Comprehension: Deductive Reasoning

There are 5 kinds of text-dependent questions, and these 5 appear on tests: 

  • Vocabulary Building ~ Understanding and Applying
  • Find It ~ Understanding
  • Look Closer ~ Applying
  • Prove It ~ Applying
  • Take It Apart ~ Analyzing and Evaluating
When taking a multiple choice test, use the process of elimination, but don’t forget:  answer choices may be TRUE of the story, but may not answer the QUESTION!
Vocabulary Building:  These questions ask you to figure out meaning to words you don’t know.  
  1. Read the question.
  2. Locate the word in the passage that you must define.
  3. Reread the sentence with the word in it, and the sentence before and after it.  What are the clues that help you figure you the word?  Clues to look for are below.
  4. Match parts of speech – nouns to nouns, verbs to verbs.
  5. Know terms:  synonym, antonym, opposite, similar ~ students may meet these on a test.
  6. It is helpful to know the meaning of common prefixes and suffixes to help determine the meaning of unfamiliar words.
  7. Think of a possible definition.  Ask yourself:  Does my definition make sense?
  8. If this is a multiple choice test, match your definition to the answer choice.
____are… a___is… ___are called… ___is called… ___, which means… ___, or … ____ is the same as…
___ is similar to… commas surrounding a definition dashes surrounding a definition STRATEGIES MAY INCLUDE:  synonyms/antonyms, direct definitions, descriptions, picture clues

 Teachers, if you are creating questions, try these frames:

    • The word________ in this story means________.
    • The phrase ________ in the text means ___________.
    • In paragraph ____, which word or words helps you know what ________ means?
    • Which is the best meaning for the word ________?
    • What is a synonym for_________?
    • Which word means the same as ________?
    • What is an antonym for ________?
    • Which word means the opposite of ________?
    • The word ________ in this story means about the same as ________.

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Level 1 Find It :  These questions ask you to find information about facts and details, characters, and/or setting.  The answer is always in the passage.

  1. Read the question.
  2. Ask yourself:  What does this question want me to do?  What words will help me answer the question?
  3. Look for these clue words (below) that will give you information to answer the questions.
  4. Skim and scan the text, matching the words in the question to specific words in the text.  Reread that part.
  5. Overview several paragraphs to notice events or steps in sequence.
  6. Visualize the passage to remember details.
  7. Ask yourself:  Does this information match the question?  How do I know?
  8. Think of a possible answer, then ask yourself:  Does my answer make sense?
  9. If you are taking a multiple choice test, match your answer to an answer choice.  Use process of elimination.
who what when
where why how
STRATEGIES MAY INCLUDE:  identify facts/details, characters, setting

Teachers, if you are creating questions, try these frames:

    • This story takes place in_______.
    • What is the ________?
    • When did _______ happen?
    • Which___________?
    • Which of the following events happened first: _________?

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Level 2 Look Closer:  These questions have answers that can be found in the passage, but you may have to look in more than one place, reread the passage, or understand synonyms (words that mean the same thing).

  1. Read the question.
  2. Ask yourself:  What does this question ask me to do?  (identify sequence or steps in a process, identify cause and effect relationships, compare and contrast information, identify state main idea and supporting details)
  3. Use the “determine importance” strategy to think about big idea.
  4. Questions asking “mostly about” or “mainly about” require students to read for the gist.
  5. If the questions asks for the main idea, look at the passage to see which words are constantly repeated.  That is the main idea!
  6. The most important information is often in the first or last paragraph!  The most important information in a paragraph is most often in the first or last sentence!
  7. Ask yourself:  What words from the question will help me find the answer in the passage?
  8. Look through the passage until you find the words that give the information you need to answer the question.
  9. Ask yourself:  Does this information match the question?  How do I know?
  10. Think of a possible answer.  Ask yourself:  Does my answer make sense? 
  11. If you are taking a multiple choice test, match your answer to an answer choice.  Use the process of elimination.
SEQUENCE OR STEPS CAUSE/EFFECT OR PROBLEM/SOLUTION COMPARE AND CONTRAST
on because however
as since but
before therefore on the other hand
after so that different than
first if…then different
second as a result while
then too
next both
finally alike
Not long after in common
Soon after also
along with
STRATEGIES MAY INCLUDE, IDENTIFY: sequence, steps in a process, cause and effect relationships, main idea and supporting details, compare and contrast same

Teachers, if you are creating questions, try these frames:

Identify sequence or steps in a process

  • After ________, what happened?
  • When can you ________?

