Module Six: Activity 1

"Mining" a text for ideas – Strategy 1 or 2

Complete the readings for Module 6.

Select one of the strategies, design a lesson, field test this reading strategy in your classroom, then write a reflection of the field test results and observations.

Review the rubric before beginning the assignmentDiscussion Rubric


Here are two strategies for successfully training readers in making an inference. Both highlight the importance of using actual text to anchor an inference a student is making.

  pointing hand    

Develop a lesson plan for one of the two strategies and complete the Strategy Field Testing Form.

 Choose one strategy for Field Testing.


Strategy 1 — Cartoon Cloud Boxes

Step 1 - Select a short, high interest, inference-rich passage or a page from your text and make classroom copies for all students.

Step 2 - Leave room around the borders of the text for a series of blank cartoon cloud boxes. Surround the text with cloud boxes.  Use these cloud boxes like those used in comic books.  Characters in comic books and cartoons have a bubble above their heads inside of which are the words they are saying or thinking. If it is a thought, the bubble is connected by a series of dots or small circles to the character’s head. If it is a direct quote, the box has an arrow pointing to the character speaking.

Click here for some speech and thought bubbles that you may use on your text analysis hand-outs.

Step 3 -  As students read the text, have them fill in the cloud boxes with any inferences they are making, but make sure they connect the cartoon cloud box to the exact text that gave them the idea/information for the inference. Have them draw an arrow to the text referent. All inferences must be rooted in text.

Task -  Now that you understand the strategy, complete a Field Test Form that incorporates this strategy with a specific content lesson. Include some of the inferences you would expect students would make while reading this text in your description / explanation of the lesson.

~ OR ~

Strategy 2 — T Chart

Step 1 - Select an inference-rich passage from your text or other source.

Step 2 - Create a T chart graphic . . .


. . . with the following headings:

  • Reading Between the Lines, I See… — above the left side of the T crossbar. 
  • Words or phrases that gave me the idea — above the right side of the T crossbar.
Download this Word document of the T-chart.

Step 3 - Students proceed reading the passage, writing their inferences under the left hand side of the T crossbar. Then under the right hand side crossbar they copy the text that triggered the inference.

Task - Now that you understand the strategy, complete a Field Test Form that incorporates this strategy with a specific content lesson. In your description / explanation of the lesson include some of the information you would expect students to fill in the chart as they complete the lesson.

Tips for Teaching Inference Skills

Study the following guidelines for inference strategy instruction. If you wish, combine any of these with your choice of strategy #1 or #2.

  1. Begin with a non-print context such as a clip from a video, poster or even better, a picture book.
  2. Use a short read aloud passage combined with a think aloud approach, and walk students through inferences that you are making as you read a text. Have students practice this in pairs with similar short passages.
  3. To discourage wild guessing and pure speculation, always insist that students refer to specific words or passages that act as triggers for an inference.
  4. Unusual sources for learning to inference are political cartoons, bumper stickers, magazine ads and billboards.
  5. Use sticky notes / Post-Its to link an inference to the print text.

Please continue to Activity 2.