Inferences and Reading


Now it is time to apply inferencing to your reading. When we read we are constantly inferring to help us understand, predict, and maintain interest in stories. Read some of the short passages or poems below. What can you infer about three of the passages? Write your inference and your reason why on this paper.

Here is a model to help you:

What If
from the book "A Light in the Attic" (1981)

Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I'm dumb in school?
Whatif they've closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there's poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don't grow taller?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won't bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don't grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!

by Shel Silverstein

What can you infer about the character in this poem?

That Explains It!
I went to the doctor. He x-rayed my head.
He stared for a moment and here's what he said.
"It looks like you've got a banana in there,
an apple, an orange, a peach, and a pear.
I also see something that looks like a shoe,
a plate of spaghetti, some fake doggy doo,
an airplane, an arrow, a barrel, a chair,
a salmon, a camera, some old underwear,
a penny, a pickle, a pencil, a pen,
a hairy canary, a hammer, a hen,
a whistle, a thistle, a missile, a duck,
an icicle, bicycle, tricycle, truck. With all of the junk that you have in your head it's kind of amazing you got out of bed.
The good news, at least, is you shouldn't feel pain.From what I can see here you don't have a brain."
--Kenn Nesbitt

What can you infer about the doctor in this poem?



The Boys And The Frogs

SOME BOYS, playing near a pond, saw a number of Frogs in the water and began to pelt them with stones. They killed several of them, when one of the Frogs, lifting his head out of the water, cried out: "Pray stop, my boys: what is sport to you, is death to us."

from Aesop's Fables

What message or lesson can you infer that the author may be trying to get across in this short story?


The Right Fit

I fit inside your door just right
wherever you reside.
But put me in your neighbor's door
and you'll still be outside.

There's just one hole that I fit in
made specially for me.
There's just one door, one safe,
one skate and one locked diary,

which makes me feel real special.
like I am one of a kind.
Of course, sometimes folks copy me
in case I'm hard to find.

I share a ring with others
of my type; I'm rarely single.
But that's okay 'cause when we
touch each other, then we jingle.



The Garden Bed
by M. L. Weems

One day Mr. Washington went into the garden and dug a little bed of earth and prepared it for seed. He then took a stick and traced on the bed George's name in full. After this he strewed the tracing thickly with seeds, and smoothed all over nicely with his roller.

This garden-bed he purposely prepared close to a gooseberry-walk. The bushes were hung with the ripe fruit, and he knew that George would visit them every morning.

Not many days had passed away when one morning George came running into the house, breathless with excitement, and his eyes shining with happiness.

"Come here! father, come here!'' he cried.

"What's the matter, my son?'' asked his father.

"O come, father,'' answered George, "and I'll show you such a sight as you have never seen in all your lifetime.''

Mr. Washington gave the boy his hand, which he seized with great eagerness. He led his father straight to the garden-bed, whereon in large letters, in lines of soft green, was written:

What can you infer about the relationship between George Washington and his father?


I am Nobody! Who Are You?​
I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you -- Nobody -- Too?
Then there's a pair of us!
Don't tell! they'd advertise -- you know!

How dreary -- to be -- Somebody!
How public -- like a Frog --
To tell one's name -- the livelong June --
To an admiring Bog!

by Emily Dickinson
What can you infer Bog means in this poem? Can you make any other references about the meaning of this poem?


The Fox Who Had Lost His Tail

A FOX caught in a trap escaped, but in so doing lost his tail. Thereafter, feeling his life a burden from the shame and ridicule to which he was exposed, he schemed to convince all the other Foxes that being tailless was much more attractive, thus making up for his own humiliation. He assembled a good many Foxes and publicly advised them to cut off their tails, saying that they would not only look much better without them, but that they would get rid of the weight of the brush, which was a very great inconvenience. One of them interrupting him said, "If you had not yourself lost your tail, my friend, you would not thus counsel us."

What can you infer about Foxes character?

What message can you infer the author is trying to get across?