For parents of independent readers, we provide a set of questions that should give you insight into what your child is reading and help you engage him/her in meaningful conversations about literature. We recommend using the questions provided here as a springboard for deeper conversation about the story and what your child takes away from the book. Enjoy!
Create a K-W-L Chart and have your child fill in the first two columns with information that s/he knows and wants to find out about the story. S/he can fill in the last column, "What I Learned", once s/he has finished the story.
What I Know
After reading the description on the back cover, discuss what your child already knows about the subject matter. Answer questions like "Who is the main character? Where does the story take place? What is the general premise?" Encourage him/her to describe what s/he sees on the cover that will tell him/her more about the story.
What I Want to Know
This section can be filled with questions that your child would like to have answered while reading the story.
Maintain a Vocabulary Journal
Encourage your child to stop when s/he gets to an unfamiliar word. See if s/he can discover its meaning by using context clues (the words surrounding it) or by analyzing word parts such as prefixes and suffixes. Be sure to keep a “Vocabulary Journal” nearby when reading so that your child can write down new words, that s/he has either already defined or wishes to look up in the dictionary.
- If you were to draw a picture of the story, what details would you include?
- What was the problem of the story? How was it solved?
- Which character did you identify with? Why?
- What questions did you have as you were reading?
- What do you think the author wanted you to learn from this story? Why do you think the author chose to end the story the way he/she did?
- What would you have done if you had been __________ during that part of the story?
- In your own words, what does _______ (insert vocabulary word) mean?
- Was ________ a good title for this story? Why?
- If you could change one thing in the story, what would it be? Why?
Extending the Story
Can you think of a better or more interesting way to end the story? Grab a piece of paper and a pencil and imagine an alternate ending! If not, continue the story to create your own sequel. Consider what the main character(s) would do next, where they would go, what challenges they would face next, etc.
If the story is based on a specific event or topic, do some research to learn more! Find out more facts about a historical person, discover more about a foreign location, and just broaden your child's knowledge on the topic at hand.