Easy PQA

The best way to practice PQA is to get a very simple text and read it to the kids. Circle out personalized questions from the book as things occur to you. It looks like a reading class, but you are really practicing your PQA for next year.

If the book says:

…Antoine Médina est responsable du transport de l’argent en Espagne….

then you can tell the class a secret that:

…our own Edwin in French class is responsible for the transport of gold to France….

and then circle it for all it’s worth.

That kind of personalization is based on the book and therefore if you get spooked by the PQA monster you can safely return, in a sweet bail out move, to reading to the kids from the book in English as per:


You just go back and forth between the reading of the novel and the PQA.

One thing about doing this kind of novel based PQA is that the instructor can easily throw in a bit of very simple Reader’s Theatre into the process. If one is doing the short novel Pirates, for example, it is easy to split the room into the French and the Spanish, and assign students the roles of François and Antoine, etc. which gives a point of departure for the PQA. It is incredibly easy to do PQA with students when one can just look at the student Antoine in class and ask questions about different things as they arise during the course of reading the novel. It’s like the novel provides for a kind of instant personalization that allows the students to assume the role of an actor in the class, which they love.

In this kind of back and forth from the reading of the novel in English and the PQA that spins out of it, the teacher can easily ask questions like, “Antoine, do you have 478 bars of silver on your ship or 479 bars of silver?” and “Edwin, how many bars of gold are there on your ship?” Then, turning to the French side of the room, you can say, “François, do you want that silver?” etc.



2 thoughts on “Easy PQA”

  1. Is it “OK” to break up the reading of the novel with PQA? I just started my novel with the intention of going through the whole chapter so as not to disrupt the flow of the plot. I do ask some basic comprehension questions at the end, and throw in some personalized questions based on the answers to the questions, but I suppose that’s not traditional PQA. Am I doing something “wrong” with this approach?

  2. Nothing is ever wrong, of course, as long as it is comprehension based. I do think I understand your question and my answer here, remember, is just my opinion.

    I was talking about the movie reading in English, and how much fun it is to give the kids’ brains a break and make them into characters from the text and just do PQA with the character, not the real kid.

    It is easier than real PQA, if I can use that term. This kind of “easy” PQA makes the kids really pay attention bc at any moment they know that you might bust out of L1 into some real neat (not too lengthy) PQA based on the content of the novel concerning their character. This kind of easy PQA is really powerful – the kid is the character and has to know what is going on.

    Certainly there is no need to plow through to the end of the chapter – just go with the natural flow of things and respond to those inner prompts during the movie reading as to when to start playing in L2 for awhile.

    It’s not called the Natural Approach for nothing. We can define that word natural as we wish, of course, but, in my view, Krashen is on one level not trying to do anything more complex via his hypotheses than just teach us how to relax and enjoy our teaching. That, at least, is one of my own interpretations of his work. You read in L1, they get glued to the movie screen thus created, and then they become the movie as well when you launch into a short easy PQA discussion with them/their character.

    Pls. let me know if that is not clear, Allison.

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