Using During-Reading Questions in CommonLit's Full-Year Curriculum

Using During-Reading Questions in CommonLit's Full-Year Curriculum

We’re so excited that you’ve started using CommonLit’s ELA curriculum! As you’ve probably noticed, each reading lesson comes with questions that students answer and discuss as they read. You’ve also probably noticed that there are 4 different types of questions for students to answer during these reading lessons: “Think & Share,” “Turn & Talk,” “Find Evidence,” and Write” questions.

In this blog post, you’ll learn all about these 4 different question types, their unique purposes, and tips for using these questions in your classroom.

“Think & Share” Questions

What it is: Teachers call on 1 student to share their answer to a text-dependent question with the class. These questions are often “right there” questions that most students should be able to answer with relative ease. Students do not need to write down their answers to these questions.

Why these Questions are Important: These questions are an opportunity to establish and quickly review important plot points or main ideas.

Our Recommendation for Facilitating:

Step 1: Read the question aloud to the class.

Step 2: Give students approximately ten seconds to think of an answer.

Step 3: Call on a student to answer the question.

Step 4: Move on after you receive the first correct answer.

Best Practice: You may choose to “cold call” students to answer these questions. “Cold calling” helps build accountability while reading, since students know that they may be called upon at any point to share their answer with the class.

“Turn & Talk” Questions

What it is: Students share their answer to a text-dependent question with their elbow partner. These questions are often a little more challenging than “Think & Share” questions. Students do not need to write down their answers to these questions.

Why these Questions are Important: These questions give every student the chance to share their thinking with a partner. These questions also allow students to build speaking, listening, and collaboration skills. Finally, the teacher can listen in on student conversations to determine how well students are understanding the text.

Our Recommendation for Facilitating:

Step 1: Read the question aloud to the class.

Step 2: Give students approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute to discuss their answer.

Step 3: Circulate around the classroom to determine how well students are comprehending this portion of the text.

Step 4: Optional: Call on 1–2 students to share their answers with the class.

Best Practice: Be prepared to support some of your more struggling readers during the “Turn & Talk.” If students provide an incorrect answer, direct them to the paragraph where they can find the correct answer.

“Find Evidence” Questions

What it is: Students are required to underline or highlight a word, phrase, or sentence from the text that supports an idea or answers a question.

Why these Questions are Important: These questions are important because they give students the chance to practice defending their analysis of the text. As students work, teachers also have the chance to circulate around the classroom to assess student comprehension.

Our Recommendation for Facilitating:

Step 1: Read the question aloud to the class.

Step 2: Give students approximately 1 to 2 minutes to find the supporting evidence.

Step 3: Circulate around the classroom to determine how well students are comprehending this portion of the text.

Step 4: Call on 1–2 students to share their answers with the class.

Best practice: As you’re circulating around the classroom, take a mental note of 1–2 students who are identifying the correct text evidence. During the whole class share out, call on these students to share their answers with the class. This will ensure that the share out is efficient.

“Write” Questions

What it is: Students take 1–2 minutes to answer a text-dependent question in writing.

Why these Questions are Important: These questions are important because they give students the chance to process and solidify their thoughts in writing. These notes will also be helpful students later on, when they are asked to complete their Exit Tickets at the end of the lesson. Finally, as students write their answers, teachers can circulate around the classroom, identify the students who are providing correct answers, and provide additional support to students who are struggling.

Our Recommendation for Facilitating:

Step 1: Read the question aloud to the class.

Step 2: Give students approximately 1 minute to write 1–2 full sentences.

Step 3: Circulate around the classroom to determine how well students are comprehending this portion of the text.

Step 4: Call on 1–2 students to share their answers with the class.

Best practice: As you’re circulating around the classroom, identify the students who are struggling to answer the prompt correctly. Help students by directing them to re-read a key portion of the text where they’re likely to find helpful information.

Conclusion

We’re so excited to continue sharing our curriculum and strategies for effective implementation throughout the school year.

If you have any questions about our curriculum, you can connect with us by emailing Pilots@CommonLit.org. We’d love to hear from you!