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Strategy #5: Forming questions for focus and comprehension

Asking questions is a useful strategy for any reading assignment. Guided questions provide focus for purposeful, goal-oriented reading. Here are some instructions you can give to your students:

1. Use the boldfaced headings of your text to formulate focus questions for reading each section of the text. You will answer these question as you read. The kinds of questions you should ask are basic previewing questions that facilitate essential comprehension. These are questions that begin with: What is/are... Who...? When...? Where...? How much...? How many...? What is an example of...?

2. Dig deeper into your reading--"How" and "Why" questions generally encourage higher level thinking. These are questions that focus on inference and analysis such as: How did the author write this? Why did the author write it this way? How do I know? How does this apply? Why do I believe this? How did I come to this conclusion?

As they read, students should ask and answer these questions. They can be encouraged to change their questions and answers to more appropriate ones if they find their questions are not answered in the text.

You may wish to give a minimum number of Questions and Answers (Q & As) for this assignment, based on the number of boldfaced headings in the chapter. To help students focus on the accuracy of their comprehension of major ideas as reflected in their answers model some focused Q & A s for at least a section or two. You may also want to have students compare and contrast their Q & As in small groups. A completion grade is a good motivator to get students to try this previewing strategy.