Being able to ask and answer questions is not only a critical component of reading comprehension, it’s also an important language building skill. Read on for 2 engaging ways to build reading and language skills.
When my district switched to a reading program and assessment that wasn’t designed for students with disabilities, my students began getting stuck at a reading level and couldn’t move on. Many of my students have language based disabilities and didn’t have the language skills needed to demonstrate their understanding and comprehension of texts.
I realized that I needed to focus instruction on teaching my students to understand questions and how to answer them. They also needed a lot more practice with questions. To do that, I created language prompts that we practiced every day. We practiced them in morning meeting, reading instruction, language groups and in speech sessions.
One of the best parts of the ask and answer language prompts is that they can easily be used in mixed leveled groups since there are 3 types questions. These prompts are easy for paras and families to use and practice with students as well.
The other way we practice asking and answering questions with students is with whiteboards. You can use regular whiteboards or white paper inside a page protector. Recently, I found paddle board versions of whiteboards at the dollar store which is novel and keeps my students’ interest.
In a group, we take turns being the person who asks or writes the question. After writing the question, the student has to present it to the group and read it aloud. Next, everyone else in the group writes their answers on their boards. This is a great way to build language and comprehension. This activity opens up the chance to practice a variety of skills. Here are some examples on how to expand:
- Did everyone have the same answer?
- Who had a different answer than you?
- For a question about a favorite color/item, you could also tally responses and then compare the results.
- Practice WH questions by asking students “Who answered _?’ “What was Sam’s answer?” “How did Jenna answer the question?” “Why is purple your favorite color?”
Check out this YouTube video to see and hear what the conversation would look like in the classroom.
Read more about the theme units we use by clicking the links below.