Bloom’s Taxonomy Questioning: Pre-Reading

Bloom's Taxonomy provides a structured presentation of human cognition from low-level thought processes like simple recall to higher-order thinking skills like synthesis and evaluation. Bloom offers a "stair step" description of the levels of human understanding, with each new level building on previous levels. Bloom's taxonomy divides human cognition into five levels. The reading instructor can use these five levels to devise questions about reading selections that target higher-order thinking skills.

Recall questions require students to repeat or retell information. Recall involves remembering and reciting key facts, ideas, definitions, and rules. Drill and practice exercises are the commost common form of recall questions.

Analysis involves separating the main ideas or components of a larger whole—that is, dividing a whole into its smaller parts. Students can then organize these smaller bits of data into "information clusters," related pieces that fit together to form the whole.

Comparison refers to noting the similarities and difference among the component parts. Comparison asks how the component parts are alike and how they are different.

Inference means making predictions or generalizations through deductive or inductive reasoning.
  • Using deductive reasoning, students start with a general statement or principle and then explain how specific details relate to it. Deductive logic interprets supporting details through the main ideas.
  • Using inductive reasoning, students investigate specific details in search of an underlying, unifying general principle. Common ideas or characteristics in the details allow students to generalize— to uncover the main idea.

Evaluation means reaching a conclusion supported by evidence. Students bring together their analyses, comparisons, and inferences to synthesize a conclusion.

Steps to Bloom's Taxonomy Questioning:

1. Acquaint students with the five levels of Bloom's taxonomy, focusing specifically on the type of thinking that occurs at each level and the kinds of questions arising from this type thought. Post a chart of Bloom's taxonomy for quick reference.

2. Distribute a common reading selection and discuss the levels of Bloom's taxonomy by asking questions about the selection that demonstrate the type of thought required in each level.

3. Divide the class into groups. Provide a single page of Bloom's levels of cognition and sample questions for each level to each member of the groups.

4. Assign each group a familiar topic (e.g., news event, hobbies, sports, etc.). Have the groups compile questions about their topic for each level of Bloom's hierarchy. Share these questions with the class and evaluate how well they reflect each level of thinking.

5. Finally, distribute a reading selection to each group and repeat the exercise above. Be sure to encourage student discussion of the resulting questions. Help students match the questions they develop to the most appropriate level in Bloom's taxonomy.


This technique can be incorporated by utilizing the commonplace pyramid diagram associated with Bloom’s taxonomy. The questions from each level of the taxonomy would address the content of the reading. Through the two step process, I would firstly devise a relatable thematic message and questions that correlate with the eventual reading, in order to facilitate their understanding of the process. Then, I would present them with the content reading. An example directly from my class would be the theme of the preservation of cultural identity in the US, and then extend this to the relationships between the Israelites’ interactions with other cultures within the context of Biblical accounts and scholarly historical criticism.

Source: Bloom's Taxonomy Questioning