Taffy Raphael’s Question-Answer-Relationships (QARs) procedure teaches students to be consciously aware of whether they are likely to find the answer to a comprehension question “right there” on the page, between the lines, or beyond the information provided in the text so that they’re better able to answer it (Raphael, Highfield, & Au, 2006). Students use the QAR procedure when they’re reading both narrative and expository texts and answering comprehension questions independently.
This procedure differentiates among the types of questions and the kinds of thinking required to answer them: Some questions require only literal thinking whereas others demand higher levels of thinking. Here are Raphael’s four types of questions:
- Right There Questions. Readers find the answer "right there" in the text, usually in the same sentence as words from the question. These are literal-level questions.
- Think and Search Questions. The answer is in the text, but readers must search for it in different parts of the text and put the ideas together. These are inferential-level questions.
- Author and Me Questions. Readers use a combination of the author's ideas and their own to answer the question. These questions combine inferential and application levels.
- On My Own Questions. Readers use their own ideas to answer the question; sometimes they don't need to read the text to answer it. These are application- and evaluation-level questions.
The first two types of questions are known as “in the book” questions because the answers can be found in the book, and the last two types are “in the head” questions because they require information and ideas not presented in the book.
Here are the steps in the QAR procedure:
- Read the questions first. Students read the questions as a preview before reading the text to give them an idea of what to think about as they read.
- Predict how to answer the questions. Students consider which of the four types each question represents and the level of thinking required to answer it.
- Read the text. Students read the text while thinking about the questions they will answer afterward.
- Answer the questions. Students reread the questions, determine where to find the answers, locate the answers, and write them.
- Share answers. Students read their answers aloud and explain how they answered the questions. Students should again refer to the type of question and whether the answer was “in the book” or “in the head.”
Students use the QAR procedure whenever they’re expected to answer questions after reading a story, informational book, or content-area textbook. They can also write their own “in the book” and “in the head” questions.
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