Questioning The Author
Goal: to help students understand the underlying messages in text
- addresses text as the product of a fallible author, as "someone's ideas written down"
- deals with text through general teacher-posed Queries such as "What is the author trying to say? " and "What do you think the author means by that?"
- takes place in the context of reading as it initially occurs
- encourages discussion in which students are urged to grapple with ideas in the service of constructing meaning
- Students do the work. They wrestle with ideas and consider ways information connects to construct meaning.
- Text becomes an ally to students. Students refer back to the text to verify, argue, and interpret.
- Students acquire a deeper understanding of major text ideas.
- Identify the major understandings students should construct from a text and anticipate problems.
- Segment the text: decide where to stop reading and initiate a discussion to construct meaning.
- Develop queries: formulate Initiating and Follow-Up Queries that will promote student construction of meaning.
- To Get Things Rolling:
- What's the author trying to say?
- What's the author's message?
- What's that all about?
- What's going on here?
- What do you think the author wants us to know from this?
- What's the big idea the author is trying to get across?
For Following Up:
- That's what the author says, but what does the author mean?
- How does that add to the ideas we're talking about?
- What do you think about X's comment?
- What's X getting at?
- What did the author say to make X think of that?
- X is on to something--what's that all about?
- So, is that it?
- Is that all there is to it?
- X said ... Did anyone else pick that up?
- Can anybody take that a little further?
- How does that strike you?
- What's X remembering?
- How does that help us here?
Source: The Wright Group “Questioning the Author” participant manual based on Questioning the Author by Isabel Beck, Ph.D. and Margaret McKeown, Ph.D.