Constantly Questioning



Learning to Read Lesson Design

Sharon Masterson


Rationale: The main long term goal for reading is reading comprehension. In this lesson I will teach students to generate good questions while they are reading by modeling how to take a text and question the important information we read to make connections so that we better understand it. This will help students be able to better understand what is going on in the texts that they read. By the end of the lesson the student will be able to generate questions within themselves to better grasp the content of the story.



-         Shark Attack! Article (class set) (pull it up on the smart board)

-         Pencils (class set)

-         Paper (enough for entire class)

-         Highlighters (class set)

-         Clipboards (class set)




 1)   Explain the activity

Say: Today we are going to learn how to ask questions about the text that we are reading.  This will help us remember more about the texts we read.

 2)   Review:

Say: I want us to review the vocabulary word: species. Remember that this word means “lots of different types of one animal”. For example, “There are 368 species of sharks.” A non-example would be “There are 368 types of species in the ocean including sharks.”  Answer this, “How many species are there of humans?” I want your thought.  “How many species of insects do you believe there are? and why do you think this?”

 3)   Explanation

Say: I know we have gone over how to read faster and more smoothly.  That was called reading with fluency.  Fluency and generating questions as you read the text go together because they both have the overall goal of reading comprehension. In order for us to be successful in asking questions about the text, we must have an idea about what we’re reading.  For example, today we will be reading an article about sharks.  Automatically I can begin to ask myself, “What do I already know about sharks?”


4)   Model

Say: Once we begin reading, we are automatically trying to understand what we are reading.  For example, as I begin to read the first paragraph and I come to the sentence,


It’s true that great whites are responsible for most attacks, but because of over hunting they’re rare in some parts of the world.


I begin to question to myself, “If great white sharks are responsible for most of the attacks in parts of the world, will we find out what parts of the world this occurs?” As we go about the reading, we want to continue to ask questions about the text. We don’t ask questions that we can already find in the sentence, for example a bad question to ask would be, “Are sharks rare in some parts of the world?” That can be easily found in the text instead of making connections. We want to know more about what we read, not repeat what we already know.

A way to check if my questions are good is to ask myself three questions about my question, 1 Did it cover important information? 2 Did I bring information together from more than one sentence? 3 can I answer it myself? 


 5)   Simple practice:

Say: I want you to all turn to the smartboard.  I want us to read this next excerpt together and then each of us will write down a question that we are thinking about the text and some will share. 


There are about 368 different species of sharks that live all over the world.  They range in size from a person’s hand, to bigger than a bus.


Alright, now everyone should have a question about the text we just read; write one down and a few of us will share. For example, I am going to write: “How large is a bus?” so that I can get a better understanding of how large a shark may be. Now raise your hand if you have a question you want to share. [Proceed to call on children]


6) Whole texts:

Say: Now it is your turn. I want you all to come and get a copy of this article about sharks and read it while asking yourself questions.  Write down these questions as you read about the text, for it will help you understand what you are reading.


7)  Assessment:

My assessment here will be a checklist.  I will walk around the class as they read and check off whether or not they have understood how to ask questions about the text. I will tell this, by reading a few of their questions that they have generated. Also while walking around ask reading comprehension questions about the article and if they don’t know the answer, help them find out.



________ Do they have at least three questions written down on their paper?


_______ Do the questions have anything to do about the text?


_______Did they ask questions about what they were reading in the text?


_______Do the questions help them connect more to the text?



 Kidszone article:



Cayson, Alison, “Curious Questioners” a learning to read lesson design.


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