To make sure that students actually understood the story, it is important to ask literal questions about some confusing aspects of the story. Literal questions can be answered by a straightforward reading of the text. Students should be encouraged to cite the page on which they found the answer to these questions. Examples of literal questions include:
· Who is Lise? How did she die?
· Why does Ellen come to live with Annemarie?
· Why was the handkerchief important?
In addition to literal questions, you may want to ask some important inferential questions about the story. Inferential questions require students to think more deeply about what they have read and draw conclusions based on their understanding of the story. Students should be encouraged to cite the pages on which they are basing their answers to the questions. Examples of inferential questions include:
· Why does Annemarie’s family hold a funeral for a great aunt who doesn’t exist?
· Annemarie claims that her story is similar to Little Red Riding Hood. Explain how the two stories are similar and how they are different.
· Why is Annemarie’s sister, Lise, important to the story?
· How would this book be different if it were written from Ellen’s point of view?
Evaluative questions require a higher level of comprehension. They force students to weight each side of an issue and decide what their own opinion about the issue is. Examples of evaluative questions include:
· Should the adults around Annemarie have revealed their secrets to her? What should they have told her? Why? Why didn’t they want to tell her everything?
· What does the author believe is true bravery? Do you agree or disagree?
· If you were Annemarie, would you do anything differently? Why or why not?
· “Number the Stars” is a Newberry Award Winning Book. Do you think it deserves the award? Why or why not? Why do you think it received the award?
This post is part of the series: “Number the Stars” - Lesson Plans and Activities
This series contains resources for teachers about the historical fiction novel “Number the Stars,” by Lois Lowry. Includes “Number the Stars” lesson plans and activities, including articles on comprehension questions, activities, and an introductory lesson plan.