Students need to be taught that they can, and should, ask questions of authors as they read. The goal of QtA is to teach students to use a questioning process to construct meaning of text, to go beyond the words on the page, and to relate outside experiences to the texts being read (Beck, McKeown, Hamilton, & Kucan, 1997). QtA involves the teacher and the class in a collaborative process of building understanding during reading (Beck & McKeown, 2001). The teacher participates in QtA as a facilitator, guide, initiator, and responder. The teacher strives to elicit readers’ thinking while keeping them focused in their discussion (Beck & McKeown, 2002).
Teachers should make a poster of the types of questions students are expected to ask. These should be modeled by the teacher, and students should be encouraged to ask their own.
1. The QtA process begins by providing students the types of questions they are expected to ask about the texts they read. These can be given to students in a handout, projected on the board, or made into a poster and attached to the classroom wall. Students should have access to these questions whenever they’re needed.
2. Model the QtA process with students, using a text from class. Demonstrate for students how the QtA questions can be asked in ways that apply directly to the content of the text.
3. Put students in pairs to practice questioning the author together while you monitor, providing additional modeling and clarification. While QtA is an interactive strategy, the goal is to make the questioning process automatic for students so they use it on their own.
Beck, I.L., & McKeown, M.G. (2001). Inviting students into the pursuit of meaning.
Educational Psychology Review, 13, 225-241.
Beck, I.L., & McKeown, M.G. (2002). Questioning the author: Making sense of social
studies. Educational Leadership, 60, 44-47.
Beck, I.L., McKeown, M.G., Hamilton, R.L., & Kucan, L. (1997). Questioning the
author: An approach for enhancing student engagement with text. Newark, DE:
International Reading Association.
CONTENT LITERACY STRATEGY DESCRIPTIONS for the 2008 LOUISIANA COMPREHENSIVE CURRICULUM, Dr. William G. Brozo, May 2008