100+ WH Questions for Speech Development (With Examples)

WH Questions

You know those questions that start with why, what, where, when, and sometimes how? Well, we use them all the time, right from when we’re kids and throughout our lives. They help us gather important details about things, like how something works or why something happened. These questions are called WH questions in speech therapy because they’re super useful for understanding and expressing information. The 6 main WH question types begin with who, what, where, why, where and how, although there are also other WH questions that are used as well.

WH questions can be powerful conversation starters with children, providing insights into areas where they can improve their spoken English language skills. By using complex questions, parents can identify potential language processing and comprehension challenges, such as speech delays, which may require early intervention.

In this article, we will explore the importance of incorporating WH questions into daily interactions with your child to aid their speech development. Additionally, we’ll delve into the types of questions speech-language pathologists might ask during therapy sessions, along with practical tips to assist your child in preparing for and making progress in their language journey. 

At the end of this page, you’ll find a list of over 100 example questions with sample answers you can start using today at home with your child to improve their spoken English confidence.

Why is asking WH Questions helpful in Speech Therapy?

One of the reasons WH questions are so important in speech development, is that answering them requires a lot of thought and more language processing because the response to  open questions requires more information to be spoken than just a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer in reply. Both expressive and receptive language skills can be assessed through the careful analysis of responses to the questions.

Answering WH questions exposes individuals to new words and concepts, which can be a great way of easily expanding their vocabulary whilst also encouraging active listening and more effective communication. Conversations using WH questions, can be practised in a speech therapy session or home environment, and this can improve self-confidence, clarity of spoken words and the ability to process information more quickly and respond in a way that answers a question in a concise, relevant and sometimes accurate way.

The video below from Youtube is a really fun way to explain the importance of these types of question to any young children (especially if they enjoy a fun song!):

Examples of WH questions

Here is a list of some WH questions, along with the role of each type of question in terms of extracting information:

  1. Who: Used to inquire about a person or people.
    • Example: Who is your best friend?
  2. What: Used to inquire about something or an action.
    • Example: What is your favorite movie?
  3. When: Used to inquire about a specific time or occasion.
    • Example: When does the concert start?
  4. Where: Used to inquire about a place or location.
    • Example: Where did you go for vacation?
  5. Why: Used to inquire about the reason or purpose behind something.
    • Example: Why did you choose that restaurant?
  6. How: Used to inquire about the manner or method of doing something.
    • Example: How do you bake a cake?

Each of the above examples demonstrates that responding to these questions requires thinking time, a good level of understanding of the subject being inquired about, and the ability to express a child’s thoughts and opinions verbally. These types of questions can initiate or become part of a conversation, and they also aid speech therapists, parents, or other individuals in assessing a child’s level of understanding and verbal communication abilities.

A List of 25 Why questions for children

Asking “why” questions can spark curiosity and stimulate meaningful conversations with children. Here’s a list of “why” questions suitable for children, with possible answers. Keep in mind that an instant response will not always occur and ‘I don’t know’ is bound to be a common, and also accurate answer for many children!

