Comprehension Questions To Use With Any Book (Elementary Edition)

Quickly assess your elementary students’ understanding of the text using this big list of open-ended comprehension questions for use with any fiction or nonfiction book.

Related: See more teaching strategies that boost learners’ reading comprehension.

Comprehension Questions To Use With Any Book

No matter what texts your readers are devouring, this list of comprehension questions pairs well with any of them.

Non-Fiction

  • What questions do you have now after reading this material? 
  • Using the 5Ws + H (Who?, What?, When?, Where?, Why?, How?), draft a summary of the selection.
  • Choose any chapter or section, and write a summary about it. 
  • How would you have solved the main character’s problem?
  • What are 3-5 new facts you’ve learned after reading the selection?
  • If you could rename one of the sections, what would the new title be? Explain. 
  • What are 2 or 3 things that you still wonder after reading the book? 
  • Choose a character from the text. Using specific details, why do you think he or she would make a good friend?
  • Which characters and events in this book would make for a great movie?
  • What experiences in your life have helped you understand the main ideas presented in the book?
  • If you could ask one of the characters from the book two questions, which character would you choose and what would you ask?
  • What actions or events presented in the text confirmed or challenged what you already knew? 
  • How has your thinking been shifted after reading this book?
  • What are some words you didn’t know as you read? Use context clues and/or a dictionary to define them. 
  • Which words confused you while reading? Which word(s) and which page(s)?
  • Why was the title a good one for this book?
  • What motivated the main character’s actions, and were his/her actions justified?
  • Which parts of the story left you scratching your head?
  • What messages can you infer that the author didn’t put into words?
  • In a paragraph, what is the most important message that the author wanted you to learn from this text?
  • How did the headings and subheadings help you find information in the text? 
  • What are a few “lingering questions” that you still have after reading?
  • In what ways did the author make the text enjoyable?
  • What reading strategies did you apply in order to comprehend the text better?
  • Who or what type of person would be most interested in reading this book? Write a one-paragraph book recommendation. 
  • What is the tone of the book? Describe. 
  • How does the setting take away from or add to the story?
  • Share any part(s) of the book that puzzled you.
  • What’s the main idea of the book?
  • Describe a text-to-text connection you have with this book?
  • What is one image that you would choose to symbolize the main idea of the story? Sketch it. 
  • Which text features (charts, captions, pictures, labels, diagrams, etc.) helped you most in clarifying what you were reading? Tell how they assisted you.
  • How does the character remind you of yourself, another character or someone you know?
  • Using details, what are 3 cause and effect examples presented in the book?
  • Share a text-to-self connection you have after reading the text.
  • How do you relate to the main character’s conflicts or problems? 
  • Which parts of the selection did you have trouble understanding?
  • Choose a character from the text. How did his/her actions affect another character’s actions?
  • Which illustrations did you find most helpful in understanding the story? Why?
  • In one or two paragraphs, explain the theme(s) of this book.
  • Write about a fact that you found very interesting. 
  • How would the story be different if it were set in a different time period?
  • Which facts did you find most interesting?
  • What information is provided through illustrations such as diagrams, drawings, charts, and maps?
  • In a paragraph, share one or two deep connections that you have with one of the characters. 
  • What are the best and worst parts of the text? Explain.
  • Write about your favorite part of the text.
  • Was there anything the author didn’t tell you that you really wanted to know? What?
  • What is the genre of the text? How do you know?
  • Which text features did the author use to help you understand the information better?
  • What did you visualize as you read each section or chapter? Sketch 2 to 3 significant drawings.
  • After reading the selection, what did you learn that you didn’t know before?
fiction and nonfiction comprehension questions for any book

Fiction

  • How would you have solved the main character’s problem?
  • What did you visualize as you read the story? Sketch 2 to 3 significant images.
  • Share a text-to-self connection you have after reading the text.
  • What is the author’s purpose for writing the story?
  • How did the author make the text enjoyable?
  • Write a summary about what you just read. 
  • What reading strategies did you apply in order to help you comprehend the text?
  • If you would step into this story, what’s the first thing that you would do and why?
  • How was your prior knowledge confirmed or challenged after reading the book? 
  • What is the main conflict in the story? 
  • How does the setting add or take away from the story?
  • In sequential order, what are the major events in the story?
  • How has your thinking or mindset shifted after reading the book?
  • Which text features did the author use to help you understand the information better?
  • How is the setting significant in this story? Explain with specific details. 
  • Why or why not does the title fit the book?
  • How are you similar to any of the characters in the book? Explain.
  • Using inferring skills, what can you figure out that the author didn’t put into words?
  • What’s the main idea of the story?
  • In a paragraph or two, share two deep connections that you have with one of the characters. 
  • What would you and your favorite character discuss over lunch?
  • If you could ask the main character 3 questions, what would they be?
  • What are a few “lingering questions” that you still have after reading?
  • How would you have changed the ending of the story?
  • Based on evidence from the text plus your prior knowledge, what do you think will happen next in the story?
  • Which parts of the story did you have trouble understanding?
  • What are the best and worst parts of the book? Explain.
  • Describe a text-to-text connection you have with this book?
  • What lesson is the author trying to teach you? Explain. 
  • How would the story be different if it were told from the point of view of a contrasting character?
  • Provide examples that show how the author used descriptive language to make the story more vivid.
  • Write about your favorite part of the text.
  • What is the tone or mood of the story? Describe.
  • Are there any words that confused you while reading? Which word(s) and which page(s)?
  • What do you think will happen next? Why?
  • In paragraph form, retell the ending of the story. 
  • What is the genre of the text? How do you know?
  • Sketch a book cover that is different from the actual one. Why did you choose this particular design?
  • If you could rename the title of the book, what would it be? Explain. 
  • How does the primary character remind you of yourself, another character or someone you know?
  • What is one image that you would choose to symbolize the main idea of the story? Sketch it. 
  • In a paragraph, explain the theme of the book.
  • What parts of the story confused you?  
  • Why is the title a good one for the book?

Comprehension Questions To Use With Any Book

Now you’re set to assign your elementary students a few of these comprehension questions to use with any type of fiction or nonfiction book.

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