Improving Reading

Helping your child to engage with FICTION texts – 30 questions to ask


Questions to help engage your child in the reading process

These are the type of questions we use in English to help our pupils to fully engage with/analyse the texts they are reading.  By selecting some of these when your child is completing reading homework/reading a text outside of school, you will be helping them to develop their skills (and can be really checking that they have understood the text/completed tasks set, if relevant).


1) What happens in that chapter?

2) What would you say are the most significant events and why?

3) If you had to teach someone else about this part of the book, what would you want them to learn?

4) What do we learn about the characters?

5) Why are the characters behaving in the way they do?  What are their motivations?

6) Why has the writer decided to make that character behave in that way?

7) With which characters can you sympathise?

8) Which actors would you get to play these characters in a film version?

9) How do you feel about that behaviour?

10) Do you think the author approves of the character’s behaviour?

11) How do you think the character feels at this point?

12) Have you ever felt the same way?  If so, when?

13) What questions would you ask the character if you met them at this point in your reading?

14) Would any of the characters make a great Prime Minister?  Why?

15) What do you think the author really means when he/she writes “…”

16) Which words do you think are used particularly effectively?

17) What messages do you think the author is trying to give us?

18) Which big ideas about life is the author trying to get across to us?

19) Which techniques does the author use in this part of the novel to really engage the reader?

20) Is the writer using dialogue, narrative, description or reflection most in this chapter?  What is the effect?

21) How has the author prepared us for events in this chapter?

22) Is the narrative chronological (events move from a to b to c in sequence) or non-linear (uses flashbacks; plays with narrative time?

23) Does this part of the text mirror any others?

24) What do you think will happen next?

25) What works well about the way the events are narrated?

26) Do you like this book? Why?

27) Can you think of other literary texts (plays, novels, poems, etc.) that this text reminds you of?

28) What connections can you make between this text, your life, your background, your experiences and your family?

29) What does this text teach you about the world that you didn’t already know?

30) Does the book teach you about other cultures (ways of life)?


If, in your discussions with your children, you have asked questions that have opened up a really great conversation we’d love to add them to our list!



Understanding NON-FICTION texts: 20 Questions


We often ask our pupils to analyse or recreate non-fiction texts.  Below is a list of questions you can ask them whilst reading through them so that they can really engage with the text and the elements that make it up.


1) What is the purpose of the text? How can you tell?

2) What it the text about?

3) How is the text sequenced/ordered?

4) What type of language does the text use?

5) How does the text use presentational devices (colour; font size/type; headings; strap-line; images; links)?

6) How is the text laid out?

7) What is the message of the text?

8) What type of text is it?

9) Which audience is the text aimed at? How do you know?  Which features might particularly appeal to the audience?

10) What are the typical features/conventions of this type of writing?

11) How does the text speak to its audience?

12) Does the text tell the audience to do anything?  If so, what?

13) How effective is the text at getting its message across?

14) How engaging do you think the text is? What features work particularly well?

15) Do you think the message of the text is clear?

16) Is the purpose of the text obvious?

17) Do any pictures work well with the writing?

18) How do the pictures reflect what is being said in the text?

19) How might you improve the text?

20) What do you learn from the text about this type of writing?