Question-Answer Relationship (QAR) Using Newsela: Identifying and Creating Questions

Students begin by identifying types of QAR questions then take this strategy to the next level by developing their own questions
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QAR Hand Motions
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About This Strategy

The Question-Answer Relationship (QAR) strategy can be used by students in all content areas to develop a deeper understanding of the content they are reading. Not only will students become much more effective at answering questions by using QAR, they will also develop their critical thinking skills and move beyond simply memorizing information. In this strategy students learn the different types of QAR questions, identify the types of questions being asked, locate the information in the text needed to answer these questions, and use what they've learned to formulate their own questions.

Before Reading Implementation Steps

Teacher Preparation and Planning:

  1. Select the Newsela articles you will use for modeling, group practice, and independent practice.

  2. Newsela PRO users: Create annotations for each lexile level of the independent practice article and assign the article. See further explanation in the resources below.

  3. Teachers without a PRO membership: Make a copy of the Create Your Own QAR Questions worksheet in the resources section below.

Student Preparation:

  1. Explain the objectives for this activity using slide one of the Before Reading Overview, Modeling, and Guided Practice slides in the resource section below.

  2. Introduce the types of QAR questions (slide two).

  3. Teach the hand motions that represent each type of QAR question and allow students to practice the hand motions for each type of QAR question. (See video above.)

  4. Model the types of QAR questions using slide #3 in the Before Reading Overview, Modeling, and Guided Practice in the resource section below. Have students come up to the board and identify the text-based details they used to identify each type of QAR question.

  5. Provide students with guided practice creating their own QAR questions using slides #4-7 in the Before Reading Overview, Modeling, and Guided Practice in the resource section below.

    • Explain to students that they can come up with the questions first and then identify the details to answer the question, or they can identify the details first to create a question. Different students will prefer different approaches based on their learning style.

During Reading Implementation Steps

  1. Share the QAR During Reading Student Directions in the resource section below with students. Select the instructions that are appropriate for your classroom (they will vary depending on whether you are a Newsela PRO member.)

  2. Have students complete the independent practice as they read a Newsela article.

  3. Hand out the Create Your Own QAR Sheet (see resource section below) if you are not a Newsela PRO member.

  4. As students are reading the text and writing QAR questions and answers, monitor their progress either online (PRO member) or by circling the classroom and looking at the Create Your Own QAR Questions worksheet (non-PRO member). Individually conference with students as needed.

After Reading Implementation Steps

  1. Ask students to reflect on their experience:

    • Which questions were easiest to write? Which were most challenging? Why?

    • How did creating QAR questions and highlighting the answers/clues in the text help your reading comprehension?

Recommended Newsela Texts or Text Sets

QAR Article (Reading)

  • Essential Question: What habits should readers develop?
  • Grade Level: 4-6
  • Content Area: ELA

QAR Kids Making a Difference

  • Essential Question: How can kids make a difference in our world?
  • Grade Level: 3-6
  • Content Area: ELA

QAR Middle Ages

  • Essential Question: What was significant about the Middle Ages?
  • Grade Level: 5-7
  • Content Area: Social Studies

Connecting QAR to Improving Study Strategies

Students often review for test/quizzes by "looking over" their notes or memorizing terms using flashcards. For tests/quizzes that require understanding beyond rote memorization, these strategies aren't sufficient. Creating their own QAR questions is a wonderful way for students to study more effectively to develop a greater understanding of the material they are reviewing. Please note: On My Own questions are not included in this process because teachers rarely use these types of questions on tests and quizzes.

Implementation Steps:

  1. Reference a quiz or test students have previously taken in your class. Identify the types of QAR questions together. Using a "think, pair, share" format or on a piece of paper, ask students to respond to the following questions:

    • How did you study for this past test or quiz?

    • What types of questions caused you to struggle?

    • How could the QAR strategy have helped you to more successfully review for this test/quiz?

  2. Instruct students to take out notes or other study materials related to information on which they will soon be assessed.

    • How can what you have learned about QAR help you to more successfully study for this upcoming test/quiz?

    • Use the Guess the Questions Using QAR Student Activity worksheet (in resource section below) to create and answer possible test/quiz questions.

  3. Consider collecting these questions and using some of them on a test/quiz you create or allowing students time to quiz each other using this worksheet as a review session.

Questions to Consider

  • How will you continue to reinforce the QAR throughout your instruction? Will you require students to label the types of questions on future activities or provide extra incentives for students to create their own QAR study sheets?

  • How can you assist students in applying the QAR strategy to other content areas?

Teacher Tips

Christine Scoppa
Newsela Master Teacher
  • The original QAR strategy developed by Taffy Raphael called questions that require students to look in two or more places in the text for the answer "Think and Search." I noticed that students were confused by this title because they thought that this type of question required them to think on their own about the answer (like an Author and Me question requires.) To clear up confusion, I began calling this type of question Read and Search instead. I found this to be much less confusing for students. For further explanation, see the QAR article written by Jennifer Knight, Ph.D in the resource section below.

  • The hand motions for QAR can be a fun and engaging way for students to develop an understanding of the types of questions (see video above). This can also be a great formative assessment. Have students close their eyes and do the hand motions as you shout them out in random order. You'll be able to quickly see who understands the types of questions and who needs further reinforcement.

  • Right There questions will be easy for most students to answer and create. They'll likely struggle a bit with Read and Search questions and need further support with Author and Me questions. Displaying possible question starters can help students who are struggling. See resource below.