Understanding question-answer relationships will help students see that not every question asked about a text is a literal, “right there” question. Getting a handle on the main four types of questions will greatly reduce student frustration while increasing quality of responses. This link goes directly to a page on question-answer relationships, but you can then click on a link to the left for a list of other reading strategies.
Teaching our students the four basic question-answer relationships is a valuable strategy that will help them to understand the different types of questions and know how to effectively and efficiently approach the text based on the different question types.
Helping students to analyze the question-answer relationships will enable them to become skillful at analyzing the types of questions that they are typically asked to respond to when reading a text. The four question-answer relationships are as follows:
Right There Questions: “Right There” questions require you to go back to the passage and find the correct information to answer the question. These are sometimes called literal questions because the correct answer can be found somewhere in the passage. “Right There” questions sometimes include the words, “According to the passage…” “How many…” “Who is…” “Where is…” “What is…”
Think and Search Questions: “Think and Search” question usually require you to think about how ideas or information in the passage relate to each other. You will need to look back at the passage, find the information that the question refers to, and then think about how the information or ideas fit together. “Think and Search” questions sometimes include the words, “The main idea of the passage…” “What caused…” “Compare/contrast…”
Author and You Questions: “Author and You” questions require you to use ideas and information that is not stated directly in the passage to answer the question. These questions require you to think about what you have read and formulate your own ideas or opinions. “Author and You” questions sometimes include the words, “The author implies…” “The passage suggests…” “The speaker’s attitude...”
On My Own Questions: “On My Own” questions can be answered using your background knowledge on a topic. This type of question does not usually appear on tests of reading comprehension because it does not require you to refer to the passage. “On My Own” questions sometimes include the words, “In your opinion…” Based on your experience…” “Think about someone/something you know…”
In class students received a single page graphic which illustrates the difference between these four types of questions.