Mentor Monday is back this week! The topic today is Making Inferences. This can be difficult for many students, and nearly impossible for some students (like my son, who is autistic). They need a lot of practice and direct instruction to model this and really think about their reading. I have found that a lot of the times, students make inferences without realizing that is what they are doing!
One of my favorite books to use for this topic is Babushka’s Doll. Not only is it written by my favorite author, Patricia Polacco (LOVE her!), but it is also relateable for the kids. Natasha, the main character, is very impatient and wants her grandmother (Babushka) to stop what she is doing in order to help Natasha with something. However, the book never actually SAYS Natasha is impatient. Polacco paints this picture by using phrases such as, “I want to swing now,” and “I want to go now.” I remember when I first read this story that I caught myself making Natasha’s voice sound more and more whiny as I read. That is when I knew it would be perfect for teaching inferences!
Later, Natasha notices a doll that she hasn’t seen before. Babushka tells her that she has only played with it once and that she can play with it if she wants. While Babushka runs an errand, Natasha decides to play with the doll and it…..well, you will have to read it to see how similar to Natasha the doll ends up being! But, to give you a hint, you will be able to teach some inferences while deciding why Babushka only played with the doll one time!
If you want to learn more about making inferences, Strategies that Work, Reading with Meaning, and Mosaic of Thought are FANTASTIC resources with plenty of ideas for your classroom! What books do YOU like to use for teaching inferences? I can’t wait to hear your ideas!