How Do You Get Your Students Engaged During Reading Discussion? 15 Questions.
Recently, we’ve shared steps to jazz up your reading discussions and even projects to get your students excited about reading. And we shared these for good reason: there’s enormous benefit to your students beyond simply getting them reading and keeping them busy. Think about it…
Strong readers-- enthusiastic, passionate, and yes, engaged, readers-- are connecting with authors who possess a world of talent in the writing realm. Whether it’s from the wit and insight of Emily Dickinson's poetry or the beautiful and sublime prose of Ellison’s Invisible Man, readers are not simply learning how to enjoy reading; they’re also learning how to write from the masters.
So you’ve got them excited with some reading-based projects, you’re ready to set up your reading discussions…. but what’s next? They’re full of energy and ideas, and now it’s time to pull those ideas out and give their discussion some direction with these tried and true questions:
How did the story and the characters differ from what you expected?
Which character did you like or dislike most and why?
If you were one of the characters in the story, what decisions would you have made differently and what would your choices have been?
What do you think the author was trying to say or accomplish with this story?
If you could ask the author just one question, what would it be?
If you were to write your own version of this story, what would you change and why?
Which parts of the story did you visualize the most?
What parts of the story do you think you’ll remember best?
What sort of language did the author use to convey their points?
If we could meet the characters 10 years after the story takes place, how do you think their perspectives might have changed?
What life experiences or perspectives do you share with the characters?
How did the end of the story differ from what you predicted?
Since the author wrote this story, what has changed about our world and what has stayed the same?
Who do you know that you’d most like to share this story with and why?
What questions would you like to ask me?
These questions seek to get students thinking about the process of creativity in writing, from the nuts and bolts of constructing character to the wonder and power of writing. But don’t be afraid to go off script; you really can ask any question you’d like. The best ones are open ended and express your inner curiosity about what your students think, feel, and have experienced. They each have plenty to share!