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Bringing Balanced Literacy Into Primary, Intermediate and Upper Grade Classrooms

Guided Reading:

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Guided Reading: Small Group Instruction with Instructional Level Text Asking Questions to Extend Understanding

When students ask questions and search for answers, they are monitoring their own comprehension and interacting with text to construct meaning. Whether the questions are teacher or student generated, questioning promotes interactive and engaging opportunities to collaboratively construct meaning of text and to share thinking. Questioning is the key to understanding. Through questioning, comprehension increases as readers interact with text, focus on main ideas, clarify their thinking, make connections, and extend meaning.

The role of the teacher is:

To provide opportunities for students to generate questions.

To generate and model questions to clarify and extend meaning before, during, and after reading.

To give sufficient wait time for students to answer the questions.

To encourage, prompt, and coach students to higher levels of response.

To help students understand the relationship between questions and answers.

To model and facilitate the thinking processes required for the demands of varied texts, questions, and answers.

The role of the student is:

To construct and answer questions related to the text.

To generate questions to clarify understanding of text and extend meaning before, during, and after reading.

To integrate teacher-modeled thinking and questioning strategies into personal practice.

To develop questions for further inquiry and research.

The observer will see:

The teacher modeling questioning strategies to enable students to generate questions.

The teacher engaging students in discussion through prompting and probing questions.

The students generating and answering questions using varied texts, print resources, and personal experiences.

The students using text to generate questions of increasing complexity.


Harvey, S., & Goudvis, A. (2000). Strategies that work: Teaching comprehension to enhance understanding. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.

Questioning strategies. (n.d.). Retrieved June 6, 2004, from the University of Delaware, Center for Teaching Effectiveness Web site:

Reading: Questioning. (n.d.). Retrieved June 6, 2004, from Literacy Matters Web site:

Tierney, R., & Readence, J. (2000). Reading strategies and practices: A compendium. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

CPS Grades 4-8 Literacy Observation Guidelines 24