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Asking Wh- Questions

Family Reading Time Series

Research shows that having conversations with children during book reading can significantly improve their understanding of the book and build their early literacy skills. One way to increase conversation is to ask children questions during book reading, using dialogic reading prompts such as those developed by Grover Whitehurst. This video demonstrates the prompt for WH- QUESTIONS (Who, What, Where, etc.). In this strategy, the adult may point to something in the picture and ask the child to name it. This helps children develop their vocabulary.

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  • Family Reading Time:
    Asking Wh- Questions

    (This video has captions. You can turn them on by clicking the CC icon at the bottom of the video.)
    Download a printable transcript.

    Introduction: And now, it’s Family Reading Time!

    Narrator: Did you know that having conversations with your child during book reading can help her become a better reader? Asking questions such as Who, What, Where, and Why can encourage conversation.

    Adult: What do you think happened here? What kind of look is that, that expression?
    Child: A very surprised face, that he’s not being patient.

    Narrator: When reading to your child, try pointing to something in the picture and ask her to name it. This helps her learn new words.

    Adult: Look here. What’s that?
    Child: A tear.
    Adult: A tear. Is he crying?

    Narrator: Asking your child questions about what’s happening on the page encourages her to use language skills and make connections between the pictures and the words in the story.

    Adult: What do you think is this expression here; what is she doing there?
    Child: Um, scolding him for keep on yelling.

    Narrator: Family Reading Time Tip: Ask your child Who, What, Where, and Why questions when reading stories.

    Closing: Family Reading Time has been brought to you by the Windham Area Women & Girls Fund and the Center for Early Childhood Education at Eastern Connecticut State University.

  • Family Reading Time was developed under the Dialogic Reading for Multilingual Families project, funded by the Windham Area Women and Girls Fund of the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut. The project provided training to multilingual families, including high school students, on the importance of continuing to read to children in their first language. Trainings also included information on dialogic reading strategies for fostering oral language during book reading. Interested families volunteered to be videotaped reading to their children.
  • La hora de lectura en familia: Haciendo preguntas de qué, quién, dónde, cuándo, y porqué
    Family Reading Time: Completing a Phrase
    Family Reading Time: Remembering the Story
    Family Reading Time: Asking Open-Ended Questions
    Family Reading Time: Making Connections to the Story
  • Producer: Julia DeLapp
    Director and Editor: Denise Matthews
    Production Coordinator and Editing Consultant: Ken Measimer
    Content expert: Ann Anderberg
    Videographers: Ken Measimer, Denise Matthews, Sean Leser (Eastern student), Amy Dillon (Eastern student)
    Narrators (English): Luz Ramos, Denise Matthews