Practice answering “WH” questions


Reading is one of THE best ways to develop language and even speech skills. You will see “reading” for the functional game on this page. Why mess with what works best, right?! The only difference will be HOW you read to your child. 

For Children age 2-3

How: Sit down with your child and pick a favorite book (preferably one with pictures and of interest to your child). Read the book with lots of animation and excitement. After reading for a bit…

  • Ask “what is this?” and point to an object. See if your child can answer. If he/she can’t, say the answer and see if he/she can repeat. 
  • Ask “where is….?” about a pictured person/object/animal (the picture helps tremendously with the learning process). Wait to see if your child can answer. If not, answer your own question while pointing to the pictures.
  • Ask “who” and “what-doing” questions (for 2-3 years old) as well as the questions listed above. If your child can’t answer a question, answer your own question by pointing to the picture and/or thinking OUT LOUD. By using these strategies, you teach your child HOW to answer a question and not just simply the answer. 

For Children age 3-5

How: Sit down with your child and pick a favorite book (preferably one with pictures and of interest to your child). Read the book with lots of animation and excitement. After reading for a bit…

  • Ask “what” and “where” questions as naturally as possible. These type of questions are easier so start here. If your child doesn’t know the right answer, point to the correct response (if possible) and talk through your reasoning. This “talking through” is the most important part.
  • Ask “why,” “how,” and “when” questions while reading. These type of questions require higher level language reasoning skills. Therefore, they are tougher. To make this easier, relate the story to a real-life experience. For example, if you ask “why is George feeling sad?” and your child doesn’t know the answer. You might say, “George is feeling sad because he lost his toy. Look at the previous page, he lost his toy. Remember when you lost your toy and you cried? How did you feel? (child answers sad). That is how George feels.” 

Key Strategies:

  • Point to pictures to help answer questions
  • Talk through your reasoning
  • Relate the story to real-life experiences

For children in Early Elementary


Even at this age, reading continues to be one of the best ways to learn how to answer WH questions. 

How: Sit down with your child and pick a favorite book (preferably one with pictures and of interest to your child). Read the book with lots of animation and excitement (you know the drill)

Ask your child questions, any of the questions listed above in the “expectations section” as naturally as possible. If your child can’t answer one, try some strategies below:

Key Strategies:

  • Point to pictures to help answer questions: Point to pictures as you answer questions. Any visual is a great thing in the learning process!
  • Direct Teaching: If your child is having trouble with a question word such as “where,” open a book and say “where means place. Let’s find all the ‘places’ in this book.” Then, take turns pointing to different places such as a school, car, park, city, etc…
  • Relate Story To Real Life: To teach higher level reasoning skills such as “what-if” and “why,” it can help to relate the story to a real-life experience. 
  • Talk Through Reasoning: For questions such as “what will happen next,” talk through your response. For example, if you say “what do you think will happen next?” listen to your child’s response and applaud ANY answer. If your child is way off, that is actually a good thing. You now have the opportunity to talk through how to answer prediction questions. You can say, “I think the paint will spill. See how the paint is on the edge of the table and the cat jumped on the table (while pointing). I think the cat will make the table shake and the paint will fall. Look it is already tipping! What do you think?”

How to practice Vocalic “R”

Vocalic R can be a tricky sound to teach, but these activities can help!

1. Rawr!

Supplies: Picture of a W, Picture of a Lion or Pirate (Linked below)

One of the simplest and funnest ways to practice vocalic /R/ at the sound level is to practice roaring like a lion.

Print this picture of a lion and set it on the table in front of the child.

Write a large W on another piece of paper and place it next to the picture of the lion. (You could also draw an R on the picture with the lion.)

First, have the child discriminate your production of the vocalic /R/ sound. Alternate between accurate and inaccurate productions as you “roar” and “rawr.”

Have the child point to the picture of the lion every time they hear the accurate /R/ sound vs. when you use the /W/ sound.

Once they are stimulable for the sound, have them practice doing the “rawr” like the lion.

You can do the same activity by printing this picture of a pirate and and practice saying “Argh” like a pirate.

Multiple Meaning Word Activities

Many children with language delays have difficulty understanding words with multiple meanings. In this lesson you will find some great activity ideas for your therapy room.

