Easy Questions That Give Students a Deeper Grasp of Nonfiction

Anna Starecheski

We all know that engaging, important nonfiction has the power to educate, inspire, and change students. In fact, that's one of the hallmarks of our philosophy at Storyworks and Storyworks Jr.! One of our favorite things about nonfiction is its ability to open doors to further learning. But giving students a window into the writing and research process for nonfiction can be just as engaging as the topic itself. This can also help deconstruct what good nonfiction looks like so that students can begin to recognize elements of the research process within the text. Thinking about the author's process of researching the story can help students better understand the content AND prepare them for future research projects of their own.


Here's a list of questions you can ask your students while reading any nonfiction text:

  • How did the author get this information?
  • Can you find quotes from experts?
  • How would you research this story?
  • Can you find three facts the author gives you?
  • Are any of the images primary resources?
  • Do you think the author's information is reliable? Why or why not?


Use these questions early in the year to give students the knowledge they need to start to think about nonfiction in a more critical way. Try it out in your classroom with any Storyworks or Storyworks Jr. nonfiction text. And tell us in the comments: What questions do you use to get students thinking critically about what they're reading?

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