Happy New Year! Some of your little ones will be starting Prep later this month so we thought it was a good time to share some information and practical tips about oral language and Prep readiness.

Today we’re talking about questions, and how we can use them to support language development.

Blanks Questions are a list of different types of questions, like those used in the classroom. Using these at home can support language development & learning. They can also help your child get ready to respond to the different types of questions they will be asked at school.

Level One questions are most simple, all about what children can see right in front of them. Level Two to Four questions are increasingly complex, requiring more verbal reasoning. At Level Four we start to see tricky why and how questions.  A simple way to think about them is:

  • Level 1 = matching and naming items

  • Level 2 = describing items and answering who, what, where?

  • Level 3 = talking about stories and events

  • Level 4 = solving problems and answering why and how?

These questions can be used at home in everyday activities like cooking or play dough. However adding some into your daily book reading is a great place to try them out at first!

Here are a few for you to try out:


  • Find one like this

  • What’s this

  • What colour is this

  • Show me the…

  • What did the … say?

  • Is it X or Y?


  • Who/where/what/when?

  • What is this for?

  • Tell me about this item?

  • How are these different? What else is a kind of fruit/animal/clothing (category)

  • What does this do/what’s it for?


  • What’s happened so far?

  • What will happen next? 

  • What will this character say?

  • How did the character feel?

  • How are these two things the same?

  • What is a… ? (ask your child to tell you what a word means/is)

  • What else could we use?

  • What is your favourite?


  • If you were xx, what would you say/do?

  • Why can’t they…?

  • Why is it made of that?

  • How did that happen?

  • How do we know….?

  • What will happen if they…?

  • Why do you like that one?

Finally let’s talk about some strategies you can use to help your child if they get stuck:

  • Remember to balance questions and comments. Show them lots of language through your comments, as well as asking your child to answer you.

  • Try pointing out visual clues in the pictures, or drawing their attention to the most important part.

  • Another technique is to show them how! This is called providing a model answer. When we use these activities we are teaching not testing so it’s okay to tell them what you think and how you would answer, then repeat the question and let them have a try.

By five years of age, children should be able to answer questions from all levels. The ability to answer Level 4 questions develops between approximately 4 and 5 years of age, so these questions may still be difficult for some children beginning Prep.

  • If your child has difficulty answering questions this can be a sign of language difficulties. Talk to your speech pathologist or make an initial appointment. We have new team members available this month to assist you!


– Blank, Rose & Berlin 1978

– Elks & McLachlan 2008