Yesterday, I presented one of my workshops titled Text-Dependent Questions to a group of elementary school teachers. Teachers are always seeking strategies and protocols to help their students better comprehend text. QAR, question-answer-relationship, is a framework I used with students for teaching comprehension strategies when I taught twenty-two years ago. With our young, vibrant and eager teachers stepping into the classrooms, I was surprised to see their unfamiliarity with QAR.
Students are expected to respond to questions aligned to Depths of Knowledge and cite textual evidence to support their responses. By teaching students the QAR strategy, they can see the relationship between questions and answers and how to sort questions by level and type.
With the newly adopted New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS), students are asked to integrate their background knowledge along with citing evidence, a skill that had not been required in the Common Core Standards. For example: the NJSLS now states, “RL.3.1. Ask and answer questions, and make relevant connections to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.” The crosswalks will illustrate the revisions from the CCSS to the NJSLS.
Not only do students need to respond to a variety of questions, but they also need to learn how to generate and ask different types of questions which will ultimately help them expand their writing ability.
The 4 types of QAR questions are: Right There, Think and Search, the Author and You, and On My Own. The first two questions are always found in the book. The latter two are in the reader’s head coupled with information from the text and other previously read texts. The QAR visual support can be used to teach the four types of questions. I suggest displaying it in your classroom color coded and providing one to each student.
As educators, we want to provide our students with a toolkit of strategies from which they can draw upon to comprehend text. QAR is one of those strategies that is tried and true. It’s an after reading strategy that has been around for a long time. Students use it to locate information, identify text structures and see how information is organized in a text. Let’s give our students every tool for their reading comprehension toolkits that we can.