So today I was doing a little preparation for a client visit that I have coming up (what a novel idea…prep!) and I had a huge a-ha!  I was searching around the internet for a concise definition of Text Dependent Questions because what I was writing was super wordy and, well, a terrible model of how to explain things to kids.

And explaining things properly to kids is my job so I kinda felt like I had to get it right.  I’m professional like that.

Well, in my search, I came across a GREAT article that pointed me to some legit (by “legit” I mean it follows the scientific process and it’s not just someone’s opinion of what’s right or wrong, it’s real science) information from Fisher and Frey!  I know, RESEARCH.  Some people love it, but a lot of people are just sick of hearing people tout the party line, “The research says…”

I know – GAG!  We’ve so overused that term.

But anyway, this IS legit research and stuff we should pay attention to and actually do something about!

Fisher and Frey, through their article, taught me that there are six types of text dependent questions:

  1. General understanding: Why did the transition to Catholicism go smoothly at the San Juan Capistrano Mission?
  2. Key details: These questions focus on who, what, when, where, why, and how.
  3. Vocabulary and text structure: Why did the author choose to insert dialogue here?  How does the use of the dialogue help the reader understand the uprising?
  4. Author’s purpose:  How does the author try to impact your feelings on the conflict?
  5. Inferences: How does the author use all of the facts about the conflict to encourage you to side with the Japanese hostages?
  6. Opinions, arguments, connecting text (used after several re-readings): When you read the two articles about the Japanese conflict in California, were you compelled to believe that the injustice was done to the Japanese people?

So….what do I do with this information, you might ask?  (Just pretend you asked, because I’m going to answer it right now as if you did ask me that question…)

It means that asking text dependent questions is just not enough – in fact, it’s totally not enough!  It’s the first step in adjusting the kinds of questions that we ask, but it’s certainly not the stopping point.  The other thing that this information really drives home to me?  That the six types of text dependent questions are totally aligned with how the Standards themselves are organized.  The first two types of questions are for a first read and focus on RI/RL.1-3, the third type of question is related to the way the text is organized, which we typically tackle during a second read (RI/RL.4-6).

This is all making sense for me AND I know how to even better plan for next week’s lessons.  And that makes me excited!