Hillock’s Levels of
Reading Comprehension
Why do we ask questions?
The 7 Levels of Comprehension
 There are seven levels of reading
comprehension in Hillock’s Ladder, but
we are only focusing on 6 this year.
 Those seven levels can be broken down
into 3 main categories or types,
depending on what you have to do to
ANSWER the question.
 Hillocks Question Stems.doc
The three different
types of questions
Type 1 - Literal
What are literal questions???
They are “Right there” questions.
The answer is found directly in the text and does
not require much thought.
Can you think of some
questions that may be literal
 What is the main character’s name?
 Where does the story take place?
These questions are
literal questions, BUT…
They are considered Level 1 literal
Let’s look at Level 2 literal questions.
Level 2 Literal Questions
 These are the key details…if you miss
the key details when reading, you will
not comprehend the story!
For example…
 In “Romeo and Juliet”, if you do not
understand that Romeo and Juliet come from
families that hate each other, the plot just
won’t make any sense!
Can you think of any Level 2
literal questions??
 What is the conflict
between 2
 What is the main
character upset
Just one more level!
 Level 3 literal questions are considered
stated relationship questions.
 The relationship occurs between two or
more characters, groups, events, issues,
or other information. It should have an
effect on the action and meaning of the
Like what???
Again, from Romeo and
 What is the relationship between
the Capulets and Montagues?
 What does Juliet’s family say
about Romeo?
 What does the nurse tell Juliet to
do about Romeo?
Type 2 - Inferential
 The text does
not give you
answers, you
have to figure
it out!
Inferential questions
AKA: Think and search questions
What do you think that means?
Level 4 Questions
 A Level 4 Inferential Question deals with
simple implied relationships.
 The relationships are implied though
key details, not stated directly.
 This requires thought and making
Let’s read,
“Popular” from the
Chicken Soup for the Teenage
Soul: The Real Deal
Write & Talk
 Write on your paper what relationships
exist between the narrator and both of
the friends.
 Discuss within your group what you
think these relationships are.
Complex Implied
Relationships (Level 5)
 Again, this relationship is implied…you have
to think! You have to use your inferencing
 Make a connection between several details
from various places in the text
 Consider this: In “Popular” the narrator
feels the need to be with the “in” crowd. Why
does she feel this way? How does it affect
her opinion of herself?
Type 3 - Generalization
Abstractions-Now we’re getting
deep! (level 6)
 Abstractions: themes about the world
expressed in the work to inform
personal action.
 Think about this: How does society
impact the way we view ourselves?
What does our society view as
important? How do you know?
Structural Generalization
(Level 7)
 How does the author use the structure
of the text to make a particular point?
 Hillock (1980) states, “Questions in this
category require the reader to explain
how parts of the work operate together
to achieve certain effects”(p. 308).

Hillock`s Levels of Reading Response