WH questions come up a lot in pediatric language therapy! They’re really functional and seem to be easily noticed as a weakness by teachers and parents.
I wanted to share a few thoughts when targeting WH questions as well as a few of my favorite resources for targeting WH questions at a variety of language levels.
My biggest tip and strategy when targeting WH questions is to make it direct and explicit. Include visuals. Define each WH question for your student. For example, your students need to hear that “where means a place” over and over and over.
Another important thing to remember when you’re working with a child who has trouble answering WH questions is that in many cases, it’s less about the WH question words (who, what, where, etc..) and more about the rest of the question.
For example, factors like what vocabulary words are used and whether the question requires an inference to answer cause some WH questions to be much more difficult than others. Even a student’s background knowledge can impact their ability to answer some WH questions and not others!
If you’re writing a WH question goal, make sure the student is really struggling with WH questions (not vocab, inferencing, the syntax of the question, etc..). Otherwise a direct goal in that area might be more appropriate.
With all of that said, I’ve seen huge gains on targeting WH questions directly with students at a really wide variety of levels – preschool through middle school.
Answering WH questions is a functional academic and life skill for people of all ages!
Here’s 5 activities I use all the time to target WH questions in my speech therapy sessions.
These super simple questions + two real picture answer choices are a great activity for directly teaching WH questions! I also love it for informal assessment or progress monitoring.
Once my students grow in their ability to answer these types of simple questions, I try to move onto other more difficult (and functional) activities like the other ones in this blog post.
This is one of my favorite formats for working on WH questions! I love that I can easily level it up or down by providing more or less icon answer choices.
In case you’re more of a digital SLP, I also included a Boom cards version in this resource! It’s a great way to save the time printing, laminating, and prepping too!
This resource is similar to the one before it, but is newer and includes different picture scenes as well as color-coding!
It’s also completely digital and interactive!
Click here to check out this resource in my TpT store!
As important as answering WH questions is, being able to formulate and ask them is just as, if not *more*, important!
This resource targets formulating questions to get more information.
It goes through each WH question, one at a time, to scaffold success with your students!
Click here to learn more about this resource!
Once my students are older or at a higher language level, my favorite way to target WH questions is from texts!
To differentiate this activity for different levels, I might target narratives vs non-fiction texts (narratives are usually easier for most students!) or provide/remove answer choices for the questions.
I also love providing classroom teachers with the same visuals in case they’re helpful when completing classroom work as well.
All of that is included in my WH Questions from Short Texts resource which includes visuals, leveled options, and 60 unique texts (both narrative and non-fiction). You can learn more or see example pages by clicking here.
If you’re looking for even more ideas, I have quite a few resources that directly target WH questions in my TpT store. I also have WH question resources included in my themed units!
I hope that helps to give you some ideas! If you’re looking for even more great information on answering questions, below are a few of my favorite resources to learn more:
Thanks for reading!
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