The following 4 therapy activities…

  • Fill in the Blank
  • Beanbag Toss
  • Pin the Word on the Donkey
  • Picture Match

…will provide some interactive ideas for you to use with your clients to help them progress on this goal.

Fill in the Blank

Read each sentence with the child and have them fill in the blank.

Each word will be used twice.

You can print the sentences or just do it auditorily.






  1. Taylor Swift is a _______.
  2. I don’t want to lose my name tag so I will ___________ it to my shirt.
  3. Superman can _________.
  4. Twinkle twinkle little _______.
  5. Get a swatter and swat the ______.
  6. I want to eat an ice cream _________.
  7. I pull up my hair using a ________.
  8. A baby likes to _______ a rattle.
  9. I like to eat toast with ______.
  10. When I hear loud music I like to ______.

Show Me More Activities

Tips for correct speech sound production

/b/ – “ball bouncing sound”

To produce the /b/ sound, use the following cues with your child.

  • Watch My Mouth (this will help him see what your lips are doing)
  • Put your lips together
  • Make your lips pop
  • Make your voice hum/Turn your voice on

Help your child push his lips together with his fingers if he’s having trouble getting them closed

/p/ – popcorn popping sound

If your child is having trouble with /p/, use the same cues as for /b/ but you will not tell her to turn her voice on.  You can have her whisper the sound if she’s making it sound like a /b/ instead of a /p/.

/w/ – “windy sound”

To make the /w/ sound, have your child start by saying “oo” like in “boo” and then slowly move the lips apart to say “uh”.  It should sound like “oooouuh”.

/m/ – yummy “mmmm” sound

The /m/ sound is produced by pushing the lips together and humming.  Have your child hold his lips closed and then ask him to hum or turn his voice on.  The mouth should not open at all during this sound, all of the air should come out of the nose.

/f/ – “funny bunny sound”

Use these cues to get your child to say the /f/ sound:

  • Bite your bottom lip (use a mirror to help your child see what she is doing)
  • Hold your lip there and blow

You may need to have your child use her finger to keep her lip in the right place.

/v/ – “vacuum sound”

To produce the /v/ sound, use the same cues as /f/ except that you will need to have your child hum or turn his voice on.  If your child is struggling with this, try having him hum a tune while biting his bottom lip with his top teeth. If your child is struggling to hold his lip with his teeth, have him use his finger to keep it in place.

“th” – “tongue sandwich”

To produce the “th” sound, have your child place her tongue between her top and bottom teeth and blow.  There are actually two versions of this sound, one with the voice on (like “the”) and one with the voice off (like “thumb”).  Have your child hum if it’s the voiced one.

/t/ – “clock ticking sound”

To produce the /t/ sound, have your child tap her tongue right behind her top, front teeth.  If your child is having trouble figuring out where to put her tongue, use these techniques to show her the right place:

  • Touch the spot right behind the top, front teeth with a popsicle stick or sucker.  Then tell her to put her tongue in the same spot.
  • Put a sticky food, like peanut butter or marshmallow cream, on the spot right behind her top, front teeth.  Then, have her lick it off. When you are describing that spot again, call it the sticky spot.

/d/ – drum tapping sound

To produce the /d/ sound, you can use the same cues as the /t/ sound, but your child will need to turn his voice on.  Tell him this is the loud one.

/n/ – airplane sound

For the /n/ sound, your child will need to put her tongue in the same spot as the /t/ sound (see the cues mentioned for /t/).  This time though, your child will hold the tongue in that spot while she hums or turns her voice on. If she is having trouble turning her voice on, have her hum a tune while holding her tongue in that position.

/s/ – snake sound

For the /s/ sound, have your child put his tongue in the same place as /t/ (use the placement cues from /t/) but then blow air out.  We call this the snake sound! If your child is sticking his tongue out too far, look in a mirror and tell him to keep his tongue behind his teeth. You can practice smiling so that his teeth are touching and there is no place for the tongue to peak out.

/z/ – busy bee sound

For the /z/ sound, use the same cues a /s/ but this time your child will need to hum or turn her voice on.  You can have her practice turning her voice on by humming a tune while saying the /s/ sound.

