Making Inferences/ Theme

Make an inference!

An inference is an educated guess or conclusion that is made using evidence. Watch the following video to review making inferences.
Making Inferences

Passage 1- Use the following passage to practice making inferences and identifying your evidence.

Amy: Look at the long line! Do you think we’ll get in?

Bob: I think so. Some of these people already have tickets.

Amy: How much are the tickets?

Bob: Only $3.00 for the first show. I’ll pay.

Amy: Thanks. I’ll buy some popcorn.

Bob: I hope we get good seats!

1. What can you infer that Amy and Bob are doing? What is your evidence?

Passage 2- Use the following passage to practice making inferences and identifying your evidence.

Tommy and John were hot and sweaty as they sat outside the principal’s office. Dirt smeared both of their faces, and they could hear their teacher’s voice as she gave Mr. Jones her account of what had happened during recess. Tommy sneered at John, and John returned the angry glare. Both boys had settled down since they had left the playground but they both a little sore. As Miss Brown left Mr. Jones’ office, the boys hung their heads so they wouldn’t have to look her in the eye. Mr Jones called both boys into his office.

2. What can you infer happened between the 2 boys on the playground? What is your evidence?

Passage 3- Use the following passage to practice making inferences and identifying your evidence.

Adriana wiped her sweating hands on her skirt and immediately checked to be sure she hadn’t stained the shimmering fabric. Through the thick curtain she heard the audience murmuring. Although she could not yet see them, her ears told her it must be a packed house. She’d dreamed of this moment all her life, spent years training her body to move gracefully in rhythm with the music. The final weeks leading up to tonight had been especially trying, and Adrian had the blisters and calluses to prove it. They were carefully hidden, of course, under delicate satin slippers with ribbons that encircled her ankles. The first notes of the opening number were hanging in the air as Adrian quickly took her place center stage. She took a deep breath, as she’d been taught, and tried to send all of the negative emotions out of her body as she slowly exhaled. The curtains parted.

3. What can you infer that Adriana is about to do? What is your evidence?

Comic Inference- Many comics and graphic novels use pictures or actions to help the reader make inferences. Look at the comic below and use the pictures to help you make an inference.

4. What can you infer that the little boy is thinking? What is your evidence?

THEME - You must use inferences to determine the theme of a passage or story. A theme can sometimes be called a lesson or moral.

Identifying the Theme in Literature

Common Themes in Books

You will find that many books include a theme, or lesson, that is revealed as you read the story. Below are common themes you will find in your books.


Characters that respect & accept others' differences and beliefs.


Brave characters that have the strength to overcome a fear or accept a risk.


Characters that never give up even when facing difficult times.


Characters that work together to solve a problem or achieve a goal.


Characters that want to make those who are suffering feel better.


Characters that find that it is best to always tell the truth.


Friendly characters that are generous and considerate of others.


Characters that trust each other and never turn their backs on their friends.

Passage 1- Read the following passage and determine the theme or lesson that can be learned.

One day, a lion caught a mouse and was about to eat it. Just when the huge teeth were closing over the little mouse, the mouse squeaked, "Wait! If you allow me to live, I will one day do you a great favor."

The lion laughed at the thought that a weak little mouse could ever aid the king of beasts. But since the lion was not too hungry, and since the mouse's suggestion amused him, the lion smiled and let his dinner go.

Several days later, the lion was trapped in a great net laid down by hunters to trap him. The lion roared and struggled, but could not escape. Even his might could not break the bonds that held him.

The mouse heard the lion's cries and ran to help. He gnawed at the net's ropes until they parted and the lion was free. As the lion stepped away from the broken net, he thought to himself that even a small mouse could do a big favor.

1. What is the theme of the passage? What helped you to determine the theme?

Passage 2- Read the following passage and determine the theme or lesson that can be learned.

In his sophomore year of high school, Michael Jordan tried out for the varsity basketball team at Laney High School in Wilmington, North Carolina. But at five feet and eleven inches tall, the coach believed that Jordan was too short to play at that level, so Jordan was cut from the team. Jordan didn’t let this obstacle defeat him. In fact, it pushed him to work even harder. He trained vigorously and grew another four inches the following summer. When he finally made the varsity squad, Jordan averaged 25 points a game and went on to become one of the greatest basketball players in history.

2. What is the theme of the passage? What helped you to determine the theme?

Passage 3- Read the following passage and determine the theme or lesson that can be learned.

Tammy and Sammy were both students in Mr. Morton’s reading class. Mr. Morton wasn’t too strict about deadlines, and Sammy took advantage of that. He did all of his homework in his other classes but never bothered to complete Mr. Morton’s reading assignments, figuring that he could complete them later. Tammy, on the other hand, completed each assignment Mr. Morton assigned the night that he assigned it. She had to stay up a little later, but she didn’t want to get a penalty for turning in her reading work late. Tammy knew reading was a core subject and that she had to keep “C” average for the entire year or she would have to go to summer school. When the end of the quarter came, Tammy and Sammy had both planned on going to the Enchanted Castle amusement park, but Mr. Morton called Sammy’s mother, and she grounded Sammy until he turned in all of his work. That weekend was horrible for Sammy. He stayed up until 2:00 AM each night and still couldn’t complete all of the assignments. The whole while, Tammy had a great time eating pizza at Enchanted Castle, watching movies late at night, and enjoying her weekend free of stress and pressure. At the end of the quarter, Sammy was lucky to squeak by with a “C” minus in reading while Tammy earned an “A.” Sammy still hasn’t learned his lesson and probably won’t complete this activity either.

3. What is the theme of the passage? What helped you to determine the theme?

Themes are usually in poetry too!

Read this poem and see if you can determine the theme


If I had some small change

I’d buy me a mule,

Get on that mule and

Ride like a fool.

If I had some greenbacks

I’d buy me a Packard,

Fill it up with gas and

Drive that baby backward.

If I had a million

I’d get me a plane

And everybody in America’d

Think I was insane.

But I ain’t got a million,

Fact is, ain’t got a dime —

So just by if-ing

I have a good time!

By Langston Hughes

Make an inference. What do you think these words mean? Remember to look back for clues in each line or stanza.



Which of the following do you think would be a good theme or lesson for this poem?

a. Wishing for things will never get you anywhere without hard work

b. Sometimes thinking of things/daydreaming can be just as fun as having things

c. Everyone should have some money to spend on what they want

d. If-ing is only for lazy people