There are different types of questions in the English language. Some are easier to answer, such as a yes/no question (“do you want a cookie?” and “is this red?”), a choice question (“do you want an apple or an orange?”), frequently asked questions, or fill-in-the-blank type questions. However, others can be more difficult to answer, such as open-ended wh-questions (e.g., what happened? why? how?) that require a child to answer with a longer explanation.
The first developmental questions that a child learns to ask and answer are what, who, and where questions. For some children, wh-questions can be difficult to answer (and very difficult to ask). Learning how to answer questions is important because this how we participate in conversations and share our knowledge about things we have learned and about our world.
We can strengthen a child’s ability to answer wh-questions by
• reading books and asking questions
• using pictures of scenes (kids playing, family eating) from a magazine, movie, the internet and asking questions about the picture
Remember to balance asking questions with making comments. Parents often have many questions about questions!
Activities and resources
Tips on using wh-questions while reading a story
Example of picture scene and wh-questions
Pictured scenes for wh-questions
Printable wh-question worksheets
Winter scenes for wh-questions
What questions with multiple choice pictures
“What Do You Do With…” activity
Where questions with multiple choice pictures