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Book
Reading Resource title Kamehameha Schools

The QAR Approach
(Question Answer Relationships)

Raphael and Au

This approach to teaching reading comprehension strategies is based upon the research of Dr. Taffy Raphael. During her observations of students, she noted that they often have difficulty answering questions about text. However, when they were taught specific comprehension strategies, their comprehension and ability to engage in higher-level thinking improved.

The following chart shows the four basic types of questions...


This approach begins by helping young students recognize that answers to questions about text may be found In My Head or In the Book. Older students learn to identify the four different types of questions: Right There, Think and Search, On My Own, and Author and Me.


Before reading it is helpful to draw on prior knowledge to "get our brains ready to think about what we will be reading." An "In My Head", "On My Own" type of question is appropriate.

The teacher might ask:

Have you ever slept over at someone else’s house?
What do you know about mice?

Younger students say, "My answer came from "In My Head." Older students should be able to say that the answer is "On My Own".


During reading, most questions center on understanding the text.
An "In the Book" answer might be "Right There" (found in one sentence) or "Think and Search" (found in more than one sentence.) An "In my Head", "Author and Me" question might ask a child to make a prediction about upcoming events in the story.

A teacher may ask:

What is Arthur so worried about? ("Right There")
Why does the rhinoceros cover himself with mud? ("Think and Search")
What do you predict will happen next? ("Author and Me")

Younger students say, "My answer came from "In the Book" or "In my Head". Older students learn to identify the four different types of questions.


After reading, questions ("In my Head", "Author and Me") help children draw connections to what they have just read.

A teacher may ask:

Have you ever known anyone who acted as DW did in this story?
Do you know of other animals that belong to the same family as the crocodile?

Younger students say, "My answer came from "In the Book." Older students identify these types of questions as "Author and Me".


During instruction teachers provide a model and guide their students to answer and ask questions about text. The goal, of course, is for students to apply the approach as they read independently.

After Raphael, T. & Au, K., 2002, Super QAR, Wright Group, WA.

The QAR approach in summary...

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