  1. Question: Why do you like playing with your toy car?  Response: “Because it’s fun to pretend I’m driving a real car!”
  2. Question: Why do you brush your teeth before bed?  Response: “To keep my teeth clean and healthy.”
  3. Question: Why do you wear a helmet while riding a bicycle?  Response: “To protect my head and stay safe if I fall.”
  4. Question: Why do you feel happy when you’re with your friends?  Response: “Because we laugh and have fun together.”
  5. Question: Why do you listen to your teacher in school?  Response: “So I can learn new things and do well in class.”
  6. Question: Why do you like eating vegetables?   Response: “Because they make me strong and healthy.”
  7. Question: Why do you say ‘thank you’ when someone helps you?  Response: “To show that I appreciate their help and kindness.”
  8. Question: Why do you wear a jacket in cold weather?  Response: “To stay warm and cozy.”
  9. Question: Why do you go to bed early at night?  Response: “So I can have enough rest and energy for the next day.”
  10. Question: Why do you share your toys with others?  Response: “Because it makes them happy, and I like being kind.”
  11. Question: Why do you like reading bedtime stories?  Response: “Because they make my imagination soar, and I feel relaxed before sleep.”
  12. Question: Why do you look both ways before crossing the street?  Response: “To make sure no cars are coming and to stay safe.”
  13. Question: Why do you feel sad when your friend is upset?  Response: “Because I care about my friend, and I want them to feel better.”
  14. Question: Why do you wear sunscreen at the beach?  Response: “To protect my skin from getting sunburned.”
  15. Question: Why do you say ‘sorry’ when you make a mistake?  Response: “To show that I didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings.”
  16. Question: Why do you exercise or play sports?Response: “To stay healthy, have fun, and get stronger.”
  17. Question: Why do you eat fruits and drink milk?  Response: “Because they give me energy and make my body strong.”
  18. Question: Why do you follow rules at home and school?  Response: “So everyone can be safe and things can run smoothly.”
  19. Question: Why do you celebrate birthdays?  Response: “To have a special day with friends and family and get presents!”
  20. Question: Why do you raise your hand in class?  Response: “To wait for my turn to talk and not interrupt others.”
  21. Question: Why do you clean up your toys after playing?  Response: “To keep my room neat and find them easily next time.”
  22. Question: Why do you wear a seatbelt in the car?  Response: “To stay safe if there’s an accident or sudden stop.”
  23. Question: Why do you study for tests and exams?  Response: “So I can do well and make my parents proud.”
  24. Question: Why do you help your parents with chores?  Response: “To show them that I’m responsible and appreciate their hard work.”
  25. Question: Why do you like playing in the rain?  Response: “Because splashing in puddles is so much fun, and it cools me down!”

25 Who questions for children (with possible responses)

This is a list of some possible Who questions for use by parents at home.

These “Who” questions and responses encourage children to talk about their favorite people, friends, and family members, helping them develop their social and communication skills.

Keep in mind that children will not always have a ready answer and that understanding and effective communication may be the key goals here, rather than knowing the ‘correct’ answer. ‘I don’t know’ is bound to be a common answer for young children!

  1. Who is your best friend? Example response: “My best friend is Emma.”
  2. Who is your favorite superhero? Example response: “My favorite superhero is Spider-Man.”
  3. Who is your teacher at school?  Example response:”My teacher’s name is Mrs. Johnson.”
  4. Who is your favorite Disney character?  Example response: “My favorite Disney character is Elsa from Frozen.”
  5. Who helps you with your homework?  Example response: “My mom helps me with my homework.”
  6. Who lives next door to your house?  Example response: “The Smith family lives next door.”
  7. Who is your favorite singer or band?  Example response:”I love Taylor Swift.”
  8. Who takes care of your pet?  Response: “I take care of my pet fish, and my mom feeds our dog.”
  9. Who is the main character in your favorite book?  Response: “The main character is a brave girl named Lily.”
  10. Who makes you laugh the most?  Response: “My big brother always makes me laugh.”
  11. Who do you sit with on the school bus?Response: “I sit with my friend Jack on the school bus.”
  12. Who is coming over for dinner tonight?Response: “My grandparents are coming over for dinner.”
  13. Who do you play with at recess?Response: “I play with Alex and Lily at recess.”
  14. Who is your favorite Disney princess?Response: “My favorite Disney princess is Belle from Beauty and the Beast.”
  15. Who helps you tie your shoes?Response: “I can do it by myself now, but my dad used to help me.”
  16. Who is the oldest person in your family?Response: “My grandma is the oldest in our family.”
  17. Who teaches you how to ride a bike?Response: “My dad taught me how to ride a bike.”
  18.  Who do you like to share your toys with?Response: “I like to share with my little cousin.”
  19. Who was your first friend in kindergarten? Example response: “My first friend was Mia.”
  20. Who is your favorite character from a TV show? Response: “I really like SpongeBob SquarePants.”
  21. Who helps you get ready for bed at night? Response: “My mom and dad help me get ready for bed.”
  22. Who is your favorite sports player? Response: “I look up to LeBron James.”
  23. Who do you play video games with? Response: “I play with my older brother.”
  24. Who is the president of the country? Response: “The president is Joe Biden.”
  25. Who do you want to be when you grow up? Response: “I want to be a doctor.”

