Teaching Close Reading: Building Your Bank of Text Dependent Questions (TDQs)


Teaching close reading is an essential skill for students in order to enhance their understanding and analysis of complex texts. One effective way to achieve this is by providing Text-Dependent Questions (TDQs) that require students to dig deep into the text and demonstrate comprehension on multiple levels. In this article, we will discuss the importance of TDQs, their various types, and how you can build your bank of TDQs to improve instruction in the classroom.

The Importance of Text-Dependent Questions

TDQs are questions that are directly linked to the text being taught and require specific evidence from the text for correct answers. These questions promote a deep level of understanding by encouraging students to analyze, infer, and provide evidence from the text itself. Through this process, students develop important skills such as critical thinking, comprehension, and argumentation.

Types of Text-Dependent Questions

1. Detail-oriented questions: These TDQs focus on specific details within a text. Students are required to find and analyze these details to answer questions correctly.

Example: In “To Kill a Mockingbird”, what gifts does Boo Radley leave for Scout and Jem?

2. Vocabulary-based questions: These focus on words or phrases within the text that may be unfamiliar or challenging for students. Answering these questions helps them build their overall vocabulary knowledge.

Example: What does the word “exacerbate” mean in this sentence?

3. Analytical questions: These questions require students to delve deeper into the structure and meaning of a text. This type of question helps students gain a better understanding of author’s intent, literary devices used and themes present.

Example: How does the author use metaphors in “The Road Not Taken” to convey a message about choices?

4. Inference-based questions: These TDQs require students to draw conclusions based on evidence from the text combined with their own prior knowledge.

Example: Why do you think the narrator in “The Tell-Tale Heart” ultimately decides to reveal his crime?

Building Your Bank of Text Dependent Questions

1. Start by selecting key passages from the text you are working with and jot down possible TDQs that can be formed from them.

2. Create a range of questions that address different types of TDQs (detail-oriented, vocabulary-based, analytical, and inference-based) to ensure students engage with the text on multiple levels.

3. Review existing resources such as teacher guides, online databases, and educational blogs for additional inspiration in crafting TDQs.

4. Adjust the complexity and difficulty level of your questions based on the grade level and proficiency of your students.

5. Continuously update your bank of TDQs as you teach new texts and evaluate the effectiveness of your questions through assessment and student feedback.


Text-dependent questions are a crucial component in teaching close reading skills. By building a comprehensive bank of diverse TDQs tailored to your students’ needs, you can enhance their engagement with texts, foster critical thinking, and ultimately improve their overall academic performance.

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