The Missouri Reader Vol. 40, Issue 1 - Page 22

As lifelong learners and educators, it is our responsibility to stay current on reading strategies that have been shown to work and many teachers continue to research ways to help their students be successful when it comes to reading comprehension. There are several pieces of research that suggest the most beneficial strategies to help those struggling readers (Vacca, Vacca, & Mraz, 2014). Moore (n.d.) spoke about the six best practices for teaching strategic reading that included direct, explicit instruction; show, don’t tell; connect reading to students’ lives and their out-of-school literacies; use focused instruction; promote transfer across genres; and encourage cognitive collaboration. When reviewing the best practices of implementing teaching strategies, it leads us to think about the current strategies we are using. Many of us have strategies that we learned from a variety of sources that could involve college coursework, articles, or colleague suggestions. The purpose of this article is to provide you with two additional strategies that you may not be using and discuss how easily they can be implemented into your already wonderful lessons. Two of those strategies are Question Answer Relationships (QAR) and anticipation guides.

Question-Answer Relationships (QAR)

The Question-Answer Relationships or (QAR) reading strategy was created by Dr. Taffy Raphael ( Raphael, 1984 and 1986) to help students recognize that not all answers would be written out in the text. QAR activities are created to help students find the answer to one of four types of questions:

“Right there

Putting it all together

On my own

Writer and me” (Gunning, 2014,

p. 386)

Paralleling the suggestions of Moore (n.d.), Gunning (2014) suggested using differentiated instruction to teach students how to use this strategy. Gunning recommended giving the students an example paragraph and reading the text with them. Following the reading, the teacher works through a series of questions with them that are a mixture of the four different types of questions (right there, putting it together, on my own, and writer and me.) It is important to discuss the sources of the answer and how the students found their answer. It is through practice and discussion that students will increase their skills to find answers that are not explicitly stated in the text.

Cummins, Streiff, and Ceprano (2012) found through their research that the QAR strategy has been successful with lower achieving students. Cummins et al. discussed their results of working with a group of six fourth grade students. The purpose of this study was to increase students’ comprehension and motivation to read. The study found an “increase in test scores with the lower-level students showing positive effects of the QAR strategy” (p. 23). This strategy is helpful for students of all learning capabilities but especially our struggling readers who cannot seem to find answers to questions from the text. Understanding that they may have to use some inferencing skills and look for deeper meaning helps students build confidence to answer thosequestions that require higher level thinking.

Anticipation Guides

Anticipation guides are resources that teachers use to activate students’ prior knowledge and get them thinking about a new topic (Vacca et al., 2014). To create anticipation guides, create six to seven statements that the students can guess are true or false or that they would agree with or disagree with. This activates students’

knowledge they already have on the topic and helps them remember to self-check as they read the text (Gunning, 2014).

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Classroom Close-up