25 What Questions (with example responses)

  1. Question: What is your favorite color?  Response: “My favorite color is blue.”
  2. Question: What is your name?  Response: “My name is Sarah.”
  3. Question: What is your age?  Response: “I am 6 years old.”
  4. Question: What do you like to do for fun?  Response: “I like to play with my friends at the park.”
  5. Question: What is your favorite animal?  Response: “My favorite animal is a puppy.”
  6. Question: What do you want to be when you grow up?  Response: “I want to be a firefighter.”
  7. Question: What is your favorite food?  Response: “Pizza is my favorite food.”
  8. Question: What is your favorite toy?  Response: “I love playing with my teddy bear.”
  9. Question: What do you do when you feel sad?Response: “When I feel sad, I hug my mom.”
  10. Question: What is your favorite book?Response: “I really like ‘The Cat in the Hat’.”
  11. Question: What do you like to do on weekends?Response: “I enjoy going to the beach with my family.”
  12. Question: What is your favorite game to play?Response: “I like playing hide-and-seek with my friends.”
  13. Question: What is your favorite subject in school?Response: “I love art class the most.”
  14. Question: What do you like to draw or paint?Response: “I like drawing pictures of animals and trees.”
  15. Question: What do you want for your birthday?Response: “I really want a new bicycle.”
  16. Question: What is your favorite song?Response: “My favorite song is ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’.”
  17. Question: What do you do to help others?Response: “I share my toys with my little brother.”
  18. Question: What is your favorite sport?Response: “I enjoy playing soccer the most.”
  19. Question: What is your favorite ice cream flavor?Response: “Chocolate is my favorite ice cream flavor.”
  20. Question: What makes you happy?Response: “Playing with my dog makes me happy.”
  21. Question: What do you like to do before bedtime?Response: “I like reading a bedtime story with my mom.”
  22. Question: What is your favorite place to visit?Response: “I love going to the zoo.”
  23. Question: What do you do when you’re excited?Response: “When I’m excited, I jump up and down.”
  24. Question: What is your favorite season?Response: “I like summer the best because I can go swimming.”
  25. Question: What do you do to make new friends?Response: “I say hello and ask them to play with me.”

25 “Where” questions for children along with example answers:

These “Where” questions and responses encourage children to talk about locations and places they visit or interact with, enhancing their vocabulary and communication skills.

  1. Question: Where do you go to school?Response: “I go to school at Maple Elementary.”
  2. Question: Where is your favorite place to play?Response: “My favorite place to play is the park.”
  3. Question: Where do you sleep at night?Response: “I sleep in my cozy bedroom.”
  4. Question: Where do you keep your toys?Response: “I keep my toys in the toy box.”
  5. Question: Where is your family going on vacation?Response: “We are going to the beach for vacation.”
  6. Question: Where do you put your dirty clothes?Response: “I put my dirty clothes in the laundry basket.”
  7. Question: Where did you find that beautiful seashell?Response: “I found the seashell at the beach.”
  8. Question: Where do you like to hide during hide-and-seek?Response: “I like to hide behind the big tree.”
  9. Question: Where can you find apples?Response: “You can find apples at the grocery store or an apple orchard.”
  10. Question: Where is your favorite spot to read books?Response: “My favorite spot is on the comfy couch.”
  11. Question: Where do you go to see animals?Response: “I go to the zoo to see animals.”
  12. Question: Where do you keep your art supplies?Response: “I keep my art supplies in the drawer.”
  13. Question: Where did you see the rainbow?Response: “I saw the rainbow after it rained in the sky.”
  14. Question: Where do you play with your friends at school?Response: “We play on the playground during recess.”
  15. Question: Where does your family eat dinner together?Response: “We eat dinner together at the dining table.”
  16. Question: Where did you plant the flower seeds?Response: “I planted the flower seeds in the garden.”
  17. Question: Where can you find books to read at the library?Response: “You can find books on the shelves at the library.”
  18. Question: Where do you go to see movies?Response: “We go to the movie theater to watch movies.”
  19. Question: Where does the sun go at night?Response: “The sun goes down below the horizon.”
  20. Question: Where do you go to buy new clothes?Response: “I go to the clothing store with my parents.”
  21. Question: Where did you meet your best friend?Response: “I met my best friend at the park.”
  22. Question: Where do you play with your pet?Response: “I play with my pet dog in the backyard.”
  23. Question: Where can you find a red balloon?Response: “You can find a red balloon at the party store.”
  24. Question: Where do you keep your school supplies?Response: “I keep my school supplies in my backpack.”
  25. Question: Where will you go for your next family outing?Response: “We will go to the zoo for our next outing.”

