To read or not to read the questions first

Discussion in 'General Education' started by touchinglives, Jul 18, 2009.

  1. touchinglives

    touchinglives Companion

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    Jul 18, 2009

    Do you have your students read the entire passage before looking at the questions on a reading comprehension test, or preview the questions first and then read the passage?
     
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  3. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Preview first so they know what they need to do. Sets the purpose for reading.
     
  4. touchinglives

    touchinglives Companion

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    BTW - The reason I'm asking is because there is a debate at my school!
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Look at it this way: the questions themselves are part of the information one needs to find the answers in the testing situation. Those of us who are old enough will remember the SRA procedure known as SQ3R, for Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review. In the case of a teacher test, reciting amounts to answering the question and reviewing isn't an issue: but one was always counseled to look at chapter headings and subheadings and the like in order to figure out where the text was going, and it strikes me that reading test questions first amounts to the same thing.
     
  6. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    I always teach them to read the questions first. I do think that it is beneficial to their comprehension, plus the State test in CA has reading passages at a 9th and 10th grade level on the 6th grade test (because the questions are written at a 6th grade level that makes it ok). grrrrrrrr
     
  7. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Oh, yes, yes, yes... and yes, my students are trained to read the questions first. I teach my students SQ3R as well. They are told on any standardized practice (or the FCAT) to underline words in the question and then go back to the passage to find clue words they can underline. They need to preview the text features/title/first paragraph, find the author's purpose, and go forth not being blind-sighted. They are asked every time we read an article whole-group what they already knew about the topic (their schema) and what kinds of connections they can make. I have my students preview literature no matter what, whether there are questions or not. They understand magazine articles when they look at the pictures, graphs, bolded/highlighted words, titles, and subtitles first. Also when there are questions, my students are trained to think of what type of question is being asked- Right There, Think and Search, Author and Me, or On My Own.
     
  8. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    questions first!
     
  9. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Questions first...it just makes sense!
     
  10. touchinglives

    touchinglives Companion

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    Happy to see my side of our debate validated! The other side says that it teaches the kids to skip the text and just skim for answers.
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    (rolls eyes)

    And there are times - outside of testing, too - when skimming and looking for answers is precisely what's called for.
     
  12. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Kentucky's test is changing, but for now students would still have to read the entire text in order to successfully complete the open response questions connected to the passage.
     
  13. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Though it's generally the case, unless the passage is very short, that any given open-response question is probably going to focus on one part of the text rather than another - and the prudent student will (re)skim to find the part of the passage that's in focus for that question.
     
  14. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    At the level I teach most of the open responses are along the lines of themes within the passage, character development, and so forth, making it pretty darn important to read the entire passage. Of course, there are students who only skim...some pull it off, others fail terribly. But, as you said, scanning and skimming are skills that are actually part of the core content I teach...I think some people associate the tasks with being lazy which certainly isn't always the case. :)
     
  15. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Ditto, questions first for standardized testing...we teach this as a test-taking strategy...
     
  16. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    I also teach questions first. You wouldn't go grocery shopping without a grocery list. Why WOULDN'T you want to know what the testers are expecting you to find before you begin?
     
  17. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I agree; reading the questions first provides a purpose for reading. I'm not sure why it would be discouraged?
     
  18. etcetera83

    etcetera83 Cohort

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    Read the questions first, then underline any key phases as you read!
     
  19. allisonbeth

    allisonbeth Comrade

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    I tell them to look at the question before reading (along with a few other "prereading" activities).
     
  20. Earth2me

    Earth2me Rookie

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    Read the questions first. If you can't mark up the test booklet, use the eraser side of your pencil to mark info you need. If it is an open response test, you can mark the info that supports your position.
     
  21. Teaching Grace

    Teaching Grace Connoisseur

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    I teach my students to read the questions first. We even underline the key words that they will have to look for, decide what strategy will be used to answer the question, and then we go back and read the passage.
     
  22. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    Questions first. A reading specialist taught me that trick.
     
  23. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

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    I tutor through a company that teaches SAT and ACT prep. One of my tutoring students was a slow reader -- and that's exactly why the read ?s first and skimming techniques are needed, in my opinion. Yes, I can read a passage quickly, then go on to the questions. Not everyone can do that, though, and for slow readers I think it's necessary. Just my:2cents:
     
  24. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    I think it is necessary to read the questions first and then the whole text! When you read the text, your goals for reading have been set. If you see a plot development question that correlates with the story, also, you know to pay attention to that skill.
     
  25. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Jul 20, 2009

    SAT test prep virtually always recommends questions first. The questions generally give you a good idea of what the passage is about, in addition to guiding your reading. Some passages (not so much the SAT, but GRE/LSAT/GMAT), start in ways that deliberately leave you swimming for a topic for the first paragraph or so. Standardized tests do NOT tend to pick well-written passages.

    It may be interesting how this relates to regular teaching. If a history teacher assigns a chapter, do they assign questions first? Should they? I'm guessing they'd be resistant to doing this because it encourages students not to read the whole chapter, but if the students read the whole chapter without focus will they really absorb it anyway?
     
  26. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    3Sons, I think it should apply to history and science reading as well. It's not pleasure reading. Most of us have NEVER read our textbooks cover to cover, even in grad school. We skim read lots and close read the sections that the professor specifically ask questions about.

    Why do we expect students to do things that we, as naturally good readers, don't do?
     
  27. 101dalmatian

    101dalmatian Companion

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    Jul 20, 2009

    Read the questions first to set the purpose for reading a passage.

    SQ3R
    S-scan the passage (look for bold print/pictures)
    Q-read the questions
    R-Read the passage
    R-Review the answer (kids go back and highlight/cirlce the answer in the passage)
    R-Recheck (check they have answered all questions)
     

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