5th Grade - Inferences, Conclusions And Generalizations

Reading and Comprehension
Inferences, conclusions and generalizations
Draw inferences, conclusions, or generalizations about text and support them with textual evidence and prior knowledge.
Be able to recognize clues in the text and combine them with what you already know about the world in order to understand things that aren’t directly stated.

Sample Problems


True or False: When you infer, you go beyond the surface details to see other meanings that the details suggest, not state. (true)


What kind of techniques can you use to make inferences? (get a general sense of meaning, find examples, or look for opposites)


True or False: You need to combine what you already know about the world with what the text in order to make meaning. (true)


What is prior knowledge? (the facts, ideas, and information you already have)


True or False: An inference is an evidence-based guess. (true)

Learning Tips



Inferring- “reading between the lines” or using the clues within the text to give you a deeper understanding of your reading.

Implied – something that is suggested or hinted at, not stated.

Prior knowledge- (sometimes called schema) what you know about that world that you bring to the text, such as information, ideas, and experiences.

Cloze activity – (also called a cloze procedure) a passage that has some words missing (such as every fifth word) and is used as a reading tool.

When you read, you need to think about what you already know and combine that with what the text says in order to make meaning, a process which is called inferring or drawing conclusions.

Conclusions are when you put together the text clues to come up with the whole picture. Inferences are when you look at the whole picture and fill in the missing parts.


The World Inside A Book

When you are reading a good book, you may get “lost” in it and be startled or upset if someone interrupts your reading. As you read, you imagine the situation and infer things the author has not told you in the text. You infer why things happen, why characters behave the way they do, and how characters are feeling. You enter the world created by the author, and you create images and inferences based on what the author tells you and your own knowledge and beliefs about that world.

The next time you are reading a chapter in a good book, notice when the author mentions the one of the senses (seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling). At the end of that chapter, write a list of what was mentioned in the book and then fill in the rest with what you think makes sense.


Question as You Read

Inferring and questioning go hand in hand to build understanding. You should ask yourself questions about what you are reading to clarify uncertainty or predict what will happen next. When you ask a question, making an inference is rarely far behind!

Try asking questions as you read. Force yourself to write down an answer, even if you aren’t sure if it is right. Here are some prompts to get you started:

Well, maybe it means….

I wonder….


Illustrate a Poem

As you read novels and even expository texts, you are often expected to infer setting and other important elements, seeing them in your “mind’s eye”. In many poems and novels, the author begins without explicitly telling the reader when or where the story is taking place. You have to determine the setting from the clues that are given.

Choose a poem to read and illustrate. Make sure you draw the elements that are explicitly given, and then add things that also belong. For example, if the poem talks about going on a picnic, you could include food and drinks on a picnic blanket even if they aren’t mentioned outright.



After reading to the middle of a novel, stop and make five predictions about what will happen next or how the book will end. Think about the character’s emotions and how they might act. When you are finished with the book, see how close your predictions were to what actually happened.


Actual Outcomes






Extra Help Problems


True or False: Characters say and do things that help you make inferences about the story. (true)


True or False: An inference is a guess about the story or characters. (true)


True or False: Good readers look for clues. (true)


True or False: You need to infer when the answers to your questions are explicitly stated in the text. (false)


True or False: When explaining your inferences, you should provide specific details, examples, and quotations
from the text to support your claims. (true)


True or False: If you infer that something has happened, you do not see, hear, feel, smell, or taste the actual event. (true)


True or False: Inferences need to make sense with the other information. (true)


True or False: Making inferences means choosing the most likely explanation from the facts at hand. (true)


True or False: Your inferences should rely mainly on the author’s words rather than your own feelings or experience. (true)


True or False: Your goal in making conclusions is to read the author’s mind, not invent your own message. (true)


True or False: Even if your inference goes against a statement in the paragraph, it is still an appropriate or useful inference. (false)


True or False: It’s helpful to make predictions as you read. (true)


True or False: You should be able to actually identify the statements that led you to your conclusion. (true)


True or False: Inferring and questioning go hand in hand to build understanding. (true)


True or False: You should pay close attention to the word choices an author makes, since that can tell you about the general feel for meaning. (true)


True or False: Inferences are on the page for you to find. (false)


True or False: You should pay attention about whether or not your predictions are confirmed or contradicted in the text. (true)


If you are in a car and hear screeching tires and breaking glass, you might infer… (that there was a car accident)


If your mother is frowning, would you think it was a good time to ask for an allowance increase? (no)


If you see broken glass on the sidewalk beside a car, you might infer….(that someone broke into the car)


If your mother is ordering soup for lunch, you would get out which utensils? (spoons)


If someone looks at their watch, they probably want to know….(the time)


If Bill mumbles and rushes through his speech in front of the class, how was he probably feeling? (nervous)


If the streetlights are on, it’s probably what time of day? (nighttime)


If you smell something very stinky in the woods and hear rustling in the leaves, what is probably nearby? (a skunk)


Related Games


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