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Some Questions to Ask when Roaming among Readers
- What page are you on?
- What do you think so far?
- How is it?
- What’s happening now?
- Any surprises so far?
- How did you feel when you got to the part about __________?
Main Character Queries:
- Who’s the main character in this one?
- What’s the main character like?
- What’s his problem, or hers?
- How’s the character development in general? Are you convinced?
- Who wrote this one?
- What do you think of the writing so far?
- Do you know anything about the author?
- Any theories about why he or she might have written this?
- How is it, so far, compared to his or her other books?
- What genre is this one?
- How is it, so far, compared with other books about ______?
- Is it plausible?
- How’s the pace?
- What’s the narrative voice? How’s that working for you?
- What do you think of the dialogue/format/length of chapters/flashbacks/inclusion of poems/diction choices/author’s experiments with _____, and so on (depending on the book)?
When It’s A Page Turner:
- What’s making this a page-turner for you, vs. a literary novel? What are you noticing? For example, is it formulaic—easy for you to predict?
- Why did you decide to read this one?
- I can’t believe how much you read last night. Tell me about that.
- Why did you decide to reread this one?
- Where did you find this book?
When There’s No Zone:
- Is this book taking you into the reading zone?
- Why do you think it’s taking you so long to read this?
- Can you skim the parts that drag—the descriptions, for example?
- Are you confused because it’s hard to understand the language, or because you can’t tell what’s going on?
- Are you considering abandoning this book? Because if you’re not hooked by now, that’s more than okay. You can always come back to it someday.
- Do you want to skim and find out what happens, or even read just the ending, then move on to a better book?
- What’s on your someday list?
- Do you know what other book I think you might like?
Excerpted from: Atwell, Nancie. The Reading Zone: How to Help Kids Become Skilled, Passionate, Habitual, Critical Readers. New York: Scholastic, 2007.