Asking Questions

Written by Leny Grott

Engaging children before, during and after story time

As a preschool teacher, one of my main goals after, reading a story was to make sure all the children understood the story.

This is very important because each question I asked could lead to an interesting project, to a conversation of feelings, to review concepts and spark their imagination.  For children, thinking about questions encourages them to put ideas together, remember things and fosters learning.

 These questions are a great way to improve their vocabulary and comprehension.

I encourage you ask open-ended questions before, during and after you read. This will help your child become a critical thinker, feel comfortable sharing ideas and experience all the curiosity that comes from reading.  

What are open-ended questions?

Questions that cannot be answered with a “yes” or “no”.

Open-ended questions give children the freedom to answer in their own words and can offer insights into their thinking process, and you may also learn something new about your child.

Open-ended questions can lead to conversations related to the story or something else that sparks a thought in your child’s mind.

The answers to an open-ended question will vary from child to child, they are unique individuals.

Open-ended questions before you read

  • What do you think this book is about? Why do you think that?
  • What characters do you think might be in this story?
  • What do you think the illustration is trying to tell us?
  • Why do you think the author chose thistitle for the story?  What title would you have chosen?
  • What do you know about the topic of this book?  (Have you ever been to a farm, camping, the beach?)
  • Does the topic remind you of anything you know or have done?

Open-ended questions while you read

  • What do you think will happen next? Why?
  • How do you think the character will handle this situation?
  • Why do you think the character did that?
  • Would you have done something differently if you were the character?
  • Has anything like this ever happened to you?
  • What could you do if this happens to you?
  • Do you know someone who is like this character?
  • How are you like/different than this character?
  • Where does the story take place?
  • If you were there, what could you hear, taste or smell?
  • Does this story make sense to you?
  • What does this word mean?

Open-ended questions after reading

  •  Did you like this story?
  • What was your favorite part?
  • What was your least favorite part?
  • If you could change the ending, how would you change it?
  • Tell me the story in your own words.
  • What part of the story will you remember the most?

Exploring emotions with open-ended questions

  • How do you think the character feels? How do you know?
  • How would you feel if this happens to you?
  • How could we make the character feel better?
  • How did the story make you feel?
  • What would you do in that situation?

Always remember that the answer to these questions are never right or wrong.  They are very important thoughts of your little ones; their answers don’t have to match your answers.

Always be respectful of their thinking and encourage them to share their thoughts.

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