Supporting the Understanding of Questions

Year Level: Early Years, Foundation, Year 1 & 2, Years 3 to 6

A fact sheet listing observations that indicate a child is experiencing difficulties with oral news telling and narrative retelling which may constitute a potential referral to a Speech Pathologist.

When asking a child questions it’s important to support and teach them what the question means and how you want them to answer it. If a child has difficulty understanding a question:

  1. Repeat the question using visual cues to support (eg: pictures and gestures)
  2. Rephrase the question or ask it in a different way
  3. Give two alternative for the child to choose between
  4. Model the correct answer

When to refer to a Speech Pathologist?
The production of news and narratives is more cognitively and linguistically demanding than participation in a conversation. In a conversation, speakers have support of partners to organise and maintain the discourse. When newstelling and narrating, speakers MUST independently organize and maintain extended discourse.
Observations Which Constitute A Potential Speech Pathology Referral

  • A child needs continual support to structure the news and/or story.
  • Child finds the task cognitively demanding.
  • A child’s speech is hesitant, filled with pauses and incomplete sentences. (The child may show visible frustration from limited expressive language ability.)
  • A child fails to provide the listener with specific information. (E.g. forgetting to explain the people or characters actions.)
  • A child has difficultly sequencing or ordering events correctly.
  • A child does not specifically name characters or people (and instead uses general terms of reference such as it, he, they …).
  • A child’s vocabulary lacks variety or when the child is unable to apply appropriate vocabulary.
  • Towards the end of pre-primary a child overuses “and” and “and then” to join sentences. A child should also be using more complex joining words such as next, last, so, but, …
  • Grammatical and tense errors are present in the child’s language.
  • Use this form for your observations for a Speech Pathologist referral.

Children with language delays will frequently suffer from anxiety when presented with written tasks.

To maximise a student’s written output and to minimise the anxiety experienced in the writing process students with language delays typically require:

  • Planning sheets to assist in the generation and structuring of their ideas/thoughts.
  • Additional planning time to generate and structure their ideas/thoughts.
  • Adult support to orally generate and structure ideas/thoughts. Sentence starters and target vocabulary words can be supplied to assist the process.
  • Reduced expectations due to the fatigue and anxiety experienced (e.g. students could be asked to complete the introduction, problem, character’s thoughts/feelings and plan instead of a full narrative.)
  • Written tasks should ideally be completed in stages. (E.g. “Today we will plan and write the introduction and the problem in a story and tomorrow we will add the character’s thoughts/feelings and plan.)

The issue of spelling in the context of written tasks.
It is important to keep in mind that students with language delays will rarely be able to focus on the language (i.e. generation and organisation of ideas) and spelling demands of writing simultaneously. To overcome this, it is suggested that students progress through the following stages:

  • Stage 1: Plan and structure ideas orally.
  • Stage 2: Complete the written task.
  • Stage 3: Finalise the written piece by editing.

Editing is best facilitated when students are trained to write on one line and miss one or two lines so that there is visual space to make changes and improvements to their original writing attempt.

  • Supporting the Understanding of Questions
    Oral Language Concept Development – Ages 2 – 6

    A milestone and information sheet which outlines the timeline for developing oral language concepts in children aged 2 to 6 years.

    A downloadable poster covering the oral language developmental stages from aged 2 through to age 6. See our Copyright Terms of Use at https://pld-literacy.org/help-pages/copyright-policy/.

  • Supporting the Understanding of Questions
    Speech Sound Development – Ages 3 to 8

    The milestone poster/sheet details the age related milestones for speech sound development in children aged 3 to 8 years.

    Many parents, early childhood workers and teachers will wonder if a child speech is normal. Most children’s speech becomes clearer gradually as they hear and

  • Supporting the Understanding of Questions
    Language Literacy Link

    A information sheet explaining the importance of targeting BOTH language based literacy (or oral language skills) and print based literacy skills (i.e. alphabetic, phonic, spelling and decoding ability) for the development of interpretative reading and writing skills.

    Too often parents and educators associate early literacy success with alphabetic and sight word knowledge. A little later on in a child’s development literacy is

  • Supporting the Understanding of Questions
    PLD’s 2020 Whole School Literacy Plan

    The document outlines how to implement PLD’s literacy, Movement and Motor and Oral Language resources during the Early Years, Foundation, Year 1 & 2 and across Years 3 to 6. Each page provides suggested time frames and implementation recommendations.

    The purpose of this document is to provide an implementation outline to assist schools in scheduling the PLD programs within a broad school-based strategy. When

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