5th Grade - Drawing Inferences And Conclusions In Oral Reports

Speaking and Listening
Drawing inferences and conclusions in oral reports
Make inferences or draw conclusions based on an oral report.
Be able to recognize verbal and nonverbal messages in a speech and combine them with what you already know about the world in order to understand things that may or may not be directly stated in the speech.

Sample Problems


How can you use to make inferences or draw conclusions from a speech? (Combine your prior knowledge with the impressions and messages you got from the speech)


What is the difference between an inference and a conclusion? (an inference is based on something that is only implied in a speech, while a conclusion is based on something that is explicitly stated)


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


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


True or False: An inference does not need to be based on specific evidence. (false)

Learning Tips



Inference–an evidence-based guess about something not directly stated

Prior knowledge- (sometimes called schema) what you know about that world already, such as facts, beliefs, information, ideas, and experiences.


Making Conclusions from Oral Reports

As you listen to a speech, you probably automatically notice if what the speaker is saying is something you already know or something that is new to you. When you hear something new, you can often draw conclusions from that information.

In order to draw conclusions, fill in this equation:

I know:

The speaker said:



So I conclude:


Drawing Inferences from Oral Reports

Drawing inferences is very similar to making a conclusion, except that inferences are based on things the speaker implies but does not directly state. For example, the speaker may emphasize the person’s name that he thinks you should vote for, but he may claim to leave the final decision up to you.

To draw an inference, follow this equation:

I know:

The speaker implied:



So I infer:


More Than Words

A speaker has more than just words to appeal to the audience. When you read something in a book, the experience is very one-dimensional and flat. When you listen to an oral report, the speaker uses body language, gestures, tone, volume, and many more tools to convince you that his information is believable. All of those things are hints that you can base inferences on. But you must be cautious. Take some time after the speech, when you are out of that situation, to analyze the speaker’s message and make sure it fits with your prior knowledge and values before you agree to it. Sometimes speakers can seem to “cast a spell” over the audience. Just because someone is an effective speaker does not mean he or she should be trusted or believed without question.


Being A Prepared Audience

When you know you are going to listen to a speech about a certain topic, you should consider doing some background research on it. This way, you know the basic facts and issues that will come up during the speech. You can figure out how you feel about an issue before the speech and see if the speaker was effective in changing your mind. Also, come up with questions that you are curious about relating to the topic. The speaker might answer them during the speech, or there might be time at the end to get them answered. You will learn more about the topic if you have done a little work beforehand.

Extra Help Problems


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


True or False: Speakers do things that help you make inferences. (true)


True or False: An inference is a random guess. (false)


True or False: Good listeners pay attention to the speaker’s body language and other nonverbal communication. (true)


True or False: You need to infer when the speaker explicitly states the answers to your questions. (false)


True or False: When explaining your inferences, you should be able to point back to specific statements or observations about the speaker to support your claims. (true)


True or False: If you infer that something has happened, you do not experience 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 speaker’s words rather than your own feelings or experience. (true)


True or False: Your goal in making conclusions is to invent your own message. (false)


True or False: You should draw a conclusion only based what you know before you heard the speech. (false)


True or False: It’s helpful to compare what you already knew to what the speaker is saying. (true)


True or False: You should be able to explain the details that led to your conclusion or inference. (true)


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


True or False: You should pay close attention to a speaker’s nonverbal communication, since that can tell you about things the speaker leaves unsaid. (true)


True or False: An oral report will include everything that is possible to know about a topic. (false)


True or False: You should pay attention about whether or not your predictions are confirmed or contradicted by a speaker. (true)


True or False: A speaker always has a message in mind. (true)


If a speaker is speaking very fast and sweating, how do you think the speaker is feeling? (nervous)


True or False: A speaker often wants to convert the audience to believe his message. (true)


Is it better to draw conclusions and inferences as soon as the speech is over or after thinking it over a while? (after thinking it over)


True or False: Speakers often give clues as to the emotions they want you to tell without telling you to feel a certain way. (true)


True or False: Everything a speaker tells you is true. (false)


In order to be a prepared listener, should you try to research a speaker’s topic beforehand or is it better to not know anything about a topic? (do research beforehand)


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