3 Levels of Questions Marg Murnane Hawkesdale P12 College May 2008
3 levels of Questions Comprehension exists on 3 levels when discussing texts with students. Many comprehension questions only deal with the answers which are “on the line” and easily answered. They are generally questions which just regurgitate the given facts and which do not promote higher order thinking by the reader. Teachers must encourage students to answer questions which ask them to infer and to apply prior knowledge.
Here - on the line <ul><li>On the line questions are quite literal. </li></ul><ul><li>What colour was Red Riding Hood’s cape? </li></ul><ul><li>What sort of fish was Nemo? </li></ul><ul><li>What was the name of the place the children discovered through the wardrobe? </li></ul><ul><li>These sorts of questions are great for recounting facts and are useful in that aspect, but they do NOT promote higher order thinking by the student. The answer is here – on the line. </li></ul>
Hidden – between the line <ul><li>Hidden questions force students to combine snippets of information given in the text, to come to a conclusion. The answer will be in the text, but not written on the line. </li></ul><ul><li>How do we know that the Beast was in love with Beauty? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we know that the professor wasn’t used to children in his house in Narnia? </li></ul><ul><li>These questions force the students to interpret or infer answers, by using several pieces of evidence to summise something. </li></ul>
Head – beyond the line <ul><li>These questions require the student to use prior knowledge which is already in their heads, to make an informed decision. Given what they know, they are able to deduce / predict / ascertain an answer. </li></ul><ul><li>Do you think the children will ever return to Narnia? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you think pandas will ever become extinct? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you think world leaders will ever abolish nuclear weapons? </li></ul><ul><li>These questions require students to draw on head facts; things they already know, to make an informed answer. </li></ul>
Small reading groups Small reading groups are the most effective way to monitor the levels children are operating on when they discuss texts, both fictional and non fictional. A Reciprocal reading group is an outstandingly easy and effective ways to both monitor and encourage students to think on these higher levels. You can refer to my “Reciprocal Reading” slideshare elsewhere on this blog.
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