Identify cause/effect relationships

  • Why did _________need to ________?
  • What causes __________ to happen?

Compare/Contrast

  • How are ______ and ________ alike?  How are they different?
  • What do _______ and __________ have in common?

Identify stated main idea and supporting details

  • What details in chapter ___ support the main idea that …
  • What sentence in paragraph ___ best states the main idea?
  • What is the main idea?

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Prove It:  These questions do NOT have answers in the passage.  You must “read between the lines,” or infer, to find clues and evidence so that you can come up with an answer.

  1. Read the question.
  2. Ask yourself:  What does the question ask me to do:  make inferences, make predictions, analyze characters, draw conclusions, identify unstated main idea, use graphic features or summarize?
  3. Ask yourself:  What words from the question might help me find the information in the passage?
  4. Look through the passage and find clues and evidence that are important for answering the question.
  5. Look at all of your clues.  Ask yourself:  What do these clues tell me that is not stated in the passage?
  6. Think of a possible answer.  Ask yourself:  Does my answer make sense?
  7. If you are taking a multiple choice test, match your answer to an answer choice.
STRATEGY CLUES TO LOOK FOR
Make inferences Picture and/or text clues from a small part of the passage
Make predictions Clues that tell what might happen next
Analyze characters What characters say, do, look like, and think
Draw conclusions Picture and/or text clues from a large part of the passage
Identify unstated main idea Specific details that tell you what the passage is about
Use graphic features Charts, diagrams, maps, photographs, timelines, illustrations, graphs, etc.
Summarize information Important ideas in the passage

Teachers, if you are creating questions, try these frames:

 Make inferences

  • What can you infer from paragraph ________?
  • Which sentence from the story shows you ___________?

Make predictions

  • What will (character) probably do in the future?
  • What clues/evidence would support your prediction that ______?

Analyze characters

  • What clues tell you that (character) is _________?
  • You can tell that (character) is ________.

Draw conclusions

  • From the information in this passage you can conclude that…
  • In what way is ________important in the text?

Identify unstated main idea

  • This passage is mainly about __________.
  • Paragraph _______ is mostly about __________.

Use graphic features to interpret information

  • What can you tell from the diagram in the passage?
  • What does the bar graph tell you?

Summarize information

  • Which sentence best completes the summary?
  • Which is the best summary?

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Take It Apart:  These questions do not have answers in the passage.  You must think like the author to figure out the answer.

  1. Read the question.
  2. Ask yourself:  What does this question ask me to do?  (Think about the author’s purpose, figure out the text structure, find examples of the text structures, etc.)
  3. Ask yourself:  What words from the question might help me find the information in the passage?
  4. Look through the passage and find the information that will help you answer the question.
  5. Look at the information like the author would.  
  6. Think of a possible answer.  Ask yourself:  Does my answer make sense?
  7. If you are taking a multiple choice test, match your answer to an answer choice. 
TEXT STRUCTURE CLUES TO LOOK FOR
Compare and Contrast
  •  Information that tells how one person place, thing, or idea is alike and different from another person, place, thing or idea
  • Words for compare and contrast (see list under Look Closer)
Sequence or Steps in a Process
  •  Events that happen in time order
  • Step by step directions
  • Words for sequence or steps in a process (see list under Look Closer)
Problem/Solution
  •  Information that tells how a problem begins, gets bigger, and is solved
  • Words for problem/solution (see list under Look Closer)
Cause and Effect
  •  Information that tells how one thing happens (effect) because of something else (cause)
  • Words for cause and effect (see list under Look Closer)
Description
  •  Information that tells what something does and/or looks like
  • Descriptive words about a person, place, thing, event, idea, etc.  (size, location, shape, and age)
  • Similes, metaphors, and other language that helps readers see the person, place, thing or idea in their minds

Teachers, if you are creating questions, try these frames:

Evaluate author’s purpose

  • The author probably included paragraph ___ so that ____.
  • The author most likely wrote this passage to ________.
  • The author probably include the chart to ___________.

Analyze text structure and organization

  • The author uses a _____ structure to organize ________.  Give an example.
  • What text structure did the author use to organize paragraphs ______ and _______?
  • How does the author organize this passage?

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