Critical thinking and comprehension can be built even before learning to read. The same way you do that, you can consistently build it for readers. Before reading, after reading and during reading, it is simple, just ask the right questions! The same excellent questions also ignite reading motivation.
The critical thinking tools found here at Reading Solutions, https://readingsolutions.net, engage a unique generic form of Bloom’s Taxonomy,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloom%27s_taxonomy . Being generic allows you to keep them in your mind and transfer them to any story, informational reading, or learning (video, lecture, etc.)
The six cognitive levels engaged in the best questions include knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
Knowledge Level questions recall the facts and details about the setting, plot or characters and can include the who, what, where, when, how and where questions.
Comprehension Level questions check for understanding such as why questions, and memory, such as sequence, such as retelling the plot.
Application Level questions require applying the text the the reader’s world and other texts.
Analysis Level questions break down information by categorizing or identifying parts.
Synthesis Level questions require understanding the text and creating something new.
Evaluation Level questions require us to decide on the value of our information, making judgments about the plot, characters, them, or setting.
You will find these levels questioned in The Book Club Games, Story Talk and The Reading Companion, https://readingsolutions.net/index.php/store/. Each of these learning tools uses the generic form of them to easily internalize and transfer to new reading situations.
Generic questions greatly enhance reading for everyone, including non-readers and English language learners because they can develop critical thinking through “reading” they listen to on an audio or see in a video. In addition, English language learners can easily translate them to their native language to expand critical thinking as they read in their native language while learning English, thus, avoiding the educational gap that often plagues them.
Story elements must also be engaged to fully comprehend. They include the plot, characters, theme and settings of a story. Questions threaded through these elements will ensure the highest standards of comprehension and critical thinking.
Here are some examples of generic questions that use both Bloom’s Taxonomy of cognition and the story elements. Think of a favorite story and try answering them to experience how they bring the story alive and exercise your critical thinking. Answer them with another person and you can see how they bring out different perspectives.
Tell about a part of the story that made you feel sad. Plot is the story element and the Bloom’s levels are evaluation and analysis.
What place in the story did you like? Why? Setting is the story element here and you see evaluation and analysis.
How is someone kind or helpful in the story? Character is the story element, while, comprehension and evaluation are the question’s levels.
What would be another title for this story? Theme is the story element here, and comprehension, analysis and synthesis would be the levels at play.
You will find sixty generic questions similar to these in The Book Club Game:Kids and Adults Edition, https://readingsolutions.net/index.php/product/the-book-club-game/ along with other transferable, highly engaging strategies, easily applied before, during and after reading. Each question on a yellow card is labeled for metacognition, that is, thinking about your thinking https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metacognition.
The red arrow on the card points to C for character. The question is about a character. Then-COMP, blue arrow, means it comes from the comprehension level, and EVA means it is also an evaluation question.
Here kids and adults learn these terms so they can become metacognitive of their thinking process and understand the codes on the cards. It isn’t necessary to know this to play the game, but if kids, parents, and teachers want to learn Bloom’s Taxonomy levels, The Book Club Game provides an easy, hands on way to do it. The metacognition provided empowers all to write their own questions from the levels, choosing the story elements. All provide engaged awareness and enlightened active reading.
The Book Club Game’s questions capture meaning and magic for remembering
When you answer the generic questions in The Book Club Game you will build solid comprehension, retention, and critical thinking because of how they focus on details, connect to your life and draw inspiration.
These questions guide players to take away “specific-to-them” inspiration actions, magical indeed, on their to-go book lists. Take a look at how Annie, Ben, Ruthie and Al, from the game, answered these fun swirl and inspiration questions. You can find The Whingdingdilly, a page turner for all ages, online or at your local library. I bet you can come up with some new answers for this story or try them with any story you’re reading. Have fun and happy reading!
What is one thing a character does in the story that you want to make sure you do not do? Write your inspiration actions on your book list to go so that you can practice them.
Annie: I would not cast a mean spell on someone like the witch did to Scamp. Take-away: Be sure to let any mean thoughts about others go
Al: I would not go after the Wingdingdilly with guns like the crowd did. Take-away: Be kind
Ben: I would not be greedy and mean like Pringle. Take-away: Feel for others, be nice
Ruthie: I would not wish to be something different from myself like Scamp did. Take-away: Like yourself just the way you are; remind myself that I am fine just as I am
What place in the story excited you?
Annie: The witch’s tree-house
Al: Outside the forest where the people waited for the Wingdingdilly
Ben: Orvie’s house at the end
Ruthie: Pringle’s stage when the spell was broken
What place that you visited this week excited you?
Annie: the beach and building a sand castle
Al: Disneyland and going on Space Mountain
Ben: The baseball park and hitting a home run
Ruthie: My kitchen where I made cookies
You can learn many more questions to think about while you are reading when playing The Book Club Game, which you can buy here: https://readingsolutions.net/index.php/store/. Play at home, in the classroom, or at a community venue. It’s fun for those of all ages, ability levels, languages and interests. Besides building comprehension, critical thinking, retention and genuine love for reading it will engage all players in a most peaceful way as it guides a a respectful and illuminating conversation, eliminating any trace of shyness naturally.
Unique Guide Sparks Inspiration & Communication for ESLs, Family, Friends & Couples
The Reading Companion builds comprehension as well as communication, critical thinking, inspiration and genuine love for reading. Its unique generic questions enable all readers to internalize them to use while reading.
Being generic, the questions uniquely allow English language learners to continue building comprehension in their native language, as they are easily translatable. With these questions English learners can keep up with comprehension and critical thinking in their native language while acquiring English and prevent the educational gap so common for this group.
The Reading Companion adds a 3D quality to reading, illuminating images of the story and special messages each story holds for each individual, just as a painting does. With its unique questions of connection, reflection and guidance to affecting the world with a story’s captured inspiration, this easy-to-use companion deepens the meaning and magic for any story.
Reading Specialist created, time tested with dramatic educational performance results and a family, friends and couple communication flare, The Reading Companion is an invaluable tool to reading specialists, teachers, students, families and parents wanting to maximize literacy skill building. It is both engaging and stimulating for individual readers, reading partners, groups or book clubs to travel deep into and far beyond any story for self and group enlightenment and guidance.
You can search to find The Reading Companion by Teri Oberstein Azar on Amazon; it promises to make any story come alive in ways that will amaze, true bibliotherapy! Now you can purchase The Reading Companion on sale here: https://readingsolutions.net/index.php/product/the-reading-companion/