TEACH: Literacy Resources – Types of questions you can ask for reading comprehension activities

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This is a set of different kinds of questions for creating reading comprehension activities. You can use this as your own resource for developing different kinds of questions for any text that your learners need to read and understand.

Here are some ideas for different reading comprehension activities that you could develop depending on your learning outcome.

Use the list of question types to help you write reading comprehension questions that ask your learners to:

  • Identify something. E.g. “What year was the company started?”, “Which person has only one item of the list?”.
  • Fill in a gap or complete a sentence. E.g. ““New graduates must…”, “The aim of the study was too…”, “The purpose of this notice is to…”
  • Choose from multiple choice answers. E.g. Choose from one of four possible answers.
  • Choose from a forced choice. E.g. Choose whether something is true or false, correct or incorrect, or answer yes or no.
  • Underline or circle something in the text they are reading.

And then if you want to use the same list of question types to push yourself and your learners, you’ll need to distinguish between the following kinds of questions:

  • Inferencing required to answer. This means “reading between the lines” a little.
  • The answer stated explicitly. No inferencing required.

Inferencing is what you do when you can’t get the answer directly from the text. You have to “read between the lines” to get the answer or draw your conclusion. In other words, you have to infer an answer when understanding something that is not stated explicitly in the text.

Learners who can answer inferencing questions are usually at or above step 5 in the Learning Progressions for comprehension and reading critically. This is also often the way to tell who is a good reader and who is not.

When you’re designing a sequence of activities, you can consider how you want to make them easier or harder by using (or not using) inferencing questions.

How else could you use or build from this resource?


Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

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