Question answering instruction teaching students how to find answers available in the text focuses the reader on content. Why or how questions lead the student to focus on causes and consequences. Question answering guides students and motivates them to look in the text to find answers. Instruction on question answering leads to improvement in memory for what was read, to better answering of questions after reading, or to improvement in finding answers to questions in the text during reading.
In a 1985 study, Taffy E. Raphael and ClydieA. Wonnacott trained fourth-grade and sixth-grade readers to analyze questions, distinguishing those questions that could be answered by information in the passage from questions that required prior knowledge or information not in the text. The results were that students who had received this instruction provided higher quality responses to questions than a control group of students. In seventeen studies examined by the NRP for this strategy, the results were usually specific to experimenter tests of question answering and were greater for lower-grade than for upper-grade readers and greater with average and less-skilled readers than with high-achieving readers.