What does this tell us about the character?
What do you mean by that?
Why do you think that?
Tell me more about that.
Can you elaborate?
Do you agree with the author's point of view?
Tell me how you arrived at that conclusion.
Can you say that in another way?
Questions like these do more than check for comprehension. They get your student thinking about the ideas, themes, and concepts that hold the story together. They also help you to use literature to launch into the Big Ideas that humans have pondered since the beginning of time, ideas like Truth, Justice, Forgiveness, Life and Death, Love, Fear, and Hope. What a blessing it is to have discussions like these with your children.
Like anything else, you'll get better at this the more you do it. It might feel a little awkward or contrived at first, but it won't for long. Start with just a few questions like the ones above, and then add more as you feel comfortable. If your kids ask you what you're doing, tell them it's the Socratic Method. Impressive!
Here are more posts about Homeschooling Literature:
14 Books for Adventure-Loving Boys
9 Hopeful Children's Books About the Great Depression
Using Tolman Hall FollowUps
The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton
And here are some blog posts about the Socratic method:
The Classical Scholar writes about How to Ask (Better Homeschool Questions) Like Socrates
Catholic Mom discusses a Socrates Cafe
Homeschooling Hearts & Minds talks about using the Socratic method when Teaching the Classics
Eclectic Homeschooling blogs about The Power of Questions