Questioning What Was Said and What Was Heard!!

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SWBAT use questioning to determine how the text can be interpreted differently, depending on point of view.

Big Idea

Asking questions helps the reader determine what was said literally and inferentially! What exactly do those words and phrases mean to each character?



This is a lesson in the middle of a unit about questioning. In this lesson, the students ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text (RL.2.1), which supports the shift in Common Core Standards toward using text evidence to improve comprehension.  As the students use literal and inferential questions to better understand this story, they are 'close reading', examining text evidence to answer these questions.

My students are fairly comfortable with the three types of questions from previous lessons and understand how to find the answers to each type. We have created charts to help with starting the questions (see links above).

I chose this book Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia, because the text is an 2nd grade level, the students LOVE this character, and I consider this to be classic literature and general information. I want the students to have a good grasp of characters (Amelia Bedelia) and topics (baseball) that most people know. I do recommend this book to students who seem to enjoy this fanciful character. This is a great book to discuss and acknowledge point of view for the characters (RL.2.6). The students are able to 'see' how Amelia and the kids view things differently. This perspective is very important for young readers and will help them more fully appreciate what they read if they can view ideas from multiple viewpoints. This book is also full of multiple meaning words and figurative language. It's a great opportunity for students to see the nuances in word meanings. (L.2.5)

If you have not taught lessons about questioning text, I encourage you to look at some of the earlier lessons so your students get some practice with writing and answering questions. These lessons include The Whys and Whens of Questioning about Literature,  Big Questions About Informational TextSo What Do You Think, Using Evaluative Questions with LiteratureEvaluative Questions-Pick Your Side and Argue, and What Are You Asking About Informational Text?, Questions Help Us See How Characters Develop.

Let's Get Excited!

5 minutes

Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics.  The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary.  My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words.


Get students engaged

  • Ask the kids who has played baseball?  Talk about the game - what are the rules? What do you use?  What is a base? What do you wear? 
  • Here's my introduction to the lesson.

Common starting point (see 'focus of the lesson' section)

  • Go through the vocabulary on all of the powerpoint slides. Some students may not be familiar with the baseball jargon and therefore won't understand the book as well.
  • This is what part of our our discussion with the students looked like when we brought them to understand the same vocabulary.
  • "What are the kinds of questions?"  literal, inferential, evaluative
  • "Where do we find the answers for the questions?" in the text and illustrations
  • "How do questions help us?" understand the story better, find answers we may have, be active readers ...

Teacher's Turn

15 minutes

Give the purpose of the lesson

  • "Today we're going to use what we've learned about literal and inferential questions to better understand a story about a famous character - Amelia Bedelia."
  • "We'll look at some examples in the book together, you can find some on your own and then have some fun make some silly literal pictures."


Introduce and model the strategy 

  • "In this story, the kids make some inferences about playing baseball, but Amelia thinks and does things literally."  Fill out the chart on the board.
  • "Here's an example"  Read to page 13  "Think about the words and illustrations. I'm going to ask an inference question using my 'question words chart' - 'Did Amelia step in to meet the ball?'  The answer is 'Yes, but she got hit by the ball."   Here is the partially completed whiteboard.
  • "Here's another example...  On page 14, my inference question is (reference the question words chart)... 'Is Amelia warmed up?'  The literal answer is that she is hot, but not warmed up for baseball."
  • Complete the chart on the whiteboard
Guided practice
  • "Let's try one together"... read to page 15... "What about the uniform. What question could we ask?"  Take ideas and refer back to the 'Question Words' Chart. One student suggested 'What kind of uniform do you wear for baseball?' Another student suggested, 'Is the baseball uniform the same?'
  • "Let's try one more together" - read to page 23.  "Which words do you think that Amelia confused? What questions could we ask?"  A student suggested... 'Where did she 'tag' Jack?' and another student suggested 'Did she put a tag on Jack?'
  • Here's how I moved onto guided/independent practice.
  • "You are really doing a great job noticing how the language can be looked at from different points of view.  Amelia always has a unique, funny point of view. Asking questions can help us figure out what is happening."

Students Take a Turn

20 minutes

Assign Task

  • "Now it's your turn. Watch as I read the book on the Elmo. Let's work together to write some inferential questions and write the literal answers to show what Amelia thinks."
  • "Remember to use the question words chart to start your question."
  • Pause at these pages -  (I would suggest marking the pages for yourself)
    •  'put him out'  p. 26
    • 'pop fly'  p. 36
    • 'stealing the bases'  p. 52
    • 'run home'   p. 54
    • 'scorekeeper'  p. 58
    • 'home plate'   p. 60


Discuss and assess

  • We worked together as a group to ask and answer questions. Here are 2 examples of our discussions about a pop fly and a discussion about the story events.
  • Check on students - do they understand individually what we are doing?  Walk around and do checks for understanding.
  • Here's is what a student worksheet looks like when it's completed.


We did spend a considerable amount of time talking about character development. (RL.2.3) Amelia is constantly facing 'challenges' and responding to events. As students analyze how and why the individuals, events and ideas develop and interact over the course of the text, they are practicing 'close reading', not only enjoying the story, but examining character development.

Share What You've Learned

15 minutes

Share what you know

  • "You did a great job thinking about inferential questions and literal answers."
  • "I brought some other sports words.  Choose a word from the list and see if you can draw a literal picture from the inferential word.  Here's how I explained the project and my example on the whiteboard."
  • My list was 'quarterback, touchdown, dunk, air ball, ...'
  • This is one of my student's pictures. 


Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.

Since we did most of the questions together, the students with academic challenges should be able to copy as we write on the whiteboard and hopefully take part in the discussion.

Students with greater ability should be encouraged to use higher level vocabulary. Instead of just asking, "Why does she make a plate of cookies?" they could ask "How can a plate of cookies be used instead of home plate?"