Tips for Using Picture Books to Teach Inferring

This month I want to share a bit about how I begin teaching about inferring. I love to teach about inferring because I can hook the kids with the idea of being a detective - we search for clues in the pictures and in the text and put it with what we know (our schema) to infer. We make an anchor chart to help us remember what we do to infer.

books for inferring, picture books for inferring

I always start with inferring from pictures.  There are lots of great photos online you can use, but I like to use a resource we have at our school.  The resource is called Let's Talk About It  and the publisher is Mondo!  I use the large flip chart with pictures to provoke conversation.    I model how to make inferences by writing my inferences on post its and sticking them right to the picture.  You could do the same thing with pictures you find or by projecting them on your smartboard.  These are a few of the pictures I use. Some of my inferences for the first picture might be:
 -  I infer the two boys are brothers because they look alike.
 -  I infer that the younger boy is mad and yelling because his mouth is open.
 -  I infer the bigger boy doesn't want to listen because he is plugging his ears.

picture posters for inferring

Once we have a handle on inferring just from looking at pictures we move to picture books.  I have so many that I love to use.  I usually start with the David series by David Shannon.  First graders have no problem relating to him. After I read the book a number of times they have a chance to infer what David might be thinking while he is getting into trouble in the pictures. (this is also a great book to use when teaching Point of View)  You can provide your students with copies of the pictures from the book or they can draw their own scene.  Grab this freebie to use.  It applies to any of the David books even though it has NO David at the top.  Click on the image to get it now

inferring worksheet NO David

Once they are pros at inferring from pictures we start to work on inferring using text clues in picture books.  I love to use The Monster in the Woods and A Wolf at the Door.  These books are great because they have descriptive text that help students to infer about a character in the book.  However, there is a twist in each story.  The ending is not what they are expecting, so it provides a great opportunity to talk about how what you infer may change as you gain more knowledge (schema) or you find more clues in the text.

Grab this freebie to use with A Wolf at the Door.

                                     inferring worksheets

Another one of my faves is Farmer Duck.  There is so much to discuss with this book when it comes to inferring.  We always start with the leading pages that show the farm and the land around it and make inferences about the setting and then move into the text.  We love to infer what duck is saying throughout the text everytime he says QUACK. 

comprehension question cardsI hope you can take something away from this post to use with your students.  These ideas just scratch the surface with inferring.  There is so much more I dive into with many, many other books. When I am working on inferring I keep my comprehension checks ring close by.  This ring contains questions to use with any book for inferring, as well as all of the other comprehension strategies you teach.  If you are interested in this resource click on the picture to be taken to my TPT store.  You can also read more about them in another blog post by clicking {HERE}

Thank you for stopping by my blog.  If you think the content I shared here is valuable, use this image to pin to your Pinterest board.

books to teach inferring  picture books to teach inferrring

Be sure to check out all of the other first grade bloggers who are sharing ideas and information with you!


  1. Thanks for this post, Christina! You chose some great books to use!
    Linda at Primary Inspiration

  2. Thanks for sharing your awesome ideas and for participating in our collaborative linky. :)
    Nicole and Eliceo

  3. I also love teaching about inferring. Students love being little detectives. Michelle Dupuis

  4. Great post! Thank you for sharing!