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Putnam County R-I Schools

Elementary School

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Read Between the Lines

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    Learning to infer or "read between the lines" is one key to good reading comprehension.  To be able to infer, a person must rely on their background experiences and the author's clues.  Consider these tips for helping your child make inferences when reading:

    Describe the setting:  Pick a book and read a few sentences to your child (without him seeing the book).  Leave out words that name the setting.  Example:  "Sand stretched in all directions and cacti dotted the landscape."  Can he infer where the story is set?  If he isn't sure, give him a hint.  ("Where do you see lots of sand and cacti?")

 

    Look for lessons:  Fables are great for "reading between the lines".  Read one and help your child figure out the lesson.  For instance, The Tortoise and the Hare teaches that even if you're slow, you can win if you just keep going.  Have your child point out the parts that he used to make his inference.  ("The tortoise never stopped, and he took one good step after another.")

 

    Use prompts: Questions that start with "Why do you think....?" or "How do you know....?" can encourage your child to infer.  You might ask why he thinks a character behaved the way he did or how he knows it's going to snow.  Together, look for clues in the book that may help him answer the questions. 

    Learning to infer is a powerful tool that all readers need to have in their reading toolbox.