Thinking and Talking About Reading

    FICTION…Who?   What?   When?   Where?   Why?    How? Ask questions about: Character(s), setting, vocabulary, figurative language, plot and theme/big idea. Ask for evidence to support their thinking.

    Begin with a retelling of the story, including character names and the setting time and location. (Retell the story so far or the complete story. Sequential order is important.)

    Questions about the Theme/Big Idea:  What is the main idea/theme of the story? How do you know?  What (evidence) is there in the book that makes you think__ is the theme?

    Follow up all questions with “How do you know?  Show me in the book where that is?”

    Questions About The Character:  What are some of the problems the character had?

    Did the character change?  Why? (Did the character change because of an event or problem?  Did the character learn a lesson?)

    What kind of character/person is  _________? (Character traits and feelings. Traits are different from feelings.) 

    What happened in the story that made you form that opinion about the character? (Ask your child to refer back to the book.)

    Questions – Vocabulary and Figurative Language:  What does _____ mean? (New, unfamiliar “tricky” words and phrases.) How do you know?  

    How did the sentence help you figure out what the word(s) mean?

    Questions About Plot And Setting: When and where did the story take place? (How do you know?)

    What was the problem in the story?  How was it solved? Can you show me where the problem gets solved? (Refer back to text. Does your child understand cause and effect?)

    What is a lesson (the character) learns in the story? How do you know?

    What is the author's message?

    Nonfiction…We teach them to know the main idea and key details; to be able to determine the meaning of new and challenging vocabulary from the context of the text; knowledge of text features; text structure; to question the reliability of the information.

    What's the main idea?  How do you know?  (Ask for details and evidence from the text.)

    What new information did you learn from the book?

    If there is time or location involved, ask questions.

    If there is a comparison to make, ask what it is and why it's important? (Compare and contrast two ideas.)

    Do you think the information is true?  Why?  Where and how did the author get the information for the book/article?

    Why did the author write this book?

    How did the author set-up the book? (What is the nonfiction structure?) 

    What are the nonfiction-text-features the author used? How do they help you know more about the topic? 


    Discuss the meaning of new and/or challenging vocabulary.  Ask...."How did you figure out what that word means?"