Making Inferences with The Library Dragon: Strategies for Teaching Students to Infer

Making inferences with The Library Dragon by Carmen Deedy

Making inferences is a crucial part of comprehending literature and can be a fun activity for students. The book I’ve recently read is full of jokes and cleverly crafted metaphors, making it the perfect choice for teaching my students how to make educated guesses about topics that aren’t necessarily stated directly. My students enjoyed the story, as well as its humorous characters like the dragon in charge of guarding books from being damaged or stolen.

The Library Dragon by Carmen Deedy a great example for modeling making inferences

making inferences with the author’s words

making inferences using a mentor text

Since I was putting this post together, I decided to put together a slide show that I could use for questioning and modeling with think aloud how we infer as I share the book. The slides will give you an idea of the language that is in the book too.  

I think using it with fourth and fifth graders is probably ideal, but strong students in lower grades may benefit from the vocabulary woven into the story. If you think this book would work for you, you are welcome to download and use the slides.  You can access the file [here].

making inferences with vocabulary, characters, predictions, and more

We infer for several purposes-word meaning, character traits, with predictions, and with pictures.  In the slide to the left, we infer what the meaning of the idiom is.  Students can point out that she describes children “touching and clutching, pawing and clawing, smearing and tearing her precious books.  They may also think of her motto as “strict”.

Making inferences with pictures

To the right, this slide shows two children hiding behind the bookshelf.  Students can infer from the picture that they frightened of the librarian.  I plan to talk about citing text evidence as students explain their thinking.  It’s very important that we model how we analyze the text with think aloud, but also ask students to explain their thinking as a way to check understanding.

making inferences with pictures the library dragon by carmen deedy

making inferences with quotes

making inferences with the library dragon by carmen deedy

We use  characters thoughts, feelings, and behavior to determine character traits.  In this example, students are asked to explain from the text how the principal may be feeling. Teachers might expand on the vocabulary here by discussing times students may feel this way.

I will end with the last slide I made (and you can download and check out the rest). What can you infer from this quote?  You’ll have to think about it as it relates to your school librarian (and share this book with him/her if you get a chance).  Whether they are just like Miss Scales or not, they will certainly get a great laugh out of it.  

When I saw Carmen Deedy talk at our state reading conference, I could not help but laugh the whole time she was speaking. You see, my good friend, Lea, the librarian at my school at the time was much like Miss Scales.  

Lea was an ol’ softy inside, and she sure did love the children. She was an amazing help to my son and every other as they passed through elementary school with her.  She knew their personalities and could tell them exactly which books they’d love, but she was a protector of the books too.  She could give the look.  Yes you know the one.  The one we give kids who ask how to do something just after we’ve given directions.  The children really respected her, and I think it did help to keep on top of the inventory.  🙂

making inferences with the library dragon by carmen deedy book quotes

other mentor text lessons you’d like:

Making inferences is an important skill that students need to develop in order to understand text, think critically and make informed decisions. By making inferences, students can use the context of a text to infer the meaning of unfamiliar words and draw meaningful conclusions from what they read. It also develops their analytical thinking skills which are essential for success in school and life.


Carla is a licensed reading specialist with 27 years of experience in the regular classroom (grades 1, 4, and 5), in Title 1 reading, as a tech specialists, and a literacy coach. She has a passion for literacy instruction and meeting the needs of the individual learner.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. I love your slideshow! What a fabulous resource for our readers! I'll have to look up the picture of your librarian with "the look." I think we've all encountered at least one librarian like that over the years! Thanks for linking up your wonderful post!
    Emily, TRT/OG

  2. Oh no…it wasn't my librarian…I know I've given "the look" too. This books is really a great one. Once I use it, I will see how it works for modeling. I just made it today.

  3. Thanks for sharing! I've not used this book yet but I have a kindergarten teacher who does! You've made me very curious, I think I'm going to have to check it out! 🙂

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