Standard Lesson

Applying Question-Answer Relationships to Pictures

3 - 5
Lesson Plan Type
Standard Lesson
Estimated Time
Two 30- to 45-minute sessions
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Students are questioned about the words in a text on a daily basis, but what about the images? Pictures can help increase students' understanding of the text, topic, or story. In this multisession lesson designed for struggling readers, students are guided through a viewing of David Wiesner's Tuesday, a wordless picture book. As students view the images, they are asked four different types of questions about the pictures. The questions range in difficulty from those with answers that can be found in the text to those that require inferences. Students learn to categorize questions by the four question types and use pictures to help them better understand a story. Students then apply what they learned to an independent reading of Istvan Banyai's Zoom. Students complete a worksheet with a series of questions about the story and then reflect on the usefulness of the questioning strategy.

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

  • Pictures can be used with question–answer relationships (QARs) as a way to teach students how to use pictorial images, in addition to the printed text, to answer comprehension questions.

  • Engaging students in different levels of questioning in relationship to pictures can help them to identify main ideas, make inferences, and draw conclusions.

  • Applying the QAR strategy to pictures may help to increase students' schema and background knowledge needed to comprehend the text.

Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

  • 1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
  • 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).

Materials and Technology

  • Tuesday by David Wiesner (Clarion Books, 1991)

  • Zoom by Istvan Banyai (Puffin Books, 1995)





1. This lesson uses the wordless picture books Tuesday by David Wiesner and Zoom by Istvan Banyai. If either text is not readily available to you, the Suggested Books for Teaching P-QARs contains other book titles with detailed illustrations. If you choose a picture book that includes text, you can simply focus on the pictures within the book and not read the text. You will need one copy of Tuesday and multiple copies of Zoom (enough for pairs or small groups of students) for this lesson.

2. Familiarize yourself with the Purpose and Meaning of the P-QAR Types. You may wish to distribute this list to students before or after the lesson as a reference.

3. Peruse the text and sample questions for Tuesday (see Session 1, Step 7) and add any other questions that you would like to use for modeling the strategy and the four question types.

4. Familiarize yourself with Zoom. This wordless picture book takes readers on a visual journey, one step back at a time, to see an image in its broader context. Students will read this book in Session 2 when they apply the P-QAR strategy in groups or pairs.

5. Preview the P-QARs for Zoom and the Teacher's Guide to the P-QARs for Zoom, and modify the questions as you see fit. Print and make copies of the questions to distribute to students.

6. If you are using books other than those modeled in this lesson, design your own questions in advance. Make sure that you include questions for all four question types.

Student Objectives

Students will

  • Categorize questions according to the four picture–question–answer relationships: Right There, Artist and You, On My Own, and Putting It Together

  • Answer basic and inferential comprehension questions using the pictures in a text

  • Explain their reasoning when answering comprehension questions

Session 1

1. Have students sit on the floor or in such a way that they will all be able to see the pictures in the book you have selected for the lesson. In this example, Tuesday is used to model the strategy.

2. Begin by introducing students to the wordless picture book. Explain that you have chosen a book without words because you want them to think about how pictures can tell a story. Go on to explain that pictures can also help readers to better understand a story they are reading. The focus of this session will be to practice this type of thinking by looking only at the pictures in the story.

3. Explain that you will be asking students four different types of questions about the pictures in the book. They will be able to answer some of the questions by looking directly at the picture. Other questions will require them to make their best guess based on the other pictures they have seen or their own prior knowledge. If you wish, you may state the four question types now or wait to discuss each one as you progress through the story (see Purpose and Meaning of the P-QAR Types). Tell students that the purpose of these questions is to help them think about what is going on in the story and to make connections across the pictures.

4. Begin by showing students the cover of the book. Pose the question, "What time of day is it in this picture?" This would be an example of a Right There question. State some things that are right there in the picture. For example, you could say, "I can tell it is nighttime because the sky is dark. The clock also says it is 9:00."

