Why is the sky blue? Who invented tacos? What would happen if I didn’t have a belly button? Most Pre-K students bubble with curiosity as they make connections at every turn.
Nonfiction texts are great to use with students of all ages. Questioning is a critical reading skill that helps with comprehension monitoring. These questions should be asked before, during, and after reading.
How does asking questions help us understand a text? The purpose of reading is to construct meaning. Good readers monitor their understanding as they read. Questioning is one of the first comprehension strategies to introduce to your child. (Harvey, 2000)
Many readers have an inner dialogue as they read to keep track of new learning. In a nonfiction text, your child may encounter unfamiliar concepts. Perhaps they don’t know what a word means.
When this occurs, we want our young readers to notice. Before they are old enough to write, we can have them verbalize these questions as they come up.
While reading a nonfiction text aloud, stop to ask you what questions he has about that section of the text. Consider writing the questions down to keep track. Sometimes the questions are answered right in the text. In other cases, your child may need to conduct further research to find answers.
Parents can ask questions to guide the discussion of a nonfiction text. Strive to ask questions before, during, and after reading.
It's not too early to expose your child to rigorous questions that challenge critical thinking skills. Open-ended questions lead to rich discussions and encourage further research.
Your child might clam up in fear of taking a risk and answering a question incorrectly. These formative years are the best time to develop a growth mindset. If your child isn't sure how to answer, ask for their best guest. Then, model how to find the answer.
A KWL chart can be completed collectively or independently. Here is an example:
What I Know About a Topic
What I Want to Know
What I Learned
Pre-K students are not ready to write a summary yet, but this is a great stepping stone towards that skill.
List 3 new faces you learned.
Ask 2 questions about your new learning.
Make 1 personal connection to the information.
Who is the main character?
What did you learn about the topic?
When did these events take place?
Where did these events take place?
Why did these actions take place?
The bottom line is that inquiry lights the path to understanding. Provide your child with opportunities to ask questions while reading. Take advantage of the research-based materials available through Kids Academy to get started today.
By: Monica Edwards
English Language Arts Teacher, Curriculum Writer
Harvey, S., & Goudvis, A. (2007). Strategies that work: Teaching comprehension for understanding and engagement. Portland, Me: Stenhouse Publishers.