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Melanie Sherburne
EDE 404

During Reading Strategy
Embedded Questions
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Description: Strong readers often monitor themselves by actively asking questions and making predictions as they read. The opposite is true of weak readers. They seldom pause during reading to question or predict. In so doing, weak readers miss valuable opportunities to stop and reflect on a text, a key to improved comprehension.

Purpose: Questions placed in a narrative flow of a reading selection to purposley arrest the reader's attention and demand thoughtful reflection. These type questions model the type behavior that strong readers "self practice" during reading. Embedded questions scaffold, or support, a student's self-questioning process.
How to use it:
  1. Select a text passage for students to read independently. Explain the function of embedded questions and their purpose in this exercise.
  2. Embed questions in the reading selection one of two ways:
    • Write questions on the chalkboard or on an overhead transparency, indicating where they should be addressed in the text passage.
    • Produce a print copy of the reading selection with the questions inserted at the desired locations.
    These embedded questions should assist students in identifying main concepts, understanding key definitions, recognizing supporting details, and summarize ideas.
  3. Have students read the selection and answer the questions as they read. Written answers are best for later discussions.
  4. Once the group has completed reading, have individual students share their responses to the embedded questions. Focus especially on passages that are difficult to comprehend.
  5. Finally, stress the importance for readers to develop "self-questioning" techniques to improve reading comprehension


What is wonderful about this application is that it can easily be utilized at all levels of reading development. The application most utilized at the middle school level is to use this approach when reading complex concepts that are minimized in one or two page presentation. Having prompting questions strategically placed helps the student to grasp one concept before moving onto the next. At the end, the information is pulled together for a greater understanding of the entire reading.
The questions could be presented in different forms. You can have open ended questions, multiple choice or true and false. The written questions are best at the end because the question possed can ask for there opinion or interpretation of a concept or idea that was presented in the reading.