Text Dependent Question Stems

Text-Dependent Question Stems

For something that’s pretty cool, it’s sure a mouthful to say. 😉

I first heard about these a few years ago when close reading was starting to become a thing. My fabulous Literacy Specialist was helping me wrap my brain around how to do close readings and she brought me a fabulous resource by Jackson Consulting that had pages of text-dependent questions. They were ways to get students back into the text in small, user-friendly chunks.

Fast forward a couple months to when I was training teachers at Utah’s Core Academy. I brought out these resource for the teachers to see. SEE not TAKE. However, someone took this wonderful packet of questions from me. To be fair, everyone looked through their stuff and we couldn’t find it. I’m sure it was found by someone weeks later in the midst of all the pages we had passed out as handouts.

Because of this travesty, I decided I needed to make my own. I wanted something I could turn to during guided reading groups that could help guided me as well as the students. I researched, researched, researched and came up with 84 different text-dependent questions to help guide my groups.

 Text-Dependent Question Stems

I wanted these questions to be open-ended so they could work with any text. I also wanted something that would fit the three main categories in the anchor standards for reading: Key Ideas and Details, Craft and Structure, and Integration of Knowledge and Ideas. That way, I would know that I was meeting each standard that I needed to teach.

 Text-Dependent Question Stems

(Please ignore how those are not cut evenly. It’s driving my OCD crazy, but I’m trying hard to ignore it.)

I also made myself a little cheat sheet. The questions were open-ended so I wanted to make sure I wasn’t confusing myself.

 Text-Dependent Question Stems

I would often refer back to these pages to help me during groups. I sometimes put tabs on the specific questions I wanted to use with each group. We would often just focus on one question as a group so I could make sure that every child understood what the question was asking. That way, if they came to that same question at a later date, they would know what to do.

 Text Dependent Question Stems

 Text-Dependent Question Stems

I used my questions in a variety of ways. Sometimes I would put them in a pile like a deck of cards and let the kids pick the one they answered. Sometimes they would answer in the guided reading notebooks individually, sometimes they would talk it out with a partner, and sometimes they would answer it with me while the others were reading on their own or working.

 Text-dependent Question Stems

I also laminated some of the cards, hole punched them, and put them on a metal ring. That made it really easy to store and keep track of them.

 Text-Dependent Questions Stems

These questions were a great way to get students into the text to prove/justify/show their answers. It also gave them a framework to work within so they didn’t feel as much pressure to answer questions during reading.

I also loved how it helped me ensure that my students were discussing things on a higher level as well as meeting my core standards. I didn’t get to all 84 questions with every child, every year. That’s practically impossible (and probably extremely tedious). But having so many choices helped me to custom fit my instruction to each child.

If you are interested in my Text-Dependent Questions, you can click on the link or any of the pictures.

Let me know how you use these in your room!


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Meet the author
Cassie Tabrizi
Cassie Tabrizi
After being in elementary education for 14 years, and as founder of Create-Abilities, Cassie is passionate about helping fellow educators empower their teaching.
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