Before using this resource, we recommend you watch our short series of training videos in which Lindsay Pickton and Christine Chen, who devised the ‘Unlocking Inference’ approach, explain the research behind it, and demonstrate delivery in a classroom setting. Find the videos here.
This unit, focused on The Little Mermaid, by Hans Christian Andersen, is designed to support you in your teaching of inference and vocabulary, and is based on a carefully scaffolded whole-class reading approach, including multiple iterations, enabling all pupils to access even relatively challenging texts.
The extract has been annotated with running questions to help you check that children are creating accurate images in their minds, and to clarify their literal understanding (including of key vocabulary) – an essential step towards them making reasoned inferences as they read.
The running questions are largely retrieval-based; it is the combination of literal retrievals which allows inferences to be made.
By taking children through these clarification questions, they will be much better prepared to tackle ‘bigger’ inference questions that require the bringing together of details drawn from across the text.
This primary resource pack includes:
- Classic text extract for pupils (illustrated and plain versions)
- Classic text extract for teachers (annotated)
- PowerPoint of text extract and Big Questions
- Big Questions worksheet and answer sheet
- Vocabulary cards for sorting and display
- Vocabulary teaching sequence – teacher notes
- Vocabulary teaching sequence – PowerPoint
National Curriculum English programme of study links
- Increasing pupils’ familiarity with a wide range of books, including myths, legends and traditional stories, modern fiction, fiction from our literary heritage, and books from other cultures and traditions.
- Discussing understanding and exploring the meaning of words in context.
- Drawing inferences such as inferring characters’ feelings, thoughts and motives from their actions, and justifying inferences with evidence.
- Summarising the main ideas drawn from more than one paragraph, identifying key details that support the main ideas.
- Pupils should explain and discuss their understanding of what they have read, providing reasoned justifications for their views.
- All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum