When I was in college, feverishly working to graduate in four years and keep my loans down to the price of a small palace, I decided on an education major. Dr. Wessman, my intro professor, hammered home the basics of theory and practice, cutting our teeth on names that I, sadly, can now barely recall.
One concept that did manage to cement itself was Bloom’s Taxonomy, a ladder-like way of conceptualizing a student’s [or your child's] depth of understanding. The higher up the “ladder” you climb, the more difficult and abstract the questions become, demanding greater critical thinking and evaluation skills.
We have found these questions to be really handy to have on hand—or at least to have a few tucked away in the brain for family discussions. You can see a great list of examples HERE. One way that we employ this technique is by using whiteboards while we read stories or do family devotions. For example:
While Reading or After Reading Books:
- Stop at a critical turning point in the story. Ask your kids to make a prediction about the next events or the culmination of the story. Have them draw this in picture form on their white board and then explain it.
- To occupy little ones during chapter books, ask them to draw a picture of the main character based on the description given by the author. Have them point out key distinguishing characteristics of this character.
- As a character struggles with important choices, ask your kids, “What would you do?” Have them do their best to write a sentence on their boards and then explain their choice. This opens up a natural teaching opportunity for you, especially if the choices invite you to explain your morals.
- Refer to THIS LINK again for other question starters.
While doing Family Devotions:
- Ask your child to draw the landscape described in the Bible Story. Are you wandering in the desert? Laying palms at the feet of Jesus as he approaches Jerusalem? At the parting of the Red Sea? Give praise for extra details.
- Have your kids imagine they are spectators to the story. What would they be feeling? Is this a scary time? Exciting? Uncertain? Have them draw their own face to represent the emotion conveyed in the story.
- Divide your white board into 4 quadrants. Ask your child to focus on the main character and draw or write 4 other stories or words that can be attributed to that character. For example, if you’re reading about Moses, you might draw a picture of the burning bush, Moses as a baby in the basket, parting the Red Sea, etc. If you’re reading about Jesus and have older kids, using words to describe his character can also be powerful: loving, Savior, servant, rabbi, etc.
- Again, refer here for further question starters and allow your kids to draw or express answers in words.
What creative ways do you use to help your kids dig deeper into their reading?