Reading Tips

Reading Resources

Thinking About Your Reading
One of the best things you can do to help your child become a better reader is to make sure they are reading at least 20 minutes (or more) a night. These books should be a "just right" book for your child. Books that are too easy don't require kids to think or work hard, and books that are too challenging can be too difficult for your child or even frustrate them. Finding a just right book requires a balance of the right mix of readable and unknown words but also includes your child's interests and motivations. Just right books have some (but not a lot) of words your child may not know, but these books also make your child think and use their brain while they read.

Another thing you can do to encourage your child's reading development is to ask them questions and have them talk to you about what they have read. This is a great way to develop higher level thinking skills. These are also questions that will be similar to those that kids may see in testing situations in the future. I am including some question stems for both fiction and nonfiction books that you can use to begin a conversation with your child about what they are reading. They should be able to answer the question but also give their reasoning or support from the text to explain why they think the way they do.

"About The Text" Questions
  • What lesson did the character learn in this book? What makes you think that?
  • Do you think what happened in this book could really happen? Why or why not?
  • What did the author do to make ______________ more interesting?
  • Why do you think the author included drawings or photographs in the book? Can you show me an example?
  • In addition to the main part of the book, what are some of the other ways the writer told information about _____________?
  • How did the author tell you what kind of character _____________ was? Can you give me an example?
"Beyond The Text" Questions
  • Why do you think (character) really wanted or did _____________? What makes you think that?
  • Talk about how the character felt at the start of the story and at the end of the story. What did you notice?
  • What do you think (character) was thinking when (event happened)?
  • Did this story remind you of anything?
  • What was the real reason that the character _______________?
  • Why do you think __________________ happened?
  • Do you think that was a good way to solve the problem? Why or why not?
  • Why was ________________ important to the story?
  • There were a few clues that would help you guess _____ (how the problem was solved, how the story would end, etc.). Can you figure out what those clues were?
  • What new information about ___________ did you learn from this book?
  • Look at the picture on page ______. What does it tell you?
  • Tell what you learned about the character. What is he or she like? What makes you think that?
  • How are ____________ and ___________ different?
  • What kind of person do you think ________________ was?
  • What was the most important idea in the book? What makes you think that?
"Getting to Know Characters" Unit Questions
We have spent the last several weeks in reading working to learn more about characters in a unit called "Getting to Know Characters." Students have been working to use details in the text to visualize the characters and their actions as well as notice how the events in the story affect the character. You can help reinforce this thinking and learning at home. Take some time to talk to your child after they read each night.

Here are some questions you can ask. This is great preparation for reading assessments and tests that may come up. These are some of the same types of questions that the children may see on a test.

  • Who was the main character in the story?
  • Tell me about the main character. What did you notice about the main character? What are some words you could use to describe the main character?
  • What were some of the things that happened in the story? How did they affect the main character?
  • What was the main character's problem in the story? How did they solve it?
  • How did the main character change in the story? If the main character didn't change, why did they stay the same? Did something prevent them from changing?