All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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Classroom Strategies

Question Generation

What it is…

Question Generation is a strategy that assists students with their comprehension of text. Students learn to formulate and respond to questions about situations, facts, and ideas while engaged in understanding a text. During this process, there are several different types of questions that may be derived (see chart below).

Type of Question



  • Did this passage make sense to me?
  • What should I be on the lookout for in the next passage?

Collecting Information

  • What are the facts?
  • What are the main ideas?
  • Who are the main characters?
  • What are the significant details?

Asking the Author

  • What does this author seem to think is most important?
  • Why is the author telling me this now?


  • How can I reorganize the information?
  • Can I explain this new information?


  • Based on what I know, what might happen next?
  • How might this appear on the test?

Why it's so great…

Question Generation helps to improve critical and creative thinking skills as students learn to ask questions about an assigned text. This technique encourages students to develop life-long learning skills. Question Generation is flexible and may be tailored to fit various types of information, and different skill-levels. Students may use this strategy with the help of a facilitator or they may generate questions on their own.

This strategy assists teachers as they engage in the following processes:

  • planning whole class, small group, or individual activities
  • matching objectives with assignment components
  • checking for comprehension
  • gaining insight about students' interests
  • designing homework assignments, and
  • writing exams

How to create them…

Pre-select and introduce the text to be used for generating questions. Decide whether to have students use this strategy within one section, on one page, or with an entire book. Then, choose the type(s) of questions you wish students to ask (see chart above). Develop an activity based upon the type(s) of questions you choose (see examples below). Model the process while providing your students with ample time and opportunities to practice.

How to use it…

  1. Begin by reading OR have students listen to the text selection.
  2. Engage students in the questioning activity and monitor comprehension, tailoring the activity to individual students' needs.
  3. Guide students throughout the questioning process and encourage involvement of passive learners.
  4. Provide students with feedback and allow for discussion.

What it looks like…

Here are some activities teachers can use for the Question Generation strategy:


Muskingum College – Center for Advancement and Learning (CAL). (n.d.). Retrieved 2008, January 25, from

Harvey, S., & Goudvis, A. (2000). Strategies that work: Teaching comprehension to enhance understanding. Stenhouse Publishers: Portland, Maine. (n.d.). Retrieved 2008, January 25, from

Wisconsin Literacy Education and Reading Network Source. (n.d.). Retrieved 2008, January 25, from