Does speed equal success? Sometimes we are asked to assess children by how quickly they can name letters, pictures, or sounds. Is this really thinking? We do not agree that children should be evaluated by how quickly they accomplish a task. We value careful thought. We believe that critical thinking is important and should be encouraged and celebrated, even in our youngest children. We encourage you to avoid giving any assessments that equate speed with success.
When we read a book aloud, are we going beyond the questions that ask, "Who are the characters in this book?" or "What happened in this book?" We can encourage careful and critical thought by posing questions such as these:
- How is this character like you (or someone you know)?
- Do you think the character(s) acted good or bad? Why?
- What do you think about the ending of this book? Explain.
- How are this character and that character alike/different?
- How would this book be different if...?
- Is there a different way this book might end? Tell more about your idea.
Question stems like these encourage young learners to think about books and their world. Many children are ready and eager for this type of thought. They don't always like recall questions and get bored. We challenge you to challenge them this year!
FOR ELLs -
When you ask your entire class to slow down and think, this gives your ELLs time to process questions. This is a help as you are giving the gift of time to not just English learners but to everyone in your class.
NAEYC - 2.B.04.
Head Start - IV. A.