Reading with Your Child and Asking the Right Questions

Reading with your child and asking the right questions is an important part of academic success. Reading builds vocabulary, improves comprehension, and fosters critical thinking skills. In this blog post, we’ll explore the importance of reading and how it translates to success in exams like comprehension, creative writing and verbal reasoning for all entrance exams (7+, 8+, 9+, 10+,11+ and 13+).

The Importance of Reading for Comprehension

Research shows that reading for at least 20 minutes a day can have a significant impact on academic performance and success. Below you will find an infographic explaining all of the benefits.


Background Knowledge for Comprehension

In addition to reading, background knowledge plays a crucial role in comprehension. Background knowledge is the information a reader has about a particular topic or subject. Children with more background knowledge are better able to understand and retain information (Anderson & Freebody, 1981). Imagine picking up a textbook in Quantum Physics or Equine Psychology – most would struggle to understand everything on the first page without a little assistance in developing some background knowledge in the subject. This is what your child feels like when they pick up a text with no background knowledge.

The good news is you can help your child build background knowledge by exposing them to different experiences, cultures, and topics. Encourage your child to ask questions, explore new things, and share their experiences with you. This every day dialogue will develop your child’s understanding and help them bridge the gaps they will come across whilst reading.

As a side note, neuroscience research shows that paper-based content is better connected to memory in our brains (Bangor University). Even though reading on an ipad or Kindle are becoming more and more prevalent in our day-to-day life, we recommend keeping printed books the main form of reading in your home. You can read more on our take on ‘reading with your child: paperĀ  vs digital


Reading with your child and asking the right questions

We now know that reading with our children is incredibly important and translates to academic success. Did you know that asking the right questions after reading could also help your child gain the insight and skills needed to succeed in their exams?

We have below 10 excellent questions to discuss with your child after a reading session:

  1. Can you describe the main character?
  2. What do you think will happen next in the story?
  3. How would you feel if you were the main character?
  4. What did you like or dislike about the story?
  5. What was the problem in the story and how was it resolved?
  6. Can you retell the story in your own words?
  7. What lesson did you learn from the story?
  8. Can you think of a real-life situation that is similar to the story?
  9. Can you find any imagery/figurative devices the author used which you particularly like?
  10. Find a word which you do not know. Can you work out what it means from the context of the story?

These questions can help children engage with the text and think critically about what they have read. Additionally, they can help parents gauge their child’s comprehension level and identify any areas that may need improvement.

Not sure what your child should be reading? We have carefully selected a number of recommended books for children which you can find in our reading list.


Let’s read!

Reading with your child and asking the right questions is essential for their academic success. By building their vocabulary, improving their comprehension skills, and fostering critical thinking skills, you can help your child excel in all areas of their academic life. Encourage your child to read for at least 20 minutes a day, and expose them to different experiences and topics to build their background knowledge. Remember, reading should be a fun and engaging experience for both parents and children!