Books for Teaching Inference, 5-6th grades

INFERENCE:   Drawing reasonable conclusions based upon limited clues presented.

These great books are tried and true by many teachers and are effective for teaching inference as well as being excellent read-alouds for many other reasons.  That is why the suggested grade levels are so broad.  Typically, learning about inference is tackled in depth in 5th and 6th grades.

Your comments and suggestions are always welcome.  Subscribe above if you want to be notified when new categories are posted.

I Can Hear the Sun. Patricia Polacco. Puffin Books, 1996
Fondo is a homeless child who makes a strong connection with Stephanie Michelle, who cares for the animals and listens to the sun at Lake Merritt in Oakland, California.
She believes Fondo when he says the geese have asked him to fly away with them.
Read-aloud 2nd-5th grade

The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman.  Darcy Pattison.  Sandpiper, 2003.
A wooden man makes an amazing journey across America.  Those who meet him send letters and postcards to Uncle Ray, the man who carved him.
Read-aloud 1st-4th grade

Pop’s Bridge.  Eve Bunting.  Harcourt, 2006.
Charlie and Robert’s fathers both work on the construction of The Golden Gate Bridge in 1937.  An accident claiming 10 lives, helps Robert realize that both dad’s jobs are equally important.
Read-aloud 2nd-5th grade

The Shivers in the Fridge.  Fran Manushkin.  Dutton, 2006.
Parents, grandparents and a small boy are freezing cold.  They remember another time when they were warm and tall.  One by one, they each decide they must find a warmer place to live.  How long will it take listeners to discover the family is a set of magnets living in the fridge?
Read-aloud 1st-5th grade


One Green Apple.  Eve Bunting.  Clarion, 2006.
Farah, an Arab immigrant who does not speak English, goes on a field trip to an apple orchard her second day in class.  Text and Ted Lewin’s beautiful paintings show her discomfort and also her pleasure as class members begin to include her.  A timely, empathic story.  Also great for exploring metaphor.
Read-aloud 1st and up


The Memory String.  Eve Bunting.  Clarion, 2000.
Resenting her new stepmother and missing her mother who dies 3 years ago, Lauar refuses to participate in a family project.  She tells her cat the stories about each button on her memory string.  Losing one of the buttons helps her form a bond with her new stepmother.  Read-aloud 1st-5th grade

A Million Fish…More or Less.  Patricia McKissack.  Knopf, 1996.
In this bayou tale, a boy learns that the truth is often stretched.  A fishing trip gives him the chance to tell his own tale.
Read-aloud 3rd-6th grade

Old Dry Frye:  A Deliciously Funny Tall Tale.  Scholastic, 1999.
Appalachian preacher, Old Dry Frye, chokes on a chicken bone at a neighbor’s house.  Thinking they caused his death, the neighbors try to hide his body, setting off a hilarious chain of events that cause the chicken bone to dislodge and revive the preacher.
Read-aloud 3rd-5th grade

Someday a Tree.  Eve Bunting.  Clarion Books, 1993.
A family and their neighbors try to save an old oak tree that has been poisoned by pollution.
Read-aloud all ages

The Stray Dog.  Marc Simont.  Harper Collins, 2001.
On a family picnic, the children play with a stray dog.  Each member of the family worries about the dog all week.  They return to the picnic spot the next Saturday just in time to save the dog from the dogcatcher.  A perfect picture book!
Read-aloud K-3rd grade

The Widow’s Broom.  Chris Van Allsburg.  Houghton Mifflin, 1992.
When a widow’s talented broom can magically do her chores, she marvels at her good fortune until her jealous neighbors insist it must be evil.
Read-aloud 3rd-5th grade

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears.  Verna Aardema.  Dial Books, 1975.
A Caldecott Award winner revealing the meaning of the mosquitoe’s buzz.
Read-aloud  all ages

The Worry Stone.  Mariana Dengler.  Rising Moon, 1996.
The power of story (3 in this book) to comfort and bring people together is beautifully told.  Amanda, a Chumash Indian, tells a lonely boy a story her grandfather told her about an Indian bride’s tears for her dead husband.  Her tears became stones that when rubbed softly can ease one’s worries. She passes her worry stone on to the boy.
Read-aloud 3rd and up

Other picture book titles to consider:

The Art Lesson by Tomie DePaola

Click, Clack, Moo:  Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin

Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting

Kate and the Beanstalk by Mary Pope Osborne

Mirette on the High Wire by Emily McCully

Tough Boris by Mem Fox

Yo! Yes? by Christopher Raschka

fold-left fold-right
About the author

Leave a Reply