EL Support Lesson

Inferences and Introductory Phrases

In this lesson, students are asked to cite the text for evidence as they make an inference in a nonfiction text. It can be taught on its own or used as a pre-lesson to Inferences in Nonfiction Texts: Cesar Chavez and Farmworker Rights.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Inferences in Nonfiction Texts: Cesar Chavez and Farmworker Rights lesson plan.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Inferences in Nonfiction Texts: Cesar Chavez and Farmworker Rights lesson plan.

Students will be able to make inferences with evidence from a text on Cesar Chavez.


Students will be able to cite the text with introductory phrases when inferring using a graphic organizer.

(5 minutes)
  • Write the word "evidence" in the middle of a piece of chart paper. Ask students to consider the term evidence and talk to a partner about what they think the word means.
  • Invite them to share their responses and write them down around the word on the chart paper. Affirm their ideas and background knowledge before reading the student-friendly definition of evidence. Elaborate that when readers interact or make meaning of a text, it is important to provide evidence that supports their thinking.
  • Tell students that today they will learn how to cite the text as evidence when making inferences with the help of introductory phrases.
(7 minutes)
  • Distribute a copy of the Glossary to each student.
  • Show the vocabulary cards on the document camera. Read each tiered word aloud along with the student-friendly definition and describe the image if applicable.
  • Instruct students to write "Example/Synonym" in the last column of the Glossary. Show a teacher copy on the document camera and model how to come up with a synonym for the word belongings (e.g., stuff).
  • Instruct students to add to the last column of the Glossary for the rest of the vocabulary words.
  • Provide students with thesauri or allow them to use online dictionaries to look up other examples or synonyms of the remaining words.
  • Invite non-volunteers to come up to the document camera to share their work.
(9 minutes)
  • Distribute the Cite the Text: Introductory Phrases worksheet to students and display a copy on the document camera.
  • Read aloud the information and directions at the top of the worksheet. Emphasize that an introductory phrase prepares the reader to notice that the upcoming part of the sentence is the evidence taken directly from the text.
  • Show students how you underline the introductory phrase in the first sentence. Then, instruct students to work in partners to identify the introductory phrases in the remaining sentences. Ask students to highlight any unknown words and help them find a student-friendly definition.
  • Review the answers as a class on the document camera by asking students to share their work and reasoning.
  • Tell students that they may choose introductory phrases identified in the first part of the worksheet to complete the sentences in the bottom part of the worksheet. Explain that there is no one correct answer for each sentence. Instruct students to complete this exercise independently.
  • Have non-volunteers read aloud their sentences with introductory phrases.
(9 minutes)
  • Hand out a copy of the Introductory Phrases in Inferences worksheet to students and display a teacher copy on the document camera.
  • Make the connection of introductory phrases and inferences as demonstrated in the teaching box.
  • Assign students into effective partnerships.
  • Read the first passage aloud to students and instruct them to read it a second time to a partner. Define any unfamiliar words that arise and make sure that students understand the whole passage. Model your thinking aloud and connect the highlighted parts of the passage that are used as text evidence to support the inference.
  • Instruct students to use the example as a guide to complete the missing pieces of the graphic organizer with their partner. Remind them to choose an introductory phrase to use in the beginning of the text evidence before considering the inference.
  • Circulate to assist students who need help.
  • Combine two sets of pairs to form a group of four and have them compare their answers.


  • Allow beginning ELs to do the work with a helpful partner.
  • Preteach a separate lesson to a small group on predictions and connect them to inferences.
  • Provide bilingual resources such as online dictionaries and glossaries for students to use to look up unfamiliar words.
  • Allow students to complete the formative assessment with a partner.


  • Have advanced ELs read and rephrase directions and word definitions to their classmates.
  • Ask students to make additional inferences from the passages in the Discourse Level Focus.
  • Pair students who speak the same home language together and encourage them to use the L1 to explain their reasoning.
(5 minutes)
  • Hand out an index card to each student.
  • Have them write their name on it. Instruct students to complete this sentence frame to make an inference, using any one of the passages in the Introductory Phrases in Inferences worksheet: "____ (introductory phrase), ____ (text evidence), which leads me to infer that ____."
  • Collect the index cards to gauge students' understanding of the lesson.
(5 minutes)
  • Hand out a small piece of scratch paper to each student.
  • Have students write one introductory phrase on the scratch paper. Invite them to the rug area of the classroom and instruct them to stand in a circle with their paper. Tell them to crumple it and throw it in the middle of the rug. Call on small groups of four to five students to pick up a crumpled paper and read aloud the introductory phrase their friend wrote.
  • Remind students the importance of citing text evidence with an introductory phrases, such as the ones they wrote, when they make inferences.

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