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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Practical Approaches to Teaching the Reading Skill of Making Inferences

With Common Core, students will need to learn how to make inferences in reading informational texts.  This key academic skill is one that is a must in achieving academic success in school at all grade levels.  It is one of the most important reading skills that determines success or failure in the university, and institutions of higher learning expect that all students come prepared to use that skill (among others) to interact independently with informational text. 

Common Core Standards in all content areas lay the groundwork in transforming students into independent life long learners--learners who will have the skills to find resources and use them to solve real world problems.  To develop this major skill, students must learn how to pull meaning from text on their own.  This takes time and lots of practice.  Here the teacher is the guide who through modeling, using lots of meaningful checks for understanding, including multiple project based learning activities, etc. sets students up to carefully nurture and hone that skill up to that point where teacher guidance is needed less and less.

MAKING INFERENCES offers an insightful look at some approaches to aid students in reading between the lines.  With regular practice where the teacher gradually releases control to students to practice this skill with partners, small groups, and eventually on their own, students perfect the skill and therefore experience increased success in making sense of informational text material with less and less teacher support.  This sight offers a look at activities that demonstrate how to hone this skill.  Tie the skill to what they already know and do--make inferences all the time.  One example from the link is that if a student enters a class with a wet umbrella, other students can safely assume that it is raining outside.  Relate the new to the known.  With this background, proceed to applying this art to text material using the graphic organizer in the clip, one of your own, or ONE FROM FREEOLOGY.

If you have other approaches to teaching this skill, please share it with me and I will post it.  After all, teachers have a reputation for working together to support students:)

Denise

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