When preschool teachers read with their students, the questions they ask play a key role in how much kids will learn. But a new research has shown that the questions preschool teachers ask during story time are too few and generally too simple. Actually, only 24 percent of what the teachers said beside reading the text itself were questions. Questions that children answered correctly as much as 85 percent of the time!
According to Laura Justice, co-author of the study and professor of educational psychology at The Ohio State University, “When kids get 85 percent of the questions right, that means the questions the teacher is asking are too easy.” Even more interesting, while this research involved teachers, the same issue apply with parents. Previous studies revealed that most of them don't even ask any question at all when reading with their children.
When asked more complex and sophisticated questions, kids are more likely to give wrong or inappropriate answers. But that is okay. “There should be teachable moments where teachers can help their students learn something new. You have a conversation that is conceptually challenging for the child, because that is going to push their development forward,” Justice said.
Some education experts recommend that around two thirds of shared conversations with kids should be easy, while around a third should be more difficult, in order to challenge the students to learn new concepts. Reading and story time should include a lot of questions hard enough to push the kids to improve their language and thinking skills.
Picture: Kindergarten is fun (Wikimedia Commons, w/Effects)