Asking Questions Before, During & After Reading: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

As you move from 'learning to read' into 'reading to learn,' you are going to have to make sure that you understand the meaning of the text. This lesson reviews how to ask questions before, during and after reading.

Why Do Readers Ask Questions?

Have you ever read a long story and then not remembered anything you read afterward? How disappointing is that? Good readers are active readers, meaning they think critically while they are reading the text. One critical thinking strategy that can help you with comprehension is asking yourself questions. Let's look at some questions that active readers ask themselves before, during and after reading.

Before Reading

Did you know that you can start asking yourself questions about a text even before you read the very first word? Active readers will preview different parts of the book and ask themselves questions. If it is a picture book, you can go on a picture walk and examine the illustrations. If it is a chapter book, you can look at the cover or read the description on the back of the book.

Sometimes, active readers will ask themselves predicting questions prior to reading. Predicting means that you are trying to guess what is going to happen before it happens. Here are a few examples of questions that active readers will ask before reading:

  • What do you think this book will be about?
  • Is this story fiction or nonfiction? How do you know?
  • What does the title tell me about this book?

Ask yourself some of these questions about this book

During Reading

Remember the scenario at the beginning of this lesson about forgetting what you read? Asking yourself questions while you are reading will help you to understand the story's meaning. Sometimes, the answers to your questions can be answered within the text. Other times, you will have to think beyond the text, also known as making inferences.

Questions to ask during reading

Let's read a passage from 'Where the Wild Things Are' by Maurice Sendak.

''That very night in Max's room a forest grew

and grew-

and grew until his ceiling hung with vines

and the walls became the world all around

and an ocean tumbled by with a private boat for Max

and he sailed off through night and day

and in and out of weeks

and almost over a year

to where the wild things are.''

Pause here to ask yourself questions that can be found in the text. For example, can you identify who the main character is? Can you summarize what has happened in your own words?

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