Before ReadingPrompts to Try
I predict this book is about _______________________________________ because . . .
I am excited to read this book because I heard ________________________
If a book is non-fiction, or has non-fictional elements (such as historical fiction) you might also try a KWL chart. If you need to know what a KWL chart is and how it works, here is a link with more detail.
While ReadingPrompts to Try
The first prompt is about visualizing while the second is about asking questions. The first, helps a child realize they are imagining things in response to what they read, slow down and notice what they are picturing and learn how to communicate those pictures. The second prompt can ask questions that are "real life" like (if reading the Kaya series from the American Girl Collection) "wonder what camas bulbs taste like." OR it can be about what will happen next, "wonder if speaking rain will survive her fall into the river." I suggest asking kids to fill in each of these prompts at least once/chapter.
When I read, "______" it made me picture or imagine . . .
When I read, "______" it made me wonder . . .
Questions to Ask
- What does this page mean?
- Can I explain what is happening here in one sentence? (summarize)
- Why is (character) making this choice or doing/saying this thing?
- How do the perspectives of (character A) and (character B) differ? How do they match?
- What do I know that the character doesn't know?
- What do I predict will happen next?
After ReadingAsk kids to Summarize
Summarizing is something far more difficult for elementary kids than most of us think - so be patient. A summary can be done as a formal writing experience, or just be done orally, or even in pictures for really young kids.
If you choose to have you student/child write a formal summary, you might help them by creating a chart such as the one below. You'll also need to point out they are supposed to include the most important experience or struggle in the chapter not just any experience or struggle.
EXAMPLE for youngest, newest writers:
Summarize the book: In this book (main character) (has biggest experience or struggle) and (learns -choose the most important lesson . . .)
Of course older kids can handle writing a longer summary and include more detail. Here is an example for slightly older, but still learning writers (say third grade to fourth or fifth grade)
Identify the Setting: Place and Time should both be included:
Describe the Main Problem in the Story:
Describe the Reaction the Main Character has to the Main Problem in the Story:
List the Resolution to the Main Problem (or, if you are trying not to give away secrets, you COULD just answer this for your teacher, but not include it in your synopsis and ask "will (main character) find a way?" instead.
For a NON-FICTION book try:
What is the main subject of the book?
List two to four important ideas (big ideas) a person should be able to remember about the main topic at the end of reading the book (hint, ideas that are repeated and ideas that have lots of evidence and examples are usually the big ideas).
What was the most interesting thing you learned from reading this book?
Asks Kids about Recommendations
Who would they recommend the book to and why?
To help them specify clearly, you might say - would ALL of your friends like this book? none of them? Can you think of one friend that might like it for a particular reason? OR perhaps you think someone you know that is a little older might like it even if you didn't because the reading was really hard. . . Insist on specificity.
Have them Write a Book Report
A book report will usually summarize the book, state a recommendation (or an "Avoid this book. It was awful.") and give bibliographical information.
Here is a link about helping a child write up a book report if needed.