/l/ – singing “la la la” sound

For the /l/ sound, have your child slowly move his tongue up to the /t/ spot and back down again.  While he’s doing this, have him hum or turn his voice on.

/y/ – “yo-yo” sound

To produce the “y” sound, have your child start by saying “ee” like in “bee” and then slowly open the mouth to say “uh”.  It should sound like “eeeeeuuuhh”.

“sh” – “shhhhh, quiet sound”

I call this the quiet sound.  To make this sound, have your child form her lips into a little circle and blow.  If your child is saying /s/ instead of “sh”, ask her to pull her tongue back towards the back of her mouth.


This is the sound heard at the end of the word “beige”.  This one isn’t very common in our language but it’s produce the same way as “sh” except with the voice humming or turned on.

“ch” – train / “choo choo” sound

This sound is produced by saying “t” and “sh” quickly together.  This one is pretty difficult so don’t get frustrated if he can’t say it!


The “j” sound is made by saying the “d” sound and the “zh” sounds very quickly together.  This may be another one that is best worked on by a speech-language pathologist

“r” – “angry bear sound / pirate sound”

The /r/ sound is a very tricky sound to produce.  There are actually two different ways of producing this sound, one with the tongue scooped like a bowl and one with it curved like a mountain.  For each person, one of these ways will feel better than the other but you cannot force someone to say /r/ in the way that isn’t natural for them.  What you have to do instead is figure out which way they do it best. The easiest way to do this is to listen for any words with /r/ that your child says well.  For most children, there are a few words that they can say with a good /r/ already, you just have to be listening for them. Once you find that word, have your child hold out the /r/ in the word so she can feel what a good word sounds like.  Then, try to find other words that use /r/ in the same way. For example, if your child can say “car” well, try first to get other words that end in “ar” like “bar” and “far”. Once your child can do those, move to words that are similar, like “aardvark” or “marshmallow”

/k/ – “coughing sound”

To produce the /k/ sound, your child will need to get his tongue to the very back of his mouth.  If your child is having trouble finding the right place for his tongue, use some of these placement cues:

  • Get a small sucker (like a dum-dum) or a popsicle stick.  Gently push down the front of your child’s tongue so that it cannot rise up to say a “t” sound  You can also push his tongue back slightly with the sucker or stick to move the tongue backward.  Show him this on yourself first so he doesn’t get scared.
  • Have your child lay on his back while saying this sound.  Gravity may help him drop his tongue back.
  • Using your thumb, gently push up and back on the soft spot on the bottom of your child’s chin.  This may get the tongue back to the right position.

/g/ – “gulping sound / go-go sound”

The /g/ sound is produced the same way as the /k/ but with the voice turned on.


The /h/ sound is produced by making puffs of air at the back of the mouth.  Have your child pretend to pant like a dog to make this sound.

Play a Game of Telephone

Listen, Listen, Listen: carefully. Remember that childhood game of telephone? Turns out, telephone is an excellent way to teach your child to listen to your words and relate them to another person. If you cannot remember the game, here is how you play. Have your child and siblings get into a circle. One person whispers a word to the other and that person whispers that word to the next person. The goal of telephone is to end up with the same ending phrase as the starting phrase. When your children are talking to you, offer thoughtful responses so that you validate children’s language, as well as their ideas and feelings. They want to feel like they are being heard (don’t we all)?

