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Focus questions

What is a focus question in literacy instruction?

A focus question is a text-dependent question that sets a succinct purpose for instruction.

Watch ANet Coach Christina Lippert discuss focus questions with leaders from Lake County, Colorado.

Your focus question should serve as your north star as you plan text-dependent questions to guide students reading, writing, and discussion. It outlines what students should be able to answer in writing as a culminating task and will shape the lesson, or series of lessons, to get students to that point. 

Modified from LearnZillion

In this video, 6th Grade Teacher Sarah Fakhoury discusses how she scaffolds text-dependent questions in order to guide students to be able to answer a focus question in a culminating writing task.

Examples of focus questions

See more examples in the sample writing tasks in these lessons by Student Achievement Partners.

  • How did Leonardo da Vinci’s dream of sculpting a “larger than life” horse inspire Charles Dent?

  • In what ways did Mae Jemison demonstrate perseverance in order to achieve her goals?

  • What evidence can we see in the text that Bob is a deeply patient man?

Learn more about how to engage students with Text-Dependent Questions!

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