Submit by 11:59 p.m. Sunday of Week 7, March 6, 2016.
Please use the required template.
INFERENTIAL, & APPLIED
Dr. Peggy Semingson
Prior to completing this
assignment, please read this
tutorial in its entirety.
▪ Overview of the book and author
▪ Background of comprehension questions.
▪ Examples of each type of question: literal,
inferential, and applied.
▪ Tips for completing this assignment.
Overview of the Book and
PleaseGoogle the book and author to
explore a bit about the book itself. Be
sure to read theAuthor’s Note at the
end of the text itself.Consider the key
themes of the text prior to starting to
write comprehension questions.
▪ The purpose of the assignment is to
develop your skills at constructing a
variety of comprehension questions
at various levels. Using the book
BrownGirl Dreaming by Jacqueline
Woodson or the book Ida B, come
up with your own original
comprehension questions (literal,
inferential, and applied) using the
required template.The scenario
would be if you were to use this
book as a read- aloud or for guided
reading in an upper-grade (4th-6th
▪ Read BrownGirl Dreaming closely and carefully.Optional:
discuss it with one more people.Consider reading reviews on
▪ Read through the entire ComprehensionQuestionsTutorial
PowerPoint prior to completing this assignment. Read it
closely and carefully.
▪ Create your questions. Remember, you are creating
questions that you would potentially pose to students in a
4th-6th grade class. You must come up with your own original
▪ As you create questions, they should be from the beginning
(first 1/3), middle (second 1/3) and end (last 1/3) of the book.
▪ Hint: Remember to avoid “yes/no” questions.
Balanced Literacy: Comprehension questions
can be asked primarily during the “I do” and “we
do” components of balanced literacy
• Read Aloud (I do, teacher modeling)
• Shared Reading (I do, teacher modeling)
• Guided Reading (We do, guided practice)
• Literature Circles/Book Club-students can learn to
ask one another questions during book club. This is
primarily done in upper-grades (grads 4-6).
Gradual release of responsibility
*(Pearson& Gallagher,1983) Questions can be asked before,
during, and after reading. In the
classroom, try not to ask too
many questions during the
reading. Asking too many
questions also is to be avoided
as it can interfere with
experience with the text itself.
Read-aloud, shared reading,
and guided reading are typically
when comprehension questions
Questions should be carefully
constructed to maximize
reflection and dialogue.
Chunking the Text for Scaffolding and
Monitoring of Comprehension
• “Chunk” the texts at strategic stopping points to discuss
what’s happening, ask open-ended comprehension
questions to check for understanding and to set a purpose
and revisit the teaching focus often.
• Model the type of comprehension conversation you would
like them to have.
• Encourage students to come up with comprehension
questions, as well.
• Help parents/caretakers to make a habit of weaving in
comprehension questions when reading text with students
Questioning should be a mix of literal,
inferential, and applied questions.
• Make them as authentic as possible, allow wait time for
response, be equitable in turn-taking, actively listen to
students, chart their responses, if possible and time
permitting, and build on their ideas.
• Keep instruction student-centered and engaging!
• Remember, this tutorial applies to both read aloud (I
do, teacher reads the book) and also for guided
reading (students are reading the book in small
groups, independently with coaching from the teacher
who is sitting with them).
Comprehension and posing questions—
demonstration and practice.
• There are three key types of questions
• *Let’s read through and explore each type of
• *The “Three level question guide” is a technique
developed by Herber in 1978. Source: Herber, H.
(1978). Teaching reading in the content
areas. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
• The three level reading guide is the technique we
will be practicing in this tutorial and in the
assignment. Feel free to Google “three level
reading guide” for more information if you wish.
Designing Questions to Foster Oral
Conversation and Authentic Dialogue
• You are designing questions as if you were using them
during either a read-aloud, shared reading, or guided
reading with this book.
• The goal is to foster oral conversation; therefore, the
questions should be written as if you were intending to
foster conversation with either a small group of students
or as a whole class.
• Questions should be authentic. Please make them
Example: The Hundred Dresses
• This book is about a group of girls who bully another girl,
Wanda, because they feel she is inventing that she has a
hundred dresses at home. The book’s key theme is
bullying, social class (Wanda is poor while the girls who
tease predominantly are not), friendship, and character
• Most of the inferential questions get at ethical dilemmas.
• This book is appropriate for upper-grades, with a focus on
Examples using The Hundred Dresses by
Examples of Literal Questions:
• Who are the main characters?
• Who wrote the book?
• Where does the story take place?
• What are some of the settings of the story?
• Literal Questions (can easily be answered by locating and
retrieving directly from the text with little to no interpretation).
