Package 5-2: Inference in text

This lesson explores inference and your child will use their background knowledge and clues from a text to ‘read between the lines’ and draw inferences or conclusions.

Week 6 - Package 2 - Year 5 and 6 English/literacy - Inference in text

Things your child will need

Have these things available so your child can complete this task.


Back up

Before your child starts

This lesson explores inference and we will use our background knowledge and clues in text to ‘read between the lines’ and draw inferences or conclusions.

What your child needs to do

Your child will watch a video of a lesson to explore inference and use their background knowledge and clues in a text to make an inference. The teacher will guide your child as they brainstorm and delve into the meaning of words within different contexts.

Throughout the lesson, your child will be asked to pause the video to complete an activity on the activity sheets.

What your child can do next

Your child will be completing a range of activities, including:

  • exploring what inference is
  • using background knowledge and text clues to make an inference.

Options for your child

Activity too hard?

Have students complete up until ‘The Hobbit’; the next text is more complex.

Your child might enjoy watching Pixar short films and inferring from the images and characters. Ask questions such as:

  • Who do you think?
  • How might _ be feeling?
  • How do you know?

Activity too easy?

Have your child use a poem to design a range of inferential questions.

Extension/additional activity

Have your child watch a TV show or movie or use Pixar short films to infer what is happening.

Activity sheet 1: Inference match and sort

Your task

  • Cut up and match the text clues, background knowledge and inference
  • OR draw a line to match the text clues and background knowledge with an inference

Text clues

The mug was stained a deep black.

The girl held her handbag close to her, gripping it tightly.

Animals rushed into the darkness at the first tremble.

Beneath the bathroom sink there were two cans of shaving cream and a rusty razor.

The house was a mess-there were nappies and dummies on every surface.

The dentures were yellowing in the glass by the bedside table.

The boat was unsteady on the water, an ant in the blue.

It seemed never-ending; every surface was covered in books.

Background knowledge

Tea stains mugs black over time

Typically, girls keep items in handbags. People protect their valuables.

Animals run when frightened.

Men typically use shaving cream. When metal items are old they rust when wet.

Babies wear nappies. Babies use dummies.

Dentures are false teeth. People wear dentures when their teeth fall out. Things yellow with age.

When water is rough, this moves the boat. Ants are small.

Libraries are full of books. Books are read by people.

What we can infer

There is a baby in the house. There is chaos.

We are in a library. The people liked to read. Well educated.

There was danger.There was something worthy of protection inside.

It was well-loved.It was old and used.The person enjoyed tea.

A man lived here. The man is growing a beard.

An older person lives here. The teeth are quite old and used.

The water was rough. The boat was unsafe. The boat was small.

It was night. There was danger coming. An Earthquake or volcano.

Activity sheet 2: Through the break

Your tasks

  • Read the text carefully; you might reread a few times to really understand the text.
  • Answer the multiple choice questions by selecting ONE answer.
  • Scan the text to find keywords that can help you answer your questions.
  • Highlight or underline any information that helps you to answer.

Through the Break​

Breakers rise like hulking sea eagles. They glide, then crash, tossing their prey of bodies and surfboards to the sand, hissing to retreat and hurl again. Shai has been coming all summer, catching three buses to stand at the shoreline, close his eyes and crunch warm shell grit between his toes – like he did on his old island home, where currents were lazy and the waters warm and calm.

He watches surfers spear through waves. Counts one … two … three … until they emerge, then watches the practised flick of their hair. He’ll be out there with them … one day. He grips the pitted second-hand board to his chest. ‘Today,’ he murmurs. ‘Today.’ Heart hammering, Shai wades in, flings his legs onto his board and strokes towards the looming curve of green crystal until it’s too late to turn back.

The water wall shimmers and fragments above him. He dips his board’s nose as he’s seen others do, spearing into his fear. Ears, eyes and nostrils are swamped. He feels the shove of the wave, hears nothing but the dull rumble of the sea. Counts one… two… three…

Suddenly, body rigid, blue-knuckled, he shoots upwards, into the silk water beyond the wave that is now billowing behind him to shore. He yelps with joy and paddles until the breakers can no longer drag him back, feeling freer and freer with each pull.

Bobbing, drifting, he rests his head on his arms. The people on the beach dip in and out of view. The boy from far away, who all hot summer cringed in the shallows, fearing the waves, is no longer stranded on the sand. Turning his board, Shai claws his way until he is picked up by a swell and carried in a roaring rush towards the shore. He tumbles as his board is ripped from beneath him. He rolls with the sand and froth and shells until, panting and grazed, he lies on the land’s edge, the edge of his new country.

Shai staggers to his feet and looks out to the horizon. He says goodbye to another island, out there somewhere, beyond the break. He smiles, collects his board, limps up onto the dry sand and breathes deeply the air of the place he’ll now call home.​

Year 5 NAPLAN Reading Paper, 2012 ACARA​


  1. The last paragraph suggests that Shai is:
    1. afraid of the future.
    2. longing for the past.
    3. ready for the future.
    4. worried about the past.

  2. “Counts one…two...three…until they emerge, then watches the practised flick on their hair.” What does this sentence suggest?
    1. Shai is anxious about the surfers’ safety.
    2. Shai is familiar with the surfers’ behaviour.
    3. Shai is critical about the surfers’ technique.
    4. Shai is bored with the surfers’ repetitive routines.

  3. The text draws attention to which of the following issues?
    1. age
    2. gender
    3. poverty
    4. immigration

  4. What is the effect of the phrase too late to turn back?
    1. It encourages readers to evaluate Shai’s actions.
    2. It shows readers that Shai has made a wrong decision.
    3. It makes readers appreciate the drama of Shai’s situation.
    4. It helps readers form an opinion about what Shai should do next.

  5. In what way has Shai changed by the end of the text?
    1. He has gained new confidence.
    2. He has realised the need for patience.
    3. He has accepted that he can learn from the past.
    4. He has discovered that failures lead to opportunities.

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