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How to help your child become a better reader!

According to Karen Haag, a colleague and dedicated reading researcher, at LikeToRead.com, the following questions are great to ask your child after they read.    (These questions are taken directly from her website.)    Check out her website...there is so much information.  You can pick and choose what fits the needs of you and your child.

Just spend about 5 minutes asking some of these questions:

  • What does the story make you think about?
  • What are you wondering about?
  • What words confused you?
  • What's one thing the author did that you wish he or she had not done?
  • Does this remind you of anything else you've ever read, seen, or done?
  • What do you make of this story?
  • Did you know __ (use a character's name here) _____ was going to _____ (choose an action/situation involving that character) ______?
  • What was your strongest feeling when you read this part, or that chapter, or the book?
  • Who else should read this book and why?
  • How would you feel if that happened to you OR you did that?
  • What's the one thing you are going to remember about this book?

Discussion Questions about author's purpose are a big part of standardized reading testing.  You can help your child understand that authors write for a variety of purposes.  THE MOST COMMON REASONS ARE (1) to entertain, (2) to persuade, (3) to inform, and (4) to explain.  Your child will understand author's purpose better if you analyze your favorite stories from the author's point of view, asking questions like:

  • Why did the author use THIS word?
  • Why did the author end the story this way?
  • What do you think the author meant when he or she said.......?
  • Why did the author write this passage or book?
  • What is the author's purpose?  How do you know that?

You can help your child understand author's purpose by talking about these topics in a conversational tone while you read with your child.  Just a question or two spread throughout the reading is sufficient.  Here are some sample question stems you might use:

  • How do you think the author feels about...?
  • What is the purpose of the (information)...?
  • What is the purpose of the words....?
  • Why did the author include...?
  • How does the author explain the word...?
  • How does the author make the passage interesting to read?
  • If the author wanted to add one more topic to this article, what might it be?
  • What questions would you ask if the author were here?  Which would be the most important question?  How do you think the author might answer it?
  • What does the author do to create suspense to make you want to read on to find out what happens.
  • POINT OUT the places where you were totally in the READING ZONE - so involved you didn't want to stop.
  • Were there any clues that the author built into the story, that helped you figure out the ending?  If so, what were they?  Did you think these clues were important when you read them?
  • How does the author make the story seem possible or probable?

Of course, there are many other questions that you may come up with as you and your child read. 


This is a lot of information; just remember the reading and sharing are the most important things!  Spending time with your child and a book, discovering what your child enjoys reading about and talking about, building conversations about books, curiosity about words, and improving your childs vocabulary ARE gifts that can NEVER be taken away. 






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