Question–Answer Relationships

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There are four key types of comprehension questions that students will encounter. Many students will find it useful if these questions types are explicitly taught and practised.

Four Types of Questions:

  • Right There Questions (Literal Questions): The answer to literal questions can be found by looking back in the text. Often the words used in the question are the same words found in the text.
  • Think and Search Questions (Inferential Questions): Answers are gathered from several parts of the text and put together to make meaning.
  • Author and You (Higher-order Inferential Questions): These questions are based on information provided in the text, but students arerequired to relate it to their own experience. Although the answer does not lie directly in the text, students must have read it in order to answer the question.
  • On My Own (Evaluative Questions): These questions do not require students to have read the passage but they must use their background or prior knowledge to answer the question.

Teaching the QAR Strategy:

  1. Explicitly teach the four different types of questions.
  2. Read a short passage aloud to your students.
  3. Have predetermined questions you will ask after you stop reading. When you have finished reading, read the questions aloud to your students and model how you decide which type of question you have been asked to answer.
  4. Demonstrate to students how to find the required information to answer the question (i.e., in the text, from your own experiences, etc.).


Raphael, T.E., & Au, K.H. (2005). QAR: Enhancing comprehension and test taking across grades and content areas. The Reading Teacher, 59, 206-221.