About Our Reading Guides

discussion questions reading guide great books shared inquiry factual questions interpretive questions evaluative questions

The AdamSmithWorks reading guides use three types of color-coded questions to help guide readers. The three types of questions are based on the Great Books Shared Inquiry Handbook

Factual Questions (Blue)
Factual questions have to do with the “facts of the matter” in the text. These questions have only one correct answer and so in addition to helping students interpret the text by helping them understand difficult language, they are appropriate for true and false or short answer assignment questions. 
In addition to the factual questions in the text, any passage highlighted for discussion can be treated as a factual inquiry into the text. Students can work independently or together to understand definitions or challenging passages and express them in plain language. This not only helps students understand this difficult text, but the exercise of understanding can help build confidence in a student’s own ability to tackle challenging language. 

Interpretive Questions (Red)
Interpretive questions ask students to think about the meaning of a reading. These questions have more than one answer because they are based on a student’s opinion. Asking students to provide their own interpretation of the text and to respectfully share their interpretations with one another can both help them learn independent and critical thinking about the meaning of texts, and the fact that texts can often have different meanings to different people!

Evaluative Questions (Green)
Evaluative questions ask students to take what they’ve read and apply it beyond the text, asking them whether what the author has written is true about the world, based on their own experience, knowledge, and research. 
Because evaluative questions require students to apply what they’ve read beyond the text, they are perfect for essay, poster, or research assignments.