We often think of questions on the same line as tests for children. If you were to say, “I will ask you questions after you finish reading this story,” your child will associate reading itself with a stressful activity. Instead, if we were to turn questions into fun conversation starters, children will not only participate enthusiastically but also be eager to read books.
The right kind of questions will also encourage children to think critically about the story and be creative with it. Not only will they learn to analyse the story, they will also learn to look at it from different perspectives.
Participating in book clubs and reading circles helps children develop these very skills among their peers in a friendly environment. But since this is not always a feasible option, parents can also ask the right kind of question to start up an engaging conversation.
Here are some interesting questions you can ask children after they have finished reading a book.
Plot based questions
Once children have finished the book, the plot of the story is freshest in their minds. Since you have not read the book, this is a good opportunity to have them give you a brief of the book. The following questions will instantly trigger their interest:
- What is the book about?
- What was the most memorable part of the book?
- If you could change it how would you change it?
- What was the important lesson you took away from the book?
Children are often engaged by the characters of the book. The more relatable the character the stronger the attachment to the story. Hence asking them questions about the character will always grab their attention.
- Which was your favourite character? Why?
- Which character would you like to meet in real life?
- Can you relate anybody around you to characters in the book?
- Imagine you were the lead character in the story, how would you have acted in the given situation?
Author based questions
These are the kind of questions that will get the children think creatively about the books as they will be forced to think like the author.
- What do you think the author hand in mind when they wrote this story?
- What do you think the author wants the reader to remember from the story?
- If you could ask one think about the story to the author, what would it be?
Here are a few other activities that would trigger the children’s imagination and an engaging conversation with your children about what they are reading:
- Visit the places mentioned in the books. If this is not possible you could also take them to a similar place. For example, if the story takes place in a small town, you could take your child to a similar small town and show them places similar to the ones mentioned in the book.
- Organise a role play or a skit where children dress up like the characters in their books and they act out a scene from the book, or better yet, a scene inspired by the book.