Tag Archives: Inference

Ah Ha! by Jeff Mack

Schema: Frogs, ponds

Inferring: What a fantastic book to use when teaching inferences! Almost wordless, except for the, “ah ha’s,”  the reader must infer the story and the tone of each “ah ha” by looking at the illustrations.

“Aahh!” infers pure happiness and joy as the little frog sits on a rock in the pond. Next a child captures the frog in a jar as a dog grins a happy “Ah Ha!” as it gotcha!

The frog is shown yelling “aahh!” as the boy pours him out of the jar. I infer the frog is a little frightened at this point.

Frog sighs with relief, “ah ha!” as he climbs on the back of a turtle, and the reader can infer that the frog may be thinking he is on a rock like in the beginning of the story.

The turtle pops his head out of the water with an “ah ha!” that may mean dinner!

Frog escapes with an, “aaahh!” before he’s eaten by the turtle.

Frog happily lands on what he infers to be a log with a relieved, “ah ha!” only to find he is on the back of an alligator who is thinking, “ah ha!” We can infer the alligator is thinking about a snack.

Just before the alligator’s teeth snap shut on the frog, he jumps away with an, “aahh!” of fear.

At this point, even the youngest reader is inferring that what the frog lands on is not a blade of grass. Maybe it’s a snake? But no, now he’s landed on the leg of a hungry flamingo whose beak is open with a yummy, “ah ha!” The frog is too quick for the flamingo as he jumps away just in time for the flamingo to bite his own leg with a painful, “aahh!” As three predators chase the frog, he once again finds himself inside the child’s jar, but we can infer he’s not too unhappy about it since he’s being saved from the turtle, flamingo, and the alligator. The child exclaims an excited “ah ha!” as he admires his catch in the jar. As the child is walking away with the frog in the jar, frog says, “ha ha” to his predators. Can we infer taunting?

The lid falls off of the jar as the child is walking so the frog says “ah ha,” as he finds his freedom once more, and says a relaxing, “aahh!” as he lounges in the pond once again.

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems

Schema: Goldilocks stories

Text-to-Text: Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Drawing Conclusions: Find text evidence to support the conclusion that the dinosaurs were setting a trap for Goldilocks.

Synthesis: Can you think of any other morals for the story?

Compare and Contrast: the original story with this one.

Characterization: Find the text where Goldilock’s character is described.

Point of View: The dinosaurs point of view is not the innocent one of the bears, but one of calculating prey looking forward to setting a trap for delicious, chocolate-filled Goldilocks.

Won Ton A Cat Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw

Schema: Choosing a pet from a rescue center or pound

Text-to-self Connections: feeling afraid of new experiences, trusting someone new, having a cat knead your tummy or leg before settling down on it to sleep, training a cat not to scratch furniture,

Inferences: Won Ton has yet to have a good home since he knows bed, bowl, and blankie are normal “so he’s been told.”

Infer: Won Ton threw up in shoe: “sorry about the squishy”

Author’s purpose: to persuade, to inform, or to entertain? mainly to entertain

Mental Images: the “cave” under a bed, toes for worms, baking bread, kneading and baking with a nap

Text-to-Text Connection:Some Cat by Mary Casanova is about a cat who is adopted from a shelter and also has to learn to trust.


Henry’s Heart: A Boy, His Heart, and a New Best Friend by Charise Mericle Harper

Schema: human heart functions, love

Informational Literature: much factual information about the function of the heart is included. Information about foods, exercise, and the function of the parts of the heart are included in the story.

Personification: Henry’s heart is depicted with some human features with eyes a mouth and feelings.

Henry falls in love with a puppy. We finally have an author who thinks about the chaos that is caused by a nude body part and includes a fig leaf to cover that part in the illustration of Henry’s body. This would be a fun book to read around Valentine’s Day.

Cause and Effect: Henry’s heart is effected by the different causes that occur in the story. His heart reacts to the different stimuli with a fast or slow beat.

Drawing Conclusions and Inferring: What do you conclude Henry has fallen in love with when you read the description of the “girl?”


Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

Schema: mysteries, museums

Text-to-text connections: From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg

Cause and Effect: Because Ben was talking on the phone during a storm, the effect was that Ben lost his hearing when lightning struck the phone line.

Characterization: List Ben’s traits: curious, smart, brave to travel alone, good speller and writer, uses any resource available, resourceful for eating food left by others. How are the character traits of Ben and his mother alike?

Drawing Conclusions: Practice drawing conclusions as you read the pictures for Rose’s story. Inference is used to draw the conclusions.

Point of View: author’s: third person, character’s: Ben and Rose

Summarizing: Summarize Rose’s early life up to when she meets Ben

Mental Image: Can you make a mental image of the wolves chasing Ben? Check out the wolves’ diorama from the AMNH in New York City.

Go to the American Museum of Natural History in NYC’s website and look at some of the exhibits online.

Check out the panorama of NYC boroughs at the Queens Museum of History.



