facts and questions ladder procedure

Before & During Reading Strategy: Facts and Questions Ladder
From Janet Allen (she also calls this a “Concept Ladder”)
Rationale: The Common Core requires that students cite strong,
specific textual evidence and be able to analyze features of that text.
We, as teachers, must teach students how to do this— both how to ask questions of
a text and then find out how to answer them. A concept ladder is an advanced
organizer that helps students develop questions that will guide their reading and
understanding of a text. In this scenario, they pull facts out of a text and then ask
questions about those facts. This leads them to both engage with and focus on what
they are reading, and opens up further research possibilities.
 This serves well as a “hook” for a textbook lesson or any other sort of dry
material IF you can find an interesting “teaser” text. If not, use this as the
activity to do with the dry reading, just design a different “hook” that will get
the kids ready and willing to investigate the topic.
 In the top rung of the ladder, have students write in the topic/concept of the
piece to be used.
 For the remaining rungs, have students write in F (for fact) and Q (for
questions) alternately, all the way down, until all the rungs are full.
 Read the text aloud to students. This forces them to pay real attention to
what you are reading, and helps serve as a prior knowledge activator.
 Read the first chunk of text, instructing students to write down one fact they
hear/find in the chunk. They put this fact in the second rung of the ladder.
 Allow time for a Turn and Talk (either with partners or groups) during which
students confer with each other to get questions down for the fact they
entered. They write these questions in the corresponding Q rung.
 This allows them to see other facts their peers pulled out, to question
dubious facts, and to help each other come up with questions for their
various facts.
 You can also tell them they can change their fact if they liked someone
else’s better or just add the other facts to their first rung if they wish.
If they do that, they also have to add questions for that fact to the third
 As a class, have students share their facts and questions.
 Continue on in this fashion, chunking the text, pulling out a fact for each
chunk, and giving question time, until the text is complete.
In the end, students have closely read the text AND generated many
questions. Some that (hopefully) will have been answered as the chunking
went on, some that will remain unanswered and form the basis for the
textbook study OR for a lesson in appropriate research skills.
 www.findingdulcinea.com
 Grollier Online: http://go.grollier.com
 Username: pbayms
 Password: wildcats
 For activating prior knowledge/building background knowledge:
 Use this as a true concept ladder to help students develop questions
they expect to be answered with further reading and research.
 With this, the topic/concept is put at the top and as the text is read
aloud, students write down questions that are raised for them in the
 For example, a reading on “Gangs” might generate questions like,
“Why do people join them?,” “Are there girl gangs?,” “Where would
there be more gangs and why?,” etc.
 For advanced students, once you have taught them how to use this organizer,
you can assign them a reading task to use it with on their own.
 For group work: once you have taught students how to use this, you could
assign different groups, different works to read and question using a text set
(Lynn Johnson is happy to pull text sets for you).
 Other ideas???