Literacy 4-6

Systems Change
Literacy 4-6 > Strategies > Guided Inquiry

Guided Inquiry


In guided inquiry, teachers help students use their own language for constructing knowledge by active listening and questioning. Through dialogic reading and inquiry activities, students are able to explore their interests, deepen their understanding of texts, and process their own reasoning. For writing, students can engage in guided inquiry activities that ignite curiosity as a way to brainstorm and develop ideas.

Use It in the Classroom

Learn how this fifth grade teacher asks open-ended questions to prompt student thinking during a writing lesson. As she guides their reasoning and repeats the language they use, her students develop their abilities to analyze a peer's response to a reading.

  • The teacher plays a crucial role in guided inquiry by raising students' awareness of how to use language as a tool for reasoning. Teachers, and eventually students, can ask questions that provoke thinking and provide their own ideas for possible answers that stimulate further questions. Additionally, because asking questions elicits deeper thinking or challenges previous thinking, inquiry has the potential to foster growth mindsets.
  • Design It into Your Product

  • Products can embed questions that pop up while learners are exploring content to prompt deeper, reflective thinking at key points in a text. They can also let students ask their own questions, which can help develop their Metacognition.
  • Factors Supported by this Strategy