North Carolina Thinking Skills
Use as part of your daily instruction with shared and guided reading.
The North Carolina Thinking Skills represent different ways of processing information, ideas, and text.
By engaging students in thinking about and interacting with text(s) at the different levels, teachers help
students build a foundation for continued growth in critical analysis and comprehension of text.
The sample question stems included are intended as a starting point for assisting teachers as they
guide students in engaging with texts. Use these question stems as appropriate for your students or to
develop your own list of questions. The question stems represent a range of thinking levels.
Depending on the selection(s), a question stem may be assigned to a different thinking skill level
Knowing When was _____?
Defining problems: clarifying needs, Identify the _____ in the _____.
discrepancies, or puzzling situations Define the word _____.
Setting goals: establishing direction and Who did _____?
purpose Who is the narrator of the story?
Observing: obtaining information through one Tell about _____ .
or more senses List (facts, details, attributes).
Formulating questions: seeking new Which picture shows _____?
information through inquiry Match _____ .
Encoding: storing information in long-term What is the purpose of _____?
memory Describe _____ .
Recalling: retrieving information from long-
Useful Verbs: list, name, label, recall, identify,
Organizing How else might you say _____?
Arranging information so it can be used Describe _____ . Tell how _____ . Compare _____ .
effectively What is the purpose of _____?
Comparing: noting similarities and differences Sequence/Put _____ in order of _____ .
between or among entities Is _____ greater than _____?
Classifying: grouping and labeling entities on Why is it called _____?
the basis of their attributes Explain why _____. What caused _____?
Ordering: sequencing entities according to a Find the _____ that _____ .
given criterion Make a diagram/chart/graphic organizer that _____ .
Representing: changing the form but not the Sort the_____.
substance of information Categorize the_____ of _____.
Useful Verbs: categorize, group, classify,
Applying Give some instance in which _____ .
Demonstrating prior knowledge within a new Which of these would best demonstrate _____?
situation. The task is to bring together the Dramatize/Pantomime/Act out _____ .
appropriate information, generalizations or Show how _____.
principles that are required to solve a problem. Use _____ to _____.
Useful Verbs: apply, make, show, record, Illustrate _____ .
construct, demonstrate, illustrate
Analyzing What part of this could be real? Make believe?
Clarifying existing information by examining What would be a good title for _____?
parts and relationships How are _____ related?
Identifying attributes and components: Compare _____ to _____.
determining characteristics or parts of How are they alike? Different?
something Explain the main idea.
Identifying relationships and patterns: Which words best describe _____?
recognizing ways in which elements are related Outline the important _____ .
Identifying main ideas: identifying the central
element; for example, the hierarchy of key ideas
in a message or line of reasoning
Identifying errors: recognizing logical fallacies
and other mistakes and where possible,
Useful Verbs: outline, diagram, differentiate,
Generating If you had been _____ , what would you have done
Producing new information, meaning, or differently?
ideas How many ways can you think of to _____?
Inferring: going beyond available information What would happen if _____?
to identify what reasonably may be true Predict what would be true if _____?
Predicting: anticipating next events, or the How can you explain _____?
outcome of a situation Pretend/Make-believe/Imagine _____ .
Elaborating: explaining by adding details, Now that we have studied this, what can be
examples, or other relevant information concluded _____?
Useful Verbs: conclude, predict, explain, Create _____ .
elaborate, infer Tell me about _____ .
Can you tell me more _____? (Elaborate)
Integrating How may ways can you think of _____?
Connecting and combining information Summarize the story in your own words _____ .
Summarizing: combining information Make a plan to _____ .
efficiently into a cohesive statement What if _____?
Restructuring: changing existing knowledge How would you change _____?
structures to incorporate new information Can you make/produce _____?
Useful Verbs: combine, summarize, design, Tell/Show me how _____ .
imagine, generalize What lesson was learned?
How can it apply to new situations?
Evaluating What would you do?
Assessing the reasonableness and quality of Should_____ be permitted to _____?
ideas Why or why not?
Establishing criteria: setting standards for Was it right or wrong for _____? Explain.
making judgments How well did _____?
Verifying: confirming the accuracy of claims What is the most important? Why?
Useful Verbs: judge, evaluate, rate, verify, What could have been different?
assess, define criteria Select/Choose the best _____ .
What helped you to decide _____? Why?
Based on_____from the text, tell why_____ .
Which would you choose/select _____? Tell why.
Which picture best represents the data?
Evaluate the effectiveness of _____ .
What evidence is there that _____? (Verify)