Something to Infer About

This week I’m giving a workshop for Kindergarten, Grades 1, 2 and 3 teachers on Developing Inference Skills.

256px-Jack_escaping_from_the_GiantTo my way of thinking, inference is not taught, but inspired through storytelling.  (It is true that I think, just about everything worthwhile begins with a good story well told.)

The trick is not to teach inference, but to guide them to it.  When kids listen to stories deeply, they naturally make connections.

To borrow a sentiment from the Bonnie Raitt song, Lets Give Them Something to Talk About, I think the first step is to give them something to infer about!

I have yet to meet a child who can resist the lure of Once Upon A Time…  who’s heart rate, like Jack’s, doesn’t increase with the appearance of the giant at the top of the beanstalk and who doesn’t smile when they all lived happily ever after.

So much can happen in the imagination when listening to a story and it is there, in that magical world of the make-believe that inferences are made.

Happy Storytelling!

Cheryl Thornton


Filed under Art in Education, Character Education, Children, Creativity, Education, Elementary schools, Fariytales, Folktales, Myths, Stories, Storytelling

4 responses to “Something to Infer About

  1. Matthew Giffin

    I like it!

  2. I’d love to know about how you develop inference skills in kids. Do you do any sort of exercise with them after you read your story to them?

    • After telling the story, I ask kids to name their favourite part or what they thought was funny or scary or amazing. Once they begin to talk, they naturally make connections between the story and something they’ve seen, read, experienced, etc. I can ask more questions, like, “Do you think that really happened? What would you do if that happened to you?”, etc.

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