Question Time
How To Ask Questions Correctly

Question Time has 2 different sections: 

If this is your first time, please read through the information on how to ask questions correctly. It is not as easy as you would think! If you have been here before, jump down to the games or download your copies right here!

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How To Ask Questions Correctly


Ahhh…questions, this can be a tricky one. Too many questions can be very stressful for a little language learner, especially open-ended questions (i.e., “how are you?”). However, questions should not be avoided altogether either. They are a necessary part of communication and if used correctly, can expand your child’s vocabulary immensely. The key here is balance and asking questions in the correct manner.

Balance:

In general, adults ask many, many questions. Too many really! The first step is to honestly pay attention to the quantity of questions you ask your child daily. I recommend making a tally every time you ask your child a question to get a true representation of the quantity. I guarantee you will be shocked!   

Asking Questions the Correct Way: 

When you do ask a question, offer a choice whenever possible.  By offering a choice, your child learns what kind of response such a question requires. Additionally, your child has the opportunity to repeat words which is a great learning opportunity and/or vocabulary review. Also, by being able to answer a question, your child is reminded of the power of being able to communicate using words. The biggest motivation to starting to talk is the power and freedom it can create. Once children realize that they can get what they want faster by talking, they will start to talk more and more!

To properly use this technique, your child has to be able to imitate. If your child is not consistently imitating words, review the imitation section.

Below are 2 scripts explaining what TO DO and what NOT TO DO!

Below, you will find games to practice this important skill. Pick out a game and try it! 

Question Time Games


1. Question Time: Toys

What You Need

A farm, house, blocks, play food, or anything with multiple pieces

How To Play

  1. Sit down on the floor with your child.
  2. Get out a few toys such as a dollhouse and toy dog. Get your child interested in the game.
  3. Once your child joins the game, take out 2 more objects and show your child.
  4. If your child names one object, then give it to him/her.
  5. If your child only points to an object or tries to grab it, then continue with the question technique.
  6. Say the name of each object as you show them to your child using inflection (as if you were asking a question). Hopefully, your child will repeat one of the names here.
  7. If not: Once you know which toy your child wants, say the name of it while holding it next to your mouth. Allow a few seconds for your child to repeat it. If no word is spoken, offer the toy halfway and repeat the name. Give your child a few seconds to respond. If your child still only points or grunts, then repeat the name one more time as you give the object. Praise your child for listening and trying!

Tips

  • Offer only 2 options.
  • Make sure you show the items to your child as you name them.
  • Use simple language.
  • Ask the initial question and then provide models for 2 possible answers that matches your child's language ability. By offering a choice, your child learns what kind of response such a question requires. Your child has the opportunity to repeat words which is a great learning opportunity and/or vocabulary review.

 **In this script, the parent does not offer choices and the child does not know how to respond. This can cause frustration! The child wasn't able to communicate and a language learning opportunity was lost.

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2. Question Time: Meals

What You Need

Options of food for your child

How To Play

  • Before a meal, have a few options of food ready for your child.
  • When you start the meal, don't give all the food all at once. Instead, offer your child two choices. Ask a question such as "what do you want to eat?" and then answer your own question with 2 options such as "chicken or fish."
  • Show both choices to your child as you name them using simple language.
  • Wait a few seconds for a response.
  • If your child does not respond but you know which food he/she wants, hold the desired food close to your mouth and say the name again.  If your child still doesn't repeat the word, offer it halfway and say the name again. Wait a few seconds for a response. If your child still does not say the name of the food, give it to your child as you repeat the word one more time. 

Tips

  • Offer only 2 options & use simple language
  • Make sure you show the food to your child as you name it
  • Ask the initial question and then provide models for 2 possible answers that matches your child's language ability. By offering a choice, your child learns what kind of response such a question requires
  • Your child has the opportunity to repeat words which is a great learning opportunity and/or vocabulary review​

Below are 2 scripts that help illustrate what TO DO and what NOT TO DO!

In this script, the parent does not offer choices and the child does not know how to respond. This can cause frustration!

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