Why Ask WHY???!!!!!!

Reading to Learn
Margo Sexton

 The ultimate goal of reading is comprehension.  In order to become independent readers we must adapt key components that make us independent readers.  One of the most important components of comprehension is being able to ask meaningful questions.  Research has shown that kids who ask thought provoking and open-ended questions while reading had higher test scores than those asking/answering literal questions.  We can think of questions that will help us connect the information we are reading to our own lives or other parts of the text.  Generating questions while we‰¥úre reading is a good strategy because it engages us with the text and ensures that we are active readers.  In this lesson we will learn to develop good questions.  We will really examine the difference between a good question and unhelpful one.

Class collection of Tuck Everlasting ,plenty of sticky notes (enough for each child to have several), checklist for each student {What do I want to know?  What am I wondering?  What have I learned?  Can I find the answer to my question by rereading?  Could there be multiple answers to my question?}


1. Ask students:  ‰¥þWhy do we read?‰¥ÿ  Allow the students to answer. ‰¥þWe read because we are trying to figure out information about a subject or are interested in learning more about a particular subject.  Also sometimes a story may seem entertaining and just catch you attention.‰¥ÿ.  I will tell the students that most importantly we need to take the information we read away with us in our minds.  Understanding reading is something that is a part of our daily lives.  Can anyone tell me some places it is pretty necessary to be able to read?
(Right driving on the highway, In classrooms and in grocery stores.)
 2. To review with the students you can discuss silent reading or other reading strategies that you have been working with.  ‰¥þCan anyone tell me what silent reading is? Why is it important that we learn how to read silently?‰¥ÿ  Make sure that the students understand that silent reading is the way most adults read Explain to the students that reading silently means that you read to yourself silently in your head, but you need to ensure you are actually reading and comprehending.    
 3.  ‰¥þTo make sure that we understand the message, comprehending, it is important to ask ourselves questions.  These questions help us evaluate the events going on in the story, the charcters feelings, the problems they are struggling with and maybe even predict what they might do in the future. Good questions let us understand the story better.  So today we are going to learn to ask good questions while we read so we can comprehend the story.‰¥ÿ
 4. ‰¥þWhile you're reading you can generally ask yourself two different types of questions, questions that are answered easily and questions that you have to think about‰¥Ï‰¥ÿThese questions are the why questions. (The book I‰¥úll use for my example is Tuck Everlasting)   Why was it so hard for the Tucks to decide whether to stay hiding in the woods?  Or why did Mae not want her Winnie to be around  After I have read chapter one aloud to the class, "I‰¥úll model the example of a bad question 'What is Mae eating for a snack?‰¥ÿ  Mae is eating an apple; since that question is factual and you can easily read the answer and no reasoning is require it is not a question that will help you comprehend any text. I will explain that these bad questions are what we commonly call literal questions.  An example of a better question would be ‰¥þWhy is Mae not telling the little girl why she can‰¥út drink the water?‰¥ÿ Since there are a lot of different answers to that question you would have to reason to figure out the answer.  (Ideally you are teaching the kids to reason)  ‰¥þI think maybe Mae doesn‰¥út want her to drink the water because something in the water would hurt her.  Why do you think Mae is keeping the water from her?  When you are reading and think of a question you can remember if it is a good question or not by asking yourself ‰¥ùDid I just read the answer? The good why questions will seem to have personal input and involve reasoning.  As a reader they will force you to think about how you feel about the situation at times and at other times maybe force you to relate the situation to your own real life.   Ask the students to give you an example of a good question and a bad question to ensure that they grasp the concept.
 5. Explain to the kids that asking questions is important when you are reading fictional text and expository text.  ‰¥þNow, on your own I want you to go to the read chapter 6 of tuck everlasting silently in your small groups.  Through out the reading make good why questions and place them in your book on the pages that they pertain to the reading.  After the whole class is finished reading we will come back all together as a good and take turns sharing our questions.
6. After the class has shared questions and discussed certain events I will check everyone sticky notes.   I will look at the questions they wrote on the sticky notes, and if may be one we did not get to in discussion I may ask them for their own personal answer quickly.  In this way, I will assess each of the students individually to make sure that they comprehend the types of questions we discussed today, using the checklist they each have to evaluate their questions. 


Babbit, Natile. Tuck Everlasting, Douglas and McIntyre Publishing Group. Copyright 2000. 171, pages.
Smith, Melanie
‰¥þTo question or not to question?‰¥ÿ

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