Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Special Education and Rehabilitation

Committee Chair(s)

Benjamin Lignugaris/Kraft


Benjamin Lignugaris/Kraft


Charles L. Salzberg


Timothy A. Slocum


Cindy Jones


Ray Reutzel


Teacher questioning may be an effective instructional procedure for building students’ reading comprehension. Strategically asking questions at two different levels, low-level (text explicit) and high-level (text implicit), may be needed to assist students to engage in higher order thinking skills.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a low- to high-level questioning sequence without or with linking prompts on the text-based reading comprehension outcomes of fifth-grade students who evidenced poor reading comprehension. A secondary analysis was used to determine whether the questioning sequence was effective regardless of students’ interest in the narrative stories used in the reading lessons.

Eleven fifth-grade students across three groups participated in this repeated measures study that consisted of two reading comprehension measures: response quantity and comprehension accuracy. In addition, a multiple baseline design was applied across the lowest-performing students (n = 5). Groups of students engaged in reading lessons where one condition consisted of the low- to high-level questioning sequence and the other condition consisted of high-level questions only. Student outcomes for both reading comprehension measures were assessed immediately following each reading lesson. All students completed a student interest survey to identify their preference for the narrative stories.

Students increased the quantity and accuracy of their responses when the questioning sequence with linking prompts was implemented. This result was also found for four of the five lowest-performing students. Further, the questioning intervention was effective for increasing students’ performance on both reading comprehension measures regardless of student interest in the narrative stories. Students preferred the high-level questions only condition but indicated that the low- to high-level questioning sequences helped them remember the stories better. Students also reported that they were better readers and liked reading the stories out loud in small groups, but had mixed ratings about leaving their classrooms to participate in the study.

Potential confounds and limitations of the study are discussed, specifically regarding the elements of the low- to high-level questioning sequences and study procedures as well as the need to further develop reading comprehension measures and student interest measures. Considerations for future investigations are also discussed.