Sunday, September 22, 2013

Exploring Question Answer Relationships Using Informational Texts

As we all know, the Common Core emphasizes the use of informational text in the reading classroom. We are moving from mostly fiction based instruction to instruction that equally focuses on both non-fiction and fiction. Students are to read, understand text features, and analyze the information given in the text.

One way I like to help my students understand informational text is by exploring question and answer relationships. I feel that understanding this relationship helps my students comprehend and answer questions effectively. I teach my students to read the questions before they read a passage to help them focus their reading. I spend time at the beginning of each school year going over the four different types of question-answer relationships; right there, think and search, author and me, and on my own questions. I do a mini lesson going over these relationships with my students. As part of the lesson, I create an anchor chart to help them remember the different relationships.

I got the idea for this anchor chart from

After the mini-lesson, I give each student a Question Answer Relationship Mat and an informational text passage, or book. The students use these mats to help guide their reading. One side of the mat is printed on bright green paper. This side has a section for right there questions and think and search questions. I have this side on green paper to remind students that they can go right to their text to look for the answer. I have an example of the mats I used last year with my students below. I made a new owl themed set with matching posters that I plan on using this year. The other side is printed on yellow and red paper. The yellow section is for the author and me questions. I use yellow paper to remind them that they may need to go back and look in the book to help them answer their question. The final side is printed on red paper. This side is for the on my own questions. I use the color red to remind my students to stop and use their heads. These questions are questions they can answer on their own.

This is the front of the question answer relationship mat.

This is the back of the mat.
You can use these mats a couple of different ways. You can give the students a passage with questions, and have the students sort the questions before reading the passage. This is good to do when you first introduce question answer relationships to your students. You can also have the students come up with questions for each section after reading a passage. They are great to use with fiction texts too.  I like to laminate the mats first so you can use them from year to year. You can have the students use sticky notes to write down their questions, or you can have them write with overhead markers. What other uses can you think of for these mats?

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