Inference training is a group intervention for pupils in KS2 and KS3 who decode adequately but fail to get full meaning and enjoyment from their reading. It teaches key comprehension strategies through “instructional conversations” in groups to help boost reading comprehension. The intervention involves groups of 4 pupils, for 40-minute sessions twice a week over a period of 10 weeks.
Through reading and interactive discussions, groups cover skills such as identifying key words and elaborating on them to enhance meaning; learning new vocabulary; generating questions and inferences; and summarising or re-telling extracts in different ways to emphasise the gist. Inference Training was developed by Leicester City Council based on research showing the key role inference making plays in reading comprehension.
Teachers or teaching assistants teach the intervention for 40-minute session twice a week over a period of 10 weeks.
Training is available through accredited inference trainers (some employed by LAs and others independent consultants). Training is school based and outlines both how to deliver the group intervention and whole class comprehension strategies. After initial training, follow up coaching for the group intervention and some team teaching in classrooms takes place. Training can be tailored to meet the needs of the school and involves daytime and twilight sessions but schools should allow at least 15 hours of trainer time.
Inference Training has not been included in any systematic reviews into the effectiveness of educational programmes.