Improving Comprehension with QAR

Improving Comprehension with QAR

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Improving Comprehension with QAR

Questioning is a key ingredient in the teaching and learning process. It has been cited as not only the most common, but also the most important, strategy used by teachers in the classroom. In literacy instruction, questioning play an even greater role when teachers use it to guide, monitor, and improve a child’s comprehension of text.

The Question Answer Relationship (QAR) Strategy is a research-based framework for comprehension instruction. Developed by Taffy Raphael, the strategy teaches students how to ask questions about fiction and non-fiction text and where to find the answers. It also helps students think critically about text and move beyond the obvious.

In this article, we’ll explore the QAR Strategy framework and how it helps both teachers and students in the classroom.

The Question Answer Relationship

Raphael breaks down the source of answering questions into two sections. In the Text questions are the easiest to answer because they are found in the text in one place. In My Head questions are found in the text, but in different places. They are more challenging to answer because they require the student to think, search for, and find the answer. These two sections are then broken down into four types of questions.

Right There—the answer is found in the text. To answer Right There questions, students must look for words and phrases because the words in the question and the words in the answer are typically similar. Examples of Right There questions: Who is… When did… How many…

Think and Search—the answer is in the text, but in different sentences. These questions require students to think. They must go back to the text, find the ideas and information referenced in the questions, and figure out how they fit together. Examples of Think and Search questions: Why did… What caused… How did…

Author and Me—the answer is found by relating the text to a student’s prior knowledge. Answers come not only from the text, but also from previous knowledge and evidence and clues in the text. Examples of Author and Me questions: Which character…Would you…What did you think of …

On My Own—the answer comes purely from existing knowledge and does not require going back to the text. Examples of On My Own questions: Have you ever… What’s been your experience with… What’s your opinion…

Benefits of the QAR Strategy

There are many benefits to teaching students to use the QAR Strategy and the four basic question-answer relationships. It can help students figure out how to answer questions based on a text and, therefore, get more out of reading. It promotes higher-level thinking. Students are challenged to use prior knowledge and rely on inferential comprehension as opposed to literal comprehension. It helps students ask effective questions as they read and respond to text. In addition, the QAR Strategy encourages students to actively participate in the learning process and read strategically. Also, when the QAR Strategy is implemented in a group, students are challenged to compete.

Teachers benefit, as well. They are better able to guide and monitor student comprehension. They have a clear, well-organized, and proven strategy with activities for before, during, and after reading. Teachers can simply follow the framework with all types of text to improve reading comprehension and motivate students to participate in the process.

For a deeper look at the QAR Strategy and how to implement it with both readers and non-readers, check out SDE’s webinar Improving Comprehension with the Question Answer Relationship (QAR) Strategy (Gr. K–3) by veteran educator Betty Hollas.

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