Dialogic approaches toward developing third graders' comprehension using Questioning the Author and its influence on teacher change

Patricia Antoinette McHale Flynn, Fordham University


A qualitative study to improve 3rd-grade students' comprehension using the Questioning the Author (QtA) strategy was conducted in an all-boys independent school for 12 weeks. The researcher used a dialogic approach to assess the impact on teacher change as well as provide a risk-free environment conducive to constructivist learning. The school is located in an urban area in the Northeast United States. The boys were given a written retelling for both narrative and expository forms to assess growth. Data collection included transcripts of audiotapes made during the sessions, written response journals of the students and researcher, and participant surveys. Results indicated that the students with special learning needs improved the most. Student questions and the level of higher order thinking statements increased. The boys made more intertextual connections with narrative text than with expository passages. This may have been due to the nature of some of the written assignments. Students gradually took a greater role in constructing their own questions and indicated that they saw themselves as leaders empowered in and by the process. In regard to student attitude, 61.1% of the class believed that making a mistake was all right and a way to learn. Teacher change came about through a dialogic approach, as a collaborative model was used to plan and discuss student progress. Subsequently, teachers indicated a desire to use the Questioning the Author (QtA) strategy throughout the subsequent year. To assess teacher attitude toward literacy, the Literacy Orientation Survey (LOS) was administered. Written and oral surveys were conducted to determine if any change had occurred. During this study, a fourth teacher had indicated that she preferred to continue her established program rather than join the study. However, after the other teachers engaged in the use of QtA and spoke positively about the experience, she indicated a desire to participate the following year.

Subject Area

Literacy|Reading instruction|Elementary education

Recommended Citation

Flynn, Patricia Antoinette McHale, "Dialogic approaches toward developing third graders' comprehension using Questioning the Author and its influence on teacher change" (2002). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3056139.