Today we are continuing our discussion on wh-questions, and moving into activities to teach children how to answer them.
The focus of this post is the easier question types on the hierarchy (see THIS post for more information on this)- the what, where, and who questions.
As I mentioned on Monday, these questions typically deal with something tangible and present. You can use that to your advantage in teaching them!
The first step is to teach your child the meaning of “who” and “where.” Depending on your child’s abilities, you may be able to phrase it as ” a who question is a what-person question” and “a where question is a what-place question.” You can also teach that a “who question is a person/animal question” and “a where question is a place question.” Either way works, it’s just a matter of which one your child responds to.
To do this, try having several pictures of different places and people/animals. Basic flashcards would work for this, as well as just a quick google search. Just go through them with your child and have them identify “who” or “where.” This step may seem silly, but it will save you a whole lot of repetition of “who/where is a person/place question.”
Once your child knows what each question word is asking, you can start asking questions. Once again, stick to the here and now. Books with great pictures like the No David! series, and basic look-and-find books are a great place to start. I would stay away from I-Spy books and Where’s Waldo? books at this point because they are visually very overwhelming.
I had some great resources as a speech therapist with a few products from Super Duper. The first was silly scenes with accompanying questions. I don’t know if my brain is foggy because I’m battling a cold, but I couldn’t find this particular product on their website. But it is easily reproducible with a scene in a book or a picture. Or you could even draw one if you like. To make it even more relevant to your child, a picture of a family reunion or something like that would be awesome! Also, if your child is able to play a board game like Guess Who? you can modify it so that you are practicing wh-questions.
If your child responds well to flashcards or technology, Super Duper also sells wh-question cards. Here’s the deal though- apparently it is about $70 for the five question sets! Yikes!! Buuuuuuut… they sell the app with all the flashcards for just $11.99! HERE is the link.
Finally, there are play-based games you can do to sneak wh-questions into your child’s day. You could play I-Spy in your house- just be sure to use the question words! I also want to share a game I play with Chicka Chicka that has a 100% engagement rate. Take 3-6 stuffed animals and hide them around your house. Turn off all the lights, and give your child a flashlight to find the stuffed animals. When your child finds one, ask them, “Where was that animal?” and then they have to answer before you retrieve the stuffed animal. This typically works better if you hide them in places your child can’t reach- like up on top of a curtain rod or in a cupboard (with a leg or arm sticking out, of course). Chicka Chicka has never not wanted to play this game.
I also have lots of fun ideas on my Pinterest boards, as well as lists of wh-questions. Go HERE to check them out!
I hope this has inspired you to find fun ways to work on simple wh-questions! Stay tuned as I move into why and how questions, and then, finally, the toughie- having your child ASK questions!