Asking questions: how to avoid overwhelming your child!

We’re talking about the Blank Language Levels today (formally the ‘Language for Learning’ model). This simple framework breaks questions down into different levels of complexity. It’s hugely valuable for language development because we can apply it to all sorts of activities with children. One we know which level a child is at, then all the adults around them can focus on using questions at a level that supports their development, rather than being too easy or too hard.

How to ask questions that encourage language development

Level 1: Naming
This covers very simple questions that require a child to understand the name of objects. E.g. ‘What’s that?’ ‘Where’s the…?’

Level 2: Describing
At this level, children start understanding descriptive language and so can talk about things in a little more detail. Questions include ‘What group does it belong to?’ ‘What does it do?’ ‘What are its parts?’

Level 3: Storytelling
This is a huge step in any child’s language development. Being able to talk about events and understood stories is a key part of how we all operate in the world. Here’s a specific activity to start working on this skill.

Level 4: Reasoning
‘Why’ and ‘how’ questions are some of the trickiest questions we can ask a child as they require so much verbal problem-solving. There’s lots more elements to this level of language, but being aware of when you use these two questions is a powerful start.

The Blank Language Levels is one of my most popular workshops. It’s super-practical, with a clear roadmap for helping your child. People always leave fired up to start using new strategies with their kids straight away. Find out more.

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