Introduction to Making Predictions and Inferences

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SWBAT make predictions and inferences about events in the text based on evidence.

Big Idea

We start with a simple text so that we can build a foundation for understanding what we need to do to make good predictions and inferences.


Common Core Connection:

In reading literature and informational texts it is important that the reader be able to make predictions and infer meanings in order to fully understand what is being read.  Though proficient readers do these things with automaticity and might not even be aware that they are doing them, first graders need explicit support in learning these strategies before they become automatic.  In this lesson, I focus on asking and answering questions (RL1.1) as a way of getting students to predict and infer about the text.

Lesson Overview:

In this introductory lesson on predicting and inferring I opted to use the reading selection from my Houghton Mifflin reading series.  I did this because the concept of predicting and inferring is new to nearly all of my students, and the selection, Mr. C’s Dinner, is written on a level that most of my students can read. Starting out with a simple text makes it easy to explain, or teach, how to make a prediction or inference. Then we can build on this foundation towards predicting and inferring using more complex texts.



5 minutes

As my students settled at their desks I explained this week we were going to learn about making predictions, making inferences, and drawing conclusions.  I explained a prediction is when we make a good guess about what will happen next in a story based on what we already know about the text and pictures, and an inference is when we make a good guess about what is going on right now in the story, again, based on what we know from the text and picture clues.  I then told students we would work on drawing a conclusion, which is using clues the author gives and what we know from our experiences to help us understand what we are reading about, later this week.

Guided Practice

15 minutes

Moving on I then had my students take their anthologies out of their desks and open to Mr. C’s Dinner.  Before we started reading I had my students take a moment to look the front cover and asked them what they predicted this story was going to be about.  After a moment I had my students whisper their predictions in their hands and write them in their journals.  I then used the magic cup (Demonstration: Magic Cup) to select three students to share their predictions and why they are good predictions with the class.  These three students predicted this story would be about a fancy dinner because there was a covered plate and flowers on the table, about a restaurant because of the table cloth on the table and flowers, and about a person named Mr. C who liked to eat.  As these students shared their predictions the rest of the class showed me they thought these were good predictions by showing a thumb up (Demonstration: Thumb Up, Thumb Down).  I agreed and re-stated a prediction is making a good guess to figure out what will happen next, and making an inference is using what they already know or by picture clues to make a good guess about the story or words.

We then began to read Mr. C’s Dinner, to do this I used the magic cup to select students to read a couple of pages, while students were reading out loud the rest of the class is looking at the words with their eyes, pointing to the words with their fingers, and listening with their ears.  In this lesson stopped the reader after the second sentence, “Sid Fox got a paper in his box.”  After giving my students a moment to think about and whisper in their hands what they thought the passage meant, I called on a student to share.  Usually my students understand that getting a paper in a box means getting mail.  At this point we had a brief discussion that even though it does not say “letter in a box” they understood because they know mail comes in the mail box, as seen in the Making an Inference video clip.

As we continued reading I stopped at key phrases and asked students to make a prediction or inference, and I had my students think, partner share, and class share their thoughts about these questions:

  • What kind of paper did the animal friends get?
  • Who do you think Mr. C is?
  • What story details help you predict who Mr. C is?
  • Who was afraid of Mr. C?
  • How did you figure out what ‘backing away’ meant?

When we finished reading Mr. C’s Dinner, I had my students share with their table partner what prediction and inference is.  When they finished sharing, I used the magic cup to select a partner pair to share their answers with the class.  These two students shared that: “A prediction is a good guess about what will happen next using pictures and what you know, and an inference is when you have to make a good guess about what is happening now using pictures and what you know.”  With that explanation we moved to the collaborative part of the lesson.

Collaborative Activity

15 minutes

After having my students stand up to stretch and they were settled back in their seats, I displayed the Mr. C’s Dinner: Predict and Infer activity sheet on the Promethean board.  I explained that they would work with a partner to re-read the story and complete the activity sheet.  Once they were all seated with their partners, I passed out their copies of the Mr. C's Predict and Infer Activity Sheet.  After passing out their copies I used the magic cup to select a student to re-state the directions to the class. When I was satisfied that my students understood the directions I set the timer for 15 minutes and walked amongst my students to make sure they were on task or fully understood their directions.  I then pulled my Beginning Reading group to work with me.  With this group I had them re-read the story and I read the questions to them.  By working with them like this, they were able to finish the activity.

At the end of 15 minutes, I used the magic cup to select two student pairs to share their activity sheets on the doc-u-cam with the class while sharing their answers.  As these students shared the rest of the class showed me by using their thumbs if they agreed with the answers. 

When we finished this activity I had my students re-group in their leveled reading groups in preparation to continue in the independent block of the lesson.

Independent Practice

15 minutes

In this block time my students rotate every 15 to 20 to different work areas.  Two areas that I always include are journal writing and leveled differentiated reading instruction.  During the journal writing part of the lesson I have my students write to a prompt that pertains to the lesson objective.  This helps my students remember, understand, and apply what the lesson was about.  It also gives them the opportunity to express themselves creatively when they draw a picture to go with their journal writing.

The prompt I put on the Promethean board: Explain the difference between a prediction and an inference.

For my less independent students I wrote: A prediction is ___.  An inference is ___.

I quickly check each journal for completeness, convictions, and demonstrated understandings when my students rotate to my reading group.

Ticket Out the Door

5 minutes

I gave my students a ticket when they showed me their original journal prediction they wrote at the beginning of this lesson, and explained if it matched what the story turned out to be.