They are “lower-level” and align with the knowledge level of
Bloom’s Taxonomy. However, they help the teacher to assess
basic understanding of the text. In the classroom, do not spend
too much time here, unless students (usually in a small group)
are facing challenges with basic comprehension.
• Inferential Questions (involves making inferences or
drawing conclusions based on the reader’s prior
knowledge and schema).
• Answers must be sought from multiple places in the
text; they cannot simply be retrieved from one place.
• These answers require students to read “within the
text”, however, they must use clues inside the text.
• Questions are not student’s opinions; they MUST use
clues from inside the text to form their answer. Help
students to “revisit the text” to find clues for their answer.
Try to use the language of inferencing in
• “What can we conclude about the character when
the author states ?”
• “What clues tell us about the main character, ?”
• Other terms to weave into inferential questions might
• -predictions [making predictions is a type of inference]
More on the language of inferencing
• Important: Try to weave some or most of these terms into your
inferential questions. Memorize these terms for your future
teaching. I suggest writing them on an index card to review
• inference, infer, conclusion, conclude, determine,
• implied, implication, not stated, author’s message,
• text evidence, clues, background knowledge
• Examples: “What evidence in text tells you…..”; “What background
knowledge can you draw upon to infer what the character is
feeling about ?”
• *Source: Austin ISD
Examples of Inferential Questions..
• Inferential Questions (Notice when I do ask yes/no questions they are
always followed up with a prompt asking for supporting evidence.)
• What kind of person is Wanda? What are words to describe Wanda
• Is Wanda lying when she says she has a hundred dresses? Why or
why not? Use text evidence to support your answer.
• Is anyone a bully in this book? How so? What makes someone a bully
in the story? Is Maddie a bully? What in the text tells you that?
• Why does Maddie not speak up even though she struggles with the
bullying of Wanda?
• Why does Maddie constantly envision defending Wanda? What does
this mean about Maddie? Why doesn’t she say anything?
• How are Maddie and Wanda alike? How are they different?
• What do you think happened to Wanda? Why do you think so?
Applied Questions (“Beyond the text”)
• Applied questions are mainly opinion questions that work
“beyond the text”. They are more difficult to assess
because one could really ask them without having read
the text. They are harder to use to assess student’s
understanding of the text.
• Use applied questions, but focus more on inferential
questioning in your classroom. However, applied
questions can be very engaging for students and teacher
• Applied questions connect to the “real-world” and help
students to make connections between the text, their own
opinions, and scenarios.
Applied (“real-world”) questions [opinion-
• Who is your favorite character and why? Who is your least
favorite character and why?
Are you reminded of another book, movie, or real-life scenario
from this book?
• Why do you think the author wrote this book? Do you think it
would make a difference to a child after reading this book in
their behavior, either about bullying or standing up to bullies?
• Did you like the book? Why or why not?
• Would this book appeal to boys, as well? Why or why not?
Applied Questions (“real world” questions that involve
application to an invented scenario, interpretation of the text,
inclusion of the reader’s judgment, opinion, and personal
Placement of Questions for read aloud, shared reading
and guided reading
Before Reading: Activate Schema, Set Purpose, Guide Reader
During Reading: Help Reader Process Text
After Reading: Help Reader Organize & Summarize
Embedded Questions: Foster Ongoing Summarizing
Hint: Write thoughtful pre-planned questions on sticky notes or index cards as a cue for you.
Have older students come up with questions, too. Provide modeling for using text evidence and
justification to support response. Use accountable talk to help students engage in cross-talk.
Connect back to the text; keep students’
• “Let’s revisit the text.”
• Use follow-up “prompts often such as:
• “Why do you think that? Where in the text did it say that?
What evidence led you to believe that?”
• Make these questions “conversational” and friendly
and not like an interrogation!!!
Review: Comprehension Questions:
Literal, Inferential, Applied
• Comprehension questions to ask along the way
(incorporate literal, inferential, applied). Questions should
be carefully chosen and invite authentic dialogue.
• No “yes/no” questions or “known answer” questions.
• Use follow-up prompts. How did you know? What in the
text told you that?” Use accountable talk. Include page
numbers (if available).
Encouragement to practice (OPTIONAL)
• NOTE: I encourage you to continue practicing writing and
trying out the different levels of comprehension questions in
your work with students (e.g., tutoring, subbing, and
interactions with school-aged children). If you do so, please
let me know in your reflection!
• Final tips:
• Email me if you have any questions! I am happy to answer any
questions! I can also
• Please take your time on this assignment and do your best work
possible. Feel free to Google “inferential questions” for more
examples with children’s books other than the ones we are using.
• Make your questions connect to the text, Brown Girl
Dreaming or to Ida B.
• Proofread for typos or errors.
• -Dr. Semingson