Handouts for parents and teachers:  Asking questions that build language and thinking skills

For young children, understanding and answering questions provide important practice for building language and thinking skills.  How can parents and teachers formulate questions that will help children “stretch” and grow?

Adults ask children a lot of questions. “What’s that on your shirt? What color is that truck? How old are you?”  But the questions we ask don’t always build new language or ask the child to “stretch” and develop more sophisticated language. 

Head Start’s National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning (NCQTL) has an excellent handout that will help both teachers and parents ask questions that stimulate language development. This one-page handout provides four questioning strategies and examples of questions that are designed to elicit more language from young children.

This handout is an excellent companion to the Language is the Key video training program for both parents and teachers. You can download the handout from the NCQTL website.

See our related article “All questions are not created equal.”