By four years of age, a child should be able to answer the WH questions such as “who,” “what,” and “where.”
This page will focus on “who” questions:
For a quick grammar review, "who" questions ask about people and/or animals. For example:
To initially teach a child how to answer “who” questions, I begin with flashcards. The picture on the card and the decreased distractions of daily life are very beneficial.
However, after the teaching phase using flashcards, I recommended moving quickly to games listed below since these activities will help with carry over of progress to conversational speech.
What You Need: Who Question Flashcards
How To Use Cards:
1. Print the cards or pull them up on some sort of device (computer, tablet, iPad, etc…)
2. Sit down at a table with your child and get out the cards.
3. First, ask the question on the card and then answer your own question. Have your child repeat your answer. Do this for a few rounds so your child starts to learn to answer the "who" questions with a person or animal.
4. Once, your child has learned the pattern, ask your child a question and wait for a response. If your child answers it correctly, say good job and move on to the next card. If your child makes a mistake, correct the mistake and have him or her repeat it and then move on.
5. My recommendation is to repeat this task a few times in a row for about a week or so. Once your child seems to be getting it, move on to games below. They will help to carry-over progress into everyday speech!
What You Need: A book with a few different characters that your child knows well
How To Play: Sit down and read with your child. It is important to pick a story that your child already knows well. This way he/she doesn’t have to learn the name of the characters and learn how to answer “who” questions at the same time. It is important to focus on one skill at a time :)
When you get to a page with a character say “who is that?” or “who is riding the bike?” Of course, the questions will vary depending on the story. Wait for a response. If your child says the correct answer, praise him/her and keep reading.
If your child doesn’t know how to answer or says the wrong answer, point to a picture (if possible) and repeat the question. If he/she still doesn’t know how to answer, say the answer and ask him/her to repeat it.
What You Need: A farm, house, or just little people/animals
How To Play: Many games at this age involve a house and/or farm. If you don’t have one, I would try to invest in one! They are so handy for learning!!
Get out the people or animals and start playing. While your child is playing, start asking simple “who” questions such as:
This type of “who” question is a bit obvious since the answer is a bit obvious! Once your child is good at answering this question move on to the next step.
Have two characters do something such as:
Show your child what you are doing and then ask a “who” question such as:
Easy and fun to do!
While eating periodically ask your child a “who” question. I like this game since it already happens naturally during conversations. Additionally, it is really easy to do and doesn’t require any extra work for the parents!
Some sample questions:
Tip: Adults tend to answer questions quickly; however, toddlers sometimes need extra response time. Make sure to give your child a chance to respond!