Asking Questions

Updated: Feb 20, 2020

On April 11, 2019, I shared a post about the importance of reading aloud with your child. A way to extend this quality time is by asking questions while reading together. Asking questions teaches your child to be curious and to think critically.

When to Ask Questions

While reading aloud with your child, ask questions before, during, and after sharing a story. Before sharing a story, ask your child questions about what he thinks will happen, aka make a prediction. Draw attention to the title of the story, the cover of the book, and take a picture walk before reading. A picture walk is when you flip through the pages of a story without reading any words. You talk together about what you see happening in each of the illustrations. Draw attention to the characters, setting, any actions or feelings that can be inferred from the illustrations, and how the story might end and why. Asking questions before reading teaches your child to use his or her imagination. It also teaches the importance of using pictures as clues in understanding a story.

Asking questions during the story gives a child a chance to monitor his previously made predictions and adjust expectations of how the story will continue. Your child might become curious about why something is happening or what will happen next. By encouraging this curiosity you help create an active and engaged reader.

After sharing a story, ask your child questions to monitor his understanding and to check his previously made predictions. An easy strategy to use is the 5W & 1H Questioning Strategy - Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? Questions can come directly from the story (literal questions) or from your child's experiences and background knowledge (inferential questions).

Sample questions using the 5W &1H Questioning Strategy

- Who was in the story?

- Who was your favorite character? Why?

- What happened to (character’s name) at the beginning (middle or end) of the story?

- What was your favorite part of the story? Why?

- When does the story take place?

- Where does the story take place?

- Why did (character’s name and action) happen?

- How did (character’s name) feel? Why do you think (the character) felt that way?

- How would you change the story? Why?

By reading aloud and asking your child questions, you not only expand his thinking, imagination, vocabulary, and excitement for reading but also the world around him, too. Download more Asking Questions Conversations Starters on my Making Reading Fun tab.

Happy Reading,


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