In this activity students survey the text and create questions they think the text was designed to answer. During reading, students will try to answer their questions. The questions help set a purpose for reading. This activity works particularly well with non-fiction texts.
Select a text. Select a portion of the text to use for modeling. Provide students with highlighters or colored pencils for marking text. (Optional)
- Introduce Prewrite Questions.
Discuss with students: · When you are reading a text, does it matter if you have questions to answer about the text? · Does that change your approach to reading?
- Model surveying a text.
Model surveying a text for students by thinking aloud your process. What do you look for as your survey a text? You can show students how you read the introduction; look at titles, images, and subtitles; and make use of the text features. If the text is fiction, they may want to examine the book jacket cover and chapter titles.
- Model writing questions.
Model writing questions based on the text you surveyed. The questions can be a mixture of open and closed questions. Think aloud your process for writing the questions. How did you incorporate the information from surveying the text into your questions?
- Students survey the text.
Highlighters can be useful here with strict instructions to do a minimal amount of highlighting when surveying the text. Giving students a guideline to only highlight five words or phrases can be helpful.
- Students write questions.
There could be a component of peer review included here where students share their questions with a partner before actually using them.
- Students read the text and answer their questions.
They can answer using blank paper, a two- sided chart with their questions and answers embedded, or in paragraph form.
- Conduct small group discussion.
In small groups students discuss the text, the questions they asked, and the answers they found. · What similarities or differences emerged among the members of the group? · Did you ask or answer similar or different questions?
Students can reflect individually or as a group, orally or in writing. · How did surveying the text and writing questions prior to reading help you better understand the text? · When might you use this strategy again?
Adaptation for the Math Classroom
Students can use Prewrite Questions in the math classroom to help them survey a lesson in a textbook and then do a more thorough reading with the set of student-developed questions to guide them. As part of this process, help students preview a math text by identify typical math text structures such as definitions, worked examples, and real world connections.