Are you in need of some quick wh questions worksheets for short stories with visual cues? Then you need my Answering WH Questions From Short Text for Speech Therapy packet, featuring 60 short stories (30 non-fiction, 30 narrative) with prompts for who, what, when, where, why, and how questions! Questions are leveled so you can provide either multiple choices, or blank text boxes, depending on what level your students are at. To make teletherapy easier, this resource includes Boom cards™️ and Google Slides™️.
If your students aren’t ready for text based WH questions worksheets, check out my WH Questions with Real Pictures: Targeting Who, What, Where, When, and Why packet. It includes 20 WH question picture cards with 10 generalization pictures!
Read on for more information about the who, what, where, when, why, and how to use WH questions worksheets!
In education, there are some teachers who love using worksheets, like my WH questions worksheets. When you are using quality materials, you can present new information to students. Providing written explanations, possibly with symbols, visual cues graphic organizers, or pictures applies universal design for learning principles to help all students. Using worksheets helps us control the variables, so when we can systematically increase the level of difficulty. It’s easy to grade, document, and show progress from work completed on a worksheet.
Other educators (and speech-language pathologists) hate worksheets! Children learn best through play and most worksheets do not generally qualify as play. For our students with special needs, they may learn to complete a worksheet, but do not generalize the task to the real world. For example, a student might complete a WH question worksheet with 100% accuracy, but be unable to answer WH questions about short stories during class discussion (or during a conversation with a peer!).
So which is the right answer? Worksheets help us know we are providing intervention where needed. But our kids need their skills in the real world.
The answer is we need both! Time and time again, research tells us that we need to teach skills explicitly to students with speech language impairments. Kids need to know what they are working on. They should be aware of their goals and understand why they come to speech therapy.
WH questions worksheets are perfect for this initial, teaching part of speech therapy.
The first step when teaching WH questions in short stories is to teach what each of the wh questions words means. Pair that definition with the word and a symbol, like my WH questions visual cue cards.
Have you ever had a student who just doesn’t seem to get what you’re asking? “When” is an especially tricky wh question. “When do you go to sleep?” might be answered with “Pajamas.” Maybe the student means “after I put on my pajamas.” Or maybe the student just doesn’t understand what you are asking. “When” is a time. Our students need to know that.
ALWAYS include direct teaching when you’re working on WH questions. ⠀
I see too many SLPs get stuck in drilling these questions with flashcards.⠀
These students might make progress on those specific flashcards, but once they’re asked something they haven’t memorized, their skills crumble. 😫⠀
To avoid this, teach WH questions directly. Teach the “hack” of HOW to answer WH questions. ⠀
You can use the exact same materials with a different teaching approach and get completely different results. For example…⠀
⏰ “When” means a time. We answer “when” questions with a time.⠀
And for my more advanced students, “when” means a time, which can be a clock time, a season, time of day (ex: afternoon), or even be an answer like “when I’m… (tired)”. We might even work on one of those answer types at a time.⠀
Using consistent explanations and direct teaching in this way can make such a big difference in your student’s ability to use these skills OUTSIDE of the speech room, which is what it’s all about, right? 💡
When you use worksheets with your students, they get the same WH questions visual over and over again. The same symbols are paired with the same question. The same verbal or visual prompt or cue (“Who means a person”) is consistently repeated. We can build up our students’ confidence by helping them experience success. The repetition mimics the easier success we see from drilling, but we can still do it in a contextually relevant way!
My worksheets are also leveled, meaning that you can offer students multiple choices or fill-in-the-blank text boxes. You can control the level of support by changing the prompts you give to your students.
Worksheets make progress monitoring and data collection so easy! We know we are consistently measuring a single skill, so our data is actually meaningful.
When I’m working on WH questions, first, pick the level of support. Is your student using any of these cues:
Now you can assemble your goal, which can be something like this:
If your student is struggling with just a few of the wh question words, then write a goal just for those words they need to work on. In this instance, you might want to measure 80% accuracy across 3 consecutive sessions because you might not get as many opportunities to ask one or two types of question per session.
For more speech therapy IEP goals, make sure to check out my goal bank!
Now, worksheets can provide structure to our lessons, but we can never forget generalization. We also shouldn’t leave generalization to the end, once our students have met their goals in structured formats.
This is where some of the art of being an SLP comes into play. We can’t move into a decontextualized, natural environment too quickly, or the skills that our students need won’t be firmly rooted. But if we wait too long, we’ll have to start all the way over again.
First, make sure to provide classroom teachers with a copy of your visual prompts for your students! Let’s collaborate with the team to make sure we aren’t just teaching our kids speech therapy tricks.
Next, keep your visuals on hand while you have authentic interactions with your students. When they don’t answer a question appropriately, you can point to or hold up WH questions visual reminders to help them. We answer WH questions all day long in many different ways. Here are some you can try with your students:
How often you do this can depend on you. Maybe you have three worksheet-based sessions, with one more casual therapy session to see how skills are carrying over. Maybe you save the last 5 minutes for “fun hang out time” (which is actually generalizing skills time, sneaky!)
In the end, there is a time and place for both worksheets and play-based (or natural) therapy tasks. The key is to know when to use each one and how to use each one to be the most effective SLP you can be!