Thursday, August 22, 2013

Higher-Level Questions for Back-to-School Read-Alouds

I think it's important to ask questions from all levels of Bloom's. My first year teaching, I went through a bunch of my books and wrote high-level questions inside the first page so when I read them to the kiddos, I'd be ready to challenge them. Higher-level questions are so important! I can tell you first-hand, when those students arrive in Kinder, no one has ever asked them to think that deeply. It takes a lot of practice to develop that skill. So if you try it and just hear crickets whenever you ask a question, don't give up. If you ask them, that thinking will come! :)

I wanted to give you guys some ideas of questions to ask for some back-to-school reads. I posted more of them here :    

1. What job do you think David might have when he grows up/what kind of person would he be?
2. How do you think the other children felt when David was displaying that behavior?
3. If you were a friend of David's, how do you think you could defend that behavior?
4. What do you think causes a child to act like David did?
5. Can you design a classroom that might be better suited for a student whose antics resemble David's?
6. If you were David's teacher, how would you handle the situation?
7. Why do you think this author wrote this story?

1. Why do you think the principal wanted there to be so much school?
2. How could students learn more without extending the number the days they come to school?
3. Would you like to have a principal like this?
4. Do you know anyone like this principal?
5. Was it right or wrong to make the students come to school extra days?
6. What would be the benefits of a program like that?
7. Do you think this principal would ever try anything like this again?
8. What are some ways a student could be successful going to school every day?

1. Why do you think Chester didn't want to leave his mom?
2. Why do you think parents also get upset on the first day of school?
3. What other things could his mother have done to make his day easier?
4. What do you think will happen when Chester goes to school next year?
5. Was Chester right to be so worried?
6. What memory do you think Chester will have about school when he grows up?
7. If you were Chester's hand, how would you feel?
8. Do you think if all moms used this strategy, no one would be worried to come to school?

1. Why do you think the author wrote this story?
2. What is another way Elmer could have reacted to his friends laughing at him?
3. Was Elmer right to try and hide his appearance?
4. Why do you think his friends laughed at him?
5. What things make you unique that your friends might not understand?
6. Do you think Elmer still feels self-conscious about his appearance? What could he do to help alleviate that feeling?

1. Why do you think all the letters wanted to go up the coconut tree?
2. Why did they want to go back up again after they fell down?
3. How do you think the coconut tree feels?
4. What are some other places you think the letters would like to play?
5. What is the relationship between the letters?
6. How do you think the author came up with the idea for this story?
7. Why did their parents come running?


  1. I love all of these books and thanks so much for the good questioning ideas!

    First in Maine

  2. Great idea to write them in the book for future reference! No need to reinvent the wheel each time. I definitely agree that students have often not been challenged to think at those higher levels before. It does take some practice/instruction, but it is definitely worth it!

    Eclectic Educating

    1. Absolutely worth it! Nothing like seeing them make connections!

  3. Thanks for the reminder about higher level questions for read aloud books. Brilliant idea writing them inside the front cover.


  4. Your questions would not align with the ELA CCSS at all. CCSS are confined to the four corners of the text not reader's thoughts, feelings, connections...not that there is anything wrong with that!

    1. We're in Texas-we don't use the Common Core standards.

  5. Ok two of of those books I have never heard of and I am adding them to my amazon card asap. Thanks for the great questioning ;0)
    Have a great weekend!
    Kickin’ it in Kindergarten

  6. This is a great reminder for me. It's important to slow down and have the conversations, and I'm guilty of not doing that.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  7. This is great, and I love the idea of writing the questions down and keeping them with the book. Thanks for the inspiration!