So.. What Do You Think - Using Evaluative Questions with Literature

4 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT use evaluative questions about the text and illustrations to increase their understanding of literature.

Big Idea

Ask a question - get an opinion!



This lesson is the one of the first lessons I have taught about using the questioning strategy to improve comprehension. My students are able to ask lots of questions, but they tend to be literal and always start with 'wh'. Using questioning to improve comprehension is not a reading strategy that they often employ.

In this lesson, the students ask and answer to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text (RL.2.1), which supports the shift in Common Core Standards toward using text evidence to improve comprehension.  They also look at the rhythm and rhyme of text (RL.2.4) that adds so much to the meaning of this text in particular.

I chose this book because the text is understandable, it is poetry, and the illustrations are wonderful. We have practiced asking questions and determining where to find the answers in a 2 previous lessons, including The Whys and Whens of Questioning and Big Questions About Informational Text. We're continuing that skill today and using evaluative questions. 

**I'm attaching an alternative evaluative questions worksheet because I taught this lesson 2 years later on another informational topic - plants. This worksheet is more generic and has less writing. I'll actually use this one from now on, regardless of the topic.

Let's Get Excited!

5 minutes

Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics.  The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary.  My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words.


Common starting point 

  • "We have practiced different kinds of questioning that helps us read better."
  • "What kinds of questions can we ask and where do we find the answers?"  literal with answers in the text and inferential with answers that we have to use our background knowledge plus clues in the text to answer.

Get students engaged

  • "I brought some clipboards today - you'll be questioning people about their opinions."
  • "What's an opinion?"   Take ideas - make sure kids know they are what people think based on their experience and that opinions are not 'right' or 'wrong'.
  • "Tell me your opinion and I'll record it on my worksheet" (with the clipboard- demonstrate this now because the students will do this later)
  • "What do you think about having lunch before recess. Tell me your opinion and why you feel that way."  I used this question because my kids had their recess and lunch switched this year so I know they have opinions about this.
  • Ask several students and record their answers on the board on the worksheet format. Here's my worksheet with questions.

Teacher's Turn

15 minutes

Give the purpose of the lesson

  • "Yesterday you learned how to ask literal and inferential questions about a book."
  • "Now that you're in 2nd grade, you're ready to ask some evaluative questions about text as well."
  • "These questions let us share our opinions. When you answer these questions, you have to give reasons why you have that opinion."


Introduce strategy - modeling

  • "The book is about early American settlers. It has some cool rhymes, figurative language and great illustrations in it that really add to the meaning!"
  • "To share our opinions, we'll use evaluative questions that...
    • require to give an opinion, a judgement or decision.
    • have more than one answer.
    • need proof from the text or from your background knowledge.
    • help you learn as you listen to others' questions."
  • "Some evaluative questions start the words - 'Do you think' and 'Is....' ."  write these on the chart.  I prompted with some of the words.
  • Read the first 2 pages and look at the illustrations.  "Here's an example of an evaluative question for the cover - Do you think this was an easy trip?"  Take student's ideas and write them on the chart on the board. Encourage and prompt them to give reasons for their opinion.


Review strategy - guided practice

  • Read the next page - Model asking another question using the evaluating questions list.
  • Ask students' opinions and record them on the list.
  • You may need to prompt - here's how I prompted a student to give an opinion.
  • This is what my completed whiteboard looked like.

Students Take a Turn

20 minutes

Assign Task


Although rhyming and figurative language was not the focus of this lesson, I did mention how this kind of wording added a great tone and rhythm to the story. The Core Standards encourage students to use this kind of text to add meaning to what they read.  (RL.2.4)


Monitor work

  • Walk around and check on students - make sure they are using a variety of words.
  • When all students are done, have them get up and ask questions and record answers.
  • Here how it looked when one of my students was asking for opinions. I did prompt him to support his opinion as well.

Share What You've Learned

15 minutes

Share what you know

  • "Who would like to share one of your questions?  Do you think anyone else has the same questions?"
  • Kids share questions and an opinion. Here are 2 examples - student worksheet 1 and student worksheet 2.
  • "What did we learn today about the settlers who went West?"
  • "Did you enjoy the poetry traits - figurative language and rhyming?  How did it help you understand better?"
  • "Were the illustrations helpful to you?  How?"
  • "Did it help you to hear other people's opinions?
  • "Were the opinions right or wrong?" That was a great discussion.


Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be easily scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.

Students with limited language and vocabulary will need a partner or need to sit with the teacher during the writing portion of the activity. You could also prompt them with questions and vocabulary on their desk.

Students with more ability should be encouraged to write more in-depth questions. Encourage them to ask questions that have strong opinions and use higher level vocabulary.