The Case of the Library Monster by Dori Hillestad Butler

Schema: Hank the Cowdog series, mysteries, school, therapy dogs

In this story Buddy notices a strange lizard with a blue tongue under some shelves in the library, and since he doesn’t know what it is, he calls it the “library monster.”  The key to the furnace room at the school is missing, and a light fixture in the school office is on the blink. Buddy is a reading therapy dog, and one of the kids he knows, Maya,  seems upset and  Buddy can tell this  by her smell. With lots of watching, running to see, and talking with a dog who lives near the school, Buddy figures out by listening to Maya read to him that the lizard, a skink,  is what he found in the library, and later learns Maya has been hiding it at school because her mother won’t let her keep it at home. She also took the reptile man’s box of mice, and at one point in the story they were loose in the school. Buddy wishes his people would listen to him, but they never do. If they did, they would know why he was running around and who left the note explaining about the lizard, mice, furnace room mystery.

Cause and Effect: Because Buddy could smell something strange, the effect is that he sought out the skink that was loose in the school.

Drawing Conclusions: Buddy draws some conclusions based on what he knows and makes lists of them during the story.

Inference: A key is missing, and then later we see Maya with a key. We can infer that she has the furnace room key that has been missing.  We can also infer that she is hiding something in this room.

Point of View: The story is told from Buddy’s POV.


Arthur Turns Green by Mark Brown

Schema: Earth Day, conservation

Text to text connection: 10 Things I  Can Do to Help My World by Melanie Walsh

D.W., a preschooler, is concerned because she infers that the project Arthur is working on at school is making his hands, and those of her father, and Arthur’s  friend, Buster, turn green. The reader will conclude that it is the paint they are using by carefully looking at the pictures in the book. This is a great story to teach inference to young readers. Once again, with an eagle eye, the reader will find the names, Tolan, Tucker, Isabella, and Skye, Brown’s sons and grandchildren, scattered through the illustrations. This book would be great to pair with a nonfiction book for Earth Day in April.

Inference: D.W. infers the reason that Arthur’s hands are green.

Cause and Effect: Because Arthur is using green paint, the effect is his hands are stained green.


My Mom Has X-Ray Vision by Angela Mcallister

Schema: superheroes, moms knowing when you are doing something you are not supposed to do

Large colorful illustrations feature an African American preschool aged boy and his mother. Matthew’s mother has a great ears and knows him well. He infers that she may be a super hero and that she may have x-ray vision because she tells him to stop jumping on the bed even when he is upstairs and she is downstairs. He decides to test her and hides in the closet, but while he is hiding a neighbor falls out of her window, and his mom suddenly changes into a Wonder Woman type outfit and flies up and saves her.

Inference: Matthew infers that his mom has superhero characteristics

Drawing Conclusions: What conclusions can the reader draw by looking at clues from the illustrations that lead the reader to conclude that Matthew’s mother is a superhero?

The Desperate Dog Writes Again by Eileen Christelow

Schema: families, new moms and dads, getting a second pet, accepting change

Text-to-text connections: Detective LaRue books by Teague, and Help Me, Mr. Mutt! by Stevens

Emma, owned by George, and Hankie, owned by Loretta, are worried about what is happening to their owners, each thinking the other’s owner may be trying to kidnap their own owner, when in fact, they are dating.  To solve the problem they write to an advise column, Ask Queenie.  The setting for writing e-mails is at the public library. The art incorporates picture book and graphic formats with many frames of dialogue along with full page art.

Point of View:  The story is told from George’s dog, Emma’s POV.

Drawing Conclusions: George and Emma both conclude that their owners need help.  Find text evidence that supports their conclusions.

Synthesis:  Share situations that are like Emma’s such as when a parent begins dating, getting a new brother or sister, when a new pet is added to the home and how the other pets react

Predicting: Predict what Loretta will do after she gets the dogs out of the dumpster…bath time!

The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan

Schema: Dust bowl, Great Depression, bullies, superheroes, sisters and brothers

Author’s purpose: to entertain and inform about the depression

Inference: The family was leaving Kansas, but then when the mysterious figure runs in front of the car, it seems that the family didn’t end up leaving Kansas. We may infer that the sudden stop caused the car to break down as we see the father working on the car after that.

Cause and Effect: Because of the drought, the effect is that the economy is depressed and people are out of work.

POV: The story is told from Jack’s POV.

Text-to-text connection: The Wizard of Oz

Text-to-self connection: wanting a parent’s attention

Characterization of Jack: Describe all of Jack’s traits such as his caring for his sisters, his desire to be loved by his father, his longing to help with the farm, his courage to confront the Storm Man and capture the thunder, his manner in dealing with the bullies, and the relationship he has with the Ernie.

Historical Fiction: Times were truly hard for the lack of rain during the 1930’s in Kansas, an area called the “Dust Bowl” because of the dry dusty soil that blew away because of the drought.  In order to survive and grow what feed they could for their cattle, the farmers would have jackrabbit drives, where they would round up the jack rabbits and club them to death.  Most of the rabbits would then be fed to other animals.  The people were afraid to eat them because of jackrabbit fever. The books provides a candid view of what life was like for people during this time period.

Drawing Conclusions: What do you conclude is the reason that Ernie tells Jack the stories he shares with him?

Synthesis: Can you think of another hard time in history where some type of superhero could have changed the harshness to happiness?  What would be the hero’s super powers?

This book is on the Texas Bluebonnet 2011 nominee list, written on a 2.3 AR level, and begins with the curse word “damn.”  Following on into the story the author injected two more “hell’s” andin my personal opinion the curse words were unnecessary.