Making Inferences & Predictions in a Story: High School Lesson Plan

Making Inferences & Predictions in a Story: High School Lesson Plan
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A Lesson Learned

I got this letter from a former student not long ago:

Dear teacher,

You may not remember me, but I was in your class years ago. Nothing interested me other than baseball. One day you gave this great lesson on making predictions in a story. I went on to play professional baseball – I was quite the hit king, by the way. I also managed the team for a while. It got boring, so I took your lesson on making predictions in a story and converted it to making predictions on my own baseball team. Maybe you could share that Lesson Plan, the one about making predictions, with the world.



Inferences v. Predictions

My cousin used to hold his three fingers up and tell me to read between the lines. I had no idea what he meant until I had a teacher mention in her making inferences lesson plan that reading between the lines is another expression for making inferences. Some call it making an educated guess.

  • When making inferences you are making a logical guess using evidence from the text, your own knowledge, and common sense.
  • Making inferences also involves finding deeper meanings in events and situations, meanings that are not explicit.
  • When you make an inference about the future, it is a prediction.
  • Developing skills in making inferences and making predictions is a critical aspect of becoming a master of words and of literature.
  • Making inferences and predictions (especially in Vegas) helps make more sense of life.

Handy Tips For Students

Strategies For Making Inferences

  1. Look for details that reveal important aspects of setting, plot, and character.
  2. Use common sense and prior knowledge to make connections.
  3. Analyze a character’s actions and words to determine his or her values.
  4. Pay attention to how the narrator or characters make inferences.
  5. Analyze your thought process and determine whether or not you are using faulty logic or jumping to conclusions.

Strategies For Making Predictions

  1. Determine what motivates a character, what are his values, and predict what his next action will be.
  2. Use character history to predict character future.
  3. Be ready for surprises. If the plot went exactly as expected, it probably wouldn’t be very interesting.
  4. Clarify and adapt your predictions as you read.


Make a three column inference chart and fill it out as you read:

  1. Label the left column Character.
  2. Label the middle column Details.
  3. Label the right column Inference.

Make a three column prediction chart and fill it out as you read:

  1. Label the left column Situation.
  2. Label the middle column Past Behavior or Character’s Values.
  3. Label the right column Prediction.

An even better option is to use individual white boards and have students write inferences and predictions as you read. Class participation will increase.

This post is part of the series: Reading Literature Lesson Plans

Help students read better with these great lesson plans

  1. Lesson Plan: Making Inferences and Predictions in Literature
  2. Teaching Reading Skills Lesson Plan: Strategies for Reading Comprehension
  3. Lesson Plan: Analyzing an Author’s Style in Literature
  4. Reading Comprehension Strategies: How Writers Organize
  5. Strategy for Reading Modern Poetry