How to Teach Questioning Skills with The Day the Crayons Quit

Teaching questioning skills starts in first grade. This mentor text lesson using The Day the Crayons Quit will help get your students started. Freebie included.

When I am selecting a mentor text, I often look for books with the teaching points I want to address. Additionally, I choose books that carry a deeper meaning. The Day the Crayons Quit is one of those books. I picked this book for questioning skills. It uses analogy and personification to teach the importance of valuing others and friendship. In fact, teachers may find it works well for teaching theme too.

In this post, we explore the importance of questioning with this book. We start teaching this skill in the primary grades with the Virginia standards. However, each year, students dig deeper with higher level questions. Our questions drives our instruction in all subject areas. The depth of questions teachers use makes a big difference in engagement and in the dialogue within our classrooms.

Questioning Standards

Virginia is not a common core state, but these skills begin in first grade with the Common Core as well as in the VA Standards of Learning. For the primary grades, teaching question words and how to form questions is the place to start. [THIS ORGANIZER] is part of a larger bundle of comprehension checks for the primary grades. Before reading The Day the Crayons Quit, creating questions with the question words during a picture walk is a great way to get your kids into the book and thinking. I love Think, Pair, Share for this part just to get the kids thinking beforehand.

Teaching questioning skills starts in first grade. This mentor text lesson using The Day the Crayons Quit will help get your students started. Freebie included.

Next Steps with Comprehension

As our readers build skills in asking and answering questions, we need to move them to interact with the text and back up their thinking with text evidence. In Virginia, that starts in second grade where our students locate text information to respond to questions. Even though this is not required prior to second, it is really important that we model how readers use text information as they think in group discussion.

The page that I shared today is part of a larger set, Skill Based Comprehension Checks for the Primary Grades. It includes materials for both fiction and nonfiction standards. They can be used with any text. Skills included within this set are:

  • Making Predictions
  • Retellings
  • Beginning, Middle, End
  • Characterization
  • Setting
  • Problem and Solution
  • Drawing Conclusions
  • Using Pictures
  • Nonfiction Text Features
  • Questions and Answers
  • Facts
  • Question Words
  • Finding Text Evidence
  • Main Idea

When I am introducing a new skill, I often combine these with anchor charts for modeling with a mentor text. Think aloud has been proven to be the most effective way to support struggling readers.

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