• Ask questions about the reasons behind a character’s statements, actions, or thoughts.
(e.g. Why does the ogre’s wife want to keep Jack from being eaten?)
• Ask questions about words or phrases the author seems to use in an important way.
(e.g. Why does Jack answer the old man’s question, “Two in each hand and one in my mouth”?,
The author says Jack was “not content.” Why isn’t Jack content even though he has riches to last a
• Ask questions that connect passages, characters, incidents, or ideas.
(e.g. Why is Jack so much bolder in asking the ogre’s wife for food on his second trip than on his
Once you think you have a critical thinking question, try to answer it. Then try to come up with another
answer that makes sense and disagrees with your first answer. If you can come up with at least two reasonable
answers that disagree with each other and back them up with evidence from the story, you have a critical
thinking question. If you can only think of one reasonable answer, or if all of your answers can be true at the
same time, you may have a clarifying question.
Hints for Changing Factual and Evaluative Questions into Interpretive Questions:
If you have a question that has an obvious answer, try changing the word How or What to Why.
Factual: What did Jack trade for the magic beans?
Interpretive: Why did Jack trade Milky White for the magic beans?