Asking Questions Reading Comprehension Strategy Update – Tue Jan 28, 2020: Students learn how to ask questions so they stay engaged while they read. This active reading helps them gain a deeper understanding of the text they’rereading.
As part of our Reading for Meaning series, we’re going to look at a comprehension strategy called Asking Questions.
Now, before we start the mini-lesson, let’s turn our minds on and think about active reading.
Active reading means we think about the text as we read. Your brain should be getting a workout.
- It doesn’t matter if you’re great at reading, or if you struggle at reading. At some point in life, we all will read something we don’t quite get right away.
- If we use strategies, we can get better at reading.
- Comprehension strategies help us figure out what is going on in a text
There are lots of different comprehension strategies and today we’re going to use a strategy called Asking Questions. Asking Questions is a reading strategy we use
- before we read,
- during reading, and
- after reading.
Video of the Asking Questions Reading Comprehension Lesson
Here’s the YouTube link
Asking Questions Pro Tips
Here are a few tips to help you use this comprehension strategy:
Pro tip #1. Don’t ask a question you already know the answer to.
Otherwise, it’s too easy and we want your brain to work.
Pro tip #2. Try to answer your own question using evidence from the text.
Look for clues in the text and then just make a guess to answer your question. We don’t have to be right at this point. We just have to think about ideas as we read.
Pro tip #3. Ask lots of questions as you read and make sure to include higher order thinking questions.
Higher-order thinking involves things like analyzing or evaluating or creating new ideas.
One way to ask higher order thinking questions would be to start your question with why or how, and to use verbs like would or might.
- So, if you ask, “how would this help the villagers?” it might help you analyse and break down an idea into multiple parts and reasons.
- Or, if you ask the question, “why would this even matter,” your answer might help you evaluate and come up with an opinion to judge the situation – you can decide whether you agree or disagree with the text.
- Or you might ask a question like, “how might the hero defeat the villain?” Then, you’re trying to create a new idea using what you already know about the situation.
Pro tip #4. Stop after every heading or paragraph and ask a question.
If you don’t get what you’re reading, then you might want to stop after every sentence.
If you are not struggling, then maybe don’t stop as often, but you need to know that strong readers are constantly wondering or thinking about things as they read.
Here’s a screenshot of the beginning of an article. Let’s use the strategy “asking questions” before we read the entire article.
We’re going to stop after every heading or paragraph to ask a question to force us to think as we read.
Look at the title of the article:
“Axe Body Spray stops a Florida school bus due to a hazardous materials incident.”
Let’s try to ask some higher-order thinking questions.
For example, “why would you have to stop if someone used body spray on a bus?”
- This is a higher-order thinking question because it uses the word “why” and it has the verb “would”.
- We have to infer an answer because it’s not given to us directly in the part that we read.
Remember to try to answer your own question.
- So, “Why would you have to stop if someone used body spray on a bus?”
- Well, maybe the driver stopped because someone was hurt.
Make sure to use evidence from the text to support your answers.
- Well, it does say right here that there are hazardous materials, so maybe that hazardous material caused some damage.
Remember, don’t ask a question you already know the answer to.
- For example, what was the spray?
- Well, we know it’s Axe Body Spray from the title.
Another thing to remember is if you’ve already read the text, don’t ask a question where you know the answer is given later on.
- So, in this case, asking, “how old were the students on the school bus?”
- Well, if you already know that in the next sentence, it says that they were “middle school students” that’s probably not a great question to ask because you already know the answer.
So, to recap using the comprehension strategy called Asking Questions.
1. Ask questions you don’t already know the answer to.
2. No matter what question you ask, you have to guess at the answer based on something it says in the text.
3. Ask lots of questions as you read, and try to include higher-order thinking questions using words like “why” or “how”
4. Today, try to stop after every heading or paragraph or section and ask a question. This forces us to think as we read and that’s what active reading is all about.
Reading for meaning is just part of the many strategies and skills that we need when we read.
And, of course, reading is an important thing to be able to do to survive and thrive in today’s 21st-century world.
It takes character to have grit and perseverance and to keep going when things get tough.
And one way to work on our character is to try to have a growth mindset which means that we recognize that if we use specific strategies, these strategies can help us to persevere and to keep on going.
- Sometimes we struggle when we read. In that case, using some of these comprehension strategies will help.
- Sometimes, we find reading easy. If reading the article today is easy, can we agree that at some point in life, you’re going to come across an article which is harder to read? At that point, if you have solid strategies, you’ll be able to persevere and figure out that tough article. Work on the strategy today to practice for tomorrow.
Asking questions is more than just a reading stratetgy. It’s a thinking strategy which means it’s a life strategy. It’s something we can use across the 21st-century competencies.
- We ask questions to figure out ways to overcome the challenges that build character.
- We ask questions when we try to figure how to participate in the communities we belong to.
- We ask questions when we work in groups to decide how to accomplish our goals.
- We ask questions when we communicate and trying to figure out how to get our message across clearly.
- We ask questions when we try to innovate and create new ideas.
- And, finally, we ask questions when we make decisions or think critically and fairly about a situation.
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Good luck reading for meaning!