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Embedded Questions

Strong readers often monitor themselves by actively asking questions and making predictions as they read. The opposite is true of weak readers. They seldom pause during reading to question or predict. In so doing, weak readers miss valuable opportunities to stop and reflect on a text, a key to improved comprehension.

Embedded questions—questions placed in a narrative flow of a reading selection—arrest the reader's attention and demand thoughtful reflection. These type questions model the type behavior that strong readers "self practice" during reading. Embedded questions scaffold, or support, a student's self-questioning process.

Steps to Embedded Questions:

  1. Select a text passage for students to read independently. Explain the function of embedded questions and their purpose in this exercise.

  2. Embed questions in the reading selection one of two ways:

    • Write questions on the chalkboard or on an overhead transparency, indicating where they should be addressed in the text passage.

    • Produce a print copy of the reading selection with the questions inserted at the desired locations.

    These embedded questions should assist students in identifying main concepts, understanding key definitions, recognizing supporting details, and summarize ideas.

  3. Have students read the selection and answer the questions as they read. Written answers are best for later discussions.

  4. Once the group has completed reading, have individual students share their responses to the embedded questions. Focus especially on passages that are difficult to comprehend.

  5. Finally, stress the importance for readers to develop "self-questioning" techniques to improve reading comprehension.

Learn More:

  • Jennings, C. & Shepherd, J. (1998). Literacy and the key learning areas: successful classroom strategies. Eleanor Curtain Publishing.

  • Lenski, Susan D., Wham, Mary Ann, & Johns, Jerry L. (1999). Reading and learning strategies for middle and high school students. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.

  • Murdoch, K. (1998). Classroom Connections : Strategies for Integrated Learning. Eleanor Curtain Publishing.

  • Embedded Questions


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