Teaching wh- questions can often be challenging for our students with language disorders. Working on why questions is the most challenging. I am going to share some tips for why questions for speech therapy that will help you focus your teaching.
Tip #1: Teach the Question Type
When teaching why questions, it’s always good to start out by explaining that when someone asks a ‘why’ question, they are looking for a reason. I like to use a visual icon to help my students remember the type of question we are working on.
Tip #2: Teach a Response
Since ‘why’ questions are asking for a reason, it’s helpful to teach your students how to respond to these types of questions with a keyword. I always teach my students to respond with ‘because’ or ‘so’ when working on ‘why’ questions. From my experience, it’s usually easier to start with ‘because’ and practice answering questions that work with this type of response. As your student gets more familiar with this, you can then start working on using ‘so’ responses. Finally, you can incorporate both and practice deciding which response is better for the question being asked.
Tip #3: Provide Scaffolding
It’s important to remember that your student may need quite a bit of support as they work on these types of questions. I often start out by presenting my student with a sentence such as, “Sheila took a nap because she was tired.” This sentence includes the reason and the response key word ‘because.’ I will then ask the question, “Why did Sheila take a nap?” If needed, I will repeat the sentence. I will also emphasize the ‘because’ if my student needs more of a cue. If your student is reading, you can also present the written sentence and hilight the ‘because’ and underline the reason. These are all great cues to use as needed, fading them as accuracy improves.
I have a Leveled Wh- Questions resource that provides leveled practice for ‘why’ questions for speech therapy. This resource includes visuals, pictures, picture scenes, and practice questions to help make teaching ‘why’ questions easier for you.
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You can also click HERE to read more helpful tips for working on wh- questions.