Oral Language: I share 9 simple questions that will promote oral language development in kindergarten. Use these questions with any book during a read-aloud.
Over on my Instagram, I shared my favourite questions to ask students while I am doing a read-aloud. These questions work for any book that you are using, and can be shared with families as well.
These questions will promote oral language, inferencing and reading comprehension skills. These are critical for early readers, and will help them when they have to read more complex texts as they get older.
If you are looking for some new books to read with your students, I keep an updated list of my favourites in my Amazon Storefront (affiliate link).
I’ve divided the questions up into 3 categories: before, during and after reading the book.
Before starting to read, you can look at the cover of the book. Read the title and look at the cover art. Ask some simple questions to start critically thinking about the contents of the book:
1. Is the book fiction or non-fiction? How can we tell if this is a true story or a made-up story? Look for clues- does the cover have an illustration or real picture, are the characters real or cartoons, what does the title suggest.
2. Who is the author? Who is the illustrator? What are their jobs? The author writes the words, and the illustrator draws the pictures.
3. What do you think the story will be about? Looking at the cover art and title of the book, what do they think is going to happen in the story.
These can be asked throughout the book when appropriate. I like to pause while reading to ask these questions:
1. How do you think the character is feeling? What do you see in this picture? Why did the illustrator use these colours? The illustrations in books can give lots of context clues, and looking at them works on inferencing skills.
2. What do you think is going to happen next? Have students predict what they think is going to happen next in the story, and discuss why they think that.
3. What does this word means? Stop at WOW words and talk about the definition of it. These are words that students may not know the meaning of.
When I’m done reading, I like to ask questions to reflect on the book. This is great for reading comprehension and recall skills.
1. What was your favourite part of the story? Discuss why they enjoyed that part, and reflect on what happened during that part of the book.
2. If you could write a different ending to the book, what would it be? They can use their creative thinking skills to come up with an alternate ending.
3. What happened at the beginning, middle and end of the story? Who is the main character? What is the setting? What was the problem, and what was the solution? All these questions are critical for reading comprehension skills. Students will need to understand what happened in the story and recall what happened.
You do not need to ask all these questions every time you read a book. Pick a few that focus on a skill you want to improve, or that are relevant to the book you are reading.
You can also reread the book a few times and ask different questions every time. Stories can be read multiple times to ensure comprehension.
I also want to make sure that I am choosing a variety of books to read to my students- not just picture books, but nonfiction texts as well. With exposure to a variety of genres, our students will be better able to independently read as they get older.
Now that your students are reading books, you can also start making your own class books with them or use my Character and Setting Spinners freebie to write. Have them think about what they want to write, and give them the opportunity to practice these skills.
I hope that these questions will help you to make your read-alouds more engaging for your students. Share your favourite questions in the comments so that we can continue to add them to our story time.
Here is a quick reference sheet to keep handy when you are doing a read-aloud, or to share with families:
I also created a black and white information page with these questions so that it can be handed out to families. These would be great for literacy night, or sent with home reading books.
Find it in my Resource Library.
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