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Guide for Dads: Ask Questions, but Don’t Make Reading Aloud Into a Test

Author George Jacobs Ph.D. and Wan Loh Inn Ed.D.
Submitted 03-04-2008

Dads should ask lots of questions, but stay away from too many teacher-type questions that make read aloud time into a test.


Here are some questions they might ask:

  • What is your opinion?

  • What would you do in this situation?

  • How are you similar to or different from ______ (a character in the book)?

  • What did you learn from this part of the book?

  • What else would you like to read on this same topic? (for non-fiction)

  • Has anything like that ever happened to you?

  • Have you ever seen something like that?

  • What does this remind you of?

  • How did you feel when we read about _________ (a particular event or piece of information in the book)?

  • What do you think about this character?

  • Are you enjoying the book?

  • Who else might like to read this book?

  • Why? Asking ‘Why?’ is an all-purpose way to encourage question to think.

Please notice how these questions differ from the types of questions that often appear on tests. Those test questions ask children to supply information that is in the book. For example, in Hazel’s Puppy, the story tells us that the puppy is black. A test type of question would be “What color is the puppy?” We are not asking the question because we want to know what color the puppy is. We read it in the book. We are asking the color of the dog to test if children understand and remember what is in the book.


Are these test-type questions the kind that people ask each other in normal conversation? Of course, they are NOT.


Dad reminder: You can start to read to your kids at ANY age. It’s fun for the kids and dad. It really is a dad duty!

George Jacobs, Ph.D. and Wan Loh Inn, Ed.D.


Dr. George Jacobs, Ph.D. and Dr. Wan Loh Inn, Ed.D. are the authors of many books (including “The Read Aloud Guide”, textbooks for teachers and students, curriculum guides, and children’s storybooks).

Find out more about reading aloud to your kids.