Reading Depth Complexity Lesson

Lesson: Reading Depth and Complexity by Sandra Kaplan


  1. Objective
  2. Motivation
  3. State the Ojective and Demonstrate
  4. Structures and Guided Practice
  5. PDF download link

Most often we ask students to read to discover an answer to a question. This lesson asks students to read to discover unanswered questions or the questions they believe have not been answered to determine why the author has left these questions unanswered.

This lesson also introduces the students to the use of three types of questions:

  • factual
  • analytic
  • and evaluative

These three types of questions form the basis of “good questioning strategies.” This lesson can be used with either small or large groups of students across grade levels and subject areas. Critical to the success of this lesson is the goal or outcome that students understand why there are unanswered questions in all literary genre and across all disciplines.

Model of Teaching in this Lesson: Direct Instruction

Objective: Students will identify and substantiate (prove) that there are ??? unanswered questions in the reading material or topics under study. They will list or chart the ??? unanswered questions.

Model of Teaching: Direct Instruction


Show students the following pictures. Ask them to observe these pictures in order to identify and differentiate the ques­tions that can be answered from those that cannot be answered by the pictures.


Use the following chart to record the questions that emerge from the student’s encounter with the pictures:

Discuss the differences between the types of questions they can or cannot answer and how each question could be an­swered under other conditions.

State the objective and demonstrate

Prepare a chart or transparency of a text (fiction or non­ fiction) selection.

Tell students to follow these directions:
1. Read the text.
2. Identify the questions you can answer from the text.
3. Identify the questions (???unanswered questions you cannot answer from the text).
Discuss why it is valuable to recognize the differences bet­ween questions that can and cannot be answered from
reading, observing, knowing, etc.

Structures and Guided Practice

Select text material students will be reading. Prepare a set of questions inclusive of factual, analytic, and valuative types to be answered by reading the text material. Note: the following guide can be used:

When______________________________________? Factual
Who or What_______________________________? Factual
How is |____________| related to |________? Analytic
Why_______________________________________? Valuative

Ask students to read the material to answer these ques­tions. Ask students to REREAD the text material to identify
the ??? unanswered questions. Ask students to write the unanswered questions on large question marks.

Discuss why there are unanswered questions and the purpose of this type of question.

Discuss the differences between the types of questions they can or cannot answer and how each question could be an­swered under other conditions.

Independent Practice and Culmination

Ask students to self-select a book or text material to read. Have students identify unanswered questions. Have students share their unanswered questions.

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Author: Dr. Sandra Kaplan, editor of the GEC, is an active member and past president of the California Association for the Gifted and chair of both the Blue Ribbon Committee and Education Committee for the organization to research a non-traditional identification instrument to recognize the underrepresented students as gifted. Dr. Kaplan has recognition for her work, receiving awards for Excellence from the Council of Exceptional Children, National Association for the Gifted for Service and Achievement and Research awards from the California Association for the Gifted. You can see her full bio here.

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