Grade 3-5 Language Activities

  1. Board games such as “Outburst Junior”, “Apples to Apples Jr”, “Tri-Bond”, “Scattergories”, and “Twenty-Five Words or Less”, help increase vocabulary, understanding of categories and word retrieval skills.
  2. Games such as “Guess Who” and “20 Questions” aid in verbal reasoning and provide practice in asking appropriate questions. “20 Questions” also challenges auditory memory skills.
  3. Following recipes or steps to a craft project can improve sequencing and language comprehension skills. Having your child teach a parent or sibling a recipe, rules to a game or steps to a craft project can aid in expressive language skills and sequencing.
  4. Play “barrier games” together. Two people are seated across from each other with some type of visual barrier between them. One person creates something (e.g. a picture using a dot matrix, an easy paper folding activity, a route on a map) and must give exact instructions so that the other person can recreate the same thing without looking over the barrier. These games aid in using precise and clear expressive language skills as well as language comprehension skills.
  5. Tell stories using story starters (for example, “Jane sat down to breakfast as usual, but when she opened the cereal box something very strange happened”) or story telling picture cards. Picture cards can include any pictures of potential characters, places and objects. The story-teller chooses pictures from each category at random and has to make up a story using these pictures. Others can “add on” to the story with new cards.
  6. Make predictions about a story or chapter of a book you read to or with your child. Discuss what you think the book is about or what you think will happen next. As you begin reading, discuss whether your predictions were right. After reading a story or chapter of a book to or with your child, talk about the key parts of the story. Who are the main characters? Where and when does the story take place? What problems do the characters have to overcome? What do they plan to do? How do they finally solve the problem?
  7. Discuss short informational paragraphs read to or with your child. What is the main idea of the paragraph? What are the details?
  8. Use verbal problem-solving skills to discuss situations that may come up in your child’s life. What would they say or do? The Kids’ Book of Questions by Gregory Stock has a wide variety of questions and situations.

K-2 Language Activities

  1. Choose books of interest to read to your child and for each page or paragraph (depending on the age of your child), ask comprehension questions, such as who, what, when, where, why and how. If they have difficulty with answering, assist them by modeling what a “where” answer sounds like; add information to your child’s answers.
  2. Retell stories or books “in your own words,” one-to-one or as a family. Model retelling, and then ask your child to do the same in a comfortable setting. If this is too much for your child, “chunk” the story or text and every so often have them tell a part or the story, or “what’s happened so far.”
  3. Read a variety of fiction and non-fiction books to your child. This will help in them in later grades when they read textbooks in science and social studies, when they read for factual information, and when they learn research methods.
  4. When reading together discuss new or complex word forms as you run across them. Children may benefit from highlighting or paraphrasing the following: words that are opposites (hot – cold), words that mean the same thing (big – large), and words that have more than one meaning (feet as a body part – feet as in measurement).
  5. Play categorization games with your child. For example, name as many animals, sports, colors, etc., as you can. Teach your child what to do and say if they don’t know an answer. Start by asking them what they do know if they answer, “I don’t know.”
  6. Play same/different games with your child. State two items, for example. popsicle and ice cream cone; ask how the two items are the same and different.
  7. If your child uses incorrect grammar structures, “I gotted a A on my project,” model the correct grammar by saying, “Oh, you got an A on your project.”
  8. If your child is difficult to understand because she or he uses non-specific words during stories or explanations, (for example, “We went there and got the stuff for the thing,”) you can label the non-specific words as “words that don’t tell us much,” or as “confusing words.” Model for them how to be more specific. Example: “Your class went to the library to get books for the read-a-thon,” now you tell me again.
  9. You can practice sequencing with your child by cutting out newspaper funnies, or cartoons. After you read them have your child put them in the correct order and tell the story. Encourage them to use terms such as, first, second, third, and then, next, last.
  10. Practice sequencing with your child by using a real life situation such as, “tell me how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”

