The Missouri Reader Vol. 40, Issue 1 - Page 23

Vocabulary is an essential component to content area classes, especially in science. Students need to know not only what new words mean, but also how to apply the new information in novel situations. Studies have shown use of the Frayer model aids students in understanding multidimensional aspects of word knowledge. By making connections among the different aspects of words, students build up their content vocabulary knowledge, which in turn, increases their understanding of difficult content area concepts.

REFERENCES (2014). Frayer model. Retrieved from

Bromley, K. (2007). Nine things every teacher

should know about words and vocabulary

instruction. Journal of Adolescent & Adult

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Dougherty Stahl, K., & Bravo, M. (2010).

Contemporary classroom vocabulary

assessment for content areas. The Reading

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literacy: Cross-curricular approaches, grades

7-12. Retrieved from



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What’s in a word? Using content vocabulary

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vocabulary knowledge. Journal of Adolescent

& Adult Literacy, 56(2), 132-140.

Fore III, C., Boon, R.T., & Lowrie, K. (2007).

Vocabulary instruction for middle school

students with learning disabilities: A

comparison of two instructional models.

Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary

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Frayer, D.A., Frederick, W.C., & Klausmeier, H.J.

(1969). Report from the project on

situational variables and efficiency of

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Greenwood, S.C. (2004). Words count: Effective

vocabulary instruction in action. Portsmouth,

NH: Heinemann.

Monroe, E.E. (1997). Effects of mathematical

vocabulary instruction on fourth grade

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Spencer, B.H. & Guillaume, A.M. (2006).

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Tompkins, G.E. (2006). Literacy for the 21st

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Boston, MA: Pearson.


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Two Strategies to Help Readers Comprehend:

Question Answer Relationships and Anticipation Guides

Emily Bahner

The benefits of anticipation guides include engaging students in the material before diving into the new text. When students have the opportunity to review what they already know about the topic they become more actively engaged and they also set a purpose for reading (Vacca et al., 2014).

Once students have completed the anticipation guide (individually or in small groups) students should be encouraged to talk about their answers to the questions. Once they have discussed their answer choices, have them read the selection and then come together again for a whole group discussion of the topics on the discussion guide. When the students discuss their original answers and what they found to be true after reading they make connections and better retain the information.


Utilizing the QAR strategy and anticipation guides can increase students’ reading comprehension (Vacca et al., 2014). These strategies are easy to implement and have been found to be successful with several other educators.

Both strategies require very little preparation. To accurately implement the QAR strategy, look at the types of questions you are asking your students to answer. Do they cover the four different types the research suggests? Modeling how to find the answers leads to more independent learning. The QAR strategy has been shown to increase reading comprehension and confidence with students.

Anticipation guides can be easily created. Any six to seven questions over the topic can be written for students and answered in a reading journal. Linking prior knowledge to new knowledge will increase the students’ rate of comprehension (Gunning, 2014; Vacca et al., 2014).

It is my hope that you are able to use these strategies in your classroom and see success with your students. As lifelong learners, educators need to stay current in their delivery of material. It is important that we do not get stuck in a rut.


Cummins, S., Streiff, M., & Ceprano, M. (2012). Understanding and applying the QAR strategy

to improve test scores. Journal of Inquiry and Action in Education, 4(3), 18-26.

Gunning, T. (2014). Assessing and correcting reading and writing difficulties: A student-

centered approach (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Moore, D. (n.d.). Reading comprehension strategies. Retrieved from

Raphel, T.E. (1984). Teaching learners about sources of information for answering comprehension questions. Journal of Reading, 27, 303-311.

Raphael, T.E. (1986). Teaching question-answer relationships. The Reading Teacher, 39, 516-520.

Vacca, R., Vacca, J., & Mraz, M. (2014). Content area reading: Literacy and learning across the

curriculum (11th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

Emily Bahner is in her fourth year as a special education teacher in Southwest Missouri. She and her husband, Caleb, who teaches seventh grade science, just welcomed their first baby, Jack Henry into their family in June.