Making inferences is detective work- seeking clues, solving mysteries, figuring out who did it. It is going beyond the immediately available information, or beyond the facts. Sometimes the clues are obvious and stated directly, but many times they are hidden. To find the clues, examine them and fill in the missing information is what it takes to search for deeper meaning. Authors often imply, or suggest indirectly what they mean; therefore, readers have to infer. Authors don’t expect readers to create inferences out of nothing.
INFERENCE=imply, suggest, hint, refer
To be able to infer, or interpret the meaning of a text you must combine information from what you read with your own knowledge to make a conclusion.
Inference = what you read + what you already know
Take a look at the cartoon from www.cartoonstock.com. http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/r/reading.asp
Assignment 2_04A Search for Deeper Meaning:
Now find two inferences that are most logically based on the information given in the cartoon.
- _____ The mother has a problem with her son’s attitude.
- _____ The little boy must have begged his mother for a playstation and he never uses it.
- _____ The little boy must really enjoy the book he is reading.
- _____ The mother is angry she bought the playstation.
- _____ The boy dislikes playstation.
Here is an explanation of each item:
- This is not a logical inference. The cartoonist would have given us more clues if he wanted us to think that the mother had a problem with the boy’s attitude.
- This inference is not well supported. There aren’t any clues that tell us if the boy begged for the game. In fact, he may have just put the game down and started reading the book when his mom entered the room. The controller is out on the floor after all.
- This inference is well supported by the cartoon. The little boy is reading a book with his back to the playstation game. The mother’s question and the boy’s activity in the picture lead us to believe that the boy really enjoys reading his book.
- This is a logical inference. The mother is has an angry look on her face and is pointing at the game with her hand on her hip.
- This is not a logical inference. Just because the boy is reading now, doesn’t mean he doesn’t like the playstation game.