Questions Questions

  1. Questions

Questions, Questions…

Children learn about the world by exploring what’s around them and by listening to adults’ descriptions of it.

When children are small, adults often encourage them to learn language by exploring the world through questions and answers i.e. ‘what’s monkey doing? Is he eating a banana?

Yes, he’s eating a banana!’. By modelling language in this way, we help our child to learn vocabulary (nouns, verbs, etc.) as well as teaching them how to understand, answer and ask questions (in terms of grammar and of the order of words).

Typically children learn to understand, answer and ask questions in the following order:

WHERE

is the first question children learn as the response doesn’t necessarily require any use of language: they can use their eyes to look or finger to point to where an object or person might be.

‘Where’ is used when teaching children about the names of places where something/someone is and about the prepositions required to describe their location.

Examples:

  • Where is teddy? (under the bed)
  • Where are we going? (to the park)
  • Where is mummy? (in the kitchen)

WHAT

is used most often in questions when children are learning vocabulary such as the names of things (nouns) and doing or action words (verbs).

Examples:

  • What can you see? (the rabbit)
  • What colour is it? (blue)
  • What’s teddy doing? (jumping)

WHO

is used to teach children the names of people, characters or animals (nouns and pronouns).

Examples:

  • Who is here? (daddy – noun)
  • Who is chasing the cat? (the dog – noun)
  • Who is driving the car? (she is – pronoun)

WHEN

might be difficult for some children as it involves the abstract concept of ‘time’ (such as today, yesterday, last week/last year).

Examples:

  • When are we going swimming? (tomorrow)
  • When did you go to the park? (last weekend)
  • When is your birthday? (in April)

WHY

is also more difficult to understand and use in questions – along with ‘HOW’. These involve abstract thinking around inferencing, reasoning, imagination, cause and effect and the ability to comprehend and use more complex language.

Examples:

  • Why is the boy sad? (because he dropped his ice-cream) – Why/Because are often taught together and we tend to use it to help children to understand right and wrong.
  • Why can’t I go outside to play? (because it’s raining) Why? Why? Why? – Why? Is a key question for children to explore and understand more about the world.. And sometimes we run out of

HOW

is the most difficult question word to understand as it requires imagination, reasoning and abstract language as well as the ability to produce explanations by means of longer sentences.

  • Adjectives, adverbs and description
  • Instructions and directions
  • Feelings and emotions
  • Sequencing ideas and reporting events

Examples:

  • How was your day? (long/fun/boring/tiring)
  • How do you build a paper-airplane? (First you need to… then fold… and then…)
  • How did you manage the test? (I was a bit stressed, but…)
  • How was your holiday? (Good! We went to… and visited…)
The Talking House - Questions

The Talking House – Questions