Author Study: Improving Reading Comprehension Using Inference and Comparison

Students work collaboratively drawing inferences through an author study. Then, they compare and contrast their inferences about the author with a biography. Students repeat the inferring process with another author and then create their own biography based on their inferences. Their original biography is then compared to a factual biography to determine accuracy. This lesson plan provides step-by-step implementation instructions and printable resources. Lesson is appropriate for third through fifth grades. Drawing inferences is an important component of reading comprehension, so students need to be aware of both its benefits and its limitations. Beginning with several picture books by Paul Goble, students draw inferences about the author and apply them as they try to detect the errors in an inaccurate biography of the author. They refine their initial impressions through Internet research and correct the inaccuracies through critical comparison of biographical texts. Students then engage in a similar exercise as they study another author or illustrator of their choice, this time creating an author biography with deliberate errors, which will be corrected by a fellow student. Text from site.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
GLE 0401.3.2
Write in a variety of modes and genres (e.g., narration, description, personal expression, imaginative writing, response to literature, response to subject...
GLE 0401.5.1
Continue to develop logic skills to facilitate learning and to enhance thoughtful reasoning.
GLE 0401.5.2
Use logic to make inferences and draw conclusions in a variety of oral and written contexts.
GLE 0401.5.3
Apply logic skills to classroom situations and to selections read.
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
Learning objectives: 

Student Objectives:

Students will

  • Learn what inferences are by looking at an illustrator's work and listing assumptions about the illustrator before reading his biography
  • Practice comprehension skills by reading texts, observing illustrations, inferring information from the illustrations, comparing written texts, and identifying errors in texts
  • Demonstrate comprehension skills they have learned by studying a different author's work and biography and creating their own biography
  • Practice writing a specific genre, biography, including factual errors other students will discover using their own developing inference and comparison skills

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 


Have students research and write additional erroneous biographies using the online Bio-Cube as a prewriting tool. All biographies and answer keys can be collected in a class notebook for students to use as independent learning activities.

Helpful Hints

Materials and Technology:

  • Computers with Internet access and printing capability
  • Selection of picture books by Paul Goble
  • Chart paper and markers