Improving reading comprehension is the goal of reading instruction, and open-ended questions can help! Reading comprehension can be a challenge to achieve because it’s such a complex set of skills. There are many reading comprehension strategies for readers to employ across many genres at different reading levels.
Close-ended questions could require a simple yes or no. They could be multiple-choice or fill-in-the-blank. However, open-ended questions require students to either reexamine text evidence or extend their own thinking.
Reexamine and Extend – those are powerful thinking skills!
So let’s look at a quick list of open-ended questions that you can use in your classroom.
Open-Ended Questions to ask Before Reading the Text
- Looking at the cover, what do you predict this book might be about?
- What detail on the cover supports that prediction?
- What do you think will happen in the plot?
- What ideas do you think will be present in this text?
- Can you please describe what you think the illustration on the front cover is trying to tell us?
- Why do you think the author used this title?
- Why do you think the author used this type of font (style of letters) on the cover?
- What do you already know from reading the title?
- What connections can you make after reading the blurb?
- How do you think this story will end?
- What is a problem that you think could occur in this story?
- What questions could you ask before reading this text?
Discover Our Award-Winning Comprehension Resources
Drawing conclusions, key ideas & details, summarizing, and so many more!
Open-Ended Questions to Ask During the Reading
- What time of day do you think it is in this story?
- Why do you think it is that time of day?
- What connections can you make to this setting?
- What would you do if you went to this place?
- Do you think you would enjoy being here?
- Why do you think the author started the story/text this way?
- How are you adjusting your predictions after reading this (page, section, chapter)?
- What sentences parked your imagination?
- How do you think the character is feeling? What evidence supports your thinking?
- What could happen to make this character feel a different way?
- Which details were the most interesting to you?
- What questions do you have now?
- How did the setting change?
- How does the setting impact the plot for these characters?
After the Text
- What do you think the author hoped you would think after reading the text?
- What do you think about the story/text?
- Can you summarize the text in just two or three sentences?
- What was your favorite part?
- Was the plot/text different than you thought it would be?
- What would you change in this text if you could write it?
How to Use Reading Response Questions for any Book
Here are some ways that a teacher can use reading response questions to any book:
As a warm-up activity: Reading response questions can be used as a warm-up activity to get students thinking about the book before they start reading. This can help to engage students and to focus their attention on the text.
As a way to check for comprehension: Reading response questions can be used as a way to check for comprehension after students have read a section of the book. This can help teachers to identify any areas where students may need additional support.
As a way to spark discussion: Reading response questions can be used to spark discussion about the book. This can help students to share their thoughts and ideas about the text, and to build their understanding of the book.
As a way to promote writing: Reading response questions can be used to promote writing by asking students to write about their thoughts and ideas about the book. This can help students to develop their writing skills and to express their understanding of the text.
As a way to assess student learning: Reading response questions can be used to assess student learning by asking students to answer questions about the book. This can help teachers to track student progress and to identify areas where students need additional support.