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Introducing Text - Dependent Questions. 80-90% of the CCSS standards for reading and literacy require textual analysis. Objectives. • Participants will understand the rationale for the CCSS shift towards more text dependent questions

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Introducing text dependent questions

Introducing Text-Dependent Questions

80-90% of the CCSS standards

for reading and literacy require textual analysis


• Participants will understand the rationale for the CCSS shift

towards more text dependent questions

• Participants will identify and analyze text dependent

questions by type and by level of complexity

• Participants will review instructional materials to evaluate the

quantity and quality of questioning within the selection/lesson

Shift 2 text dependent questions
Shift # 2: Text-Dependent Questions

Building knowledge through content-richnonfiction

Reading, writing,and speaking grounded in evidence from text, both literary and informational

Regular practice with complex text and its academic language

Read like a detective!

  • Use clues / evidence from text

  • Make non-trivial inferences based on that evidence

  • Use information from multiple sources within or between text to make arguments

Standards progression
Standards Progression

CCR Anchor Standard R.1

Readclosely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speakingto support conclusions drawn from the text.

• Read text (closely)

• Determine (explicitly) what the text says

• Make logical inferences from the text

• Cite (specific) evidence from the text

• Support conclusions drawn from the text

Progression procedure
Progression Procedure

Read all the standards from K-8

Highlight/underline the verbs

Note the skills that are emphasized from one grade level to the next

Discuss your observations with your table group. Where do you see significant shifts in the complexity of the standards?

Time in and out of the text
Time – In and Out of the Text

More instructional time spent outside the text means less time inside the text

Departing from the text in classroom discussion privileges only those who already have experience with the topic

It is easier to talk about our experiences than to analyze the text—especially for students reluctant to engage with reading

The CCSS are College and Career Readiness Standards

A kindergarten example of keeping inside the text
A Kindergarten Example of Keeping Inside the Text

Imagine if your precious nosewere sandwiched in between your toes,that clearly would not be a treat,for you'd be forced to smell your feet.

Teacher: (reads the second stanza) Where is the nose now? What’s the author telling us?

Amir: I wouldn’t like my nose to be between my toes. My dad’s feet really stink!

Jessica: My big brother has stinky feet.

Carlos: Yeah, yeah…mine too…peeeyewww!

(more students raise hands to share stories about family members’ with smelly feet).

Teacher: Let’s look at the picture and reread this stanza:

What is the author telling us about the nose being between the toes?

Maria: I get it. It says that it ‘would not be a treat,’ so it’s not fun to have to smell feet all of the time.”

Khalid: Oh, like the picture right here (pointing to the illustration). That would be only what you smell. Not like putting your nose there, but your nose is there all the time.”

A definition
A Definition

As the name suggests, a text dependent question specifically asks a question that can only be answered by referring explicitly back to the text being read. It does not rely on any particular background information extraneous to the text nor depend on students having other experiences or knowledge; instead it privileges the text itself and what students can extract from what is before them.

Text dependent questions
Text-Dependent Questions...

Can only be answered with evidence from the text

Can be literal (checking for understanding) but must also involve analysis, synthesis, evaluation

Focus on word, sentence, and paragraph, as well as larger ideas, themes, or events

Focus on difficult portions of text in order to enhance reading proficiency

Can be prompts for writing and discussion questions

Text dependent questions are not
Text-Dependent Questions are NOT…

Low-level literal or simple recall questions

Used to test isolated comprehension strategies

Just questions…

Non examples and examples

What makes Casey’s experiences at bat humorous?

What can you infer from King’s letter about the letter that he received?

“The Gettysburg Address” mentions the year 1776. According to Lincoln’s speech, why is this year significant to the events described in the speech?

Non-Examples and Examples

Not Text-Dependent


In “Casey at the Bat,” Casey strikes out. Describe a time when you failed at something.

In “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Dr. King discusses nonviolent protest. Discuss, in writing, a time when you wanted to fight against something that you felt was unfair.

In “The Gettysburg Address” Lincoln says the nation is dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Why is equality an important value to promote?

Three types of text dependent questions
Three Types of Text-Dependent Questions

When you're reviewing a set of questions,consider the following three categories:

Questions that assess themes and central ideas

Questions that assess knowledge of vocabulary

Questions that assess syntax and structure

Level of Thinking (from Bloom’s)

• Literal/Inferential/Analytical/Synthesis/Evaluation

Interrogating text dependent questions
Interrogating Text-Dependent Questions

Reviewing text questions
Reviewing Text Questions

Select an informational lesson from your textbook

HM, Pearson, History/SS or Science

Read and analyze the publishers’ questions for pre-reading, during reading and post reading

Identify text-dependent questions and non-text dependent questions

Categorize the text dependent questions by type and by level of thinking

Question Type

Questions that assess themes and central ideas

Questions that assess knowledge of vocabulary

Questions that assess syntax and structure

Level of Thinking (from Bloom’s)

• Literal/Inferential/Analytical/Synthesis/Evaluation

Synthesize evaluate
Synthesize & Evaluate

What percentage of the questions in the selection or lesson are text dependent? (80-90%)

Evaluate the quality of the questions with regard to type and level of thinking.

Are there holes? Where are those holes?

*Consider how the quality of a question would be changed if it included a directive to support an answer with specific evidence from the text. Look back at CCSS Reading Standard 1 to find your grade level specific language (quote/cite etc.)

A conversation about text dependent questions
A Conversation about Text-Dependent Questions

This 11 minute video features a discussion between New York State Commissioner of Education John B. King Jr., David Coleman (contributing author to the Common Core) and Kate Gerson (a Sr. Fellow with the Regents Research Fund) that addresses the shift to Text-Based Answers.

Questions to consider after viewing video
Questions to Consider After Viewing Video

Independently answer the following questions and then discuss with a colleague:

  • What does it mean to ask text-based questions?

  • How will this impact our instruction?

  • What challenges will we face as we make this shift?

  • What are the implications for teacher planning and for teacher planning time in schools?

  • What questions will take the students deeper into this text and cause them to pay careful attention to it?

In conclusion
In Conclusion

We hope that this presentation has been helpful in providing you with an introduction to the topic of text dependent questions. Today has been an initial introduction. The topic will require extended professional development as we move forward.