Answering these basic questions can be an enjoyable way to engage kids in conversations and encourage their social interaction and language development, as well as a tool that can be used by speech pathologists in a speech therapy setting for diagnostic purposes as well.

Fun Activities to Try at Home, Using WH Questions

Speech therapy activities using WH (who, what, where, when, why, and how) questions can be very effective in improving language skills, comprehension, and expressive abilities. Here are some activities that incorporate WH questions:

  1. Picture Description: Provide the individual with a picture and ask them to describe what they see using WH questions. For example:
    • “What is happening in this picture?”
    • “Where do you think this scene is taking place?”
    • “Who are the people in the picture?”
    • “Why do you think the girl is smiling?”
    • “How do you think the characters feel?”
  2. Story Retelling: Read a short story or passage to the individual and then ask WH questions related to the content. This helps with listening comprehension and memory recall.
    • “Who were the main characters in the story?”
    • “What was the problem they faced?”
    • “Where did the story take place?”
    • “When did the character go on an adventure?”
    • “Why did the character make that decision?”
    • “How did the story end?”
  3. News Articles Discussion: Choose age-appropriate news articles and discuss them with the individual. Ask WH questions to encourage their understanding and critical thinking about the news.
    • “Who was involved in the event?”
    • “What happened in the story?”
    • “Where did the incident take place?”
    • “When did it occur?”
    • “Why do you think this event happened?”
    • “How did the people respond to the situation?”
  4. Barrier Games: Play barrier games where two participants can’t see each other’s materials. One person describes a scene using WH questions, and the other tries to recreate the scene based on the given instructions.
  5. Cooking Activity: Engage in a cooking activity together and ask WH questions related to the recipe or the steps involved.
    • “What ingredients do we need?”
    • “Where do we find the flour in the kitchen?”
    • “When do we add the eggs?”
    • “Why do we need to preheat the oven?”
    • “How do we mix the batter?”
  6. “I Spy” Game: Play “I Spy” and take turns describing objects or scenes using WH questions. The other person has to guess what it is based on the given clues.
  7. Scavenger Hunt: Create a scavenger hunt with items hidden around the house or classroom. Provide clues using WH questions to lead the individual to each item.
    • “What color is the item you’re looking for?”
    • “Where would you find this item in the house?”
    • “When do you use this item?”
    • “Why is this item important?”
    • “How will you know you’ve found the right item?”
  8. Role-Play: Engage in role-play scenarios where the individual has to respond to WH questions as a character they are portraying.
    • “You are a detective. Who do you think committed the crime?”
    • “You are a tour guide. What are the popular attractions in this city?”
    • “You are a scientist. Why is this experiment important?”
    • “You are a chef. How do you prepare this special dish?”
  9. Emotion Exploration: Show pictures of different emotional expressions and ask WH questions about the feelings depicted.
    • “Who do you think feels sad in this picture?”
    • “What do you think made the character happy?”
    • “Where do you think this person is experiencing these emotions?”
    • “When do you usually feel excited like this?”
  10. Problem-Solving Scenarios: Present various scenarios and ask WH questions to prompt problem-solving skills.
  • “What would you do if you lost your favorite toy?”
  • “Where could you go for help if you were feeling scared?”
  • “How would you react if you saw someone being bullied?”
  • “Why is it essential to share with others?”

Remember to adapt the activities to the individual’s age, interests, and language level to make them engaging and effective. WH questions are versatile and can be incorporated into various speech therapy sessions to target different language skills.

Free WH Question Worksheets and Practise Resources

A variety of graded WH question worksheets for beginners with English and ESL students: https://games4esl.com/esl-worksheets/wh-questions-worksheets

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