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Question-Answer Relationships

The Question-Answer Relationship (QAR) strategy presents a three-way relationship between questions, text content, and reader knowledge. Simply put, the QAR strategy shows that students who understand how questions are written are better prepared to answer questions. These activities help students "demystify" the question-building process as a step toward better reading comprehension.

The QAR strategy divides questions into two broad categories; "In the Book" (text-explicit) questions and "In My Head" (text-implicit) questions.

  • "In the Book" questions are generated directly from a reading selection. These explicit questions fall into two subcategories: "Right There"–questions found in one place in a selection and "Think and Search"–questions built around cumulative information found throughout a document.

  • "In My Head" questions are created by the reader when confronting a text. These questions are not explicitly found in the reading; rather, these questions arise as the reader engages the selection's content through active thought, comparison, evaluation, etc. These implicit questions fall into two subcategories: "Author and You"–questions that the text provokes in the reader and "On My Own"–questions arising from the reader's prior knowledge and experiences.

Steps to QARs:

  1. Explain the two broad categories of questions (and the four subcategories) to students as an introduction to the QAR strategy.

  2. Provide a reading selection and a set of questions about its content. Model the placement of the questions in the framework of the QAR model.

  3. Next, divide the class into small groups and provide each with a reading selection and a set of questions. Have the groups place the questions in the QAR framework.

  4. Finally, provide the groups with a new reading selection and ask them to develop questions from its content. Have the students evaluate their own questions in light of the QAR framework.

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