Reading a text and answering questions has been part of literacy instruction for ages. However, using text evidence to prove answers, whether literal or inferential, is a must-have skill for the 21st century.

Students must be able to use more than a guess or a hunch to show understanding of a text. But, how do we give them a structure to do this when they begin to use this skill?

While we don’t always want answers to fit into a formula, using three basic steps will springboard students to know how to shape the answer to a question using text evidence.

Answering a Question Using Text Evidence

Use these three easy sentences with students when answering questions:

Sentence #1: State your Claim

Restate the question then answer the question correctly with your own words. This is your “claim,” or your answer to a question.

Sentence #2: Use Text Evidence

Use a quote from the reading passage that supports your claim. This should be in quotation marks and copied word for word from the text.

Sentence #3: Connect and Elaborate

Further explain your answer and connect the quotation from the text chosen to show how it “proves” your answer. This is an opportunity to make connections and elaborate on the answer to give a thorough explanation.

Using text evidence is a new type of literacy that directly ties students to engage with text so that answers to reading comprehension questions are text dependent, authentically deep and show critical thinking!


Download two lessons with student activity sheets that use this strategy. Click Here to Download