How to Teach Students to Ask & Answer Questions

teach students how to ask and answer questions
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This blog post is designed to provide 3rd-5th grade teachers with a step-by-step lesson plan for teaching their students how to ask and answer questions based on a provided text. This lesson plan includes a script that can be used while teaching, as well as supplemental materials and activities for further practice. With this comprehensive approach, teachers can rest assured that their students will have a thorough understanding of how to ask and answer questions based on any text.

Make sure you download my Free Asking & Answering Questions Activity that can be used alongside this lesson plan.

Step 1: Introduce the topic (Ask & Answer Questions).

Explain to students that they will be learning how to ask and answer questions based on a provided text.

“Today, we are going to practice an important reading skill – asking and answering questions based on a provided text. As readers, it’s important that we understand what we read. Stopping to ask questions about what we’ve read and assess whether we can answer the question or not is a great way to check in with ourselves and make sure we’re understanding what we’re reading.”

Step 2: Provide background knowledge.

Give students some basic information about texts, as well as tips for formulating questions and giving answers. This can include different types of questions (e.g., who, what, when, where) and strategies for finding evidence to support answers.

“Let’s make sure we understand the basics of asking and answering questions. First, let’s talk about what a text is. A text is any written material – it can be fiction or nonfiction, stories or articles, or even poems! Now that you know what kind of material you’ll be working with, let’s think about how to formulate questions. Questions can be who, what, when, where – or any combination of these! When you’re answering a question, make sure to look for evidence in the text to support your answer. This way, you know that your answer is correct.”

Step 3: Provide an example of asking questions.

Give students a sample text and demonstrate how to ask and answer questions about it.

“Let’s practice this skill together. Here’s a text that I’m going to read aloud. As I’m reading, think about questions you could ask and how you would answer them.”

“Leopards are graceful and powerful animals. They have long bodies that can reach up to 6 feet, with short fur that’s usually tawny yellow or gold with black spots. Leopards live in a variety of habitats around the world, from rainforests to grasslands and deserts. They are solitary animals, meaning they live alone and hunt alone, though they sometimes meet up with others of their species. Leopards are excellent climbers, able to scale even the tallest trees in search of prey. They also have incredible vision that allows them to spot potential meals from a long distance away.”

Step 4: Give students time to ask and answer questions.

“Now, let’s try practicing with this text. Who can tell me a question about leopards that could be answered with evidence from this text? Give students time to think and share their answers. After they’ve shared, provide feedback and encourage them to consider other questions they might have about the text.”

If students are stuck, offer these suggestions for questions:

  • What kind of fur do leopards have?
  • Where can leopards be found in the world?
  • How do leopards hunt for prey?

Step 5: Provide another text and practice.

Provide some additional texts for students to practice with. Ask them to work in pairs or small groups to ask and answer questions about the text. Encourage them to think critically and refer back to evidence as they form their answers.

If you need more texts to practice with, you can use the paragraphs below.

Monarch butterflies are one of the most recognizable species in the world. They have distinctive orange and black wings, with white spots near the edges. Monarchs migrate each year between Mexico and Canada, traveling thousands of miles in search of food. Some monarchs live for up to 8 months, making them one of the longest-lived butterflies in the world. Monarchs can be found in many habitats, such as meadows, forests, and gardens. They feed on a variety of nectar-rich plants, including milkweed and wildflowers.

Lizards are one of the most diverse reptile species. They can be found in a wide array of habitats, including deserts, rainforests, and even cities. Lizards come in many different sizes and shapes – some are as small as a fingernail while others can grow up to 3 feet long! Their coloration also varies, with lizards ranging from bright greens and blues to browns and grays. Lizards primarily feed on insects, but some species also eat fruit or small mammals. They have sharp claws that help them climb rocks and trees, as well as strong tails that they can use to balance themselves when running.

Step 6: Wrap up and review the lesson on Asking and Answering Questions

Once students have had a chance to practice with different texts, wrap up the lesson by reviewing the key concepts. Ask students to explain how they ask and answer questions based on evidence from a text. Encourage them to think critically about the information they find in texts and use it to form meaningful questions and answers.

To continue practicing, download the text and graphic organizers below!

In conclusion, teaching students how to ask and answer questions based on a text is an important skill. Through this lesson plan, teachers should be able to help their students understand the importance of using evidence from a text when formulating questions and answers. With practice and guidance from teachers, students will gain more confidence in forming meaningful questions and answering them based on evidence.

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teach students how to ask and answer questions