Teaching Strategy

Question-Answer Relationships (QAR)

Close and Critical Reading
Grade Level


QAR gives students practice questioning the text and identifying literal and inferential questions. Students learn to find different types of evidence and to rely on their own interpretation when doing close reading.


During reading



QAR develops meta-cognition. The strategy helps students identify, craft and answer literal (“in the book”) and inferential (“in my head”) questions. It uses student-friendly language so students and teachers can have meaningful conversations about the text, question the text and connect the text to real life.


Model, scaffold and gradually release responsibility for QAR to students before asking them to engage this strategy independently.

  1. Select a central text. Select a passage from the central text.
  2. Read the text aloud while students follow along in their heads. Allow students to read the text a second time with a partner.
  3. Have students write text-dependent questions based on the reading in the margins or on sticky notes.
  4. Record and post students’ questions in a visible location.
  5. Identify which questions are "right there" and which questions require "think and search." 
    • “Right there” questions are literal and reference material found in the text and can usually be answered by quickly scanning or rereading.
    • “Think and search” questions can also be answered by the text but are more demanding of students and require them to carefully reread the text in order to determine and then be able to explain what it says. 
  6. Identify which questions are inferential or “in my head” questions. 
    • Answers to these types of questions are not explicitly in the text but rather require students to consider what the author has included in the text in concert with their own reasoning. 
    • “On my own” questions require students to rely only on their interpretation, experience and understanding of the author’s perspective. 
  7. Choose a number of questions from the displayed student-generated list. Ensure that these questions include literal, analytical and inferential questions.
  8. Have students practice answering the QARs in pairs using the QAR worksheet. Remind students that every answer needs to include textual evidence and point to specific page numbers from the text. This evidence will help support their ideas and claims.

English language learners

Modify QAR for English language learners by having them work on one of the four areas at a time (e.g., focus solely on the “right there” questions before moving onto “think and search” questions.). English language learners can successfully answer all four types of questions with appropriate scaffolding.


Connection to anti-bias education

Questioning is a habit of mind necessary for becoming a critical, close reader and an aware member of any society. QAR readers are tasked with interrogating the text, making careful observations, and uncovering what is not in the text as well as what is. All the skills required by QAR are necessary for meeting anti-bias and social justice educational goals.
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