How many books did you read to your child this week?
1? 10? 25? Too many to count?
Now, how many of those books did you discuss with your kids after you read them?
It's okay if your answer was less than 10. Or even if it was zero.
The fact is, I have spent hours and hours reading, but I have spent very little time discussing books with my kids. (Even though I know asking questions about books improves reading comprehension!)
I'm not going to beat myself up about it, and neither should you.
But I'd like to extend an invitation. Let's start talking about books with our kids, let's start asking questions about books, even when we are not actually reading to them.
But we need some good book questions! How should we talk about books with our kids? How should we begin?
I've enlisted an expert to help us!
Jodie from Growing Book by Book has graciously made a list of questions for us. And I've turned it into a cheat sheet so none of us has to remember them all. (Cheat sheet form at end of post.) But I know once we get into the habit, the conversations will start rolling.
Here are some great talking points and questions to ask your children after you read a book:
- Describe your favorite part of the book.
- Was there anything in the book that surprised you?
- If you could be a character in the book for one day, who would you chose to be? Why?
- If this book was turned into a movie, which actors would like to see play each character?
- If one of the characters could come to your house for dinner, who would you like to have visit?
- If you had to pick one color to describe the book, what color would you pick? Why?
- If you had to describe this book in one word, what word would you choose?
- How did the setting of the story impact the characters?
- Were you satisfied with the ending of the story? Why?
- Were there any new words that you learned from reading the book?
- What do you think the author wanted us to take away from this book?
- If you could ask the author one question, what would you ask?
- What questions do you have after reading the book?
- Do you have a friend who you think would like this book? Who is it? Why?
- Does this author have any other books? Have you read any of them?
You might feel a little overwhelmed, but try these tips:
**You don't have to ask these questions the moment you've reached the final page! In fact, I recommend you ask them at other times of the day, especially at those times when you might need a little help with your squirming kids. Or, my favorite time - while I am making dinner. For some reason, my kids are more likely to open up and talk to me while I am working in the kitchen. Why? Who knows, I just go with it.
**Ask book questions of your older kids, too. They are probably reading all sorts of good stuff in school or on their own. Find out what they think!
**Join the Family Dinner Club for monthly inspiration. It's totally free.
**A really fun way to keep the book discussions going is to pair it with an activity. Jodie has some amazing book activity calendars that will keep you on track! (Note: I am a Growing Book by Book affiliate, because this calendar is amazing.)
**You don't have to stick to these questions. They are just suggestions if you need a bit of help. Let the conversation go where it will.
Keep the cheat sheet in a convenient place to remind you until you no longer need any reminders.
So are you with me? Will you start talking about books with your kids even when you are NOT reading aloud?
Find a great book to read on our index of book lists for children.
Extend the book conversations even more by using books to teach children about service.
I do love to talk to my kids when reading wordless books: Here are some great questions to ask when reading wordless books.
The best resources for teaching with children's books.