Using Animated Shorts to Teach Inference

Teaching Inference with Animated Shorts

If you are looking for some high-interest activities, try using animated shorts to teach inference skills. This post features five animated shorts that your students are sure to love. The shorts vary from serious to funny. Select the ones you really like, or show all five videos.

In the accompanying handouts, students summarize, infer, and make predictions. This handout includes practice, answer keys, and links for finding the films. A link to the Google Slide version of the student pages is also included in the handout.

Teaching Inference with Animated Shorts

Animated Short #1 – Lonely Island [2:50]

Teaching Inference with the Animated Short Lonely Island

In the first short film, a man is stranded on a deserted island. A sample question for this film is…

Why is there a tombstone on the beach?

The tombstone has a Superman emblem with the words Super Baby. It appears the man knocked down a superhero.

Lonely Island
Play Video about Lonely Island

Animated Short #2 – Alone: A Wolf’s Winter [6:21]

Teaching Inference with the Animated Short A Wolf's Winter

This film is more serious. The pack banishes a young wolf because he wasn’t watching the cubs closely enough. When one cub falls off a cliff, the alpha wolf sends the young wolf away. The film follows the banished wolf as he confronts a trapper.

Here is a sample inference question from the handout.

 The banished wolf confronts a trapper as the film follows him. What most likely happened between this scene and the next?

The young wolf manages to climb out of the lake onto the frozen ice.

Alone: A Wolf’s Winter
Play Video about Alone: A Wolf’s Winter

Inference Animated Short #3 – Source of the Mountains [7:04]

Teaching Inference with the Animated Short Source of the Mountains

The Source of the Mountains tells the story of small creatures who wait each day for a mountain to roll up under them. When the mountain comes, the creatures rise into a snowy wonderland. They play and frolic all day in the snow. Then one day, the mountain does not appear.

One of the creatures goes out into the world to investigate.

Here is a sample question for this film.

Why does the Kinko decide he must go out into the world and see why the normal routine has changed?

The Kinko goes to look for the mountain. He wants the Paccha-Picchus to be playful. He is trying to figure out why things have changed.

Source of the Mountains
Play Video about Source of the Mountains

Animated Short #4 – Stranded [7:01]

Teaching Inference with the Animated Shorts

In this story, a package handler must travel through space to make deliveries. When the StarXpress Company offers her a large bonus to get the job done quickly, she risks her life traveling through an asteroid field. Will the risk pay off?

A sample question from this film is…

How is the spaceship damaged?

Ironically, the spaceship is hit by a piece of floating debris from a wrecked StarXpress spaceship.

Stranded Animated Short
Play Video about Stranded Animated Short

Inference Animated Short #5 – Spoon [3:00]

Teaching Inference with the Animated Short Spoon

In the animated short Spoon, a tired wife/mother decides she needs to escape her life. She gets a ladder and climbs to a faraway planet. 

A sample question for this film includes…


What do you think Mom is going to do with the ladder?

Mom is running away.

Lonely Island is a sample film from Teaching Reading Skills with Animated. The other four films in this post are not included in any of the paid resources; however, they follow the same format.

What people are saying about this series?


Probably the best resource I have ever purchased! Easy to use, fun, and engaging! The students had so much fun learning because of these shorts! Highly recommend!


I love this resource! I rave about it all the time. This is one of the best ways to engage my students in learning about reading skills. They love the animated shorts! They always complete the task and it’s differentiated for my students that need more support or seek challenge. Thank you


Whenever I announce we will be using a short film for a reading strategy review I get applause! They can’t get enough. I have been amazed at how this reinforces skills. These worksheets are super helpful for them in jotting down their notes as they watch and discuss. Thanks for the resource!

Spoon Animated Short
Play Video about Spoon Animated Short
Gay Miller

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    • Patty on August 26, 2017 at 10:00 am

    Can’t wait to use this resource with my class!

    • Terri Farmer on September 20, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    I love your shorts and the pages that go with them. Unfortunately, I can only get the top 2 to open, the rest give me an error message. Is there another place I can find these? Thanks

    1. Thank you!! This is a series of posts that will run once a month throughout the school year. Look a the dates beside the links to see when the next post will become active.

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