As teachers move towards a style of “close reading”, it is more and more important to get students involved in their own learning when they read. The goal is that students are independent readers who can think critically about a text. Getting the students themselves to ask questions is one way that allows them to think on a higher level. Here are a few tips to get your students to that point.
1. Encourage students to be inquisitive and curious, even if their questions are not answered within the text. This actually provides great extension activities for them to research on their own. Assign students jobs of looking up answers to certain questions that are not answered within the text. They can report their findings back to the class.
2. Model the type of questioning you are looking for. Explain that there are two types of questions: those answered within the text, and those that require extended research. Give examples of both types of questions during read alouds.
3. Have students create their own questions on index cards. Put the cards in a bin and have groups select several cards. Each group will then answer the questions they get.
4. Choose texts that lead students to question. Find topics that will push students to think outside the box and question what they already know.