Why Ask Comprehension Questions?

By C.Q. Wilder, M.Ed

May 29, 2014

Reading a story can be enjoyable, engaging, and an opportunity to step into the unknown. Stories can take you to places that you may never visit or teach you lessons that you have never experienced before. They can also comfort you, bring emotion, or scare you before bed.

However, when one reads a story to themselves or others, how can you tell they are truly engaged? How do you know if they have accessed the text? Are they paying attention? Do they understand the plot? There are so many missing gaps at times, how can one who isn’t trained to educate reach listeners the same way a teacher can who spent 4 years earning a Bachelor’s degree and 2 more years earning a Masters?

I pose the question, “Why ask comprehension questions?” because these questions can be a key factor in building a listeners comprehension skills, listening skills, recall skills, and focusing skills. Comprehension questions allow readers the opportunity to academically stimulate the listener by encouraging a back-and-forth conversation with questions. Comprehension questions are a great tool to be used to assess mastery level in question answering.

I write comprehension questions for my books because as a teacher, I know when I read a story, the only one’s who are focused are the ones who choose to be. Many students I have worked with need the questions to help build some sort of foundation about the text, the vocabulary, and the concept. These questions are critical for listeners and persons of any age because it forces them to focus on the task at hand.

Another great reason to ask comprehension questions is because it provides an opportunity to identify those who may need more support. If a student can’t answer a question, it allows the question asker to take note and continue to ask similar questions to strengthen their understanding. Identifying the listeners who are struggling will only benefit them later in life if they are caught at a early age. Realistically, at any age, work on answering comprehension will strengthen the mind.