This activity helps students to structure the asking of different types of questions about a text. “QAR” stands for “Question-Answer Relationship,” and it is a way of conceptualizing the different types of questions students may ask about a text. First, questions are divided into “In the Book” QARs and “In Your Head” QARs. “In the Book” QARs should be answered through close and careful reading. “In Your Head” QARs should be answered through thought and inference in addition to careful reading. “In The Book” QARs are further subdivided into “Right There” questions, which simply require recognition of a directly stated detail, and “Think and Search/Putting It Together” questions, which require synthesis of information across multiple points of the text. “In Your Head” QARs are subdivided into “Author and You” questions, which require students to synthesize text information with their own background information, and “On My Own” questions, which students answer based on their own experience, with the target text just one small part of the contributing base of experience.

Learning Strategies 

  • Inferring
  • Questioning
Author's Intent, Reading as a Writer, Theme

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation
  • Reflection

Content Areas 

  • ELA
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Learning Strands 

  • Reading

Common Core Instructional Shifts 

  • Balancing Informative and Literary Texts
  • Building Knowledge in the Discipline
  • Metacognition
  • Staircase of Complexity
  • Text-Based Answers


Identify a target text. Create a list of the questions you authentically have as you read the text . Create a list of the questions you imagine students may have about the text.

Activity Steps 
  1. Teacher models reading from a text, and asking and recording questions of all four question types.

    Give students maximal insight into your thought process, thinking aloud: “When I read…..I wonder……because…..”

  2. Alone or in pairs, students read from the target text. As they read, they record questions of all four question types. Questions may be recorded in the margins, on Post-its, in two-column notes, or on graphic organizers that are divided into the four ques

    As students read, circulate among them and sit with each student for at least 3-5 minutes, conferring with them about their reading and thought process.

  3. The class discusses the generated questions as a group, and the answers to some of the questions. The class identifies certain key questions that do not have obvious or fixed answers. Students may reflect on these questions in writing or presentations.

    As you discuss the questions, help students to identify those questions that do not have obvious answers and those that merit further thought or discussion.

  4. Students reflect on their learning process, considering how questioning can help them to comprehend text.

    Students may reflect individually or in groups, in writing or orally. They should respond to these questions: What did you learn through this activity? How did you learn this? What strategies did you use? How did questioning affect your learning today? How did it affect your comprehension of the text?

Downloadable Resources 
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