21 Questions to Ask While Reading with your Child

Reading stories aloud to children is a fantastic way to develop their language skills. As they listen to the story, children expand their vocabulary and stimulate their imagination. But there’s more to it than just reading the words. Take some time to talk about the story, notice details and ask questions while reading together. This will help your help your child begin to develop comprehension skills, even if they’re not reading the words themselves. Try to keep questions open-ended, encouraging children to think beyond the obvious and developing their reasoning and thinking skills.

Open-ended questions require some thinking and more than a one word (yes/no) answer. Here are some common ways to start an open-ended question.

  • What if…?
  • Why do you think…?
  • How did that…?
  • Why did….?
  • What might happen…?

Before Reading

Asking questions before reading encourages children to start thinking about the story. Talking about the title and cover illustrations will provide them with an understanding of what the story may be about. This is a good time to make some predictions about the story! Try to keep questions open-ended to give children the chance to formulate their own ideas.

Here’s some suggestions to get you started.

  1. What do you think this book is about?
  2. What do you think might happen in the story?
  3. Who do you think the characters are?
  4. Where do you think the story takes place?
  5. Why did you pick this book?

During Reading

As you’re reading, stop every so often to ask some questions (not too often though, or it will interrupt the flow of the story!). Questions help children to stay interested in the story and learn to be active readers. Questions will depend on the particular story, but some general suggestions are listed below.

  1. What do you think will happen next?
  2. Where does the story take place?
  3. How does this story make you feel?
  4. Why do you think the character did…..?
  5. Which character do you like the best? The least? Why?
  6. What does this make you think of? (another book, an event in their life)
  7. How does this story make you feel?

After Reading

Asking questions and discussing the book after reading helps extend a child’s thinking, by helping them to understand the book and its meaning. Here are some suggestions to help prompt a discussion.

  1. What did you think of the story?
  2. What was your favourite part? Why?
  3. Who was your favourite character? Why?
  4. What does the story make you think of? Another book? Something that happened to you?
  5. Why do you think the author wrote the book?
  6. If you were the author, what title would you have chose for the story?
  7. Did the story end the way you thought it would?
  8. What if the book continued? What would happen next?
  9. Would you recommend the book to someone else?

So get reading with your kids and use some of these questions to ask while reading.

If you’re looking for some ideas of what to read, check out our Book Lists here!

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