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English Center CoordinatorChristopher Heuer, Professor EnglishChristopher.Heuer@gallaudet.edu
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ASL Center CoordinatorRobin Massey, ASL Departmentaslcenter@gallaudet.edu
Below are patterns for each of the six kinds of reading questions. Each pattern includes a description, the typical phrases or language we see in text or on tests, and strategies to help identify the kind you are looking at.
Comprehension means understanding or mentally grasping the meaning of something. The answer to a comprehension question usually is something you can point to in the paragraph or passage.
Most comprehension questions look like this:
Strategies for answering comprehension questions:
Detail questions specify smaller chunks of information than comprehension questions. The answers deal with specific, small items in the paragraph or passage such as a number, a date, or a name.
Most detail questions look like this:
Strategies for answering detail questions:
Following directions is a particular kind of comprehension. You are asked to understand how to answer a question, not to answer the question itself. For example, the directions could tell you to underline the subject once, underline the verb twice, and put parenthesis around the prepositional phrases. If you do not read the directions, you would (1) not know what to do with the paper or (2) not know how to write the answers the correct way.
Most questions that require following directions look like this:
Strategies for answering following directions questions:
The main idea covers most of what a paragraph or passage is about; it may answer who, what, where, when, why, or how. It includes a topic and something specific about that topic. or example, a topic might be the Civil War. A main idea about the Civil War might be: The two most important causes of the Civil War were disagreements slavery and state rights.
Most main idea questions look like this:
Strategies for answering main idea questions:
In contrast to facts or information stated directly in the paragraph or passage, inferences are decisions, conclusions or judgments the reader makes from information in the paragraph or passage. The information is like a hint, and the inferred ideas are not stated directly. The reader must reason or think about her answer.
Most inference questions look like this:
Strategies for answering inference questions:
Sequence shows the chronological order of events - what happened first, second, and sometimes more. Note that the sequence is not the same as the order of events presented in the paragraph or passage. For example, the passage could start talking about what happened last, and then jump back to the beginning.
A sequencing question often looks like this:
Strategies for answering sequence questions: Write the rule* for after / after order:
*if you do not know about this rule, please ask!
(1st Event) (2nd Event)Randy walked the dog before he went to work>.
Note: One sentence may include more than two events; it could use both before and after in one sentence. These sentences are a little trickier.
(2nd Event) (3rd Event) (1st Event)Randy walked the dog before he went to work and after he took out the trash.
Make a list of all the events in the passage or paragraph to help you answer the question(s).
The events are scrambled. Please unscramble them and put them in the right order.
Developed by Carie Palmer and Shirley Shultz MyersGallaudet University English Department
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