Te Kete Ipurangi Navigation:

Te Kete Ipurangi

Te Kete Ipurangi user options:

ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Learning task 3

Expected time frame: 2-3 lessons

Teaching and learning purposes

These learning activities are designed to teach students how to use open questions as a pre-reading skill to facilitate access to specific information.

Ensuring learners know the content and language learning outcomes

  • Share the learning outcomes, including language learning outcomes, with your students, for example.
    • I understand the difference between closed and open questions
    • I can write open questions
    • I can use open questions to find information in a text

Providing many opportunities for authentic language use with a focus on using authentic language

  • Using open questions
    • From the news (newspaper, radio, TV, internet) ask students to find at least two items about the leader of a country (photograph, cartoon, video news clip, news story, taped radio item). Ask students to write a heading for each item.
    • Explain to students the difference between closed and open questions. See Open and closed questions for more information and examples.
    • Ask students to complete the identifying closed and open questions task (Word 32KB) .
    • Ensure that students are familiar with a range of question forms to ask open questions. These typically begin with what, why or how. See Simple guide to asking questions in English for grammatical information about question forms.
    • Ask students to write four open questions about the news item. Students should check that the questions cannot be answered by yes/no or single word answers. They should also provide answers to each question.
    • These news items and questions can then be used as resources in small groups or with the whole class, as appropriate.

Help students achieve the same explicit learning outcomes with differentiated levels of support

Variations for extra support

  • Model the activity using a news item about a NZ leader.
  • Provide some possible question starters e.g. What does the leader say about…? Why does the leader believe that…? How does he think that the government can…?

Include opportunities for monitoring and self-evaluation


  • Use the RIQ (Recall, Insights and Question) strategy to encourage student reflection and monitor their learning. Ask students to:
    • recall three things from this lesson sequence
    • write down two insights or ideas received during the lesson sequence
    • write one question that they still have.
  • Students can share what they have written with a partner.
  • Use student responses and questions to inform next learning steps.

Published on: 09 Jan 2018