Taking the Scenic Route

Teaching “Wh” questions, “Why”

11th June 2009

Teaching “Wh” questions, “Why”

I just thought I would share the materials I am creating to help teach the “Why-Because” relationship. They are designed for kids who can read, and you can expand the scope by addressing the vocabulary as it comes up (for instance, I discovered that Zane didn’t know “skyscraper” so we did a quick sidetrack to show him what that meant). When I thought about it, I included words with “L” so that he could get more practice on that sound, since he is struggling to handle that letter.

I made them so that you can print them out, cut out the visual prompt sentence and lay it on the table for reference. In the first few I also cut out all of the words and presented them in word pairs to fill in the blanks. The last one, I just cut out the top part and lay it down and the word pairs are given verbally. I also have the word “WHY” written out to point at as I give the prompt sentence, then point to the word “because” as he reads back the answer sentence to further emphasis the relationship.

The prompt sentence I use is “Why are the words ____ and ____ related?”

I included a picture of the page, followed by a link if you want to save a copy.



On this one, they can just respond that they are opposites, or expand the sentence, such as ‘they are opposite speeds”




This one just uses the top section as a visual reference. The other part is for me so I am not fumbling for word pairs to give him.


After this, I have a list of nouns I can reference to help make it easier for me throw some paired words at him. I have the prompt sentences available (along with a peice of paper or chalkboard to write up a quick new one) to help if/when he struggles with retrieval.

The next step is to try and get him to give you the second half of the word pair. Start by saying “What goes with *noun*” (referencing my list if I get stuck for a random word), then letting him supply the other word, then prompt “Why do _____ and ______ go together?” / “Why are ______and_______related?” and let him give an answer, prompting the “because” if I need to. The main problem I ran into the first time I tried this was that every word I gave him, he paired with a word that rhymed, even if it was a nonsense word, just so he didn’t have to work hard to answer the question. I would then supply my own matching pair before giving him another chance to complete a word pair. The next day, I took a few steps back and had some different prompted sentences so that he didn’t just rely on “because they rhyme”. (and if he is still doing the “rhyme” thing when we get back to this point, you will see more drill sheets with different sentences as I try to get him to expand his language)

Eventually, I want to be able to do a word association game, where I supply a word, then he supplies a word, then we go back and review why each pair are related.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 11th, 2009 at 11:08 PM and is filed under Autism, Homeschool, Language Development, ST. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

There are currently 5 responses to “Teaching “Wh” questions, “Why””

  1. 1 On June 13th, 2009, Carrie said:

    You are such a rock star!

  2. 2 On July 3rd, 2009, Julia FLores said:

    Thanks for this help I have to give a microteaching on WH question words and it was very useful for me as a teacher of english.

    my regards julia :-)

  3. 3 On July 20th, 2009, sue said:

    Thank you for the great handouts!

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