Whether your child is reading on their own or with you, they should be thinking critically! Instead of passively looking over words and taking in content, readers who are thinking critically are actively thinking about the story and assessing it. Practicing critical thinking can increase comprehension and make reading even more engaging.
A great way to encourage critical thinking is to pause throughout the book and ask questions. Critical thinking questions are those that nudge your child to go beyond simple recall (“What is the problem in the story?”) and instead use their own opinions and creativity to form judgements and perspectives (“How would you solve the problem differently from the main character?).
As you and your child continue to practice asking and answering these types of questions, thinking critically will become almost second nature!
A few examples of critical thinking questions that you can ask while reading:
- What do you think the character is thinking right now?
- If this problem happened to you, what would you do?
- What do you think are the character’s strengths and weaknesses? Do you share any of them?
- How would you rate this story? Why did you rate it this way?
- If you had to write an alternative ending, what would happen?
- Do you agree with the character’s actions? Why or why not?
- How would you tell this story from the perspective of a different character?
As you ask your child these questions, give them plenty of time to answer. After all, the goal of reading should be to engage with the story, not get through it as quickly as possible. If your child is reading on their own, ask them to pick a question every couple of pages or chapters and answer either in writing or a drawing.