Fiction Friday- Books to Teach Making Inferences

I'm linking up with Amanda from The Teaching Thief for another Fiction Friday!  My picks are all centered around teaching making inferences.
Ruby Holler is a novel about “trouble twins” named Dallas and Florida, who have grown up living in orphanages and with foster families their entire lives.  An older couple invites them to go on an amazing adventure with them and to live at their cottage in Ruby Holler.  Since the twins are very mistrusting of people, it takes them awhile to warm up to the Moreys.  However, this adventure ends up changing all of their lives forever.   This book has great character development and sparks many great discussion questions.  It’s a perfect book to model and practice making inferences, especially about what the characters are thinking and feeling.

I feel that almost any Chris Van Allsburg book lends itself to teaching making inferences.  “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick” is a series of peculiar pictures with captions at the bottom that make you wonder what is happening.  I photocopy and number the pictures on each page and spread them around the classroom.  Then I have students walk around with a clipboard and paper and record what they can infer from each picture. 

Another great Chris Van Allsburg book I use to teach making inferences is “Just a Dream.”  It’s about a boy who travels to different places around the world in his dream and sees what it would be like if we didn’t take care of our environment.  The students really have to think about what’s going on in each of the pictures.  

My all-time favorite book for teaching primary students to make inferences is “No David” by David Shannon.  Since it’s an (almost) wordless picture book, the students have to figure out what happened in each picture.  For example, when they see David with a bat and then see a broken vase, they need to put two and two together.  We made a class book after reading “No David” this year for which my first graders drew a picture of themselves doing something bad and their parents saying, “No _____!”  Then we shared and practiced inferring what happened in each student’s picture.  They LOVED it and I had never heard them laugh so loud. 

“Tuesday” by David Wiesner is another good one for primary because it’s a wordless picture book and students have to try to put together what has happened in sequence from the pictures alone.

Here is a fun website that has inference riddles that kids love trying to solve.  You could show it on the SMARTboard or simply read them out loud to your students while they guess what object is being described.  I had my students do an extension activity by making their own inference riddles to share with one another.

Here is a great primary website called “What’s in the Bag.”  Students are given three words that describe an object that’s in the mystery bag.  They are then given a picture of three choices of what it could be and they click on their answer.

What are your favorite stories or activities you use to teach making inferences?  


  1. I have a Nook and know exactly what you mean about being able to read in bed with no light...I love it.

    Those books are all terrific. My favorite is Just a Dream.

    Thanks so much for linking up :)

    Fun in Room 4B

  2. I love Chris Van Allsburg and use his books all the time for inferences. I also do the same with "They Mysteries of Harris Burdick" The teacher who had the room before me left his posters for the book! :) I have the students rotate and write their inferences on a post-it, and then place it on the back. Then we compare and see how similar our inferences are as a class.

    Fifth Grade Dugout

  3. I found your blog from Fun in Room 4B's Fabulous Find linky party. I LOVE the "What's in the Bag?" site...thank you for sharing! I'm your newest follower and can't wait to see your posts with great ideas for technology and more! Thanks!

    The REAL Teachers of Orange County

  4. Ooo thanks for the inference suggestions! I read No David to my class last year but just for fun. :)

    Marvelous Multiagers!

  5. What a great post! I think inferring is hard to teach but your selections will make it so much easier for me next year! Thank you so much for writing a blog and sharing all your ideas. I look forward to all you have to say!

  6. You have some great ideas for inferencing!! I just found your blog & I'm your newest follower!! :)
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

  7. Hi Kristin! All of your books are such fabulous picks! I LOVE Ruby Holler. Okay, I LOVE anything written by Sharon Creech. Hehe! I love that you connected all your books to a skill. Such a great teacher move. :) Thanks for linking up!

    The Teaching Thief