Appropriate Reading Discussions for Children

Reading discussions help children to develop literary skills and helps parents monitor a student's reading comprehension. This article examines the various questions parents can use to lead a reading discussion at home.

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Reading discussions are usually conducted inside the classroom, but children can greatly benefit from discussing books and other reading materials at home as well. If a child and parent already read together regularly, these book discussions should develop naturally as part of the regular reading schedule. If you are looking for a way to implement reading discussions into your weekly schedule, but are unsure of what type of questions are appropriate to introduce into the activity, continue reading.

Before Reading

Show your child the book cover and read the jacket description. After he or she has had some time to consider what the title and other introductory features could indicate about the story, ask your child what he or she thinks will happen and have your child explain why he or she thinks that. It is also good to ask the following:

  • What kind of characters do you expect to be in the story?
  • Where and when do you think the story takes place?
  • Do you think there will be conflict or any sort of problem in the story?
  • Do you think you will be able to relate the story to your life or our family?

Having your child consider these and other similar questions will not only encourage the development of intellectual skills; he or she will also get excited about reading the story. Making a child curious about the story will help them focus during the story.

While Reading

While you and your child are reading the story, it is best to stop periodically to ask questions. This will help you monitor if your child is still paying attention and understanding the plot. Some good questions to ask include:

  • What can you tell me about the story and characters so far?
  • What do you think will happen next and how do you think this story will end?
  • What would you have done if you were one of the characters in the story? Why do you think they have acted the way they have?
  • What did you see in your head during that last scene?
  • What are you thinking about as you read?

If your child's answers indicate he or she does not fully understand what has happened in the story, don't be afraid to backtrack and reread any confusing details. Additionally, don't forget to share with your child your own thoughts. Remember though, the goal is to conduct a literary discussion, not an interrogation!

After Reading

Now that you both know the ending of the story, you can reexamine your prior predictions and see how close you were. You can also discuss together why the author had the story end the way it did and how a different ending would make a much different impact or feeling. Other points of discussion are:

  • Do you think the title was appropriate or would you have named it something different?
  • What was the story's problem and how was it solved? Are there other ways it could have been solved?
  • Who do you think was the main character? If you were them, how would you feel throughout the story?
  • Why do you think the author wrote this book? What was the point of the story?

Remember, reading time is meant to be fun as well as educational. Don't push your child too hard. Allow him or her to learn and develop at their own pace.

Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

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