5. Engage students in a brief discussion about how answering this type of question can help them as readers. In this case, you might say, "Knowing this information helps me to make predictions about the story. I think this book is going to be about something that happens at night. I'm also guessing the story will take place on a Tuesday since that's the name of the book."

6. Ask students to brainstorm and share some other examples of Right There questions based on the cover illustration. You may wish to list these questions on a sheet of chart paper for later reference. When finished, ask students what other predictions they can make about the book based on the picture on the cover and the questions they have developed.

7. Have students begin examining the pictures on each page of the book while you ask them questions. Move through the story page by page, making sure to ask one or more of the four question types for each set of pictures. Explain to students the definition and purpose of each question type as you introduce it (see Purpose and Meaning of the P-QAR Types). As you progress through the story, have students identify the type of question you are asking. Remember to allow time for students to also develop their own questions in addition to answering yours, and record their questions for each question type on chart paper as reference. Always ask students to explain how they arrived at their answers, as well as how each type of question can help them as readers.

A few examples of questions for this story are as follows:

Right There. Open to the first page of the book, and pose the following examples of Right There questions:
  • What is the setting for this page?

  • What time of day is it?
Artist and You. Turn to the next page and ask the following examples of Artist and You questions:
  • What do you think the frogs are doing?

  • How do you think the turtle feels?

  • What do the fish seem to be doing?
On the next page, you can ask a combination of Right There and Artist and You questions as follows:
  • What is the setting for this page?

  • What are the frogs doing?

  • How do the birds seem to feel about the frogs?
On My Own. Pictures later in the story lend themselves well to On My Own questions, such as:
  • In this picture, the frogs start to fall off their lily pads. Why do you think this happened? (pages 21-22)

  • Why do you think police officers were called? Why is the officer looking at a lily pad? (pages 25-26)
Putting It Together. To answer this type of question, students may need to review numerous pictures in the story. Have students look at the picture on the last page of the book.
  • What is going to happen next Tuesday at 7:58 p.m.?

  • What do you think will happen on the following Tuesday?
8. Remind students that good readers ask themselves questions as they read a story. Asking and answering questions about the pictures in a story can help them to better make predictions about the story and understand what is happening.

9. End the session by reviewing the four question types, and answering any questions students may have. In the next session, students will have an opportunity to apply the strategy in small groups or in pairs.

Session 2

1. Review and discuss with students the activity from the previous session. Remind students how they used pictures to help answer questions about the story.

2. Distribute copies of Zoom and the P-QARs for Zoom. Have students read the book and complete the activity sheet in groups or in pairs.

3. Make sure that students understand how to complete the activity sheet. After reading each question, students will first need to determine the question type. Then, after examining the picture, they can record their answers to the question. In the third column, students will need to explain how they arrived at their answers. You might work through a few questions together as a class to make sure that students are comfortable with the directions.

4. Upon completion, gather students together to go over the activity sheet. Make sure students are actively involved in the discussion, particularly if they have disagreements about the categorization of or answers to certain questions. Encourage students to explain their rationales and work together to come to a consensus.

5. Ask students to reflect on the usefulness of this questioning strategy, and if they can see themselves using pictures more often to help them better understand a story and answer comprehension questions. You might have them complete a written journal reflection for assessment purposes.


  • Have students use the Comic Creator to make wordless stories. When they are finished, have them question and answer each other in pairs about the stories they created. Make sure that they use the P-QAR question types.

  • Have students create and draw their own stories based on the concept in Zoom. Have them use the P-QAR strategy to ask each other questions about the story illustrations and then answer the questions.

Student Assessment / Reflections

  • Note how successful students were at brainstorming and answering each of the four question types in Session 1. For example, some students may be comfortable with Right There questions, but may have difficulty with the other question types.

  • Ask students to write journal reflections explaining whether they find this strategy to be useful or not. Have students explain their rationales.

  • Use the completed P–QARs for Zoom activity sheets and the class discussion at the end of Session 2 to assess each student's ability to:

    a. Determine the type of question–answer relationship

    b. Answer questions by looking at pictures

    c. Explain how they arrived at the answers to questions

    You may want to review the question types that seem to give students the most difficulty.