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Lesson Plan

Using QARs to Develop Comprehension and Reflective Reading Habits

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Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Recurring Lesson
Estimated Time Three 40-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Heather Casey, Ph.D.

Heather Casey, Ph.D.

Lawrenceville, New Jersey


International Literacy Association



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From Theory to Practice



Middle school is a time when students move from reading for literal comprehension to developing inferential comprehension strategies. This lesson provides a foundation for building reflective reading habits, which enables students to develop these higher-level comprehension strategies. Students are introduced to a variety of question-answer relationships (QARs), in an effort to increase comprehension during reading and increase personal awareness of their own reading processes. Using the QAR strategy, students identify different types of questions and learn how to determine the appropriate response for each question type. With continued practice, this process becomes automatic and students ask questions of themselves while reading to monitor comprehension.

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Reading Stop Points handout: Students will use this helpful handout at designated points in the text to stop and develop a question that corresponds to one of the QAR types.

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Buehl, D. (2001). Question-Answer Relationships. In Classroom strategies for interactive learning (2nd ed., pp. 106–108). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

  • Metacognition—maintaining an internal dialogue while reading—is important for developing comprehension.

  • Introducing question-answer relationships (QARs) as a comprehension strategy motivates students to attend to the text more carefully.

  • There are two general categories in the QAR paradigm: In the book (i.e., questions require use of the text) and In my head (i.e., questions that draw on the personal experiences of the reader and author).

  • In each category, there are two types of questions. In the book includes Right There questions (i.e., the answer can be found in one specific place in the text) and Think and Search questions (i.e., the answer requires piecing together different parts of the text). In my head includes On My Own questions (i.e., the answer is related to the reader's personal experiences) and Author and Me questions (i.e., the answer is related to the reader's personal experiences as well as the author's perspective).

  • Involving students in the process of developing QARs motivates reading interest.

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