Questions to Promote Critical Literacy: Supporting Students in Engaging Critically with Texts
The questions shared below are suggestions for prompting students to identify, explain and challenge their thinking. Open-ended questions, which invite students to add detail to their response, also work to move student thinking deeper. The more effective questions we ask, the more we model for children that asking questions, when engaging with a text, is how we move beyond simply enjoying it to understanding it.
"You don't have to have all the answers. You only need to know the questions to ask."



Primary Questions:
  1. Who is talking?
  2. Who is not talking?
  3. If someone else were to tell this story, what would they say? How do you know?
  4. How would you tell this story?
  5. What does the author think we already know or understand? How do you know?
  6. What does the illustrator think we already know or understand? How do you know?
  7. What do we now know about the author and/or the illustrator?
  8. What have we learned about ourselves? About the world?


Junior Questions:
  1. Whose voice(s) is/are heard in the text?
  2. Whose voice(s) is/are not heard? Why not?
  3. What assumptions has the author made about what we already know or believe? How do you know?
  4. What assumptions has the illustrator made about what we already know or believe? How do you know?
  5. What is the point-of-view shared in the book? How do you know?
  6. What would this text look like if it were written from another perspective? What details would you include and why?
  7. What did you find challenging about this text? Why?
  8. What might other people find challenging? Why?


Intermediate/Senior Questions:
  1. What is the author's point of view? What is the illustrator's point of view? What is your evidence?
  2. What biases (cultural, linguistic, gender, ability, sexual orientation, religious etc. values and beliefs) do you, as the reader, bring to the text?
  3. What assumptions, beliefs and values does the author bring to the text? What is your evidence?
  4. What assumptions, beliefs and values does the illustrator bring to the text? What is your evidence?
  5. What assumptions, beliefs and values does the author make about the reader? What is your evidence?
  6. What assumptions, beliefs and values does the illustrator make about the reader? What is your evidence?
  7. Why has the author chosen to convey the main message or theme as they have? What is their purpose?
  8. What role does the publisher play in perpetuating messages in the text?
  9. What other questions might you, as a critical consumer, ask of the text?