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Text-Dependent Questions, Grades K-5 - Book Cover Look Inside

Text-Dependent Questions, Grades K-5

Pathways to Close and Critical Reading

By: Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, Heather L. Anderson, Marisol C. Thayre

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.
Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781483331317
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Series: Corwin Literacy
  • Year: 2014
  • Page Count: 248
  • Publication date: September 12, 2014

Price: $39.95

Price: $39.95
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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, recommended 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 L. Anderson photo

Heather L. 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 C. Thayre photo

Marisol C. Thayre

Marisol Thayre is a teacher and author with experience teaching a large scope of students from various backgrounds, from the middle and high school to university levels. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English at the University of California at Santa Barbara and holds Master of Arts degree in English and Composition from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Marisol shares her knowledge with other teachers across the country as a presenter on Gradual Release of Responsibility, differentiated instruction, assessment, close reading and text-dependent questions, text complexity, and collaborative grouping. Marisol currently teaches Upper Division English at Health Sciences High and Middle College, a charter school in San Diego.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Creating Effective Close Reading Lessons

     Close Reading Defined

     Close Reading in the Elementary Grades

     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: "My Shadow" by Robert Louis Stevenson


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: Excerpt From Benjamin Banneker's Letter to Thomas Jefferson, August 19, 1791


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: Questions for . . .

     Appendix I: Grades K-1

     Appendix II: Grades 2-3

     Appendix III: Grades 4-5



About the Authors

About the Contributors