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The ability to comprehend what you are reading is a critical skill to surviving in our modern world. one of the key comprehension skills that primary school students need to develop is inferring.
Inferring helps the reader to understand what is happening in the text they are reading, helps them go beyond the literal meaning of the text and consequently understand the deeper layers of a story. It allows readers to make connections, fill in gaps, and draw conclusions, leading to a more comprehensive understanding of the material.
One key aspect of inferring is that it helps to develop critical thinking skills. Inferential skills require readers to analyse information, draw logical conclusions, and evaluate evidence. These critical thinking abilities are valuable not only in reading but also in other academic subjects and real-life situations.
When students engage with increasingly complex texts, especially those in higher grade levels or academic settings, often contain implicit or implied information. Inferential skills enable readers to navigate and make sense of complex texts by inferring meanings, motives, and intentions.
Below are some tips to help develop your child’s inferring skills whilst reading.
Encourage your child to identify and discuss implicit or implied information in the text. Ask questions like, “What do you think the character is feeling based on their actions?” or “What do you understand about the setting based on the descriptions we have just read?”
Help your child recognise and analyse clues and evidence in the text that can support their inferences. Encourage them to look for details, dialogue, and character actions that can help them draw conclusions.
Guide your child to draw upon their prior knowledge and experiences to make inferences. Discuss how their own experiences and understanding of the world can help them make connections and fill in gaps in the text.
Encourage your child to visualise and imagine the scenes and events described in the text. By creating mental images, they can draw inferences about characters’ emotions, motivations, and the overall story.
Help your child develop the skill of predicting outcomes based on the information provided in the text. Encourage them to consider the characters’ actions, conflicts, and clues to make educated guesses about what might happen next.
Prompt your child to think about the author’s purpose and intent behind the writing. Discuss why the author might have included certain details or left others out, and what implications those choices might have.
Encourage your child to analyse the thoughts, feelings, and motivations of the characters. Ask them to infer how the characters might behave in different situations based on their understanding of the characters’ personalities and traits.
Teach your child to look for subtle or indirect messages conveyed in the text. Help them identify underlying themes, symbolism, or figurative language that can provide deeper insights into the story.
By incorporating these strategies, you can help your child develop their ability to make inferences whilst reading, which will significantly enhance their reading comprehension skills. Inferential skills are crucial for deepening comprehension, promoting critical thinking, and preparing children for academic and real-world challenges. These skills empower readers to go beyond surface-level understanding and engage with texts at a more sophisticated level.