Thin Questions
  • questions with one correct answer * can look in the text and find the answer
  • everyone agrees on the answer – no discussion needed

Thick Questions
  • questions with more than one correct answer * involves discussion
  • uses the text to support their thoughts and opinions * everyone has thoughts and opinions


Literal Questions
  • look in the text for facts * one correct answer

Inferential Questions
  • use text as evidence * one or more reasonable answers

Applied Questions
  • text sparks thought and connections * answers vary depending on opinion

  • Need to be taught the kinds of questions * Helps students know where to find the answers

Right There
  • The answer is in one place in the text - Require you to go back to the passage and find the correct information
  • According to the passage…How many…Who is…Where is… What is…
  • Strategies: scan/look for key words

Think and Search (Pulling it Together)
  • The answer is in several places in the text
  • Have to think about how ideas or information in the passage relate to each other
  • Need to look back at the passage, find the information that the question refers to, and think about how the information fits together
  • The main idea of the passage…What caused…Compare/Contrast…
  • Strategies: Skim/re-read/Find the big or main idea/look for important info/summarize/identify text types

Author and Me
  • The answer is not in the text
  • requires you to use ideas and information that is not stated directly in the passage to answer questions
  • Require you to think about what you have read and formulate our own ideas/opinions
  • The author implies…the passage suggests…the speaker’s attitude…
  • Strategies: make inferences/think about the author’s style/make predictions

On My Own
  • The answer is not in the text - Can be answered using your background knowledge
  • In your opinion…based on your experience…think about something/someone you know…
  • Strategies: think about what you already know/think about what you’ve read before/make connections

From Raphael, Taffy E. (1984, January). Teaching learners about sources of information for answering comprehension questions.Journal of Reading, 27(4) 303-311


Question Cube
  • Cube with question stems
  • Students read, roll the cube, create a question (using the stem they landed on) for the group, group answers
  • Question guides can be provided

ReQuest (Reciprocal Questioning)
  • Read
  • Kids ask questions to the teacher/teacher answers
  • Teacher asks questions to the students/students answer
  • models thought provoking questions
  • Content area teachers who fear that teaching reading will take time away from their content like this strategy because it focuses on content while it facilitates effective reading abilities and questioning strategies. Eventually, students should be able to engage in self-questioning, and thus improve their comprehension abilities.

Adapted from Irvin, J.L. Reading and the Middle School Student:Strategies to Enhance Literacy. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon, 1998.

Question the Expert
  • Students read
  • Write questions to ask the “expert”
  • Ask the expert
  • Determine if the expert is telling the truth, correct, lying, incorrect
  • Can give incorrect answer on purpose
  • Variations:
Stump the Expert (write questions trying to stump the expert)
Written: Two truths and a lie

Telephone Talk
  • Use phones (telephones, cell phones, etc.) to “call” each other
  • Ask someone else a question
  • Respond to the question

QuIP (Questions into Paragraphs)
  • Kids create questions (from headings)
  • Record notes on a grid
  • Create an outline
  • Use outline to relate paragraphs
  • Number of paragraphs = number of questions

Questions Source #1 Source #2 Source #3
Question #1
Question #2
Question #3

QuAD (Question – Answer – Details)
  • Note-Taking tool
  • three options for using the QUAD organizer:
  • Option #1: Teacher can have some of the questions, answers, and/or details already completed on the organizer; students would have to locate the remaining information while reading the text and fill in the rest of the organizer.
  • Option #2: The teacher leaves the organizer completely blank, thus requiring the students to generate their own questions, answers, and details.
  • Option #3: Pairs of students work together - each student writes questions only on the organizer while reading the material; partners would then exchange organizers and complete the remainder of the organizer.
Created by Amy LaPierre, Howard-Suamico School District, based on material from UW Oshkosh Reading in the Elementary School course, Jodi Straub, instructor, September 2001.

QtA (Question the Author)
  • Engages students actively with the text
  • Goes beyond reading and taking info from the text
  • Encourages students to ask questions of the author and of the text
  • Through forming questions, more is learned about the text
  • Engages students in reading and helps to solidify understanding
  • Teaches students to form questions while reading
  • Examples: What is the author trying to say? Why do you think the author used this phrase? Does this make sense to you?
Beck, I.L., & McKeown, M.G., Hamilton, R.L., & Kugan, L. (1997). Questioning the author: An approach for enhancing student engagement with text. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Question Around
  • For homework the previous night, have students generate a number of questions about the text they read.
  • In class, have a student read one of his/her questions.
  • Ask students to raise their hands if they know the answer to the question and the type of question it is.
  • Have the student who posed the question call on someone who raised his or her hand.
  • Have that student answer the question and tell the class which type of question it is.
  • Have that student read on of his or her questions to the class.
  • Repeat the process until everyone in the class has asked at least one question.

Stoenbach, Ruth et al. Reading for Understanding:A Guide to Improving Reading in the Middle and High School Classrooms.San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1999

DRTA (Directed Reading Thinking Activity)
  • Guides students in asking questions about a text, making predictions, and then reading to confirm their predictions
  • Encourages students to be active and thoughtful readers
  • Teachers students to monitor their thinking and strengthens critical thinking skills
  • D: Direct: Teachers direct and activate students thinking prior to reading by previewing. Teachers should use open ended questions to direct students as they make predictions about the content
  • R: Reading: Students read up to the first pre-selected stopping point. Teacher then prompts the students with questions about specific info and asks them toe value/refine predictions
  • T: Thinking: At the end of each section, students go back through and think about their predictions. Students should verify or modify predictions by finding supporting statements in the text

Tompkins, Gail E. (1998). 50 Literacy Strategies Step by Step . New Jersey: Pearson Merrill - Prentice Hall