’s Product Reviews

Inference Jones by Robert E. Owen, M.A. Grades 3-4, Grades 5-6 $11.99

The Inference Jones books improve critical reading and higher-order thinking by developing a student’s ability to draw inferences from written text.

Research shows inferencing is a prerequisite component for superior reading comprehension. In fact, a study by The National Foundation for Educational Research reports “the ability to draw inferences predetermines reading skills: that is, poor inferencing causes poor comprehension and not vice versa.” Inference Jones is developed based on this principle.

Specific categories of inference highlighted in the books include–

  • Coherence Inference–connecting text
  • Elaborative Inference–filling textual gaps
  • Global Inference–thematic or moral
  • On-line Inference–drawn during reading
  • Off-line Inference–drawn after reading

In the Inference Jones books, students are given a paragraph or two to read (a short, interesting story), followed by three sets of questions. The first set of questions requires a student to distinguish between facts and inferences. The second set of questions requires higher-order thinking to develop reading comprehension skills. The third set of questions requires a student to develop a sense of what is probably true or probably false. After answering, the student then explains how personal knowledge led to the inference. Different students make different inferences because they bring different past experiences into each story.

Because of the above, it would be interesting, with a number of students, perhaps in a homeschool co-op class, to discuss differing responses.

Talking about how people from different cultures might answer, how their inferences might vary from our own, would also be of interest.

In addition, the provided paragraphs can be used as writing exercises–allowing your student to continue the story, with maybe two or three alternate endings, depending on different assumptions . Turning it into a creative writing assignment would also be of value .

Inference Jones books are definitely fun–and they can be used in a variety of ways!