Lesson plan

Questions for Comprehension

Good readers ask questions before, during, and after reading. This lesson, which incorporates two wonderful activities and some practice with the 5 Ws, is sure to get your students ready to dive into literature.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Finding the Details and Asking for Answers pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Finding the Details and Asking for Answers pre-lesson.

Reading a story is a fun activity, but kids must retain and retell the knowledge they learn from reading, too. Here's a way to make sure kids know their stuff when it comes to stories. Pick a story your student will love, then stop to ask key questions, such as the classic "who, what, where, when," along the way. Then, children will come up with questions of their own about the characters, settings, and themes of the book.

Students will be able to ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
  • Introduce the book the class will be reading.
  • Let the students know they will be working on asking questions about key details in the story in order to improve their understanding of what they read.
  • Tell them that good readers ask questions before they read, as they read, and after they read. That is how a good reader knows the meaning of what he reads.
  • Remind them that using question words is one of the ways we can improve in understanding what we read. When readers get confused, they stop and ask questions to make sure they understand before reading more.
  • Question words are words such as who, what, when, where, why, and how.
  • Ask the students about how to answer each of the question words. You can guide them by letting them know that "who" can be answered with the name of a person, for example.
(5 minutes)
  • Tell students that you'll show them why the book you chose is so special. Tell them that you will highlight key details in the story as you read.
  • Say, "As I read, you will see something different about this book. When we get to the special parts of the book, instead of blurting out, be sure to raise your hand to let me know you see something special. Then, we will talk about it."
  • Ask students to raise their hand to ask a question to clarify information they do not understand. For instance, if they think the picture does not make sense given the story, they should ask about it (e.g., "Why would...?).
(15 minutes)
  • Following the Basic Reading Comprehension activity instructions, begin reading to the class and allow the students to see the pages, so they will be able to see the sticky notes tucked inside.
  • When a sticky note is reached, stop to read it.
  • Give the students a few minutes to answer and discuss the question on the sticky note before moving on.
  • Continue until the book has been read.
(15 minutes)
  • Following the Questions, Anyone? activity instructions, tell the students, "You just answered the questions we found in the book. Now you will come up with questions for the book we just read. You will have a little help in determining which question to ask."
  • Bring out a Wh- Spinner. Tell students that they'll each spin it four times. Whatever question word the spinner lands on, the student will be responsible for writing a question about the story that begins with that question word.
  • Have students work on the activity in pairs.


  • Provide struggling students with specific, simple passages to ask questions about. Write down the questions for students who have difficulty writing.


  • For advanced students, add the words "how" and "why" to the Wh- Spinner to allow more higher-level questions. Allow paired students to pick their own book to write questions about.
(5 minutes)
  • Move around the room during Independent Working Time and observe students as they work to assess their understanding of the lesson content.
  • Encourage and assist students to write questions that use higher-level thinking.
  • Distribute copies of the writing checklist and have students use it to assess their own work.
(5 minutes)
  • Review the work the students did by reading aloud a few of the questions students wrote.
  • See if the class can answer these questions.

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