Strategy #3 for Successful Reading: Asking Questions

This post is part of a blog series: 9 Strategies for Successful Reading

Your child is reading a book for school and when you ask about the book, they can’t tell you what is going on. They have no idea what the book is about. Or else they remember some unimportant details, but not the big picture. Many kids can read the words of a book (decoding the language) and still struggle to understand what they are reading.

In this third installment of our 9 Strategies for Successful Reading, we’ll use a strategy that can help your child understand their reading. It’s also something that should not be too painful!

If you haven’t read the beginning of the series, please read Strategy #1: Prepare and Strategy #2: Making Connections and Background Knowledge.

Strategy #3: Asking Questions

The last time you read a book or watched a movie, did you ask questions to yourself? Like, “Who is this new character?” “What does he want?” When your kids are reading, ask them to think of these six questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?

Keep in mind, these questions are not only for the beginning of the text when things can be confusing. Your kids can and should also ask them all along the way as they acquire new information. If your child is reading a story about two friends and then a new kid shows up, your reader might ask, “who is this new person?” “What does she want?” “Why is she coming into the story now?” “How will she affect the friendship between the two original friends?” There is no end to the questions a reader can ask a text.

Another great question for your reader is, “I wonder...?” I wonder questions are great for aiding comprehension. “I wonder what will happen next?” “I wonder if this new girl will be nice or if she is just pretending to like them?” “I wonder if the two friends will get in a fight about the new girl?”

It doesn’t matter if the questions are answered in the text or not. The important part is to ask them. It primes the brain to pay attention to what is happening next. If your mind is asking questions, it will pay attention to find the answers.

Asking questions of the text is a powerful strategy that aids in reading comprehension.

About this blog series

We’ll go over 9 strategies in this series of blog posts. Your child might not need all nine. One might work magic! If you are a good reader and haven’t ever thought about how you read, you might be surprised to discover you use some or all of these strategies.

And again, a reminder that good readers are not smarter than readers who struggle. Not at all! Many highly intelligent and successful people have struggled with reading, and they became good readers. What they do, and what all good readers do, is develop habits and strategies that help them comprehend what they are reading and give them skills for when they get stuck.

Next up: Strategy #4: Prediction

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