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Spotlight on Reasoning & Problem Solving Making Predictions & Inferences
Ages: 6-12   Grades: 1-7

These activities help students draw realistic conclusions and make informed and correct inferences and predictions in their daily lives and in academic situations.  


  • Improve language-based thinking and problem solving
  • Accurately predict, determine causes, and make logical inferences
  • Carefully consider choices before making decisions
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Skill in making accurate predictions and inferences affects classroom performance and social success.  Build this skill with step-by-step instruction and activities geared for students with language-learning disorders.  Students:

  • identify absurdities
  • make predictions from pictures and multiple-choice statements
  • identify causes
  • make accurate inferences with and without pictures

The book is written in the proven success format of the Spotlight Series with: 

  • activities sequenced by complexity
  • visual cues that are gradually faded
  • skills defined in student-friendly terms
  • a variety of curricular and daily living topics
  • simple sentence structure and vocabulary so students can focus on learning the concepts 
  • response requirements range from fill-in-the-blank and multiple choice to formulating oral and written sentences
  • minimal writing requirements in the beginning lessons
  • pretest/posttest

You may purchase Spotlight on Reasoning & Problem Solving Making Predictions & Inferences individually or as part of the 6-book Spotlight on Reasoning & Problem Solving set.  The 6-book set consists of:

Spotlight on Reasoning & Problem Solving Causes & Effects

Spotlight on Reasoning & Problem Solving Comparing & Contrasting

Spotlight on Reasoning & Problem Solving Facts & Opinions

Spotlight on Reasoning & Problem Solving Making Predictions & Inferences

Spotlight on Reasoning & Problem Solving Sequencing

Spotlight on Reasoning & Problem Solving Solving Problems


Copyright © 2007

40 pages, pretest/posttest, answer key
  • Reasoning skills encourage critical thinking and meta-awareness of internal thought processes.  Reasoning skills support students' logical judgments based on conscious reflection and sensitivity to multiple viewpoints (Little, 2002).
  • Reasoning and critical thinking are necessary skills for competence across the curriculum.  They require students to examine, relate, and analyze all aspects of a problem or situation.  Students engaged in critical thinking must make associations that connect problems with their prior knowledge (Pellegrini, 1995).
  • Questioning is the core of critical reflection.  It prompts students to engage in a research process that fosters higher-order thinking skills and social-moral attitudes (Daniel et al., 2005).
  • Explicitly teaching and reinforcing inference-making leads to better outcomes in overall text comprehension, text engagement, and metacognitive thinking (Borné, Cox, Hartgering, & Pratt, 2005).

Spotlight on Reasoning & Problem Solving Making Predictions & Inferences incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


Borné, L., Cox, J., Hartgering, M., & Pratt, E. (2005). Making inferences from text [Overview]. Dorchester, MA: Project for School Innovation.

Daniel, M.F., Lafortune, L., Pallascio, R., Splitter, L., Slade, C., & de la Garza, T. (2005). Modeling the development process of dialogical critical thinking in pupils aged 10 to 12 years. Communication Education, 54(4), 334-354.

Little, C. (2002). Reasoning as a key component of language arts curricula. The Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 13(2), 52-59.

Pellegrini, J. (1995). Developing thinking and reasoning skills in primary learners using detective fiction. Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, 1. Retrieved April 8, 2009, from


Paul Johnson, Carolyn LoGiudice


Paul F. Johnson, B.A., and Carolyn LoGiudice, M.S., CCC-SLP, are editors and writers for LinguiSystems.  They have collaborated to develop several publications, including Story Comprehension To Go, No-Glamour Sequencing Cards, and Spotlight on Reading & Listening Comprehension.  Paul and Carolyn share a special interest in boosting students' language, critical thinking, and academic skills.

In their spare time, Paul and Carolyn enjoy their families, music, gourmet cooking, and reading.  Paul, a proud father of three children, also enjoys bicycling, playing music, and spending rare moments alone with his wife, Kenya.  Carolyn is learning to craft greeting cards and spoil grandchildren.


Reasoning and problem solving are not simply life skills, they are quality of life skills.  Throughout our lives, the abilities to reason and solve problems are the difference between succeeding or failing in academic pursuits, making good and bad everyday decisions, and improving or destroying social relationships.

The world assumes we come to it with well-developed reasoning and problem-solving skills, but that is not always the case.  Because of language delays and other factors, many students lack basic skills to achieve positive outcomes in academic and everyday living situations.

The goal of Spotlight on Reasoning & Problem Solving is to build skills, step-by-step, using a focused instructional approach.  The situations students will use for practice in these books are ones many of them have faced or will face throughout their lives.  We support the approach that Richard Paul suggests in his landmark 1990 book, Critical Thinking:

". . . because we can form new ideas, beliefs, and patterns of thought only through the scaffolding of our previously formed thought, it is essential that we learn to think critically in environments in which a variety of competing ideas are taken seriously." (page xv)

Before students can reach and approach the kind of proficiency Paul describes, they must fully understand and master the building blocks of reasoning and problem solving.  Spotlight on Reasoning & Problem Solving presents six crucial areas for developing the language-based thinking skills that, when mastered, provide students with the tools to become better thinkers and problem solvers:

  • Causes & Effects
  • Making Predictions & Inferences
  • Comparing & Contrasting
  • Sequencing
  • Facts & Opinions
  • Solving Problems

Most students will benefit from working through each book from beginning to end.  Even if a student's proficiency is beyond the initial activities presented, the feeling of success he experiences by mastering them will motivate him to approach the more challenging activities that follow with confidence.

Students need to predict, determine causes, and make logical inferences in their daily lives as well as in academic situations.  The tasks in this book are designed to help students consider their own experiences as well as their increasing knowledge of others' thoughts and experiences in order to make logical inferences.  The beginning tasks ensure students are able to detect absurdities and to detect essential information from pictures.  Next, students make predictions based on picture clues, including book cover information.  Tasks then progress to making predictions without picture clues, first with a multiple-choice format and then without any answers provided.  After practicing determining causes of events, students tackle making inferences with and without picture clues.

As you present these tasks, encourage your students to think about everything they know about each situation before they jump to conclusions.  For multiple-choice formats, they should consider each choice carefully before selecting the best answer.

Here are some additional activities to develop students' skills in predicting and making inferences.

  • To introduce inferences, demonstrate various ways of walking or sitting and ask your students to guess your mood along with a logical trigger for your mood (timid, adventurous, etc.).  You can do the same thing by presenting snippets of people's voices or pictures of people in various contexts.
  • Play Pantomime with your students, using stimuli of everyday activities or common emotional responses (brushing teeth, making a sandwich, feeling anxious about something, etc.).  You can either have the whole group guess what a single performer is doing or divide the group into smaller teams.  Notice whether individual students make logical guesses or off-the-wall guesses as well as whether they take adequate thinking time before making a guess.
  • On the board or an overhead, make two columns headed "What We Know" and "What We Guess."  Present pictures or short situations, including some from the tasks in this book, and have the group collectively add information to the appropriate columns to work toward a logical inference.
  • Frequently ask your students, "Why are we doing/learning this?" to help them see the logical cause and effect of your instruction and their learning or enrichment.
  • As often as possible when students make inferences, ask them, "How do you know that?" or "What clues make you think that?"  Also model making good inferences orally by commenting on what you infer based on students' behavior or on information from a classroom lesson.

We hope you and your students enjoy working through these activities together, and we are certain that with your guidance, your students' reasoning and problem-solving skills will improve with each completed page.

Paul and Carolyn