The question–answer relationship (QAR) strategy helps students understand the different types of questions. By learning that the answers to some questions are "Right There" in the text, that some answers require a reader to "Think and Search," and that some answers can only be answered "On My Own," students recognize that they must first consider the question before developing an answer.
Question-Answer Relationship (QAR)
|When to use:||Before reading||During reading||After reading|
|How to use:||Individually||With small groups||Whole class setting|
More comprehension strategies
Why use question–answer relationship?
- It can improve students' reading comprehension.
- It teaches students how to ask questions about their reading and where to find the answers to them.
- It helps students to think about the text they are reading and beyond it, too.
- It inspires them to think creatively and work cooperatively while challenging them to use higher-level thinking skills.
How to use question–answer relationship
1. Explain to students that there are four types of questions they will encounter. Define each type of question and give an example.
Four types of questions are examined in the QAR:
- Right There Questions: Literal questions whose answers can be found in the text. Often the words used in the question are the same words found in the text.
- Think and Search Questions: Answers are gathered from several parts of the text and put together to make meaning.
- Author and You: These questions are based on information provided in the text but the student is required to relate it to their own experience. Although the answer does not lie directly in the text, the student must have read it in order to answer the question.
- On My Own: These questions do not require the student to have read the passage but he/she must use their background or prior knowledge to answer the question.
2. Read a short passage aloud to your students.
3. Have predetermined questions you will ask after you stop reading. When you have finished reading, read the questions aloud to students and model how you decide which type of question you have been asked to answer.
4. Show students how find information to answer the question (i.e., in the text, from your own experiences, etc.).
Watch: Question-Answer Relationship
An elementary teacher demonstrates the QAR strategy in this video from the Virginia Department of Education. Watch question-answer relationship in action >
In this lesson plan, students use the QAR strategy for a study of the book Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles.
See this QAR template for the study of Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor
In this lesson, students apply the question–answer relationship strategy to word problems that refer to data displayed in a table. See example >
for second language learners, students of varying reading skill, and younger learners
- Have students work together to form questions about the text, find the answers and share with the whole class.
- Ask students to write down questions and answers.
See the research that supports this strategy
Raphael, T.E., & Au, K.H. (2005). QAR: Enhancing comprehension and test taking across grades and content areas. The Reading Teacher, 59, 206-221.
Children's books to use with this strategy
One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference
This fictionalized story of Kojo, a boy from Ghana, who changes his world with a small loan and one hen, is based on a real person. Kwabena Darko lives in West Africa and started a system of micro-loans in villages that would not otherwise have access. Additional resources and sources for further information allow readers to find out more.
How to Heal a Broken Wing
Children often see what adults miss, and so it is when Will finds a pigeon with a broken wing on the sidewalk of a busy city. Will and his parents, help the bird recover over time then release it. Limited text and well paced and placed illustrations tell the affecting story.
Pale Male: Citizen Hawk of New York City
Stunning watercolors evoke the height and breadth of New York City while a dramatic text relates the true story of a now-famous feathered resident, a hawk named Pale Male. The tension between the lifestyle of Pale Male and human residents as well as the fate of Pale Male's mates and offspring create riveting reading.