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Asking Questions with Informational Texts—with FREE Download

Posted by Lyssa Sahadevan on Sep 20, 2017 5:01:35 PM


This is a guest post by Lyssa Sahadevan of Marietta, GA. She writes a blog called My Mommy Reads, which is about motherhood and teaching-related topics.

Readers ask themselves questions as they read to make sense of the text. When readers ask their own questions, the reader learns to search for answers and find deeper understanding. Asking questions while reading informational texts is just as important as when reading fiction. Here are three engaging ways to encourage asking questions with our earliest readers.  

  1. Model, model, model! Use the projector or a big book to model asking questions before, during, and after you read a nonfiction book. Choose your book wisely as this lesson will anchor the others. One of my favorites is Lions by Alan Trussell-Cullen. It has beautiful pictures and the chapter headings happen to be questions.
  2. Keep it interactive! Make a large chart divided into three sections — before, during, and after. Place three sticky notes on each student’s desk. Explain that they will need them later. This will build excitement! During morning meeting or a transition time, show the cover of your next informational read aloud. Read the title and share the table of contents if applicable. Invite your students to write a question they have about the text. They may not have a question, and that’s OK. Repeat the process during your read aloud and after you read. You can spread it out over an entire day… if the sticky notes last.
  3. Bring it to their level! Use question cards to guide students during guided reading or small group time. I have included a freebie set I use in my classroom. I laminate and cut these so I can use them again and again with many levels. I have students who love animals (Amazing Otters) and some who want to know more about weather (Wind.) These cards will work for many topics. I also print them 12 to a page so I can create bookmarks for my students to take with them as they read independently.


Asking questions supports retelling, monitoring for meaning, and making connections. Scaffolding our readers by modeling and keeping it engaging makes the journey a little more fun.


Lyssa Sahadevan is a first-grade teacher in Marietta, GA. She loves reader's and writer's workshop, is a former Teacher of the Year, and shares ideas at www.mymommyreads.com.


For more information on the books mentioned in this blog post, click the series highlights images on the left below or click these links to visit our webpages for the Kaleidoscope Collection or Fables and The Real World series. To download the questioning cards, click the image to the right.

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Topics: Lyssa Sahadevan, Kaleidoscope Collection, Reading Comprehension, Scaffolding, Fables and the Real World

Guided Reading: Building Strategies Through Scaffolding

Posted by Kathy Crane on Dec 30, 2014 8:00:00 AM

This is a guest post by Kathy Crane, one of our regular guest bloggers. If you like what you see here, check back frequently for more posts from her and click here to read her blog.

After building the background and preparing the students to read, it is time to introduce the book. It is most advantageous to take a “Picture Walk.” The picture walk is a time for students to discuss pictures, make predictions, front-load vocabulary, and fill conceptual gaps. 

To begin the picture walk, the teacher holds one copy for students to view. 
As she turns the pages one-by-one, she asks questions such as “What is this a picture of?” “What is happening in this picture?” “What clues about the story do you think this picture is giving us?” “What word(s) can you use to describe this picture?” “What picture do you think will be on the next page?”

During the picture walk the teacher should implant vocabulary that is found in the book. For example, if a page contains the word brown, the teacher might say on that particular page, “Yes. It is a bear. He looks like a brown bear to me.” If the word snout is found on the page, the teacher might say, “I think the bear on this page has a huge snout!” “Do you know what a snout is?”crane-9-300-2

Following the picture walk, the teacher passes each student a copy of the guided reading book and invites students to point at each word as she reads the story. During this reading, the teacher models good reading behaviors such as tracking print, phrasing, inflection, etc. as students follow or read along.

Next, the group turns back to the cover and reads together as a group (choral reading). During this time, the teacher guides, observes and supports the students. Following this reading, the students re-read independently as the teacher focuses on one student at a time. Next, the students should re-read the book at least one more time. One way to accomplish this is to have a basket of book-buddies (stuffed animal pets) available for the students to read the story to in the classroom library, at another table, or other location in the room, and then return back to the reading table when that task is completed. This will allow the teacher to keep one or two students at the table that may need additional scaffolding.


Kathy Crane holds a M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Reading, is a published author of thirteen books, a freelance author and developer of teaching curriculum, has been a teacher of kindergarten for twenty-two years, and publishes the blog Kindergarten Kiosk
For more information on the the previous post about Introducing Guided Reading by Kathy Crane, click here.
For additional information on the Zoozoo Animal World series that includes the book shown in this lesson, click here to visit our website, or click the image to the left below to download a series highlights sheet with key features. 
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Topics: Guided Reading, Kathy Crane, Scaffolding

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