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How to Teach Literature by Teaching Questioning Techniques

written by: Trent Lorcher • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 1/20/2012

The quality of your answers depends on the quality of your questions.

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    Teaching Questioning Techniques

    Getting students to question as they read makes them better readers. Teaching Questioning Techniques will help. Here are types of questions good readers and thinkers ask:

    1. Comparison
    2. Induction
      • Based on Romeo's infatuation with Rosaline, his obsession with Juliet, and his preoccupation with death, what can we conclude?
      • Based on Lennie's past, what can we conclude will happen in Soledad?
    3. Deduction
      • Based on the rules of the ranch, what do you conclude will happen to Lennie and George?
      • Based on the rules of tragedy, what do you think will happen at the end of this play?
      • What must happen for the conspirators plot to work?
    4. Classification
      • What qualities do the ranch workers all share in Of Mice and Men?
      • In what ways does Juliet go against the expected role of daughters?
      • Is Julius Caesar a work of tragedy or history?
    5. Error Analysis
      • What errors in judgment does Friar Lawrence make while counseling Romeo and Juliet?
      • Why does the town of Sighet fail to realize they need to escape in Night?
    6. Abstraction
      • What pattern does Romeo demonstrate with his decision making?
      • Is there anyone else we've read about that demonstrates the same pattern?
      • How can you avoid demonstrating this pattern in your life?
    7. Analyzing Perspectives
      • Why would Juliet's father react so angrily to Juliet's denial of Paris?
      • How might Capulet react if he discovers Juliet's marriage to Romeo?
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    How to Teach Literature by Teaching Questioning Techniques

    Teachers often wonder how to teach literature, especially to students who may not enjoy reading. Try the following lesson plan:

    1. Write the above information on the board and have students copy it in their notebooks..
    2. Spend an entire class period discussing questioning techniques and providing typical answers (feel free to discuss professions where questioning is essential: doctors, teachers, lawyers, financial planners, etc.).
    3. Arrange students in groups and have them come up with one question for each type.
    4. Discuss questions as a class.
    5. Read a literary selection of your choice and have them complete the following assignment (the above examples should give you an idea of what to look for):

    Directions: Create a test: 20 questions must be multiple choice. 10 questions must be true and false. 10 questions must be short answer. 2 questions must be essays.

    • Your multiple choice questions must have at least two of each question type.
    • Your T/F questions must include at least one of each question type.
    • Your short answer questions must include one of each type.
    • Your essay questions should incorporate the question types.
    • You must provide a key (including one for the essays).
    • You must label what type each question represents.