Reading Comprehension: Question-Text-Answer-Relationship (QTAR) Part 1

BY: Timothy G. Weih | Category: Education | Submitted: 2017-02-03 11:40:38

Note: This is the first part of a two part article. See Part 2 for the remaining information.

Literacy Enhancements

When students work with the Question-Text-Answer-Relationship Strategy (influenced by Raphael, 1982) in small, collaborative, mixed ability groups, they will be immersed in learning the following ingredients of literacy: vocabulary, reading fluency, reading comprehension, listening comprehension, discussion fluency, writing fluency, and in addition, collaborative work skills.

Preparing Materials for Teaching

Teachers can select any expository or narrative text typically found within the following examples: books (chapter, picture, illustrated, informational, or narrative), newspapers, textbooks, magazine articles, brochures, catalogues, or any text online. It is important for teachers make sure all students either have a print copy of the text or can access it online.

Teachers will need to create premade examples of the strategy (see Figures 5-9) to use for modeling and guiding students through the processes of the strategy, and teachers will need to develop a Question Chart made from Figures 1-4.

Note: Since students will be working in collaborative teams on this strategy, it is important for teachers to create and assign mixed ability teams ahead of time.

Instructional Delivery

Definition. Teachers tell students that the strategy of Question-Text-Answer-Relationship (QTAR) is a strategy that will help students see the relationship between the QUESTON, the TEXT, and the ANSWER together with their background knowledge on the topic they are reading about for the purpose of answering questions over the text.

Benefits. Teachers explain to students the purpose of learning the strategy is to enhance their understanding about the topics they read about, to improve their content memory, to raise their awareness about how authors create reading materials (text) with certain patterns of organization (structure and style), and finally, to learn HOW to answer questions over what they have read.

Academic Applications.
Teachers inform students that they can apply this strategy anytime they need to answer questions over what they are reading. The purpose of the questions could be to determine their understanding of a topic, answering quiz questions, test questions, or possibly used for preparing or studying to take a quiz or test over content knowledge.
Modeling. Teachers advise students that questions over reading material contain key words in them that directly relate back to the reading material (text). The two hold connections (relationships) with each other. Many times there are key words embedded into the questions that give clues to the students about how to determine the answers in connection to the text.

Teachers explain to students that some of the key words are the beginning words of the questions themselves. These key words indicate that there are basically four types of questions which could be labeled and thought of as the following: Right There, Think and Search, Author and You, and On Your Own. Examples of each of these question types are shown in the figures below:

Figure 1. Right There Questions

Who is...?
What is...?
What did...?
Where is...?
When is...?
When did...?
How many...?

RIGHT THERE-types of questions suggest to the student with the clue words WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, and HOW to look back in the text for answers that you could actually put your fingers on, or in other words, they are literally RIGHT IN THE TEXT, and usually found in one or two sentences.

Figure 2. Think and Search Questions

What caused...?
How did...?
Find examples...

THINK AND SEARCH-types of questions hint to the student with the clue words SUMMARIZE, CAUSED, LIST, COMPARE, HOW DID, and FIND EXAMPLES to look back in the text for answers that you could actually put your fingers on, but to look for them in more than one place. They may be located within more than several sentences or several paragraphs.

Figure 3. Author and You Questions

What was the effect of...?

AUTHOR AND YOU-types of questions suggest to the student with the clue words EXPLAIN, DEVELOP, WHAT WAS THE EFFECT, AND DESCRIBE to look back in the text for answers that you need to draw conclusions from, or figure out what the author is meaning, based on your own understanding about what the author has written. You cannot actually put your fingers on the answers of these types of questions, but instead, need to grasp the authors overall message or main idea as it relates to the question.

Figure 4. On Your Own Questions

What do you think...?
What if...?

ON YOUR OWN-types of questions indicate to the student with the clue words WHAT DO YOU THINK, PROVE, APPLY, CREATE, PREDICT, WHAT IF, and SOLVE to look back in the text for answers that you need to draw conclusions from and then form your own opinion, view, perspective, or position, but within the context and content of the information that the author has written, in other words, not just any answer will be sufficient.

Note: See Part 2 for the remainder of this article.


Allen, R. V. (1976). Language experiences in communication. Boston, MA: Houghton-Mifflin.

Raphael, T. (1982). Question-answering strategies for children. The Reading Teacher, 36(2), 186-191.

Copyright © 2017 Timothy G. Weih, Ph.D.
University of Northern Iowa, USA

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About Author / Additional Info:
Timothy G. Weih is an associate professor of education at the University of Northern Iowa, USA, and teaches elementary teaching methods courses.



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