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Making inferences using idioms

Why is this important?
Inferencing is a key strand in the development of language understanding.
Idioms are a more advanced form of non-literal abstract language processing.
Linking them together increases the complexity of linguistic understanding
required. However, without understanding this level of language complexity,
children find it difficult to get beyond the literal interpretation.

What to do
• On an individual basis or in pairs, act out a little story from pictures (e.g. missing
the bus, dropping the eggs out of the shopping basket – how do people feel?).
• Use a picture which includes inference and idiom (e.g. ‘Farida is in bed – how does she feel?’, ‘Farida has a frog in her throat. Is it true that Farida has a frog in her throat?’).
• If the child says ‘yes’ discuss what the idiom actually means.
• If the child says ‘no’, ask ‘So why is Farida saying this?’