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Sample Text-Based Questions, 4-5

Sample questions to assess understanding of nonfiction texts

Key Ideas and Details

  1. What are the key words, details, and examples in the text? [Insert specific who, what, where, when, why, how questions to check for basic understanding.]
  2. What are the main topics/ideas of the text? Which key words, details, or examples in the text help you to figure out the main topics/ideas? Cite evidence accurately from the text.
  3. Can you see any patterns in some of the key words, details, or examples? How are these words/details/examples related or connected to each other? How do the figures and/or settings influence one another? Sort some items into categories according to similarities.

 Craft and Structure

  1. How is this text different from other types of texts? Why do you think the author chose this type/format/structure for this topic?
  2. What is the author’s purpose? What is the author’s point of view, and how is it similar to or different from your own? How would this story be different if told from another point of view?
  3. Describe how you use parts of a book to find information: indexes, glossaries, headings, subheadings, sidebars, captions, labels, etc.  
  4. Describe how elements of chronology, comparison, cause/effect, and/or problem/solution are used to relay information.
  5. What words or phrases does the author use to convey information? What are the literal meanings of the words/phrases? Do any of the words/phrases have nuanced or figurative meanings? Why do you think the author chose these words/phrases?
  6. What does the word ______ mean in the context of this sentence? [Insert word and sentence.]

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

  1. How do the images/graphs/diagrams/maps/charts add information about the main topics/ideas? Describe some of these images. How can you find out more about these images?
  2. What details/reasons does the author use to support the main topics/ideas? How do the sentences and/or paragraphs work together to support the main topics/ideas? Do you think the author has made a strong argument or claim? Why or why not?
  3. Based on the text, what can you infer about . . . [Insert details to allow for specific inference(s).] How can you find out more about these main ideas/topics?
  4. After closely reading the text, what do you think about . . . [Insert details to allow for opinion(s).]
  5. How is this text/version and [insert companion text/version] similar? How are they different? Why do you think these two texts/versions make good companion texts?