Commonsense methods for children with special educational needs: Strategies for the regular classroom: Book Review

Summary: Asking Interpretive Questions

Good teachers of reading comprehension may apply particular strategies to help their students accordingly. These approaches help to direct the student thinking and listening during the teaching process. One of such actions is by asking interpretive questions (Westwood, 2003). During the reading process, the students may generate questions that would enable the students to react critically to the subject matter in question. Such interpretive questions can be used spontaneously or within a well-planned discussion (Rubin, 2000). The teacher can ask contrast question to check for the understanding of his students and look for a cause-effect relationships. The benefit of asking interpretive questions is that it will help the students to recall what they have been learning and to encourage critical reflection and evaluation.

According to Westwood (2003), asking interpretive questions allows the teacher to observe the students comprehension strategies in reading, making it an important diagnostic question. He adds that the interpretive level of reading covers more than prediction and inference as it enables the teacher to predict and draw lines between the texts. In addition, asking interpretive questions helps the teacher to apply a corrective feedback mechanism in his teaching. Westwood (2003) argues that the students benefit from interpretive questions is that it enables them to come to terms with the main message being passed across by the teacher. In most cases, the interpretive question has more than one answer since such arguments can be supported from different perspectives. By asking the interpretive questions, the teacher keeps the discussion going as they reflect back on various aspects of discussion in question. Westwood (2003) also supports that the interpretive questions can be developed around the motivating character, a plot, or around the key words related to the topic in question.


Rubin, D. (2000). Teaching Elementary Language Arts: A Balanced Approach. Allyn and Bacon

Westwood, P. S. (2003). Commonsense methods for children with special educational needs: Strategies for the regular classroom. London: Routledge