51 Excellent Reading Comprehension Questions

Assess how well students understand what they read using these reading comprehension questions that pair with fiction and nonfiction books.

Include a few of these reading comprehension questions into your reader’s workshop this week.

Reading Comprehension Questions: Before Reading

Ask students these reading comprehension questions to assess their understanding of a text before reading.

  • What is the genre of the text? How do you know?
  • Is this text fiction or nonfiction? Explain.
  • Based on prior knowledge, what do you know about this author’s writing style?
  • What do you predict will be the main problem?
  • Reviewing the cover, what do you predict the book will be about? Explain your thinking.
  • Why do you think the illustrator chose these particular images for the cover?
  • Just from reading the title, what do you infer about the main problem?
  • After reading the summary of the book, what connections do you have?
  • How do you think the story will end?
  • What questions do you have before reading the selection?
  • How is the text organized?
  • What is the basic information of the text? (title, author’s name, illustrator’s name, date published, etc.)
  • Is there a table of contents and/or index? How can these tools help you comprehend better what you’re reading?
  • What clues does the title present in letting you know the main idea of the book?
  • How does the publication date give you information bout the contents in the book?
  • Based on your personal experiences, do you know anything about this topic?
  • Are there any special vocabulary words that you think you’ll come across as you read this text?

Reading Comprehension Questions: During Reading

As students read, ask a few of these reading comprehension questions to gather information about how well they are grasping concepts.

  • What can you figure out that the author didn’t put into words?
  • Describe a text-to-text connection you have with this book.
  • Are there any words that confuse you while reading? Which word(s) and which page(s)?
  • What lesson is the author trying to teach you? Explain.
  • How do the headings and subheadings help you find information in the text?
  • What information is provided through illustrations such as diagrams, drawings, charts, and maps?
  • Based on evidence from the text plus your prior knowledge, what do you think will happen next in the story?
  • What are some differences and similarities between two main characters?
  • How does the character remind you of yourself, another character or someone you know?
  • What is the tone or mood of the story? Describe. 
  • What do you visualize as you read each section or chapter?
  • How are you similar to any of the characters in the book? Explain.
  • What do you think will happen next? Why?
  • Which illustrations do you find most helpful in understanding the story? Why?
  • What reading strategies are you applying in order to comprehend the text better?
  • Which text features (charts, captions, pictures, labels, diagrams, etc.) help you most in clarifying what you are reading? Tell how they assist you.
  • What are 3 cause and effect examples presented in the selection?

After Reading Questions

Once done, assess students’ understanding of the book using these “after reading” reading comprehension questions.

  • If you could step into this book, what’s the first thing that you would do and why?
  • Choose a character from the text. Using specific details, why do you think this character would make a good friend?
  • How does the character remind you of yourself, another character, or someone you know?
  • What is one picture that you would choose to symbolize the main idea of the story? Sketch it. 
  • If you could rename the title of the book, what would it be? Explain. 
  • What did you visualize as you read the story? Sketch 2 to 3 significant images.
  • How did the author make the text enjoyable?
  • Why or why not does the title fit the book?
  • How would the story be different if it were told from the point of view of a contrasting character?
  • Which part of the book did you not understand well?
  • How does the main character change throughout the story?
  • What are a few “lingering questions” that you still have after reading?
  • How does the setting add or take away from the story?
  • What are two things that you still wonder about after reading the book? 
  • Which text features did the author use to help you understand the book better?
  • What is the most important message that the author wanted you to learn from this text?
  • How has your thinking been shifted after reading this book?
  • What motivated the main character’s actions, and were his/her actions justified?

If you found these reading comprehension questions helpful, you might be interested in questions for guided reading