Monday, September 30, 2013

20 Great Kindergarten Pre-Reading Questions

Twenty Great Kindergarten Pre-Reading Questions

Pre-Reading is terribly important with emerging readers: concepts that come naturally to an adult browsing at the bookstore or library often don't occur to the impulsive juvenile mind. As children grow into independent readers, those who can choose "good fit" books (see below) are more likely to stick with the book they started and enjoy it more!

 Here are twenty questions I draw from when preparing a child to read a book.  Not all of them apply to every book, and it would be boring to try to discuss them all before reading... you'd never get the book read by bedtime!  Choose a question or two and allow discussions to meander... talking about books is a learned behavior, too.

1.       What is the title of this book?
2.       What is on the front cover?  What can that tell us about the book?
3.       What is on the back cover?
4.       Who is the author/ illustrator?
do you know them from other books?
5.       When you look at the front cover, does the book look…
scary, funny, realistic or not, serious, old, new…
6.       What do you think this book will be about?  What will happen?
7.       Is there anything special on the inside of the cover?
 if so, read author/illustrator bio. 
8.       Reviews  or praise visible on first pages or cover?  Marketing for similar/series books?
9.       Are there any medals or awards on the cover of the book?  What are they for?
10.   Does this book look like something that happens in our family/our class/ real life?
11.   Does this book look like it is takes place here where we live or somewhere else?  Why?
12.   Does this book look like it takes place in our time or in the past? Why?
13.   Why did you choose this book? (Or, why do you think I chose this book?)
14.   Does this book look short or long?
15.   Why do I want to read this book?
16.   Does this book interest me?
17.   Can you point to _____? (a letter, a word, a color or picture on the cover)
18.   What do you know about ______ already?
19.   What are the parts of ___?
20.   What do you know about ____ already?  Have you read other books (or seen TV or internet or real-life examples) of ______ ?

Don’t just ask: listen to your child and respond.  Being able to converse about books is important, even at this age.  Share YOUR answers to these questions with your children: it models how a literate adult thinks about books.

There are many strategies for picking "right fit" books, from reading interest inventories to "the five-finger rule."  My favorite right now is the iPICK method -- it's not new, but it quickly and gently steers kids towards appropriate book choices. Here's an example: (

Happy Reading!


  1. I love this! Great questions to consider. What are your favorite books for the fall season?

    1. Cynthia Rylant has great picture books with autumn themes, Zoe Hall's Fall, Leaves, Fall! was the star of last week's story time.

    2. Cynthia Rylant has great picture books with autumn themes, Zoe Hall's Fall, Leaves, Fall! was the star of last week's story time.