Reading engages the mind, sparks people’s curiosity, and leads to deeper intellectual pursuits.
It goes beyond simply decoding words but requires the reader to process lengthy and complex sentences and comprehend the author’s argument. Reading comprehension can be inferential, literal, or evaluative.
Inferential comprehension refers to the implied meaning of a text derived using clues. Inferential comprehension questions are a form of investigative questioning that taps into students’ deeper cognitive reasoning.
Without comprehension skills, you’ll fail to understand the deeper nuggets of information that the writer has buried in the text. This guide discusses inferential questions and how to answer them effectively.
What are Inferential Comprehension Questions?
Inferential comprehension requires critical thinking skills to garner understanding or determine the deeper meaning that is not explicitly stated. Inferential questions are a type of questioning that stimulates thinking and critical analysis. It involves processing written information and understanding the underlying meaning of the text.
Inferential comprehension questions require students to combine ideas, draw a logical conclusion from a text, and interpret and evaluate information. A higher level of comprehension needs readers to be critical, form opinions, and identify authors’ points of view and attitudes. It also expects readers to identify and consider the authority of texts and their messages and infer the characters’ motives and themes.
Answers to inferential comprehension questions can never be found directly from the passage but are supported by evidence in the text. You can only arrive at your solution using background knowledge and clues from the text.
The questions may ask about the meaning of a word, phrase, sentence, or paragraph. They may also cover “why” and “how” questions.
Types of Inferential Questions
1. Direct Inferential Questions
These questions ask readers to deduce or fill in the missing information. But they require that you make a logical deduction rather than get the answer directly from the passage.
2. Content Inferential Questions
These questions ask readers to identify appropriate content from the text and provide further explanation.
3. Vocabulary Inferential Questions
These questions ask readers to speculate about the meaning of a statement, description, or something in the passage. Answers to vocabulary inferential questions need to be specific.
Another type of vocabulary inferential question may ask about the writer’s or character’s internal life (feelings, motivations, thoughts) in the passage.
Examples of Inferential Questions
Inferential comprehension requires deep reading and critical analysis of a text. Answers to inferential questions come from analyzing background information and clues and finding a conclusion without letting your opinion shape the answer.
Examples of inferential comprehension questions are:
- Why do you think..?
- How does the author feel about…
- What lesson does this text teach?
- Predict what would happen if…
- What is most likely true about…
- What can you conclude about…
- How did you arrive at that conclusion?
- Why does salt cause ice to melt?
- Explain why the character acted in the way they did…
- What are some other possible outcomes…
- What were the motives behind…
- What might have caused…
- What was the turning point…
Answering Inferential Questions
The steps to answering inference questions include:
- Identify keywords or ideas in the text.
- Understand the context and identify relevant clues that relate to the question.
- Craft your answer. Rephrase the question and use the clues and context in the passage.
Inferential questions can be challenging to answer because they don’t have a single correct answer. Answering such questions require in-depth reading and careful analysis of the text. Developing an inferential comprehension skill may take time and practice, but it’s essential to improving your critical thinking skills.
If you’re faced with inferential questions, read the text carefully, and identify clues that relate to the question. And then, answer the question using the clues and context given in the passage. With constant practice, answering inference questions will become easier.
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