Children's Literature That Sparks Inferential Discussions

Laura Beth Kelly, Lindsey Moses

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


In this article, the authors report findings from a yearlong study that addressed teaching first-grade students to make inferences and engage in inferential discussion about children's literature. Because of the importance of both inferencing and discussion for comprehension, a collaborative team of two researchers and a classroom teacher focused on providing supportive discussion contexts and appropriate texts to foster inferential thinking in small-group discussions. The authors found that ambiguous books, didactic narratives, and fractured fairy tales provided rich sites for inference instruction and practice. The authors also noted the importance of text selection, accepting unexpected responses from students, and the role of the teacher. The article includes transcripts from student discussions with analysis of ways the varied texts fostered inferential talk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-29
Number of pages9
JournalReading Teacher
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • 1-Early childhood
  • 2-Childhood
  • Children's literature
  • Comprehension
  • Discussion strategies < Strategies, methods, and materials
  • Discussion < Oral language
  • Fiction
  • Formative experiments
  • Instructional strategies; methods and materials
  • Literature
  • Literature-based instruction < Literature
  • Making inferences < Comprehension
  • Qualitative < Research methodology
  • Reading strategies < Strategies, methods, and materials
  • design experiments < Research methodology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Pharmacology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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