EL Support Lesson

Citing Inferences

Use this lesson to help your ELs understand how to cite their answers based on inferences they make about a text. It can be a stand-alone lesson or used as support to the lesson Colorful Coding.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theColorful CodingLesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theColorful CodingLesson plan.

Students will be able to distinguish between questions with a directly stated answer and questions with an inferred answer before answering questions about a text.


Students will be able to cite their inferences aloud with signal phrases using strategic grouping.

(5 minutes)
Reading Between the LinesMore Reading Between the LinesTeach Background Knowledge TemplateWrite Student-Facing Language Objectives ReferenceVocabulary Cards: Citing InferencesGlossary: Citing InferencesBuild an Inference
  • Do a picture walk with a book that allows for students to make inferences about a character's emotion or actions and is culturally appropriate for your ELs, such as the book TuesdayBy David Wiesner.
  • Model making inferences using phrases such as "____Leads me to believe____," or "____Suggests that ____." Then, gather background knowledge on students' ability to make inferences by allowing them to share their own inferences and use the modeled sentence frames on their own.
  • Offer corrections or suggestions when necessary and allow other students to add on to the inferences.
  • Explain to students that today they'll practise citing text evidence using introductory phrases to explain their inferences.
(6 minutes)
  • Define InferencesAnd explain that to make the most accurate inference, students need to find text evidence. Define Text evidenceAnd remind them it can be a picture, graph, or the words in a text.
  • Write the following sentence frames on the board and define the new vocabulary words in the sentence frames if necessary:
    • "____Leads me to believe____."
    • "The author suggests ____."
    • "____Suggests that ____."
    • "____Makes me reach the conclusion that ____."
  • Have students create a sentence aloud with their partners using a new vocabulary term of their choice.
  • Ask a student to explain why it's important to know how to correctly reference the text evidence when they are making inferences. Encourage them to use the new vocabulary terms in their explanations.
(6 minutes)
  • Refer to the sentence frames on the board. Ask students to look back at the picture book from the introduction and use the sentence frames when making their inferences. Supply questions to guide their inferences, such as:
    • Why do you think the character ____?
    • What is the genre of the book?
    • How is the character feeling in this picture?
  • Allow students to practise using the sentence frames from the board to support their inferences.
(10 minutes)
  • Display and distribute the Reading Between the Lines worksheet and read the first text aloud. Model making inferences and then finding the text evidence to support your answer. Be sure to underline and mark up the text to support your inference.
  • Choral read the next paragraph together and ask a student to list some details from the paragraph. Then, ask another student to make an inference and cite the text evidence.
  • Pair high-low students together and ask them to complete the worksheet together, but write their own answers. Ask them to alternate reading the paragraphs and making inferences first. Pair high-low students with the same L1 if possible.
  • Circulate the room and monitor students for correct use of the sentence frames. Make sure each student is contributing to the discussion equally.


  • Provide a word bank for the objects and people in the pictures to help them make inferences in their new language (L2). Allow them to elaborate on their answer in their home language (L1).
  • Provide a dictionary or glossary of the difficult words in the worksheets. Give them fewer questions than those listed on the worksheet and allow them to complete the graphic organizer for each question.
  • Allow them to work with advanced ELs to check their answers and provide reading support.


  • Allow advanced ELs to work together on a new picture book walk and make inferences orally. Have them correct each other's answers.
  • Have them read a longer text with more details and use text evidence to make their inferences.
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute the worksheet More Reading Between the Lines and read the directions aloud. Ask students to choose two questions to answer and use the sentence frames to justify their choice in writing.
  • Allow students to read their written justifications to their elbow partners after they've completed the worksheet.
(3 minutes)
  • Ask students to explain the importance of having text evidence when making inferences. Allow them to answer in partners.
  • Follow up the question by asking why it's important to know how to correctly cite the text evidence in the text.
  • Explain that having text evidence and introductory phrases allow people to understand their thinking.

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