I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

The Quick-Start Guide to Talking About Books with Kids {with a free printable}

Quick-Start Guide to talking about ANY book with a child {even if you haven't read it yourself}. Great printable of discussion questions.

My daughter's first choice in books is any in the fantasy area.
It's my last choice.
In fact, other than Narnia and a handful of Narnia-esque titles, I kind of can't stand most books in that genre. (I like to keep my feet firmly planted in reality, thank you very much!) But, I don't let that stop me from having great discussions with her about a book even if I haven't read it myself.

The truth of the matter is, with five kids, four of whom are independent readers, I can't possibly read all of the books they are currently reading. Too many books. Not enough hours. So, how can I create a lovely literary culture in my home when everyone is reading books that I've not read myself?

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Head here to print discussion questions that will work for ANY book.

Well, culture is created in everyday choices. It's what sets one family apart from all the others. It's a demonstration of what is important to you. And I think what most folks just don't understand sometimes is that in a digital, screen-driven age, a literary home doesn't just happen. A home where books are a part of the family rhythm and culture has to be built on purpose.

Let me explain...

If we were the hunting family, we'd buy guns, schedule trips to the woods, and have discussions about hunting seasons past and present. If we were the musical family, we'd have instruments, go to concerts, and have discussions of the latest tunes on the radio. We'd build those cultures on purpose by prioritizing our purchases, our time, and our discussions.

But, we're not the hunting or the musical family.

We're the reading family. So, we buy books, read together, and have discussions about all of our favorites.

Creating culture on purpose really is that simple. All you need is stuff, time, and great conversations. You stir all of these together and get a family flavor. A culture.

The great conversation

Even if you haven't read a book yourself, you can still have a lively discussion about it. You just have to learn to ask the proper questions. So often, we, as parents, default to the canned question, "How did you like the book?" Naturally, we receive the equally canned answer, "It was good." But, that's not a conversation. A conversation is deep and meaningful with both participants tugging and being tugged by one another.

A conversation happens with a spark...one well-chosen question or statement that gets the words flowing.

Here are twelve simple questions you can use to jumpstart a lovely conversation with your kids about ANY book...from Green Eggs and Ham to War and Peace. Pinky swear.

10 Discussion Questions for ANY Book

  1. What new idea or information did you learn from this book? 
  2. What was the most upsetting part of the book?
  3. Were you satisfied with the way the book ended? Why or why not?
  4. If you were to write the book, how would you change it?
  5. Which character did you most identify with? 
  6. How could that character change to develop the story better?
  7. How does reading the story now, in this moment of history, change the story from the author's moment?
  8. What emotion do you think the author wanted you to feel after you finished the book?
  9. What led you to believe that?
  10. What is the biggest point of tension in the book?
Head here to print out the quick-start questions. Keep them at the ready for the next time your child finishes a book.

A final word

As with anything in life, you can have too much of a good thing. Be careful about over-discussing a book. We, as homeschoolers, have a tendency to make a "lesson" out of everything. Sometimes it's OK for your kids to enjoy a story simply for the sheer enjoyment of it. When we always default to a Q&A session or we bombard them with comprehension-style questions, we unwittingly cloak reading in the words ASSIGNMENT, which is the very opposite of the culture we are trying to build. 

Looking for some good book suggestions?

Once a month I email a book list to the members of the Biblio-files community. Every title on the list has been personally read and vetted by me and has been compiled by age range in order to help you navigate the library with your kids. In addition, I also include a few books that you should be aware of--books that contain explicit language, sexual agenda, graphic violence, etc. so that you can make an educated decision when/if your kids should ever be interested in reading any of them. What's more, members are invited to join me in a private Facebook group where we help each other find just the right books for our kids. We'd love to have you join us!

In the meantime, you can check out some book titles here:
30 Character Building Books for Young Boys
Books Every Preschooler Should Enjoy

*This printable is FREE but is for personal use only.  In downloading the following file, you are agreeing not to copy, reproduce, or alter it except for your own personal, non-commercial usage. In addition, you are also agreeing not to share or publicly display any or all parts of the materials on Facebook, in an email, or in person.  If you wish to share the downloads with others, please share a direct LINK to this post.


  1. One of my children has dyslexia which means that I have to read aloud far more and to an older age than I have with the other children. Reading aloud has been valuable for discussion: not every book is discussed but some have lent themselves to extensive discussion, usually initiated by my child.It has also been helpful to be able to pick out subtle undertones, in the book, that I might have missed from a discussion. It is definitely worth trying to carry on reading aloud and to try to read something of what your children are reading. I have had children who were getting through a book an evening but wish, now, that I had tried to read a book from a series. There was the older series with some racism; perhaps, not very obvious to a child but quite apparent to an adult. The acclaimed book which had an undermining view of the Bible. Even if the series is wonderful, it does help the discussion to have read a little from it.

    1. Yes, it is very helpful to have read it or read it aloud before hand. I completely agree. That would be my first choice. But sometimes, that's just not possible due to the reading habits of lots of voracious readers.