Sample Questions to Ask Your Child After Reading a Book or Story
Successful reading is not simply the mechanical process of "decoding" text. Rather, it is a process of active inquiry. Good readers approach a text with questions and develop new questions as they read, for example:
"What is this story about?"
"What does the main character want?"
"Will she get it?" "If so, how?"
Even after reading, engaged readers still ask questions:
"What is the meaning of what I have read?"
"Why did the author end the paragraph (or chapter, or book) in this way?"
"What was the author's purpose in writing this?"
Good authors anticipate the reader's questions and plant questions in the reader's mind (think of a title such as,Are You My Mother?by P.D. Eastman). In this way, reading becomes a collaboration between the reader and the author. The author's job is to raise questions and then answer them – or provide several possible answers. Readers cooperate by asking the right questions, paying careful attention to the author's answers, and asking questions of their own.
How Can You Make It Happen?
To help readers learn to ask questions before, during, and after reading, think aloud the next time you are reading a book, article, or set of directions. Write each question on a post-it note and stick it on the text you have the question about. You may be surprised at how many typically unspoken questions you ponder, ask, and answer as you read. You may wonder as you read or after you read at the author's choice of title, at a vocabulary word, or about how you will use this information in the future.
You should begin to model these kinds of questions in the primary grades duringread-aloudtimes, when you can say out loud what you are thinking and asking. Read a book or text to the class, and model your thinking and questioning. Emphasize that even though you are an adult reader, questions before, during, and after reading continue to help you gain an understanding of the text you are reading. Ask questions such as:
"What clues does the title give me about the story?"
"Is this a real or imaginary story?"
"Why am I reading this?"
"What do I already know about___?"
"What predictions can I make?"
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