Inferencing is a complex thinking skill that requires readers to identify clues within the text to visualize, understand the plot, and identify mood. Good authors do not explicitly write, "I am sad." Instead, they reveal the character's sadness through the environment, the character's actions, expressions, voice, etc. While teaching readers to infer, I realized that mood was one important component to teach. I teach inferencing by:
Read Alouds. While I read out loud, I put the story down and think out loud. I pre-teach the difference, "You're going to hear me read out loud, but when I put the book down on my lap or the table, you're going to hear me think out loud too. Good readers do this in their head every time they read!"
I show them and then we infer together. Showing them is key. Before you set them free, show them how and do it together to give them the confidence to accomplish this skill on their own.
I use super simple text at first, then build in complexity. I go from short paragraphs with simple scenarios to longer paragraphs to short stories, to chapter books. I begin using this "Making Inferences" activity available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.