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2 Introduction Have a look at this extract, "The men walked down the streets to the mine with their heads bent close to their chests. In groups of five or six they scurried on. It was impossible to recognize individuals from the small gaps between their caps, pulled down over their eyes, and the tightly bound scarves tied tightly over the bottom half of their faces". Now answer this question: What was the weather like as the men walked to the mine?

3 You should have been able to work out that it was very cold and windy. You probably arrived at this answer because you associated hats pulled down and scarves with winter or cold weather at least. You know from personal experience people keep their heads down when walking against the wind and the author gave you another clue with the word "scurried" which suggests the men were hurrying to reach their destination. To tackle this question you have used the skill of inferring. This is sometimes called 'reading between the lines'. Writers expect you to use this skill to get the most out of any piece of reading. So, to really understand a piece of reading you need to be like Sherlock Holmes and be a first class detective!

4 Inference Inference can be used in several ways to help you respond fully to a piece of reading. You can infer a general fact or a precise piece of information. You can infer emotions and feelings of characters in passage. You can infer information about the author - his/her opinions, feelings, point of view.

5 To infer successfully you can: Work out the answer from clues or references in the text. Work out the answer from the connotations of words used in text. Match something in the text to your own understanding, experience or knowledge to come up with the correct answer.

6 Inferring means to take what you know and make a guess. Read the following situations and pick which answer you could infer. If your best friend is not in school one day, you could infer that: They are out sick or on vacation. They are never coming back. They moved to a new state. They went to the wrong school by mistake.

7 If you see someone holding an umbrella, what can you infer: It might rain. They hurt themselves. They live in California. Today is Sunday.

8 If your electricity goes out, you can infer that: A tree fell on the power lines. You will never have lights again. Your water will be off too. Something happened to the power.

9 If a sign in front of a house reads, For Rent, you can infer that: The house is no good to live in. The house comes with furniture inside. The house is brand new. The house needs new occupants.

10 If you forget to study for a test, you can infer that: The teacher will let you take it tomorrow. You might not do well. You will be better off than if you had studied. The teacher will send you to the principal s office.

11 If your teacher is out of school today, you can infer that: You won t have any homework. The substitute teacher will be mean. The rules don t apply for today. The teacher is either sick or out of town.

12 If you see a fire engine on your street, you can infer that: A cat is in a tree. A neighbor accidentally burned himself in the kitchen. The police will show up too. Someone had a type of emergency.

13 If you see someone with a cast on his leg, you can infer that: He will have a cast on his arm too. He broke his leg. He fell off of a horse. He will have to wear the cast for six months.

14 If you get fired from your job, you can infer that: You might get a raise. You did something wrong. You will never get another job again. You were the best worker.

15 If you forget to return your library book, you can infer that: You will have to pay a fine. They will take away your library card. The library must be closed. It was a rainy day.

16 Examples Have a look at the following extract and questions and spot how the clues help you come up with the answer. "Rain lashed against the windows as Jane stamped up and down the room stopping only to check the time on the mantle clock every five minutes. Her book, bought with such enthusiasm the day before, was flung carelessly in the corner beside the abandoned picnic basket. Jane stamped her feet and began to repeat her earlier tedious complaints against nature. Emily merely smiled to herself and carried on reading the newspaper without as much as a nod of the head.

17 Question 1 (question to infer information) What plans did Jane have for the day? Happening Hint the abandoned picnic basket The Answer A picnic

18 Question 2 (question to infer emotion) How would you describe Jane's mood? Happening Hint unable to sit still, watching the clock, fed-up with reading, complaining The Answer Angry, frustrated, bad-tempered and disappointed

19 Question 3 (question to infer author's opinion or point of view) What expression does the author use to suggest her disapproval of the main character? Happening Hint The word tedious has negative connotations and suggests disapproval of Jane's tiresome behavior. The Answer "tedious complaints"

20 Now try a test bite!! All passages used in the exam will be chosen because you can look beyond the surface facts and work out some deeper meanings. Be ready to do this when answering questions. Be a good Reading Detective!

21 Types of Question - Inference "Only those of an imposing stature were chosen to play football by the natural team leaders who emerged every playtime. My chore was to sit behind the goal at the river end of the field and retrieve any balls stupid enough to avoid the grasp of Tam Knight or "Spite" as he was referred to in whispers by most of the lower school. On occasion this meant removing my boots and socks - if I happened to be wearing any that day. This particular day the water was higher than usual and as I tried to reach the ball I slipped off the slimy rock on which I perched and plunged into the murky wetness. While this was bad enough, I stood up just in time to see my left boot float down the river and disappear under the bridge. The roars of laughter and finger pointing were nothing compared to what I would have to endure when I went home bootless. This exercise will help you practice the skill of inferring and check that you know how to look for clues in a reading passage. Here is an extract that will be followed by five statements.

22 Directions: Decide whether each statement is true or false. 1. The narrator was quite small as a child. 2. The narrator enjoyed helping out at playtime. 3. Tam Knight was a popular boy. 4. The narrator came from a wealthy family. 5. The narrator had a happy childhood.

23 The correct answers are: 1. True. He was left out because he did not have the necessary stature and therefore he must have been small. 2. False. If he regarded it as a chore it was not very enjoyable. 3. False. The nasty connotations of Tam's nickname and the way the younger boys reacted to him both suggest he was unpopular. Perhaps you also noticed the way the football was described as stupid for not letting itself be caught! 4. False. The clues suggested money was short - did not always have socks and was very worried about going home bootless. 5. False. The clues make you feel sympathetic towards the boy and what he had to go through.

24

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