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A Lesson from Curious George for Bloggers

Curious-George.gifThe books of choice at bed time in my 3 year olds room are all Curious George books at the moment. He’s crazy for George.

Needless to say that the 6 Curious George books that we have are getting read again and again – I pretty much know them off by heart…. to the point that I’ve started taking less notice of the story itself and more notice of HOW its been written.

There’s one thing about Curious George Books (or at least the ones we have) that I’ve noticed that really makes them more engaging than some of the other kids books my boy reads.

Do you know what it is?

It’s something that draws my boy further and further into the book.

Any ideas what it could be?

It’s a technique that actually causes my little guy to ask me to turn the page – something that gets him thinking about what is coming next – something causes him to be curious – just like George.

What do you think it is?

This technique is not only a page turner – its something that draws my boy from being a passive listener/reader of the book – but actually gets him interacting with the book – talking about it as I’m reading.

Have you guessed what it is?

The technique is simple – on every second page there’s a question.

It’s not a question that needs an answer – but it’s a question that engages the person reading the book and draws them deeper into the story.

They are questions about what will happen next, questions about what the reader thinks or knows, leading questions that draw readers to keep reading but also to become engaged.

It’s a technique that is powerful not only in children’s books – but in all kinds of writing. Perhaps it’s something worth experimenting with in your next blog post.

If you do – I’d love to hear how it goes.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. edwin says:

    the questions are so simple and short, yet able to intrigue anyone to bring the reader even further. Thanks for your tips!
    edwin
    Color Painting Art

  2. Ed says:

    thanks for the tip. i try to leave my questions open ended but it doesnt always get comments

  3. Nice…..good lesson

  4. Debra says:

    Of course my curiosity got the better of me when I read you were talking about George.

    Amazing all the posts thus far on the topic. We’ve seen ask questions before, just not so stylish. Thanks

  5. drt says:

    Simple but great idea! Thanks, Darren. In less than a month, I have learned more here than what I have learned this far about blogging.

  6. I use questions all the time. When I ‘talk’ to my readers, I use a conversational tone and actually imagine I’m am talking directly to them.

    My conversations often include questions because I ask questions in my physical life.

    And questions start dialogues.

  7. Wow… what a unique and great post. I’ve been reading your posts for quite a while but have never been motivated to make a comment before. I love how you have taken something that is an unrelated activity.. reading Curious George to your son and turned it into a great post related to blogging. Isn’t that what creativity is all about? Our ability to bring unrelated things together to gain new insight!! Congratulations on the fine work you are doing. Thank you.

  8. Good post, especially since you used the exact suggestions that you discussed. You asked the questions, did not give the answers right away and had me wanting to read to the end. Nice job. I am going to incorporate this idea in my next post.

  9. I like how you linked the writing styles together.

    Seth Godin has a lot of his posts that are full of questions to really make the reader think. My real estate blog posts uses questions in an attempt to keep them engaged plus stir up conversation. But they don’t have the frequent questions as Curious George books – great post idea. Thanks ;)

  10. “Create Anticipation” and “Drive Conversation” — two goals every writer, blogger, and everyone participating in social media marketing should strive for.

    Clever monkey, that George! :-)

  11. Meg says:

    I have been reading for a few weeks but I haven’t gotten started yet. You hit a real nerve with me. I ask questions when ever I write, no matter who I am writing to and they are never questions that need answers except in the readers mind. I’m glad to hear you consider it a good strategy. I teach for a living and it is so automatic to a teacher that it comes naturally in my writing.

  12. KristenAC says:

    What I love about this technique, using Curious George’s question cliffhangers, is the way it forces the reader to become participatory, and invokes critical thinking.

    Too often when reading, I digest specific instructions, or I absorb explicit details, and I wonder, where is there room for my own creativity, or my imagination?

    Thanks Darren, for this refreshing tip!

  13. Questions are a huge part of creating the experience of a dialogue between writer and reader. Leading questions are even bigger, as any good attorney will tell you. As a marketing copywriter, I might even use the old technique of making sure the answer to each question is “Yes,” so that the reader falls into a pattern of agreeing with everything the writer proposes.

