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Lesson Plan

Questioning: A Comprehension Strategy for Small-Group Guided Reading

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Questioning: A Comprehension Strategy for Small-Group Guided Reading

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 30- to 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

John Young

Bellflower, California


International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



In this lesson, the teacher explains the difference between thin (factual) and thick (inferential) questions and then models how to compose question webs by thinking aloud while reading. Students observe how to gather information about the topic and add it to question webs in the form of answers or additional questions. Students practice composing thin and thick questions and monitor their comprehension by using question webs in small-group reading. This practice extends knowledge of the topic and engages readers in active comprehension.

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Short, R.A., Kane, M., & Peeling, T. (2000). Retooling the reading lesson: Matching the right tools to the job. The Reading Teacher, 54, 284295.


Oczkus, L.D. (2003). The four reciprocal teaching strategies. In Reciprocal teaching at work: Strategies for improving reading comprehension. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

NCREL: Reciprocal Teaching

  • Students who answer their own questions show improvement in reading comprehension.

  • When students know prior to reading that they each need to think of a question about the text, they read with an awareness of the text's important ideas.

  • With exposure to expository text, students learn how to summarize and how to use graphic organizers, such as question webs.

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