Facts Questions Response (FQR) – a note-taking/connections strategy
One of the great challenges of nonfiction text for students is the constant barrage of facts.
Names, high end vocabulary, dates or sequences, fast transitions – students have to learn, as we all do, how to take note of what is important. A large part of that is having a purpose for the reading, but an equally large part is having a personal filter – what information causes you to question or reflect.
Enter the FQR strategy.
The basic premise is that students take notes in a three column format.
As students read, they make note of important facts. For each fact that they note they must either write a question and/or a response. Students are shown through a gradual release of responsibility how to use the form. It is modeling intensive, because students have to learn to not only determine important information, but to ask questions that can guide further reading/research and to make connections that help them understand the text.
This was the recommended sequence:
Day 1: Teach background information about the reading. In the example I saw, the reading involved Andersonville, so the the first day was a brief background of the Civil War with a focus on the Andersonville prison camp.
Day 2: Pass out the reading (it focused on the plight of two young men who were incarcerated there), and the teacher models the strategy through the first few paragraphs. What I liked was that the teacher didn’t spend a lot of time explaining the strategy, she launched into using it, thinking out loud and helping the students make sense of it as she was modeling. Students had to write what she wrote so they got a good “feel” for what went where and then had a model on their own paper to follow.
Later in that day she also gave students a chance to make verbal responses with their peers, to get used to the idea of making a thoughtful response.
Day 3: Partner reading/responding to finish the FQR while teacher circulated.
It seems time intensive, and it is, but I feel that this would be an “investment strategy”. Something that you would take the time to teach well once, and then be able to utilize often, re-teaching areas that seem to need it as the year goes by. I loved how it made students reflect on the material they were reading, and how it provided a guide to make sense of their notes.
I’m including links to more information on FQR as well as some forms. I like the columns versus the chart, because I think that a kid might feel they need to “fill in every space” and that isn’t necessary. I also think that for my younger students I would need to be a bit more specific in my modeling. For example, “If you’ve read two paragraphs and haven’t taken a note, you need to write something”. I also believe I would want to stress the purpose of the reason and how that can help determine importance.
I know I’ll be using this strategy this school year, I hope its given you something to consider!