Reader Response Questions and Prompts: Fiction and Non-Fiction

Encourage your elementary students to engage with the text using these fiction and non-fiction reader response questions.

Reader Response Questions

Fiction Texts

  • How was your prior knowledge confirmed or challenged after reading the book? 
  • Share a text-to-self connection you have after reading the text.
  • What reading strategies did you apply in order to help you comprehend the text?
  • Based on evidence from the text plus your prior knowledge, what do you think will happen next in the story?
  • What’s the main idea of the story?
  • In sequential order, what are the major events in the text?
  • What is the tone or mood of the story? Describe.
  • How has your thinking or mindset been shifted after reading this book?
  • Describe a text-to-text connection you have with this book?
  • Are there any examples of figurative language in the book? Share them.
  • What would you and your favorite character discuss over breakfast?
  • Using your inferring skills, what can you figure out that the author didn’t put into words?
  • Compare and contrast two central characters.
  • If you could step into this story, what’s the first thing that you would do and why?
  • What did you visualize as you read the story? Sketch 2 to 3 significant images.

Non-Fiction Texts

  • What motivated the main character’s actions, and were his/her actions justified? 
  • How would you have solved the main character’s problem?
  • What are the best and worst parts of the text? Explain.
  • What’s the main idea of the story?
  • Choose a character from the text. How did his/her actions affect another character’s actions?
  • What actions or events presented in the text confirmed or challenged what you already knew? 
  • What questions do you have now after reading this material?
  • In what ways did the author make the text enjoyable?
  • What are three few “lingering questions” that you still have after reading?
  • If you could insert yourself into the book, what character would you be and why?
  • Which characters and events in this book would make for a good movie?
  • Describe what it would have been like to live during that era?
  • What reading strategies did you apply in order to comprehend the text better?
  • Which text features did the author use to help you understand the information better?
  • What events caused the character to change?
  • How has your thinking shifted after reading this book?
  • Share a text-to-self connection you have after reading the text.
  • What is the author’s purpose for writing this selection?
  • Who or what type of person would be most interested in reading this book? Write a one-paragraph book recommendation. 

Open-Ended Reader Response Questions

  • Why or why not does the title fit the book?
  • What are a few “lingering questions” that you still have after reading?
  • In a paragraph, share one or two deep connections that you have with one of the characters. 
  • How would you have solved the main character’s problem?
  • What do you think will happen next? Why?
  • In paragraph form, retell the ending of the story. 
  • What is the author’s purpose for writing the story?
  • How would you have added a twist to the ending of the story?
  • What lesson is the author trying to teach you? Explain. 
  • Write a summary about what you just read. 
  • How is the setting significant in this story? Explain with specific details. 
  • If you could rename the title of the book, what would it be? Explain. 
  • In a paragraph, explain what prompted you to choose this text?
  • Which parts of the story did you have trouble understanding?
  • What is one image that you would choose to symbolize the main idea of the story? Sketch it. 

Related: See more student-centered teaching strategies that fully engage kids!

Questions for Independent Reading

  • What experiences in your life have helped you understand the main ideas presented in the book?
  • Describe any part(s) of the book that puzzled you.
  • Using details, what are 3 cause and effect examples presented in the text?
  • How do you relate to the main character’s conflicts or problems? 
  • In a paragraph, share one or two deep connections that you have with one of the characters. 
  • Write about your favorite chapter or section from the book.
  • Describe a text-to-text connection you have with this book.
  • Compare and contrast two central characters.
  • Which illustrations did you find most helpful in understanding the story? Why? 
  • How does the central character remind you of yourself, another character or someone you know?
  • Write about something that surprised you.
  • What is one image that you would choose to symbolize the main idea of the story? Sketch it. 
  • Using the 5Ws + H (Who?, What?, When?, Where?, Why?, How?), draft a summary of the selection.
  • If you could insert yourself into the book, what character would you be and why? 
  • How would the story be different if it were set in a different time period?
  • Which facts did you find most interesting?
  • What text features (charts, captions, pictures, labels, diagrams, etc.) helped you most in clarifying what you were reading? Tell how they assisted you.
  • Which parts of the text did you have trouble understanding?
  • What is the genre of the text? How do you know?

Reader Response Prompts

  • I just can’t believe that…
  • After reading, I still wonder why…
  • Something I’d like to know more about is…
  • The main idea of the entire book is…
  • Two questions I have after reading…
  • Here’s what’s going to happen next_____. I infer this because…
  • A deep connection that I had while reading…
  • The character _____ reminds me of …. because _____
  • If this story had taken place 50 years in the past, the plot may have been different because…
  • The text feature _____ helped me to…
  • If I were making the book into a movie, I would delete… and change…
  • Three facts I learned while reading…
  • The title of the text fits the story well because…
  • Before reading, I thought _____, but now I know that…
  • Here’s how I would end the story…
  • It upset when…
  • The author’s purpose for writing this book or chapter is_____. I know this because…
  • My favorite part of the book is…
  • I used context clues to figure out the word_____. My strategy was…
  • When I didn’t understand a part that I was reading, I…
reader response questions for fiction and nonfiction books

Whether they’re reading fiction or non-fiction texts, grab this list of reader response questions to quickly discover how well your elementary students understood the text.

And while you’re at at, grab a copy of these colorful bookmarks to guide your little ones along.