Episode 16: Bridging Text-Dependent Questions with Queries

Questions are a powerful source for building a word conscious classroom. And, Queries are even more powerful because they create the surge that promotes deeper thinking by students. Many teachers use questions to help guide students through strategy usage and problem solving. While questions can be used to assess student comprehension of text,  they can also be used to increase interactions between the students and the teacher.  Students should be taught how to handle various question types as they are posed. Click here for a link to a free set of question stems that support comprehension of text

Questions are for Guided Reading.

With the purpose of meaning making, problem solving, and strategy usage at its core, guided reading instruction encompasses many different types of questions that promote student engagement, critical thinking, and active learning. “Guided reading is an instructional approach that involves a teacher working with a small group of students who demonstrate similar reading behaviors and can all read similar levels of text” (What is Guided Reading, 2018). Guided reading mostly uses questions as teaching prompts before reading, during reading, and after reading. These teaching prompts facilitate the acquisition and development of the young readers’ reading strategies.

Raphael and Highfield (2006), suggested that teachers not only use questions to support comprehension development, but that students be taught to use questions to further develop their comprehension of text by way of the Question and Answer Relationships (QaR) strategy.  “QaR shows students the relationship between questions and answers, how to categorize different types and levels of questions, as well as how the text does not have all of the answers” (Raphael & Highfield, 2006).

Text-Dependent Questions (TDQs) are for Close Reading

While the general questions that teachers pose serve to support the development of their students’ comprehension skills, text-dependent questions posed by teachers also serve as guides to the students’ efferent and aesthetic responses to text. In other words, students will respond to text, but many of their responses carry them away from the text. Hence, text-dependent questions help to keep the students’ responses within the text.

Fisher and Frey (2015) submitted that “text-dependent questions require that students have actually read the text. They are questions that are answered through close reading of a complex and worthy text. Text dependent questions require that the evidence comes from text, not information from outside sources” (2015). Hence, efferent and aesthetic responses from students remain within the text, thus forging a method of deeper reading and deeper understanding of the text.

Queries are for Close Critical Reading

Beck and McKeown (2006) developed an approach for using questions as a form of query into the mindset of the author. This instructional approach is known as Questioning the Author (QtA). QtA further extends the reach of TDQs.  Like a Socratic Seminar, queries are designed to make students think deeply about the text. Queries direct students to think about the author’s ideas while working to find the meaning of what the author wrote. In other words, queries spearhead the student’s ability to read with critical lenses.

QtA plus TDQs help students determine: (1) what did the author say, (2) how did the author say it, and (3) how do I evaluate what the author has told me and how can I go beyond what the author has told me? The usage of these different sets of questions interrogates the text as well as the author.

In this podcast episode, you will hear me engage the students with a creation story and i employ text-dependent questions. I also try my hand at QtA.


Beck, I. L., & McKeown, M. G. (2006). Improving comprehension with questioning the author: A fresh and expanded view of a powerful approach. New York, N.Y: Scholastic.

Fisher, D., & Frey, N. (2015). Text-dependent questions, grades K-5: Pathways to close and critical reading.

Fisher, D., Frey, N., Anderson, H., & Thayre, M. (2015). TDQ, grades 6-12 : text-dependent questions: Pathways to close and critical reading.

Raphael, T. E., Highfield, K., & Au, K. H. (2006). QAR now: Question answer relationships. New York: Scholastic.

Richardson, Jan (2013). “Teaching Comprehension during Guided Reading” Ohio RR and Literacy Conference, Retrieved May 20, 2018, from https://readingrecovery.org/images/pdfs/Conferences/NC13/Handouts/Richardson_Concurrent_Teaching_Comprehension_During_Guided_Reading.pdf

What is Guided Reading (n.d). Guided Reading TG. Retrieved May 20, 2018, from http://www.scholastic.ca/clubs/images/whatisgrl.pdf

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