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Generating Questions

The goal of this lesson is for students to understand the importance of asking effective questions to deepen their understanding of texts and concepts.

Learning Intention

I will learn how to generate meaningful questions that deepen my understanding of a text.

Language Objective

What will this lesson look like?

Success Criteria

Students can use questioning techniques to analyze and critique the text.

  • Read this quote from Albert Einstein
  • Write down one question that come to mind when you see the image/quote.

Do Now:


  • Generating questions is the strategy of coming up with your own questions before, during, and after reading.
  • Before reading, you can preview a text’s title, headers, and other visual elements and generate questions in order to identify what you would like to learn from the text.
  • During reading, you can ask questions about unfamiliar terms or confusing passages. You can then try to locate information in the text that will help you clarify your understanding.
  • After reading, you can ask yourself questions that will help you determine the main idea or theme of the text or that will help you connect what you have read to your own life, other texts you have read, or issues or events in society.
  • The purpose of generating questions is to identify areas where comprehension can be improved so that you can acquire information and deepen your understanding of the text.
  • *Watch Concept Definition Video

noun the ability to understand something

verb to look at or see beforehand


verb to bring into existence, to create or produce




Identification and Application:

In order to generate questions about a text, note the following:

  • text features such as the title or the introduction
  • any graphic features, such as charts, tables, and maps
  • unfamiliar terms
  • confusing passages
Generate questions about a text before, during, and after reading, using the following questions as a guide:
  • What questions do I have before reading the text? What do I already know and what do I want to find out or learn?
  • What questions do I have during reading? What words are unfamiliar to me? What passages are confusing?
  • What questions do I have after reading? What is the main idea or message of this text? How does this text connect to my personal experiences, other texts I have read, or events and issues in society? What questions do I have for further research?


Asking the right questions can help you recall information, focus on the most important details in the text, and make connections to background knowledge. If you are familiar with the movie version of The Jungle Book, you may use your background knowledge to generate questions about Rudyard Kipling’s original text. For example, you might wonder, “Will Mowgli be the only human in the jungle?” or “How will Mowgli’s relationship with the animals be shown?” Or you might look at the title and recall background information about jungles. “When I think about jungles, I imagine a beautiful green place full of plants and animals, but it can also be dangerous. Will the setting match the picture I have in my head.”

I know that Mowgli is the main character of The Jungle Book, but where is he? Are Father Wolf and Mother Wolf the animals that care for him? Who are the cubs? Are they Mowgli’s brothers?


Let’s look at how one reader generates questions as she reads a section of The Jungle Book called “Mowgli’s Brothers”:

What does Father Wolf see? If he’s hunting, why does he stop himself from catching whatever it is? He sees a child! Is that Mowgli? Will Father Wolf bring him home to their cave?

The reader asks two questions regarding the story’s characters. First, she uses her background knowledge of The Jungle Book to generate an informed question. For her second question, she combines her background knowledge with the context and title of the story to try to figure out how these animals relate to the main character. Both questions are specific, so the reader may use context to find answers as she continues to read.As she continues reading The Jungle Book, she generates a few more questions about what she may or may not understand:


Here the reader uses her background knowledge of animals and their hunting habits to ask about a character's actions. She also uses her previous understanding of the plot and characters of The Jungle Book to generate questions about how the story is moving forward and what will happen next. By generating questions, she can determine what she needs to look for as she continues reading.Once she finishes a portion of text, the reader may stop to consider what she understands so far. After reading the entire text, she may then go back and revisit any unanswered questions. To resolve those questions, the reader may also reread portions of the text again to find an answer.