Taffy Raphael, Ph.D.

Principal QAR Researcher

University of Illinois at Chicago

In the 1980's Dr. Raphael was working at Michigan State University. She was curious about an aspect of reading comprehension, the manner that good readers come to be able to answer questions concerning a piece of text that they have read. Her curiosity was expressed in an essential question: How do readers go about answering questions that have their answers based on what is printed in a text, and how do readers go about answering questions that are not available by using only the text?
The answer to her quest came in the form of recognizing that readers comprehend text at four levels, and employ four strategies to aid in that comprehension. Those strategies involve understanding the relationship between questions and answers. Question Answer Relationships are the product of a real life Curiosity Quest.
Understanding the relationship between questions and their answers, more specifically, questions and the source of their answers, is a fundamental critical reading and thinking skill.
When you access the QAR (Question Answer Relationship) link below, you will be presented with a basic definition of reading and explanation of the two sources of information used to construct the meaning of a text selection - the text itself, and your head (what's in it, that is.) You will then have an opportunity to read about four different levels of comprehension, and the kinds of questions that are related to them.
Understanding QAR's is an invaluable aid in learning how to think and comprehend text with ever-increasing levels of depth and sophistication. You will learn that there is more to comprehending than just recalling what was on the page. A sign of developing and matured literacy is the ability to read what is not printed on the page. Ninety percent of the information sophisticated readers comprehend is not on the page. You must do something with the text to construct inferences, educated guesses, and then be able to generate new ideas or insights from it.

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