Explain-Model-Question-Activity (E-M-Q-A) – This strategy develops reading comprehension through explicit instruction.

  1. Explain – Explain the process and why it is important, along with concrete examples on when to use it.

    Ex. “As you read this passage, think about what you already know about the solar system. This is something good readers do as they read, especially when lots of new information is being presented.”

    Ex. “Sometimes when authors write, they leave out information they feel you may already know about the subject, or can figure out on your own. Therefore, there may be times when you will have to infer certain aspects of the text that are not explicitly stated.”

  2. Model – Model the thinking process being used with this strategy.

    Ex. “In the passage, the author describes the climate as ‘bitter cold’. This made me think back to when it snowed here last December. Remember how cold it was? How it made you feel numb? I think that is the kind of cold he is talking about here.”

  3. Question – Have the students model their thinking strategies by asking them questions about the passage. Here you are focusing on the comprehension process, rather than the answer.

    Ex. “Susan, why did the author write this piece? What makes you think so?”

  4. Activity – After plenty of practice, and modeling, have the students apply this strategy independently.


Roehler, L., & Duffy, G. "Studying qualitative dimensions of instructional effectiveness." In J. Hoffman (Ed.), Effective teaching of reading: Research and practice. Newark, Del: International Reading Association, 1986, pp. 181-197.

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