! Learn to read between the lines and make inferences to make reading more fun! With fun videos and stories, learn the secrets to making inferences and finding clues in the text!



learning style
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Primary (K-2), Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Good readers makes inferences.

  • What is an inference?

It's when we "read between the lines" when we read. We look for clues for the meaning using what we already know about the topic.

  • For example, what can you infer from this sentence?

"Ted played games, ate cake and ice cream, then watched his friend open gifts."

  • What can you infer from those activities?

In this lesson, you'll learn the secrets to reading between the lines!

As readers, sometimes we are asked to infer, or make, conclusions about the story — even when the author doesn’t tell us everything.

This is sometimes called "reading between the lines." Check out this McGraw-Hill Education PreK-12 video, Introduction to Reading Skills: Making Inferences, to help you get started with making inferences:

To read between the lines and make inferences, there are four things you need to do as you read:

  1. Activate your background knowledge. That means, even before you read, you think about what you ALREADY know about the topic.

  1. Look for clues as you read. Sometimes, the author adds unexpected information. It might be a clue!

  1. Ask questions as you read. If something puzzles you or doesn't make sense as you read, ask questions or write them down.

  1. Make conclusions. Many times, our questions are answered by the end of the story and we can make a conclusion.

For example, if you're at the library and you pick up a book with a baseball player on the cover, you probably are starting to think about what you already know about baseball.

  • As you read the first few pages, you see the author included some interesting facts about baseball that were new to you.
  • When you get to a part about a team that hasn't won the World Series in over 100 years, you start to ask yourself some questions.
  • When you find out the team that hasn't won the World Series for over 100 years is the Chicago Cubs, you can make a conclusion, or infer, that their fans are either very loyal or very crazy.

Continue on to the Got It? section to practice making inferences.

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