Asking stimulating and developmentally appropriate questions can help boost the language environment. Below are four strategies for extending conversations with questions.
1. Ask children about what they are doing.
- What are you working on today?
- You are working very hard, tell me about your project.
- What are your plans for those resources?
2. Ask children to provide explanations.
- Why do you think that happened?
- How can I help you solve this problem?
- How did you do that?
3. Ask children to make predictions.
- What do you think will happen next?
- What else could we use this container for?
- What would you do if that were you?
4. Ask children to connect learning to their own lives.
- What does this remind you of?
- These blocks are blue – what blue objects do you have in your home?
- The girl in the story loved her pet rabbit. Do you have any pets? Tell me about them.
For children with limited language, giving them a choice can help them respond more easily to questions. For example, “did you use crayons or textas to draw that picture?”
Keep high expectations for all children and gradually increase the complexity of your questions as children progress in their development.