I have always desired to push my students in their thinking about texts. While we do focus on comprehension questions, both literal and inferential, I love to have students do a little bit of their own question development that requires them to think more critically about what they are reading. So, I created some open ended reading response question prompt cards for reading comprehension (I don't know what else to call them, quite honestly!)
I always keep these cards handy in my guided reading basket, and I pull them out often. The great thing about them is that you can use them for 3rd graders who have a basic understanding of the story and are working on basic levels of reading comprehension, and you can also use them with middle school students who are ready to take their thinking up a notch.
I usually give the cards out in a small group and each students gets one. For example, a student might get one that says: “I would have made a different choice than _______________ when _____________________________. ” They have to consider everything they know and have read so far and create their own statement, then expand on it.
To use a familiar book as an example, consider The Giving Tree. A student might say “I would have made a different choice than the boy when he chose to cut down the tree to a stump.” You could easily have students leave it at that or expand on their answers. What would they have done instead? Why wouldn't they have done it? The list of follow up questions is endless! A 7th graders (or even a 5th grader) could write an entire reflective essay on that one prompt.
My students have always really loved using these cards. Sometimes, I will have the students simply discuss their questions and answers without writing them down, and other times I will use it as a comprehension check/assessment for a chapter of a novel. The possibilities are endless!
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More Comprehension Ideas
I also like to use these fiction rapid read and review pages as the perfect way to engage students in relevant and rigorous review of reading content! This review set is the perfect way to keep your students' reading skills sharp. It can be used in centers, small groups, whole class, or as homework to review essential fiction comprehension skills and standards. The same question is never asked twice and skills are never reviewed in the same way, so students will stay engaged and excited about the content as they review main idea, theme, inferencing, and more.
If you're looking for more ideas, this fiction comprehension blog post is full of them. It includes anchor charts, interactive notebook examples, comprehension task cards, and book recommendations/questions too!