Running a classroom is no easy task. You must make sure everyone is as engaged as possible, make lesson plans, and much more!
When it comes to reading, you want your students to enjoy the book and understand it the best they can. To do so, you need to lead an interesting discussion.
Questions should be varied in difficulty level to accommodate a range of students and prompt good discussions.
Students rely on teachers to guide them through discussions and help them draw conclusions for themselves.
If you’re looking to facilitate a better book discussion, read on to learn some of the top discussion prompts. Use these in your classroom, and you’re sure to have a stimulating conversation.
What Do You Think This Book Will Be About?
Before you begin reading, discuss the title and the cover. While you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, the cover can give insight into the content.
Ask your students to make predictions as to where the story will go. Some students may have already been reading. This is good.
These students can help spark some interest, but don’t let them give anything away.
Ask them to support their assumptions, and have them relate it back to their own lives.
Which Characters Do You Like the Most/Least?
This will get your students thinking about characters. If you ask them simply to describe the characters, they may get stuck.
If you ask the question in this way, they are sure to have a favorite and least favorite character. From there, you can ask why.
Your students are likely to form affinities for certain characters. Ask them how they relate or can’t relate.
Think about how you judge a character for yourself.
Based on This Book, Do You Agree That the First Sentence of a Book Is the Most Important?
This is a common belief among literary enthusiasts. This will help your students think about how books are written.
Ask them if the first sentence gave them a better idea of how the book would go. Ask them if the sentence gives insight into the overall message of the book.
Take the exercise a bit further and ask your students if they would rewrite the sentence based on what they’ve read.
What Songs Does This Book Make You Think Of?
Music is a great way to relate to students. If they can relate a book back to their favorite songs, they will better understand the story.
You can even make a class playlist for the book. This is a great interactive way to get your students involved in the book.
Consider the book Imagine by John Lenin. It’s based on his song about tolerance (titled the same).
If You Could Read the Story From Another Character’s Point of View, Who Would You Like to Hear it From?
Sometimes the point of view can limit your understanding of a book. Often, this is done intentionally.
However, there may be some questions that your students want to be answered. Ask them if there is another character they would like to hear from.
This will help you identify your students’ concerns and questions. It will also help you understand some of the lingering gaps that are left in your students’ understanding of the story.
How Would You Have Felt if You Were the Main Character?
Sometimes we don’t understand a character’s motivation.
Put your students in the shoes of the character. This will make them think critically about the character’s choices. It will help them figure out the motivation.
You can even expand and ask them what they would do if they were in other characters’ situation. Sometimes secondary characters are more relatable than the main character.
How Do You Imagine the Setting? Which Images Do You See?
Help your students paint a picture in their heads. Prompt them to describe how they imagine the characters’ homes, schools, surrounding, and more.
You can even ask them to draw or paint the setting. You can do this early in the book so they have a map as they read.
It will also help them establish the atmosphere of the story. You can also establish a historical context.
Did Any of the Characters Change? How?
One or more of the characters may change as the story progresses. Ask your students to identify these characters and how they changed.
When your students think about the character development, ask them if they better understand the message of the story. Often, the lessons a character learns are directly related to the overall theme.
Why Do You Think the Author Wrote The Story?
Speaking of the message, this is where your students get to discuss the takeaway. Most books are written with a clear goal in mind.
While we may not ever be able to know exactly what was going through the author’s head, we can guess.
Ask your students to think about what motivated the author to write the story. You may ask your students what life events might have led the author to write the story.
This is perhaps one of the more important questions you will discuss. Spend some time to really focus on it.
How does character development hint at an overall theme? How does the author’s choice of setting make an impact?
Your class may not come to an agreement, but you can establish a few different options.
Remember that books are meant to be contemplated. An artist’s work should be contested.
Would You Recommend This Book to a Friend?
If a book makes an impact on someone, they will be more likely to recommend it to a friend.
This will also help you gauge whether or not the book is worth including in the future.
Make Your Book Discussion Impactful
Not everyone will fall head over heels for every book they read read as a class. However, everyone will walk away having learned something.
Give your students room to discuss the book and have some heated arguments. Not too heated.
A good book discussion, though, will stay with students for years to come. Instill a love for books in your students.
Exposing students to various forms of writing and genres broadens their world. It sends the message that they can have choices and opinions and through it all they may just discover something they didn’t know they liked
At Move Books, we are dedicated to cultivating a culture of boys who love to read. Be part of the movement, and check out our mission statement.