Understanding and inference

Reading for understanding involves identifying the main points, purpose and intended readership of the text. Inference is when the reader works things out using clues in the text.

Reading - understanding and inference

A boy looking at the fiction and non-fiction titles in a bookshop window

Reading is like any other skill - the more time you spend reading the better a reader you are likely to become. You should choose to read things you find interesting and enjoy. But it is also good to challenge yourself by picking different types of texts. If you normally read biographies and magazine articles, you could try some short stories, poems or novels.

You can help improve your understanding of what you read by asking yourself a number of questions before, during and after reading.

Before you read

  • Can you predict what it is about from the title?
  • Do you know anything already about the topic?
  • What would you like to find out?
  • Do you have any questions you would like answered?

While you are reading

  • Is the content what you expected?
  • Do you need to change your predictions?
  • Does the text answer your questions?
  • Is there anything you don’t understand?

After you have read

  • What were the main points?
  • Can you summarise what you read?
  • Could you tell someone else your opinion of what you read?
  • Did you stay interested as you were reading?

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