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Reading is an essential skill that helps us learn new information which supports our comprehension of the world. It isn’t just the act of reading which is integral to our future development as learners it is the comprehension aspect too. This is where a lot of students struggle and find the concept of reading challenging and off-putting. Comprehension is also not restricted to literacy-based subjects; it spreads to Science, Mathematics, Geography, I.T. and even P.E. It is part of every subject at school and therefore the requirement for sound comprehension skills is imperative for development and achievement.

QAR – What Is It?

QAR stands for Question and Answer Relationships in the context of reading. It is a strategy used by teachers to encourage students to look at text comprehension questions from the perspective of the person writing them. The QAR strategy works to show that students who understand how a comprehension question is devised are more capable of answering them. Ultimately it aims to demystify the question-building process thus leading to better reading comprehension.

There are two categories of questions the QAR strategy uses; “In the Book” – text-explicit questions and “In My Head” – text-implicit questions. These two groups allow students to practice and develop both their research and inference skills – both essential parts of effective comprehension.

In the Book Questions

These questions are formed on direct information supplied in the text itself. They are further subcategorized into: “Right There” and “Think and Search” questions.

‘Right There’ refers to information that is obviously presented in the book in one area, such as a chapter, paragraph or monologue.

‘Think and Search’ includes questions based on the cumulative effect of information in a text such as a message, moral or example.

In My Head Questions

These are questions devised by the reader themselves based on their perspective and reaction to the text. They are further subcategorized into: “Author and You” and “On My Own” questions. The difference here is that the questions are inferences based on their active thought, comparison and evaluation of the text, rather than the information being explicitly supplied within the document.

‘Author and You’ are those questions which are generated straight by the reader as influenced by what the author includes and their development of the text.

‘On My Own’ are implicit questions that arise from the reader’s prior experiences or knowledge of the subject area.

QAR in Practice

Teachers explain, model and practice the strategy with students across the year levels in Primary School. Depending on the school literacy model and the state in which you reside QAR Reading can be introduced as early as Year 3. QAR is an essential part of the literacy development of students across Australia and the skills play right into the hand of the NAPLAN tests. Because the strategy allows for both explicit and implicit learning and knowledge it is an effective way to develop well-rounded reading comprehension skills in students of all ages.

There is a lot of information available to further your understanding as a teacher, tutor, student or parent. QAR is a staple literacy strategy in Australian Schools and could be an ideal way for you to support your child or pupil’s learning development.