Ways to Help Kids Learn How to Ask Good Questions

March 7, 2021

Jeannette Tuionetoa

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Of course, some little kids ask so many questions, they can make their parents’ heads spin. These ways to help kids learn how to ask good questions will build higher-order thinking and a better understanding of concepts.

Ways to Help Kids Learn How to Ask Good Questions text with image of a mom holding two kids, one on each side of her, and they\'re all smiling

Spending time with your (or other) toddlers you know will lead to you being asked more questions than you probably care to answer.

Surely, they can drive us a little crazy. However, deep down, we know that asking questions – good questions – is a skill that will benefit them as as they get older. 

The key to question asking is to not stifle a child’s curiosity while you build on the level of the questions they are asking. 

On the island where I live the education system, from what I have heard from many, is very much study and dump. 

Teachers write what a student needs to know on the board, the kids take notes, study, and take a test. 

There are thinking questions, but they tend to be discussed in class beforehand or kids just have to work hard to study generally enough to “get” concepts. 

Students rarely ask questions. Traditionally, it is just not done. That makes it difficult for children, for sure. Hopefully, things are beginning to change. 

Can you imagine not being able to ask questions? That is literally how I learn. I want to know as much as possible, and in questioning, we can fully understand.

Asking good questions is the cornerstone for knowledge building and functioning in life. In education, the benefit of asking questions is paramount. 

Asking questions may come naturally to kids, but asking “good” questions takes skill.

Here are a few ways to help kids learn how to ask good questions: 

Encourage question asking in your home.

Making an environment that encourages question asking creates children who think of questions that produce quality thinking and processes.

When you teach your lessons, leave room and time for kids to ask you questions to make sure they are fully understanding what is being taught. Create opportunities for kids to ask. 

I have always heard people say that no question is a stupid question. Knowing this has really helped me in my life. I’d rather know and try than not know and try. Encouraging the atmosphere where questions are OK gets students comfortable with asking.

Teach and encourage critical thinking skills.

When students learn to think critically, they develop what they need to ask questions before coming to conclusions.

FREE Critical Thinking Printables + Critical Thinking Essay Questions About History (Instant Downloads)

Free Critical Thinking Printables text with image of a boy sitting at a table and using a pencil

FREE Printable Activities – Preschool Critical Thinking Skill Building | Planes and Balloons

Promoting Critical Thinking with Math Riddles FREE Printable | The Butterfly Teacher

FREE 7 Creative and Critical Thinking Printables | Classroom Freebie

Critical Thinking Skills for Beginners: FREE Sample | Amy Haselden

Think Like a Scientist FREE Printable | Korpino Feed

Teach your children about questioning – the difference between thin and thick questions.

If your kids are primary age and are familiar with questions but you want to help them ask more questions, it will help to teach them the difference between “thick” questions and “thin” questions.

Thin questions have answers that can be found right in the book or right in the passage. The questions usually begin with Who, What, Where, When, or How many. 

Thick questions make a reader “think” or make them search to find an answer. These questions may begin with:

What if…?

What might…?

What do you think…?

Why did…?

How did…?

How would you feel if…?

What would happen if…? 

The Difference Between Thin and Thick Questions | ELA in the middle 

FREE Thick/Thin Questions posters (Google Docs) | Flip Flop Teacher

Thick & Thin Close Reading FREE Download Set | The Curriculum Corner

FREE Thick and Thin Questions Google Doc Worksheet | Kickin’ Tinkin’ Kindergarten

Thick and Thin Higher Order Questions Flash Cards Posters FREE DOWNLOAD | Tech Teacher Pto3

Provide them opportunities to build their curiosity.

Graphic organizers and recording sheets are great tools to help your kids build their curiosity about the text they are reading. More than building curiosity, they help your students “dig deeper” into a text.

Asking Questions Graphic Organizer FREEBIE | The Craft of Teaching

FREE Graphic Organizers for Reading and Literature

Free Graphic Organizers for Reading & Literature text with image of a book half open with a whole apple inside

Reading Comprehension FREE Graphic Organizers and Templates

More FREE Reading Comprehension Graphic Organizers and Templates

Don’t take my word for it only, check out some more suggestions and insight from other parents below:

Teaching Kids to Ask Questions | Elementary Nest

Mentor Texts: Ask Questions | LESSONS BY the lake

Teaching Children to Ask (Thoughtful) Questions! | Heidi Songs

Reading Comprehension Strategies: Asking Questions & QAR Strategy | Raise the bar READING

Question Activity | Prayers & Purple Elephants

Answering Questions with POQ – Guest Post & FREEBIE! | Crazy Speech World

Quick, Sneaky Questioning to Improve Reading Comprehension | Teach Mama

Teaching Questioning to Primary Readers | Miss Decarbo

5 Strategies to Help Your Students Generate Questions | The Primary Gal

Teaching Questioning as a Comprehension Strategy | Sarah Teaching Snippets

Easy Tips for Teaching Asking and Answering Questions | Where the Magic Happens Teaching

56 Writing Questions | Journal Buddies

Seven Questions (and One Strategy) to Build Critical Thinking Skills | Exstemsions

Teaching Students to Ask Good Questions | Continental Press

Asking and Answering Questions  | Speech and Language Kids

Explore these books for asking questions:

Book List for Asking Questions | This Reading Mama

Books that Get Kids Asking Questions text with a background image collage of different books for kids

The Perfect Book to Teach Asking Questions! | Luckey Frog Learning

These printables can assist you with encouraging kids to ask good questions:

FREE Question of the Day Resource | Little Learning Corner

Questioning Strategy & FREE Printable Bookmarks | Lacy Letters

50 Everyday Objects Questions & Prompts to Build Language Skills (FREE Printable) | And Next Comes!

The 5 Key Steps for Helping You Ask Good Questions FREE Infographic | Wabisabi Learning

FREE Question Words Printable | Tales of a Teacherista

Teaching How to Formulate and Ask Question – FREE Question Chart | Allison Fors

Remember that we can begin to create an atmosphere of questioning from when kids are young. When you read to your little ones, remind them you will be asking them questions throughout the book.

In your lessons, be sure to continually ask questions to check comprehension. Get kids used to answering questions, and open the door for them to start asking questions themselves.

The end goal should be that our students grow into adults who know how to ask the “right” questions in order to get the job done. Begin your child’s journey to better comprehension with these ways to help kids learn how to ask good questions.

Ways to Help Kids Learn How to Ask Good Questions text with image of a mom holding two kids, one on each side of her, and they\'re all smiling

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