As parents, we can enhance our children's understanding (comprehension) of books when we ask the right questions to begin conversations before we read, while we read, and after we read. Below are question starters that you can use to promote good conversations when reading aloud with your children at home. Click on the link to print out and use as a bookmark if you like.
Before the read aloud...
What can you tell me about (topic)?
Can you tell me what a (...) is?
Have you ever (...)? Tell me about it.
Have you ever seen a (...)? Tell me about it.
Why do you think I chose this book to read to you?
Why might we want to read this book?
What do you think this book might be about?
What do you want to find out about (...)?
During the read-aloud...
Does this remind you of anything else you've read in school or at home? How does it relate to that?
What does (...) mean?
Why do you think that happened the way it did?
What do you think will happen next?
Why do you think the character (said/did) that?
Do you think that is important? Why?
What do you notice in this illustration?
After the read-aloud...
What did you notice in the book?
What does the book remind you of in your own life?
What would you tell a good friend about this book?
What is your favorite illustration? Why?
How is this person's life like yours? How is it different?
What do you think might have happened if (...)?
How is this book like another you have read? How is it different? Which one do you like better?
What did you learn from this book that surprised you or you did not know before?
What do you think is the most important information (or lesson to learn) in this book?
How does this relate to what you've read in school or at home?
Practice "Retelling" the story
Retelling a story can be difficult for children. Often they can easily answer comprehension questions about a story, but they are unable to put the story into their own words. Retelling a story is about telling in order who the characters are and what they did. A retelling can be as simple as "First _________. Next ________. Last _______." Keep it to one or two sentences that tell the main events. Go back through the story and just use the pictures to retell the story.