Inference Worksheets for ESL Students

Inference Worksheets for ESL Students

by Sadel 25,899 views

As students advance through their ESL journey, they often acquire good reading and comprehension skills, at least on the surface. However, they often lack inferential reading skills to find answers and formulate ideas from clues and prior knowledge rather than directly. Being able to spot unstated suppositions is critical to comprehension as a whole. Teaching inference isn’t easy, but it is a valuable skill that students can not only apply in other subject areas such as Math and Science, but it also transcends beyond the school walls. 

Inference Worksheets for ESL Students

This post will take a look at ten inference worksheets and activities that will help students develop a deeper level of comprehension. Let’s jump right in. 

Inference Worksheets For Elementary Students

Making Inferences - This worksheet is designed for elementary and pre-intermediate students. It features three short passages that require students to use inferential skills to determine details that were not implicitly stated in the text. The second activity is the worksheet is an incomplete story of Josh and his father. After reading the passage, students must deduce what will happen next in the story. This is an excellent way to help younger students improve their inferential skills. 

Main Idea: Reading Worksheet - This worksheet is designed for younger students of grades four to five. The primary objective is to have students find the main idea for each of the four exercises. Students must read each passage carefully and choose one of four possible answers. The first paragraph is listed below.

Juan loves to play games. His favorite game is chess because it requires a great deal of thought. Juan also likes to play less demanding board games that are based mostly on luck. He prefers Monopoly because it requires luck and skill. If he’s alone, Juan likes to play action video games as long as they aren’t too violent.”

Students must choose the main idea from one of the following answers.

a. Juan dislikes violence.

b. Juan likes to think.

c. Juan enjoys Monopoly.

d. Juan enjoys playing games.

Inference Worksheets For Intermediate Students

Song Worksheet: Skaterboy by Avril Lavigne - This worksheet features Avril Lavigne’s hit song, Skaterboy. While the first activity focuses on possessive pronouns, the second activity test student inferential skills. Students must read the lyrics of the song and determine what each possessive pronoun refers to. 

TV Series Worksheet: Friends (S06E09) - Inferential skills extends well beyond just reading. Television is a great way to develop inference skills in ESL students.  Designed for intermediate students, this worksheet features episode nine of season six for the popular American sitcom, Friends. The show features mature content and is recommended for students above 13 years old. The worksheet features various exercises such as spotting idioms and phrases, filling in the blanks, etc. 

Song Worksheet: Zombie by The Cranberries - This song worksheet features Zombie by The Cranberries. Students must listen to the song or watch the music video, fill in the blanks, number the lines, or tick their words. Activities three, four, and five are designed to allow students analyze and use inference skills to get the main idea of the songs. 

Movie Worksheet: Amazing Race Top 10 Moments - This worksheet is based on the show Amazing Race, which was debuted in 2002 on CBS. The Amazing Race is a reality game show where teams of two people race around the world in competition with other teams. Before watching the show, students must discuss the following questions;  What is the show about?  How do you like the idea of traveling around the world in a competition? While watching the show, students must discuss the show’s plot and make certain inferences about the contestants’ location. 

Basic Critical Reading Skills Exercises - This is an excellent worksheet to review critical reading skills such as bias, purpose, tone, and inferences.  Activity three of this worksheet features a short passage on the topic; Stolen Art Can Reappear in Unexpected Ways. After reading the article, students are asked to make inferences about art thieves and give four choices to choose from. 


Making Inferences

Inference Worksheets For Students At All Levels

Quote Poster - This classroom poster has a powerful quote; "Change your thoughts, and you'll change the world." The accompanying worksheet had only three questions. 1. What message do you think the quote intends to deliver? 2. How would you apply this quote in your life? 3. Who would you share this quote with? Why? Students must infer the meaning of the quote to answer the questions asked. 

Quote of the Week + 2 Activity Sheets -  Like the Quote Poster listed above, these worksheets feature the following quotes;  “The future depends on what we do in the present. “ and “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” Students infer the meaning of quotes and express their thoughts and feelings about the quote. 


Inference Activity - Using Riddles. Riddles are an excellent way to demonstrate the usefulness of inference. Here is an example; “I love my job. People call me when there is an emergency. I put out fires and rescue people. What am I?” From this example, students can deduce that the answer is a firefighter. Exercises like this help develop critical thinking skills and help students make inferences quickly.  

To learn more about Teaching Inference, continue reading How Do We Know He Killed His Wife? Teaching Inference


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