Ask, and get your students to ask each other THICK questions:
- What if…?
- How did…?
- Why did…?
- What would happen if…?
- What caused…?
- What might…?
- How would you feel…?
- What character traits describe…?
- Why do you think…?
- Why is…?
Open Response “THICK” Questions for Fiction
BEFORE. . . Read the title, book jacket, and flip through the text, then:
- Write what you know about this topic ~ the setting, the situations in pictures. . . .
- Make a prediction. What clues helped you? Read the first page. Do you need to revise your prediction?
- Write questions you have about this text.
- Do you think this story will be funny, sad, scary or something else? Why?
- Read the first page. Does the author make you want to keep reading? Do you think you will like this story? Why or why not?
- Do you think this story COULD happen in real life? Why or why not?
- Where does the story take place? What makes you think so?
- Who is the main character? What clues did you use?
- Do you have any connections ~ is the author, illustrator, or subject matter familiar to you?
- What questions do you have so far? Were previous questions answered?
- Describe in detail what you think the main character or setting looks like. (Visualizing) What adjectives and adverbs in the story helped you visualize?
- What connections are you making?
- Which words are you stuck on? Did you figure out their meanings? What are the meanings?
- What do you think will happen next? How do you think the story will end?
- Who is your favorite character so far and why?
- If a character is telling the story, who is it? Describe this character.
- Does the main character remind you of yourself? Compare and/or contrast.
- What are some clues of how the main character is feeling?
- What are some reasons that the main character does what he/she is doing?
- How does the story make you feel and why?
- What problem does the main character have? How do you predict he/she will solve it?
- Is the story what you thought it would be about? If not, what surprised you?
- Summarize what has happened so far.
- If you could talk to the main character, what would you say?
- Would you like to live in this place or time? Tell why or why not.
- What obstacles does the setting provide that the main character must overcome? Would this story work in another setting?
- Is there an antagonist (someone who provides an obstacle) to the main character? What details lead you to say this?
- CHARACTER TRAITS: In a word, describe the main character. Support this one word using specific actions of the character from the story.
- Was the author trying to teach a lesson? If so, what was the lesson?
- Would you recommend this book to others and if so to who?
- What unanswered questions do you have?
- Tell what the problem was, and how the character solved his problem.
- If the story happened to you, how would you feel?
- Were you surprised at any parts? Which parts?
- What advice would you have given the main character?
- Which character did you like most and why?
- Which character was most like you? How?
- Describe how the character changed from beginning to end of the story.
- What was the climax of the story?
- Was this fiction or realistic fiction? How do you know?
- What connections did you make?
- Summarize the ending.
- What 5 questions would you ask the author? Pick one, and write how you think the author might answer it.
- What was the author’s message?
- How would the characters’ actions change if there was a different setting or time period?
- How would the solution change if it happened in a different setting or time period?
- Did the characters change during the story or stay the same?
- Describe 2 events that portray the character’s personality.
- What scene would make a good trailer for a movie? Would this book work well as a movie?
- If you eliminated one of the characters, how would the story change?
- If you were the main character, would you have done things differently? What? How? Why?
Open Response “THICK” Questions for Nonfiction
BEFORE. . .
- How will the pictures and other visuals help you understand the text?
- What do you think you will learn about? (Look at cover, title, pictures and table of contents.)
- Do you now anything about this topic already? Write down what you know.
- Look for subtitles, bold words, pictures or graphics. What do these tell you?
- Write down questions you have about this topic that you hope to learn.
- Why would the author write this?
- Why did you choose this book to read?
- What do you visualize when you think about this topic?
- Do you think you will enjoy reading this? Why or why not?
- If you already know about this topic, where did you learn it?
- Do you have any connections with the topic?
- What words are you stuck on? How can you find out what they mean?
- How does the information relate to what you already know?
- Are you confused? How can you fix that?
- Have any of your questions been answered? What questions do you still have?
- Find two words that are key to the section you are reading now. Why are these words important?
- Write 3 important facts that you have learned so far.
- Explain what happened in the last paragraph you read.
- Describe what you visualized as you read.
- What has surprised you about this topic?
- Was the author trying to persuade you or change your mind in this text? If so, how?
- Write what you have learned about this topic.
- What was the most important thing you learned and why? What was the most interesting thing you learned and why?
- Did you change your mind about anything after reading this text?
- Did what you read make you think of something else you already know about?
- How do you know this is nonfiction? What words let you know?
- Why did the author write this?
- Do you think other people should read this? Why or why not?
- What questions do you still have?
- How can you use the information that you have learned?
- Does this book make you want to learn more about this topic? Why or why not?
- How did you read this book differently than a fiction book?
- Describe some professions related to this topic. What kinds of work do these people do?
- What cause/effect relationships did you learn about?
- Do you think bias exists in this book/article?
AVOID LITERAL QUESTIONS. WE CALL THESE “THIN” QUESTIONS.
These do not require much thought.