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Text-Dependent Questions, Grades 6-12

Pathways to Close and Critical Reading
Learn the best ways to use text-dependent questions as scaffolds during close reading and the big understandings they yield. Includes illustrative video, texts and questions, cross-curricular examples, and online facilitator’s guides.

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Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781483331379
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Series: Corwin Literacy
  • Year: 2014
  • Page Count: 328
  • Publication date: September 09, 2014

Price: $39.95



Fisher & Frey’s answer to close and critical reading

No doubt since the cave paintings of prehistoric times, humans have asked questions to make sense of the message. So what could possibly be new about posing questions about text?

Plenty . . . and with TDQ, Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey reveal it all. After one quick read, you will have learned all the very best ways to use text-dependent questions as scaffolds during close reading . . . and the big understandings they can yield, especially when executed the Fisher and Frey way. But that’s just for starters. Fisher and Frey also include illustrative video, actual texts and questions, examples from across content areas, and an online professional learning guide, making the two volumes of TDQ a potent professional development tool across all of K-12.

The genius of TDQ is the way Fisher and Frey break down the process into four cognitive pathways that help teachers “organize the journey through a text” and frame an extended discussion around it. Step by step, this approach ensures that in every close reading lesson, students are guided to consider explicit and implied meanings, and deeply analyze and appreciate various aspects of a text, especially those that may be challenging or confusing.

Here’s how the four inter-related processes play out, with every why and every how answered:

  • What does the text say? (general understandings and key details)
  • How does the text work? (vocabulary, structure, and author’s craft)
  • What does the text mean? (logical inferences and intertextual connections)
  • What does the text inspire you to do? (write, investigate, present, debate)

The cool thing? These questions ignite students’ engagement and discussion because they strategically lead students to a place of understanding where explicit and implied meanings and interpretations can be debated. Far from being overly literal or teacher-led, the questioning framework Fisher and Frey advance enhances the quality of student talk and idea-generation. All in all, there’s no better resource to cultivate students’ capacity for independent reading and incisive thinking.

Longtime collaborators and recipients of numerous teaching and leadership awards, DOUGLAS FISHER and NANCY FREY are Professors of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University as well as teacher leaders at Health Sciences High & Middle College.



Douglas Fisher photo

Douglas Fisher

Douglas Fisher, Ph.D., is professor and chair of educational leadership at San Diego State University and a leader at Health Sciences High and Middle College. Previously, Doug was an early intervention teacher and elementary school educator. He is the recipient of an International Reading Association William S. Grey citation of merit and an Exemplary Leader award from the Conference on English Leadership of NCTE. He has published numerous articles on teaching and learning as well as books such as The Teacher Clarity Playbook, PLC+, Visible Learning for Literacy, Comprehension: The Skill, Will, and Thrill of Reading, How Tutoring Works, and How Learning Works. Doug loves being an educator and hopes to share that passion with others.

Nancy Frey photo

Nancy Frey

Nancy Frey, Ph.D., is a Professor in Educational Leadership at San Diego State and a teacher leader at Health Sciences High and Middle College. She is a member of the International Literacy Association’s Literacy Research Panel. Her published titles include Visible Learning in Literacy, This Is Balanced Literacy, Removing Labels, and Rebound. Nancy is a credentialed special educator, reading specialist, and administrator in California and learns from teachers and students every day.
Heather Anderson photo

Heather Anderson

Heather Anderson has a wide range of experience teaching at both the elementary and high school levels. She earned her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from San Diego State University, is BCLAD certified, has extensive experience in staff development, and spent part of her career as an elementary math specialist. Heather has shared her passion for education both nationally and internationally while presenting at conferences and consulting at individual school sites emphasizing the use of Gradual Release of Responsibility, differentiated instruction, close reading and collaborative grouping. Heather currently teaches English and higher level Spanish at Health Sciences High and Middle College, a charter school in San Diego.

Marisol Thayre photo

Marisol Thayre

Marisol Thayre, PhD, is a secondary English teacher, author, and instructional coach. She has worked with preservice and experienced teachers alike in creating purposeful, collaborative, and data-driven classrooms for various grade levels and content areas. In addition to her role as a teacher leader and mentor, Marisol has presented both nationally and internationally on topics including assessment, secondary literacy strategies, differentiation, and collaboration. Her current research endeavors are focused on the integration of social emotional learning into content-area instruction. Marisol currently teaches high school English and college composition in San Diego, California.
Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. The Building Blocks of Effective Close and Critical Reading Lessons

Close Reading Defined

The Phases of Close Reading

How Much Frontloading Is Too Much (or Not Enough)?

Text-Dependent Questions Drive Close Reading

Use Text-Dependent Questions Judiciously

Question Yourself


Chapter 2. What Does the Text Say?

An Invitation to Read Closely: Literal-Level Questions

Why Students Need This Type of Questioning

Why Classroom Discussion Is Crucial

How Examining What the Text Says Addresses the Standards

Using Text-Dependent Questions About What the Text Says

Question Yourself

Practice Text: General Dwight D. Eisenhower's D-Day Invasion Statement to Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force, June 6, 1944


Chapter 3. How Does the Text Work?

An Invitation to Read Closely: Structural-Level Questions

Why Students Need This Type of Questioning

How Examining How the Text Works Addresses the Standards

Using Text-Dependent Questions About How the Text Works

Question Yourself

Practice Text: "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll


Chapter 4. What Does the Text Mean?

An Invitation to Read Closely: Inferential-Level Questions

Why Students Need This Type of Questioning

How Examining What the Text Means Addresses the Standards

Using Text-Dependent Questions About What the Text Means

Question Yourself

Practice Text: "Instances of the Communication of Cholera Through the Medium of Polluted Water in the Neighborhood of Broad Street, Golden Square" by John Snow


Chapter 5. What Does the Text Inspire You to Do?

An Invitation to Read Closely: Action-Oriented Questions and Tasks

Why Students Need to Complete These Types of Tasks

How Examining What the Text Inspires You to Do Addresses the Standards

Using Text-Dependent Tasks About What the Text Inspires You to Do

Question Yourself

Practice Text: Excerpt From Introduction to A More Perfect Union: The Creation of the United States Constitution by Roger A. Bruns

Practice Text: The Bill of Rights: A Transcription



Appendices: Texts and Questions for . . .

Appendix I: High School English

Appendix II: Middle School English

Appendix III: High School Social Studies/History

Appendix IV: Middle School Social Studies/History

Appendix V: High School Science

Appendix VI: Middle School Science



About the Authors

About the Contributors



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