Spotlight on Strategies

Searching for Clues


Students are confronted with a wide variety of media on a daily basis, and in order to comprehend those selections, students sometimes must act like detectives. They have to dig beneath the surface to unearth the meaning behind what is actually being said in the media presented. Devries (2011) stated "making inferences is the process of judging, concluding, or reasoning indirectly from the information available" (pg. 183). Students need to act as detectives and utilize those context clues to uncover the message within the media.


  • Students will participate in a whole class game of the inference riddle game and will discuss why the clues helped them to solve the riddles.
  • Whole class will review the process of making inferences. Introduce the inferences graphic organizer to the class. Model filling in the inferences graphic organizer with some of the riddles from the game.
  • Using the text Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg or the video of a read aloud of the text, work through the text making inferences and recording them in the organizers. This can be done as a whole group or individually. Review the results.


  • Utilize some riddles to get students to think about the process of making inferences.
  • Select a text or other type of media and present to students. Introduce inferences organizer to students.
  • Allow students, partners, or whole group depending on skill level to utilize context clues to make inferences about the media presented. Share results.


Classroom Freebies. (n.d.). [making inferences organizer]. Retrieved from

Devries, B. (2011). Literacy Assessment & Intervention for Classroom Teachers. Holcomb Hathaway: Scottsdale, Arizona.

Microsoft. [ magnifying glass image]. Retrieved from Microsoft Word.

Microsoft. [question image]. Retrieved from Microsoft Word.