The following are a list of discussion questions to use with your son/daughter. Digging deeper into text will create active, engaged readers!
* During reading, encourage your son/daughter to stop and make predictions.A correct prediction does not have to be what happens next. It has to make sense!
1. Was the book fiction or non-fiction? How do you know?
2. Was there a problem in the book? What was it? How was it solved?
3. Have you ever had a problem? How did you solve it?
4. Who was the main character? Did you like him/her? Why?
5. How would you describe the main character? Why would you describe him/her that way?
6. Do you know anyone like the main character? How are they like the main character?
7. As you read the book, did you picture anything special in your mind? What was it? Can you describe it to me?
8. What was your favorite part of the book? Why?
9. Did you learn anything from the book?
10. Did you like the book? Why or why not?
11. What was the MOST important event in the story? Why?
12. Describe a connection you had while reading. It can be a text to self, text to world or text to text.
13. What new words did you learn. What words were interesting or "perky?"
14. At the conclusion of a story or chapter, encourage your child to retell the story. They should use specific details like character's names and vocabulary. Additionally, they should retell the story sequentially.
When discussing a story with your child you not only want to ask for concrete material from the book, you want to promote critical and creative thinking as well as text to self connections, text to world connections, and visualization. These skills will be hard for your child at first but the more they practice, the better they will become. We will be working on these higher-level skills every day in class as well!
teach a year of third grade using no books or print media of any kind?
teach a year of third grade using no pencils, whiteboard, or writing materials of any kind?
“Would you rather…” questions are great for practicing critical thinking because they require you to evaluate two different but seemingly equally appealing (or unappealing) options and choose one. One way to use these questions is to ask them whenever you have an extra few minutes. In a classroom setting, it can be valuable to have kids first choose by a show of hands and then discuss the question. If you want to get some movement into the activity, designate one end of the room for each answer and have students move to make their choice. Then ask students to share why they chose one option or another. Pose the question a second time to allow students the opportunity to choose a different option. This exercise is not only fun, but it also helps kids become more flexible on their thought patterns. Rather than holding onto an idea no matter what, they learn to consider others’ opinions.
There are several different kinds of this type of question that you can pose. Some are very basic:
- Would you rather be a pencil or a rubber band?
- Would you rather be a good athlete or a good student?
- Would you rather be able to fly or turn invisible?
These ones make good writing or discussion prompts and should always include a follow-up question asking why.
Some questions have an ethical bent and ask you to pick one value over another:
- Would you rather have someone give you $100 or give $1,000 to the charity of your choice?
- Would you rather have parents who loved you but were poor or have parents who did not love you but were rich and gave you everything you wanted?
These are great for discussion. You will learn a lot about your students as you listen to them defend their choices.
Some questions use the same variables:
- Would you rather be allowed to shower every day but never be allowed to wash your clothes or never be allowed to shower but have clean clothes each day?
- Would you rather never be allowed to eat your five favorite foods for the rest of your life or be allowed to eat only your five favorite foods for the rest of your life?
Some are fun and silly:
- Would you rather jump into a pool of marshmallows or a pool of jello?
- Would you rather have yummy edible hair that regrew each night or have retractable wheels on the bottoms of your feet?
or only offer unappealing choices:
- Would you rather go to school in your underwear or have to eat worms for lunch?
- Would you rather have a head the size of an orange or a watermelon?
Kids seem to especially like those one!
Asking the questions is great, but you can step it up by having kids come up with their own questions. Writing these questions requires kids to not only create two options but also to evaluate whether or not those options are roughly equal in appeal. Part of the process is answering the questions, so be sure and give students an opportunity to share their questions with the rest of the class. Consider creating a class Would You Rather Book.
Have you used this type of questions with your class? How did it go?