  14. Mark | The Business Mindset says:

    Did you mean to put a question on this blog post? :)

  15. Mike J says:

    Great tips. Keeping things simple is so key it may seem simple to you, but there are thousands of people who may be not as well versed as you are. The easiest questions promote some of the best thought.

  16. Angela Ison says:

    Wonderful Idea!,

  17. I try to ask questions in every post, it is a powerful technique but it is more than that… it is the start (very beginning) of developing a blogging community.

  18. Diane says:

    Excellent post….and the four simple questions you asked kept me hanging on! Thanks for the valuable example. :-)

  19. Questions are one of the best engagement tools there is! What’s a better engagement tool?

    Ha ha!

  20. Nick says:

    Great post Darren. Thanks!

  21. Great post! It’s been a number of years since my kids were immersed in Curious George, but I dug them out after reading this. Missed the questions completely. Thanks.

  22. Nice point – but this post made me think of your “What’s wrong with blogging?” question … and I had been tempted to answer – drives me nuts when I try to do things straight up – and other guys blogs look better because they take the easy route and don’t worry about copyright and images….George isn’t yours to use, is it?

  23. nice tips . We can learn about something from anything . Like you that learn from curious George.

  24. Nhick says:

    Good point, reading your post “A Lesson From Curious George” is really very inviting because of the questions being asked right in the middle of every line.. nice one Darren.

  25. Aglolink says:

    This post makes an open mind, make it important! Even some inspiration like never before appeared suddenly.

  26. Kenny says:

    Very nice post. Brought back good memories. I enjoyed hearing Curious George stories, and now I realize one of the techniques used to keep the stories interesting.
    And I must agree that asking good questions in your blog post can generate both interest in your blog post and an urge to comment and add to the discussion.
    Good stuff! Thank you.

  27. Greg Stewart says:

    Marvellous!

    Kids and writing for kids teaches us the darndest things. Or maybe writing for kids just ignores all the bad habits we’ve developed as adults.

    Here is another lesson from kids authors:

    WHAT THE HUNGRY CATERPILLAR CAN TEACH US ABOUT PRESENTING
    here:
    http://bit.ly/16isrX

  28. zimilar says:

    Darren i am sure there are many other things we need to go back to see how children react facing them. Try to explain to a kid something using more than few words and you will understand what Keep It Simple Stupid formula means!

    I will tell all of you a short story:

    A friend of mine work in environmental movement industry and one day his 5 years old son went to see him at his office. They left the office and on the way home the kid asked one simple question:

    - Daddy…why you stay in front of the computer if you care about trees??

    Meaningful…

    Best of luck!

  29. So what the heck is it already, I’m dying to know…

  30. scheng1 says:

    This one not too bad. My favorite science fiction author uses a few pages to describe his shock, without giving a hint as to what it is.
    His style is something like this, “I can’t believe it. In all my life, I have never come across something like this. If I tell you now, you won’t believe it.”

  31. Darren,

    Great analogy. I remember the books well from my childhood. I hope you don’t mind, but I “borrowed” your metaphor on questions for a blog article I just wrote on job interviewing. I obviously gave you credit for the idea.

    As soon as finished your article, it hit me that it was also a great analogy for interviewing. You can see the article on our career and job search blog at:

    http://www.impacthiringsolutions.com

    As a sidenote, I have discovered that subscribing to a large number of blogs and scanning them daily gives me great ideas and inspiration for new blog articles.

    Your content is absolutely outstanding. I’ve picked up many tips over the last year from your blog articles and we’ve found that blogging consistently is the number one driver in our web-based business.

    Thanks.

    Barry Deutsch
    Partner
    IMPACT Hiring Solutions

  32. I used to read him as a kid back in the 90′s. Now he is a grea tool to learn how to get readers, and make money online.

  33. Janis Ault says:

    Another great post with good points, We have been a lurker right here for a short time but hope to become far more involved in the future.

  34. I’ve been watching your weblog for the month or so and also have picked up a pile of powerful info. I am starting to run my own, personal blog then again I do think its too typical and I would like to focus more about more compact topics.