A highly effective way to teach inferring to elementary students is to read aloud picture books that lends themselves to teaching this reading strategy. Reading aloud a picture book facilitates a learning experience where you can model how to use inferencing to better understand the text and engage students in their learning by asking related questions. Below is a list of 10 picture books for teaching inferring. Check out the full list, as well as the teaching resources that go with them!
10 Inferring Picture Books
Below are 10 picture books for teaching making inferences.
1. Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin
The cows on Farmer Brown’s farm are causing a problem for him. They found an old typewriter and have been typing all day! Animals go on strike until Farmer Brown compromises with the animals. The descriptive illustrations allow for students to practice their inference skills. Students can answer questions about feelings, intentions, and use these inferences to predict what happens next in the story. Check out these Click, Clack, Moo activities!
2. I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
A bear loves his hat, loses it, and desperately wants it back. He asks several other animals in the forest if they have seen it, and unfortunately they haven’t. Bear even asks a rabbit wearing a red hat if they’ve seen his hat and the rabbit gets very angry. Bear is not sure why! Students can practice inference in this book, as the rabbit is actually wearing the hat himself. Check out these I Want My Hat Back activities!
3. My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza
The fox thinks that it is his lucky day when a piglet shows up on his doorstep. He doesn’t even have to go out hunting! His food has come and found him. He pulls the piglet inside and prepares to eat him. As the piglet outsmarts the fox, students can practice inference skills to figure out why and how he is able to escape. Check out these My Lucky Day activities!
4. Sparky by Jenny Offill & Chris Appelhans
This is a book about a young girl who wants a pet, and with lots of convincing, she gets to buy a sloth. She quickly learns that Sparky is slow and cannot do tricks. At the end of the story, the girl learns to appreciate Sparky for who he is and enjoy his company. Students can use their background knowledge to infer that sloths are not great pets throughout the story, making this a fun read aloud for the class! Check out these Sparky activities!
5. The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do by Ashley Spires
Lou and her friends love playing together: they run fast, build forts, and go on adventures. One day, she tries to climb a tree, but as it gets challenging, she makes up reasons she cannot do it. By the end, she learns the power of yet and sets her mind to a goal. Throughout the story, students can infer that these reasons are just excuses by using their background knowledge and reading between the lines! Check out these The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do activities!
6. Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
Stellaluna by Janell Cannon is the heartwarming story of a young bat. One night when flying with her mother, an owl attacks and Stellaluna falls from her mother’s grasp. When she can’t find Mother Bat, Stellaluna joins a family of baby birds. Students can practice inference skills as they read about a bat trying to fit in with the birds through the rich illustrations, details, and their own background knowledge! Check out these Stellaluna activities!
7. Little Tree by Loren Long
Little Tree lives in a forest surrounded by other trees. This story takes Little Tree through the seasons as he loses his leaves and sees other trees gain theirs come summertime. Students can practice inference skills as they know background knowledge around seasonal change and leaves. They can also sympathize with Little Tree as he learns this, although they know his leaves will come soon! Check out these Little Tree activities!
8. Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
It’s Kitten’s first time seeing the full moon, and she thinks it is a bowl of milk in the sky! She tries sticking out her tongue to lick the milk, but ends up with a bug on her tongue. Throughout the book Kitten tries different ways to get to the milk. After falling into the pond, Kitten heads home all wet. There, she finds a bowl of milk waiting for her. This story pairs well with learning about the moon in class, as students can practice their inference skills to know why the bowl of milk is not in the sky! Check out these Kitten’s First Full Moon activities!
9. Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry G. Allard Jr.
This story is about an unruly classroom of students and a teacher who finds a creative way to teach them a lesson. One day, Miss Nelson goes missing and Miss Viola Swamp comes into the classroom. She wears an ugly black dress, never smiles, and loads the students up with homework. It isn’t long before the students miss Miss Nelson and start to look for her. When she returns a few days later, the students are thrilled to see her. They no longer misbehave and act like angels in the classroom.
In the end, we find out that Miss Nelson was in the classroom all along and she had dressed up as Miss Viola Swamp to teach her students a lesson about being respectful. Students can answer inference questions about why Miss Swamp came, why students do not like her, and what lesson Miss Nelson taught in the end. Check out these Miss Nelson is Missing activities!
10. Stone Soup by Marcia Brown
This folktale tells the story of three soldiers on their way home from war. Tired and hungry, the soldiers decide to stop in a village in search of food and a place to sleep. The villagers see the soldiers coming and begin to hide all their food, they too are hungry. The soldiers come to the middle of the square, sharing they will make stone soup. Each family brings a different ingredient, which ultimately ends in a feast for all! This story is a great story to teach sharing and kindness, and students can infer what the soldiers’ plan is all along! Check out these Stone Soup activities!
In closing, we hope you found this post about inferring picture books helpful! If you did, then you may also be interested in these posts: