Kristi Yamaguchi's Always Dream

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Asking Questions About the Story

Asking questions starts a conversation with your child about the book.

  • Form questions about what you see on the page using the words WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY, and HOW.
  • You might ask questions about what is happening in the pictures, about the setting of the book/where it takes place, about who the characters are, and about how the characters are feeling based on the pictures. You can also ask what your child thinks might happen next.

For example: Who’s this? Where is he? How is he feeling? I wonder what will happen next. What do you think?

  • Readers make predictions to make meaning as they read. You can help your child make predictions by taking turns guessing what happens next.
  • Ask questions that you yourself want the answer to. When a child sees that you care about asking questions, they will also want to ask questions about the book.
  • Asking questions can focus attention on particular parts of a story. You can ask questions before, during, or after reading a book.
  • Asking questions can help children think about what is real or make-believe. Ask Could this really happen? What things on this page are make-believe?

Why is Asking Questions Important?

People ask questions to learn or understand something deeply. Asking questions while reading aloud helps children think and understand more deeply.

Asking questions to your child while reading to them has many benefits, which include the following:

  • Children who are taught to think about things at an early age through open-ended questions are better equipped to understand the world around them. Open-ended questions have no right or wrong answers, but help to broaden children’s thinking processes and develop language skills.
  • Asking questions is also a way to invite children to verbalize ideas. Say: Tell me what you think about…? How do you feel about…? What do you like about…? After asking your child open-ended questions, allow them time to think before responding. Young children often need extra time to decide what to say.
  • Learning how to ask good questions takes practice and mentoring. Asking questions during a read-aloud helps children learn how to ask good questions.
  • Asking questions will help your child develop ways of thinking and speaking that will help them be successful in school.
  • Asking children questions helps them become thinkers. Ask questions like, What do you notice? wherever you are — at home, the store, the playground.

Young children are curious and full of questions. When children ask questions, take time to provide informative answers.