I designed a new unit this month, focusing on making inferences and predictions. Making a “smart guess” based on clues from what someone else says, or from written text, is something that children are often asked to do in school. When interacting with fiction, students frequently are asked to predict what will happen next or how the story will end. For students who have language disabilities, these skills can be hard.

We started with the poem “The Secret Place” by Tommy DePaula. I put the poem on a powerpoint presentation, with one line of the poem on each slide. After each line the students made smart guesses about what was happening. As we learned more, the students changed their guesses to match the new information. The poem has a surprise ending which was very fun to discover. You can find the powerpoint here in my TPT store (it’s free!).

We read “Suddenly!” by Colin McNaughton as a whole class. Each page set up a situation where Preston the Pig was about to be eaten by the hungry wolf. But SUDDENLY! something would happen to change the outcome. The students used clues from the picture and from what Preson said and did to infer WHY the wolf was unable to eat him! It is a very fun book, with lots of opportunities to make inferences and predictions.

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“I Like Your Buttons” was our next book. This book featured a cause-and-effect chain of reactions between people, as one person did something nice for someone else, who passed along their good feelings to someone else, who passed them along to someone else. I chose this book because it gave practice inferring feelings of other people, which lead to actions (a critical skill for social development!).

Our last book was my favorite of this unit – I Need My Monster! A boy discovers that his normal under-the-bed monster is on vacation, so he receives a series of substitute monsters for the night. Each monster is missing a critical element the boy needs in his monster, which leads perfectly into what we did half-way through the book. We made a list of what we could infer about the boy’s monster, and each student drew a picture of what they inferred the monster to look like. Then we finished reading the book and compared our drawings to the illustrations in the book. CLICK HERE for the freebie worksheet to accompany the book!

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