EL Support Lesson

Inferences with Sentence Stems

Use this lesson to help your ELs make inferences with support. It can be a stand-alone lesson or used as support for the lesson Inferences in Fictional Texts.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Inferences in Fictional Texts lesson plan.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

No standards associated with this content.

No standards associated with this content.

No standards associated with this content.

Which set of standards are you looking for?

This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Inferences in Fictional Texts lesson plan.

Students will be able to make an inference with evidence.


Students will be able to make an inference with sentence structures using sentence stems.

(3 minutes)
  • Tell students that today they will be practicing making inferences. Remind students that an inference is a conclusion you draw based on reasoning and evidence. It is not something that is stated explicitly. Write the definition on the board in student-friendly terms.
  • Provide an example of an inference for students (e.g., "I think it's cold outside, because when I look out the window I see a lot of gray clouds in the sky."). Explain that when you made a guess based on evidence, you were making an inference.
  • Display the I Can Make Inferences: Concept Web worksheet and review all the ways that students can make inferences.
(7 minutes)
  • Show students the vocabulary cards for the words inference and evidence. Read the definitions aloud and explain that these are two words students will need to understand during the lesson.
  • Display a blank copy of a Frayer Model and show students how to complete it using the word "inference."
  • Hand out a blank copy of the Frayer Model to each student and instruct them to work with a partner to complete their model for the word "evidence." Remind students to use the information from the displayed vocabulary card for support. (Note: allow students to use other resources, like dictionaries, if needed.)
  • Invite a student volunteer to display and share their completed Frayer Model with the class. Correct misconceptions as needed.
(7 minutes)
  • Tell students that they will be studying sentence structures and phrases that will help them make (and express) inferences as they read.
  • Explain that authors do not always explain things explicitly, like how a character is feeling or the details of an event. In these cases, a reader must use clues to infer what is going on to better understand the story.
  • Display the worksheet Sentence Stems for Making Inferences and review the sentence stems with the class.
  • Direct students' attention to the picture of two children. Give them time to study the image, then instruct them to discuss it with a partner. As they discuss, tell students to use the prompts and sentence stems to make an inference about the characters in the picture.
  • Call on non-volunteers to share the inferences they made about the picture. Remind students to use the sentence stems when they share their answers.
(10 minutes)
  • Display the Inferences & Evidence worksheet and model how to complete a row using a story that students are familiar with (e.g., "I think Goldilocks must have been very hungry when she went into the bear's house" / "because she ate a lot of porridge."). Point out that there are sentence starters provided on the worksheet, but remind students that they may use the sentence stems from the earlier worksheet too. (Note: keep the sentence starters from Sentence Stems for Making Inferences displayed for student reference.)
  • Divide the class into eight small groups and hand out one Inference Task Card to each group. (Note: cut the cards before the lesson. You will not need the two response pages following the task cards.)
  • Instruct students to read their task card aloud with their group and make an inference to answer the question at the bottom of the card. Remind students that they will need evidence from the story to support their evidence.
  • Give groups time to discuss their inference and evidence. Then, tell them to record the inference and evidence on their own worksheet. Remind students to write the number of their task card in the margin next to the associated inference.
  • Collect the task cards, mix them up, and hand them out again. Ensure that each group has received a new card. Instruct students to repeat the task with their new card.
  • Repeat a third time, so that the students have filled in all three rows on their worksheets.
  • Have students stand up and separate from their group. Then, guide students through a mingle activity:
    • Tell students to walk around and look for a peer (who was not in their group) who read one of the same stories that they read.
    • Once everyone has found a partner, tell students to sit with their new partner and share the inference they made about their shared story (i.e., task card).


  • Pre-teach additional grade-level vocabulary that students will encounter on the task cards (i.e., "unusual," "dramatic," "goalposts").
  • Allow beginning ELs to use bilingual resources to define new words throughout the lesson.
  • Strategically pair beginning ELs with supportive non-ELs or advanced ELs who speak the same home language.


  • Encourage advanced ELs to compose sentences and responses without sentence frames, or with shortened sentence stems.
  • Allow advanced ELs to utilize a glossary, thesaurus, and dictionary for help with unfamiliar words.
  • Choose advanced ELs to share their ideas first in group and class discussions. Ask advanced ELs to add on, rephrase, or clarify what their peers say in class discussion.
  • Have advanced ELs repeat instructions and key vocabulary, summarizing important information for the class.
(5 minutes)
  • Direct students' attention to the story at the bottom of the Sentence Stems for Making Inferences worksheet. Do a choral read-aloud with your students.
  • Instruct students to use the provided sentence frame and clues from the story to make an inference about Hui Yin.
  • Allow students to share their responses with a partner before calling on non-volunteers to share their inferences.
  • Collect students' completed worksheets to check for understanding.
(3 minutes)
  • Ask students to think about the things they can do to make an inference.
    • First, give them a moment of thinking time.
    • Next, have students talk with a partner about their thoughts.
    • Finally, call on volunteers to share their ideas. Record student ideas on the board and supplement with your own additions if needed (e.g., find clues in the text, use background knowledge).

Add to collection

Create new collection

Create new collection

New Collection


New Collection>

0 items