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Sunday, June 7, 2015

What Kinds of Questions Can You Answer?

I spend an awful lot of time and energy on Wh-Questions.  I always have.  Being able to answer Who, What, What doing, When, and Where questions is so crucial for:
  1. being able to answer questions in class about the curriculum
  2. being able to answer questions about oneself and one’s experiences.
Which leads to:
  1. being able to have conversations
  2. being able to retell and talk about stories 
And these are just the tip of the iceberg.

If you take a look at the Common Core State Standards (and everybody is looking at them, these days) you will see that the very first standard for Reading is the ability to ask and answer questions about books.  The very first standard for Speaking and Listening involves participation in conversations.
Even when I’m working with older adolescents and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder or developmental disabilities I often focus on developing these skills so that they can participate as much as possible in social interactions, as well as telling support staff what happened to them during the day.

In my many decades working with students with Autism one of the most difficult skills for them to master has always been correctly answering Wh questions with the correct word type.  If I had a nickel for every time a kid told me “In bed,” in answer to When do you sleep?”  I could retire now.

Many years ago I created my own activity for teaching kids how to answer these questions.  I had parents telling me over and over that it was the only thing that had ever worked, and that I should publish it.
Well, who had the time?  SLP by day, mom and wife by night.  Waaaaay too busy.

Just a few years ago I finally got the idea that, with the iOS revolution, maybe it was time to give it a try.  As many of you know, the result was Question It, an app for iPad that uses a variety of teaching strategies; like faded color cues and errorless learning.
I’ve also made a paper-based version available for sale in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.  And, I make and use some additional answering questions materials.

So, for this summer’s free keep-up-the language-skills materials for parents, I’ve made a couple of Wh question games. 

You can find the whole resource HERE

The past two years I’ve offered calendars with a variety of tasks and questions.  
From 2013:

From 2014: 

And if you wander back to last summer’s posts you will find several other sets of free language materials to get you through the summer months HERE  for a phonological awareness activity and HERE for vocabulary fun.

Stay cool!  And keep talking

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