Sunday, January 12, 2014

QAR: Question Answer Relationship

Do you use QAR strategies in your school?
We use it all of the time! My First Graders love it! Yes, you heard me!  Even First Graders can do it! The strategies have made a big difference in how my students think about questions and find the answers in challenging texts.
I use it as much as possible:  social studies, science, guided reading and especially when students are responding to text in their Reader’s Response Journals.

What is QAR?
QAR stands for Question, Answer, and Relationship. QAR is a strategy that relates questions with the text, using the reader's background knowledge or direct context clues and information included in the text being read. The premise of the strategy is that there are four types of questions that need to be asked when reading a text: Right There, Think and Search, Author and Me, and On My Own.
QAR helps students understand the differences between In the Book and In My Head question-answer relationships.  In the Book kinds of questions can be answered, you guessed it, in the book.  The answer can be found directly in the text. In My Head kinds of questions must be answered using Higher Order Thinking skills, going beyond what was in the text.  Students must bring in their own thinking, schema, and connections.
How do I use QAR?
I always begin with text that students can read and comprehend easily.  I do this so that my students are successful in understanding the process of answering questions.  The students must figure out what the question is asking, find the answer, and then categorize the question-answer relationship.   
In the beginning it is so important to MODEL, MODEL, MODEL, the process: reading the text, asking questions, finding answers, and then categorizing the question-answer relationship.   As we read questions, I often ask students to label the question. “Is this a Right There Question?”  or  “Is this a Think and Search?” This helps students recognize whether or not information is  in the text and, if not, that it is necessary to make inferences to answer the question. In first grade, we talk about all 4 questions, but we mostly focus on In the Book questions.
After you have modeled this SEVERAL times guide the students through the process gradually releasing the
responsibility for learning to them. Finally, I provide many opportunities for my kids to try the strategy on their own.

This strategy:
  • explicitly shows the relationship between questions and answers;
  • categorizes different types and levels of questions;
  • helps student to analyze, comprehend and respond to text concepts
  •  helps students gain a deeper understanding of the text
  • helps students search for key words and phrases to locate the appropriate information for answering questions.
 I have created some materials to help my students learn the QAR strategy:

If you want your own set of QAR anchor charts, you can get them HERE!
Have you tried QAR before?  Please share any tips or tricks that you have about QAR!  

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