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Lesson Plan

Question and Answer Books--From Genre Study to Report Writing

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Question and Answer Books--From Genre Study to Report Writing

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Eight 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Renee Goularte

Renee Goularte

Magalia, California


National Council of Teachers of English



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From Theory to Practice



This lesson looks at question and answer books as a genre study. Through read-alouds and independent reading, students explore the content and format of these books, establish how they are different from and similar to other nonfiction texts, and discuss their possible uses for doing and presenting research. After a read-aloud of question and answer books, students use a Venn diagram to compare the genre with other genres they have read. Students then work with a partner to explore several examples of the genre, identifying common characteristics. Next, students compare a question and answer book to a narrative nonfiction book on the same topic. Finally, students brainstorm questions to research, conduct research, and publish their findings using a question and answer format. This lesson is a springboard to research activities that can help students learn to present information in an organized and interesting way.

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Flip Book: This online tool allows users to type and illustrate tabbed flip books up to ten pages long.

Suggested Question and Answer Books: This booklist includes question and answer books on a variety of topics.

Chart for Notetaking: Students can use this simple chart to organize information from any nonficton text.

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In her 2000 article for School Talk, Stephanie Harvey asserts that "Nonfiction, more than any genre, lets us explore the real world, ask questions, and find out compelling information." A great deal of the reading we do throughout our lives is nonfiction: newspaper articles and editorials, shopping lists, directions, instructions, magazines, e-mails and letters from acquaintances, road signs, billboards, and a variety of other informational sources. Yet, Lucy McCormick Calkins reminds us that "the curriculum in our schools focuses on the texts and skills of reading fiction." As the importance of teaching reading strategies for informational text becomes more widely recognized, we can begin to look at the individual criteria of a variety of nonfiction subgenres.

Question and answer books are a popular format for communicating information on a variety of topics. Taking an analytical look at this genre can give students ideas for research strategies as well as reporting formats as they learn to do research and report on their findings.

Further Reading

Calkins, Lucy McCormick. 2001. The Art of Teaching Reading. Addison Wesley Longman.


Harvey, Stephanie. "Bringing the Outside World In." School Talk 5.2 (January 2000): 1.

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