Generating Questions with a Question Creation Chart (Q-chart)

There is significant evidence that learning how to generate and answer questions while reading improves memory, integration and identification of main ideas, and overall comprehension.  Generating questions helps students make predictions about what they will learn from their reading, focus on the most important information, and read with greater purpose because they are looking for answers to their questions.
Generating questions, however, does not always come naturally to students.  Some students can generate simple who, what, where, when types of questions, but have difficulty generating the more complex "how and why" questions that require more critical thinking.  It is important for teachers to provide direct instruction, modeling, and significant guided practice in how to self-question while reading.  

A Question Creation Chart or Q-chart is a perfect tool to help students recognize and self-generate a continuum of questions ranging from simple "remember" questions through "understanding" and "evaluative" questions.  This chart is especially useful as it can be used with both literature and informational text. careful teacher modeling, students will use the Q-chart to formulate questions about the text they've read by selecting one word from the left-hand column of the chart (who, what, where, when, how, why) then selecting a word from the upper row (is, did, can would, will, might).  Students locate the square where the question will be recorded and write their "remember" or "evaluative" question. The further down and over to the right students move, the higher the level of critical thinking.  
It is important to note that this chart can be used before, during, or after reading the text!
Once students have generated several questions about the text they've read, it is important for the teacher to build in opportunities for student talk.  Using think/pair/share or other small groupings, students should share, compare, and discuss the questions they've generated.  As students are discussing their questions, the teacher can circulate the room and provide support as needed.
After student talk, the teacher should offer a final discussion on the importance of using questioning as a metacognitive strategy as a whole-class.  Some guiding prompts that can be used are:

  • Why is it important for a reader to ask questions and make predictions before reading a text?
  • Why do you think good readers ask questions as they are reading?
  • Why do good readers answer and generate questions after they've read a text?
  • Would anyone like to share a question from their Q-chart?
  • Does anyone have a question that wasn't answered in our reading?
We hope you enjoyed reading about how to generate questions using a Question Creation Chart.  You may begin using this effective strategy by downloading our FREEBIE.
**In order to give students sufficient space to record their questions, this chart must be printed on 11x17 Ledger paper.



  1. Love the Q Chart! What a great way to put the power of learning into the students hands. This is a great strategy to employ as we work to move students toward independence. Thanks for sharing!
    Read With Me ABC

  2. Love the way students can think of questions that require higher level thinking! So many times kids want to take the easy way out, but this forces them to really think of some strong questions. Thanks for sharing your Q-chart!

    Reading Toward the Stars

  3. Excellent post! I appreciate the freebie!