Question Answer Relationship Strategy (Raphael 1986)

  • Situation

    I am a 5th and 6th grade Learning Support Teacher and have several kids that struggle with reading comprehension and just can’t seem to  go back into a text to find an answer to a question when needed.  They just give up… At times I have highlighted where they can find some answers but that is time consuming and I’d like them to become more independent!  Any ideas?

  • Summary

    Sometimes kids that just can’t “attack”  text and use the information to respond to questions do not have a strategy that they can use successfully. One strategy that you can teach, re-teach and practice with your students is the Question Answer Relationship (QAR)  strategy which provides kids with insight as to what type of question will be asked and how to find the information. For example, is it “right there” in the text or do they have to think of the answer “on their own”, meaning the answer is NOT in the text.

  • Definition

    QAR is a reading strategy that teaches students how to be better prepared to answer questions from a text.  Through this process, students begin to understand that when confronted with a question, the answer will either come from the text or from what they know (in their head).  “In the book” questions are divided into “right there” and “think and search,”  while  “in their head” questions are divided into “author and you” and “on my own.”

  • Quick Facts

    • Child's Age: 11-13, 14-17
    • Planning Effort: Moderate
    • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Pre-requisites

    Reading selections to practice the strategy should be at instructional reading level or slightly below.

  • Process

    1. Add the strategy instruction into your lesson plan to ensure that you have time to teach and model use of the strategy.

    2. Explain the categories and subcategories of questions.

    Right There – Answer is easily found in the text.  Often found in a single sentence of the text and the words used to create the question are often “right there” as well. Author and You – Answer is NOT in the text.  The student must combine previous knowledge with text information to CREATE his/her own response.
    Think and Search – Answer is in the text, but you may have to look in different places in the selection. On My Own – Answer NOT in the text. Answer   comes 100% from student and his/her experiences. Requires thought, creativity and imagination.  Student may not have even had to read the text to answer!


    3.  Provide a reading selection (at instructional reading level or below to
    practice the strategy) and a set of questions about its content.  Model the
    placement of the questions into the QAR model and model responding to each.


    4.  Allow kids to work in pairs or small groups to do the same activity while you walk the room and monitor.  If kids are struggling, go back and model the strategy use with the full group.


    5.  When students are comfortable placing question types into the QAR framework, you can then provide them with a reading passage and have THEM develop the different types of questions from its content.  They can then evaluate their own questions.


    References: 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.

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