Articulation Activities

  1. HIDE AND SEEK – Parent hides articulation cards around one room of the house and as the child finds them, he/she names them using their best sound.
  2. MYSTERY PICK – Parent chooses a winning card, places the card back in the deck, shuffles and fans out the cards. Child takes turns selecting cards and saying the word on the card until they pick the “winner”.
  3. BEAN BAG TOSS – Scatter the articulation cards on the floor. Select a winning card. Have the child stand a few feet away and try to toss a bean bag into a card. The child must say the word on the card that that bag lands on until they find the “winning” card.
  4. FISHING FOR WORDS OR NUMBERS – This can be done two ways. Either use a fishing pole (a dowel rod works great) with a magnet attached via string to pick the articulation cards with paper clips attached, or use the pole to pick up fish with numbers on them. The number indicates how many words they have to say.
  5. GUESS WHAT! – Cover an articulation card with a blank index card. Use the blank card to slowly unveil the picture on the articulation card. The child must guess (and correctly produce the word) before the picture is totally unveiled.
  6. PICK 2 – The child has to pick two cards from the deck at random and use both words in one sentence that makes sense and with correct articulation. Make this game more challenging by using three words.
  7. ARTICU-BOWL – Attach cards to bowling pins (empty soda bottles work great) and have the child bowl over the pins. As s/he picks up the pins, s/he must correctly say each word attached to the pins.
  8. MEMORY LINE-UP – Place 3, 4, or 5 cards in a row, have the child say the words, then close his/her eyes while you switch the order. S/he must put them back in order and say them again.
  9. WHAT’S MISSING? – Place 3-7 (depending on the level of difficulty) cards on a table. Give the child a minute or two to name all of the pictures and commit them to memory. Have the child close his/her eyes while you take one away. When the child opens their eyes, they have to guess which card is missing and name it using good articulation.
  10. TWISTER ARTIC – Toss several articulation cards into the air. Leave them where they land but be sure all cards are face up. Instruct the child to put as many body parts (elbows, hands, fingers, nose, etc.) on as many cards as s/he can. S/he must name each card that s/he touches.
  11. BALLOON BOUNCE – Bounce a balloon and try to keep it in the air. Each time the child hits the balloon, they must say a word with their sound correctly.
  12. BOARD GAMES – Any board game can be used. Have the child roll the die/dice. The number s/he rolls is both the number of spaces s/he moves and the number of words s/he has to say before moving.
  13. SOUND COLLAGE – Using magazines, have the child cut out several pictures that have his/her sound. If appropriate, talk about whether the sound is at the beginning, middle or end of the word. As the child says the word, s/he glues the picture to a large piece of construction paper to make a collage.
  14. TREASURE HUNT – Go on a treasure hunt around your house to look for things that have your child’s target sound. Practice saying each word as you find things.
  15. CAR FUN – While in the car, look for things that have you child’s target sound. Have a contest to see who can find the most. If you find something, have your child use the word in a sentence and vice versa.
  16. I SPY – One person chooses a visible object with the child’s target sound (i.e. a “clock” if the target sound is /k/). That person gives the clue, “I spy with my little eye something that’s ___” (gives a word to describe the clock). The other person asks questions to try and figure out what the object is.

Speech & Language Activities

Dear Parents,

Here is a list of ideas to help your children develop their speech and language skills while we are off:

Speech and Language Home Suggestions for Emergencies Handout

  • Play a game where you hide something and give your child specific directions on how to find it (i.e. Go up the stairs.  Turn right and walk to 10 steps. Look behind the pillow.) Then have your child take a turn hiding something and giving you specific directions.
  • Play a game where you describe an item and have your child guess what you are talking about.  Then have your child take a turn describing an item for you to guess.
  • Write a sentence, cut the words apart, mix up the words, and have your child put the words in order.
  • Have your child name all the items they can think of that fit in a category (i.e. fruits, vegetables, etc)
  • Ask your child imagination questions (i.e. if you were a bird, what would you see when you are flying)
  • Have your child make up a story.
  • Have your child tell you how two things are alike and how two things are different (i.e. an apple & a banana; a fork & spoon; a car and a motorcycle)
  • Simon Says
  • Headbandz game (use it for describing items together, turn-taking, predictions – you can write down what the other person says to help you find out what item you have on your head)
  • Make a treasure hunt for the kids to find fun toys or snacks
  • Name a shape and have your child go around the house and find things that are that shape
  • Place objects from around the house (i.e.: spoon, crayon)  in a pillow case or bag and have your child describe to you what each object is using specific characteristics (i.e. size, shape, color, parts, location, group it belongs to)
  • Have your child follow directions to work on prepositions (i.e.: in, on, over, under) with your child’s favorite toy.  Tell your child to place the toy “under” the chair or “in” the box. After, have them work on their expressive language by having them create the direction using a preposition.  
  • Wall Bop – Put each alphabet letter on a sticky note and put them on a wall or door.  Have the kids throw a beanbag at them. Whatever letter they get, they have to name the letter and something that starts with that letter.
  • HearBuilder Online Free Trial   Hear Builder is a great way for your child to work on following directions, phonological awareness, auditory memory, and sequencing.