+ Comprehension Skills: Three Levels of Questioning

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Kevin Feldman refers us all to a Language and Literacy site run by Jeff Zwiers:  http://www.jeffzwiers.com:80/  You will find many useful teaching resources, especially relating to academic language in the classroom and English language learning (ELL).  Some ideas from the site: 

Questioning is a comprehension strategy.  But there are different levels of questions.


These are also known as “explicit” or “right there” questions, and they

  • usually have one right answer found in the text (you can point to it).
  • involve summarizing, paraphrasing, literal retelling.
  • usually have short answers.
  • inquire about what happens, facts, details.
  • often begin with Who, What, Where, When  (or sometimes Why, How, Should/Could/Would).


These are also called “implicit” or “inferential” questions.  They

  • can have more than one “right” answer.
  • are not “point-to-able” or explicitly stated in the text.
  • usually require one or more of the following:
  1. filling in gaps, making inferences, “reading between the lines”
  2. predicting, speculating, asking what the text means
  3. hypothesizing and evaluating
  4. challenging the text
  5. experimenting, solving problems, thinking divergently
  6. reflecting, expressing major understanding
  7. often begin with Why, How, Should/Could/Would  (or sometimes even Who, What, When, Where followed by “do you think…” and followed up with “Why do you think that?”)


These very implicit questions are also known as “text & me” questions.  They

  • connect the text to self or knowledge of the world.
  • ask about author’s purpose, message, moral, symbolism in the text.
  • explore cultural or psychological ideas.
  • extend beyond the text into reader’s own experience.
  • include opinions.
  • examples might be, “How does this part relate to my past/present/future?”; “What is my opinion about what the text says?”; “How does this text help me learn what I need to learn?”

source: see Jeff Zwiers’s link above.

tutoring in Columbus OH:   Adrienne Edwards   614-579-6021   or email  aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com


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