Lesson: Interpretive vs Literal Questions

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Lesson Objective

Students will know and be able to identify and ask literal and interpretive questions.

Lesson Plan



State Standard:

5.LD-Q.4. Ask questions that clarify information not already discussed.

5.IT-E.2. Distinguish fact from opinion in expository text, providing supporting evidence from text.





Students will know and be able to identify and ask literal and interpretive questions.


Do Now

Use your prior knowledge and the dictionary. Define literal and Interpretive.


Introduce text Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman by Kathleen Krull.


Direct Instruction

T: Readers we are always asking questions while we are reading. Asking questions while reading is what great readers do!  Sometimes we find the answer right there in the book. Sometimes we have to think deeply and make inferences to answer our questions. 


T: Read the first four pages of the Wilma Unlimited.  Model by asking two literal and two interpretive questions. Discuss why they are literal and why they are interpretive and model how you answer the questions using the text and inference.


Guided Practice

Continue reading the text. Have students share the questions they have. Categorize them as literal or interpretive and have them answer the questions as you read.


Independent Practice

Use the following Scholastic activity from READ 180 and have students practice identifying and answering literal and Interpretive questions:




Then have students read their own independent text and record the questions they have while reading. You can use the graphic organizer below to track questions. Save categorizing until after students have finished reading their own text. 



Have students categorize their questions (from independent reading)

Create a tally chart or chart paper and count the total number of literal vs. interpretive questions. Discuss what type of questions are asked most often and why. 


Ext. Ask what type of questions you see most often on test. Give students a sample or practice test from your district. Have them categorize the type of questions. They can highlight literal questions in blue and Interpretive questions in pink.

 For sample test: 




Lesson Resources

Graphic Organizer: Literal and Interpretive Questions  
Practice Test Items
Literal and Interpretive Questions Practice


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