Common Core: Explicit vs. Implicit Information

Words like “explicit,” “implicit,” and “inference” sound like a foreign language to most students, yet the Common Core expects students to “read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.” Students must be able to identify both explicit and implicit information, so they can make inferences about what they read. The trick is designing fun activities to keep students engaged as they practice and apply these new skills!

Yesterday, I briefly described each term and had students record the definitions.

    • Explicit – clearly stated so there is no room for confusion or questions.
    • Implicit – implied or suggested, but not clearly stated.
    • Inference – a conclusion made based on both information/evidence and reasoning.

To practice, I showed my students three movie trailers. I selected trailers for movies that target a teenage audience.

Before we began, I explained that movie trailers attempt to balance explicit and implicit information. They reveal enough explicit information to give you a sense of the movie’s premise, yet they rely on implicit information to capture their viewer’s imaginations. If the movie trailer has been successful, the audience will be intrigued enough about the movie to pay to see it.

Here is how I organized the lesson:

Step 1: We watched the upcoming Hunger Games: Mockingjay movie trailer. I encouraged students to note all of the explicit information presented in the trailer. 

Step 2: After the trailer, I gave my students a couple of minutes to quietly fill in any additional explicit information they learned. Then I asked them to brainstorm the implicit information revealed in the trailer.

photo 3

Step 3: After jotting down a list of explicit and implicit information, they discussed their information in small groups of 3 or 4. Then they made inferences about the movie based on the explicit and implicit information they gathered from the trailer. The group dynamic was great for sparking additional ideas!

photo (1)

Step 4: After the groups made their inferences, we reconvened as a class. I asked groups to share the explicit and implicit information they generated, then invited them to share their inferences. Because their subject matter was a movie trailer, instead of a piece of literature, they were less intimidated (less fearful of being wrong) and more eager to share their ideas.

We repeated this process with two more movie trailers (The Fault in Our Stars and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

Extend & Apply to Literature

After finishing our evaluations of the movie trailers, I asked students to apply these new terms to Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, which we are currently reading.

I asked students to crowdsource information from the first three chapters of the novel. I asked them to identify what they learned about the historical, social, economic, and political context of the novel. Each group collaborated for five minutes to generate a list of information.

After they finished crowdsourcing their information, I asked each group to work together to go back through their lists and decide whether each piece of information was explicitly stated or implicitly suggested. After discussing each piece of information, they labeled it either “explicit” or “implicit.” This gave them a chance to take the practice they did with the movie trailers and apply it to the text we are currently reading.

Finally, they also took that information and articulated specific inferences they were able to make about the novel based on their information.

*Note: This extension activity would also work with an informational text.

Creatively Teach the Common Core Literacy Standards with Technology  Available NOW! 

This entry was posted in Learning. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Common Core: Explicit vs. Implicit Information

  1. Pingback: Common Core: Explicit vs. Implicit Information ...

  2. Pingback: Common Core: Explicit vs. Implicit Information ...

  3. Hi Caitlin –
    I took the video trailer that you use and set up the categories “EXPLICIT” and “IMPLICIT” via This is another way that you could have students watch your video text (a la this YouTube content) and start and support an ongoing conversation either during class or at fluid (asynchronous) times. You can click this link, start watching and commenting to play around a get a sense of how this could support your flipped class.

  4. Marie says:

    This is a great idea! Thanks for posting it. I am a School Librarian with a Bachelor’s in something other than teaching. I am grateful for people like you who share ideas and make life easier for me. I may use a version of this to teach these concepts to my seventh grade classes.
    I wish we could use, but our county does not have the money for computers for all classes. 🙁

    • You’re so welcome, Marie! I’m happy to share. I appreciate how easy technology makes it to learn from each other. I’m glad you can use these ideas with your students.


  5. Precious says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this lesson. I used the preview for “Logan” to work through the graphic organizer as a class. For homework we used an eReader worksheet and then reconvened the next day to do a gallery walk around the room. We filled out poster sized versions of the graphic organizer for each question of each passage. The students really caught on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *