Literature Ladders

Literature-based WebQuests

WebQuests provide an authentic, technology-rich environment for problem solving, information processing, and collaboration. This inquiry-based approach to learning involves students in tasks that make good use of Internet-based resources. A literature-based WebQuest uses a book(s) as a focal point for activities. Tasks might involve the theme, characters, plot, or setting of the book. Bernie Dodge developed the WebQuest concept back in the mid 1990s. To learn more about WebQuests, check out his website at

eye for essentialRead Internet Expeditions: Exploring, Using, Adapting, and Creating WebQuests. Follow this online workshop to learn about using, adapting, and creating your own WebQuest.

Start by exploring the WebQuests that others have created. You may find a WebQuest that fits your needs. WebQuests all share the same basic elements. These include an introduction, task, information resources, processes, learning advice, and evaluation. Many people start with Search for WebQuests. Explore examples of literature-based and communication skills WebQuests:

Literature-Rich Connections

Whether you're adapting an exisitng WebQuest or building your own, consider the following areas to bring literature alive for learners.




Combine Content

Author Approaches

Multiple Books, Multiple Books, Literature Circles

Connections to Literature Topics


Historical Fiction

Realistic Fiction

Primary Sources

Comics and Graphic Novels

Critical Reviews

Process and Product Ideas

Defining WebQuests

WebQuests are an inquiry-based approach to learning. Developed by Bernie Dodge in the mid 1990s, these projects are more treasure hunts or lists of websites. The power of the Internet is used to access information and provide opportunities for interaction. Consider using a WebQuest to involve young people in real-world problem solving, information processing, collaboration, communication, and authentic learning.

Young people are provided with a meaningful mission; resource-rich readings, visuals, and other materials; and an opportunity for deep thinking such as discussion, critique, persuasion, or debate.

The basic WebQuest contains the following elements:

Before jumping in, keep in mind that you can use, adapt, create, or co-produce WebQuests.

Evaluating WebQuests

What makes a good WebQuest? Focus on essential questions that had meaning to learning such as how and why questions. Also look for the human dimension and provide a context for young people. As yourself:

Use the checklist to evaluation webquests for ideas.

Adapting WebQuests

Rather than creating your own webquest from scratch, consider adapting a webquest. For example, if you're reading a book that includes a particular character, plot, or setting, you might be able to locate and adapt a webquest to fit your needs. Explore some examples of webquests that could be adapted. Consider some of the following areas when adapting a webquest:

Make a content-area connection. Start with a book and seek out WebQuests on topics related to the book. Then, consider how the WebQuest could be adapted for use with the specific character, plots, or setting or your book. For example, take a science, social studies, or language arts WebQuest and adapt it for use with a piece of literature.

Use the examples below for ideas:

Elementary School

Middle & High School

Literature-Rich WebQuests Resources

Secondary English Texts

For good literature-rich webquests and activities, check out Literature-Based WebQuests (San Diego City Schools) and RAMP to Reading (Bottom of Page).

For more information about webquests, go to Teacher Tap: WebQuests. Or, Explore the SDSU Readings and Training Materials.

Go to WebQuests Based On Literature. Notice how they organized their examples.

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