Literacy 7-12

Systems Change


Factor Connections

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Inferencing, or making connections among outside knowledge, individual experiences, and texts, aids in reading comprehension by helping readers fill in information that may not be literally stated in the text. The ability to make inferences develops with age, as readers begin to make deeper inferences based on their own knowledge, rather than from within the text itself. Understanding content-specific text in middle and high school increasingly calls for higher level Inferencing skills to fully connect Background Knowledge to new information.

Main Ideas

Inferences are made during reading (online inferencing) and after reading (offline inferencing) during metacognitive reflection. This can include making predictions about text as well. Different types of inferences help readers put together a mental image of the text using information found within and outside of a text.

The two main types of inferencing are:

  • Coherence inferences: This type of inference, part of Verbal Reasoning, is the ability to understand the literal meaning of the text. For example, understanding the subject of a sentence when an anaphor (i.e., he, she) is used to replace a noun (antecedent) in a text. This skill becomes more automatic with age but is more difficult with the types of complex texts adolescents read that may have more information between the anaphor and antecedent.
  • Elaborative inferences: This type of inference is higher level and requires readers to use their outside knowledge of the world to create meaning while reading. Adolescent readers need more elaborate Background Knowledge when reading complex content area texts.

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