The purpose of reading is to understand text.  Comprehension is stressed daily in elementary classrooms during literacy instruction.  Though teachers may target reading comprehension elements during whole group learning times, they most often address comprehension during guided reading.  A specific type of differentiated and intentional small group instruction, guided reading, aims to help readers process texts as they become increasingly challenging (Richardson, 2016).  Through guided reading, my students became strong independent readers who thought critically about what they were reading. One way that educators help students develop reading comprehension during guided reading is through targeted text-dependent questions.  Fountas and Pinnell (2017) suggest that students learn by talking. When students are participating in meaningful discussions about a text, they are capable of expanding their ability to comprehend ideas. In order for these high-level conversations to occur, teachers must ask students questions to get them to represent their thinking through speech.  However, Fordham (2006) suggests that all questions are not created equal and that educators have a variety of questions to choose from when prompting students. It is crucial for teachers to acknowledge that the responses they receive from their students are only as good as the question being asked (Richardson, 2016).

The year of my capstone project, I had 20 first grade students.  Between the months of August and November of 2018, I collected data on my students’ reading abilities.  When analyzing this data, I noticed that my students showed a very diverse need when it comes to comprehension.  More specifically, on one of our literacy assessments, the students in my classroom showed a 15.8 standard deviation when it came to reading comprehension.  This was significantly higher than the average standard deviation, showing the vast difference in the needs of my students. In order to promote growth in my students’ reading comprehension, I chose to implement action research focused on targeted questioning so that I could meet the needs of the students in each of my guided reading groups.  The purpose of my action research study was to determine if the use of targeted questions during guided reading would increase student achievement in reading comprehension. In order to successfully implement targeted questioning in my classroom, I read extensively on the topic. This literature review was a synthesis of research on the topic and was organized in themes. I defined targeted questioning, explained its importance for students and educators, and provided insight on how targeted questions can be effectively utilized in the classroom through purposeful planning and implementation.  



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