How to Teach Question Words

Teach question words in 4 steps!

Engage your students by talking about yourself!

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Introduce, Read, Practice, Review

Start this lesson whole group or small group. You will be activating prior knowledge through a quick full group discussion by using yourself as an example. Kindergarten students love sharing, as you know, but they also love hearing you talk about yourself!

After you talk about yourself, students will use “who, what, where, when, why, and how” words to talk about themselves. You can use the learning video below to guide you. Instructions for that part are further down below.

Tell your students that the point of using questions words is to get more information! Now they will learn more information about you.

You can teach your child to read!

100s of games and activites to keep your child engaged!

1. Introduce

Print out the question word files and use the cards to guide you in talking about yourself.

Who are you? I am a teacher.
What did you do today? I came to work/school.
When did you do it? I arrived at 7:00 in the morning.
Where did you do it? I teach here in (insert city, state). 
Why did you do it? Because you come to see me every day.
How did you do it? I drove my car.

2. Read Question Words

After you introduce question words by talking about yourself, play the video in step 2. This video will review the <wh> phonics pattern and help students read question words. Practice spelling these words if you have time. 

A Collection of Decodable Stories

The stories are organized by phonics patterns, starting with short vowels and progressing
through long vowels and beyond.
Paired with our online resources, your child will effortlessly transition into becoming
a super reader!

3.  Practice

4. Review

Understanding Question Words

Repetition is key for Kindergarteners, so we will show students the video multiple times throughout this lesson. Once students have received the initial exposure to the video, you’ll be ready to move on to guided practice using the video.

Now it’s time for a second viewing with embedded opportunities for practice with support. Students will practice answering and asking questions throughout the lesson.

Provide each student with a response journal that includes the question words activity sheet.

  • Pause the video after each new word and provide students with guided practice prompts.
  • Students will be prompted to record a response to the question word that is related to school. You can decide if you want students to write or draw their responses. Verbally share a full question sentence
    with students to guide them.
    Who goes to school?
    What is the most exciting thing about school?
    When is it time to wake for school?
    Where is our school located?

    How do you get to school?
    Why is school important?
  • Ask students to share their responses with a friend through a “turn & talk.” Each student should verbally share and respond to their questions with their classmate to practice using the question words. This is also the opportunity to ask a buddy a question after they have shared their responses. Through practice, students will begin to understand what question words mean and how to use them to communicate more effectively.

Additional Practice

If time allows, get students ready to apply their knowledge, move around the room, and interact with classmates!

1. Give each student three index cards.

2. Ask students to brainstorm and write down three sentence questions they could ask to get to know their classmates better. You may have to provide question stems, or refer students to an anchor chart and list of the question words.
Provide examples of full question sentences before students begin working:

What is your favorite animal?
Why do you like the color pink?
What will you do after school today?

Provide sentence stems such as “What is…” and
Who is…” or allow them to write a picture that will help them remember their question.

3. Once students have their three questions, have them stand in two lines facing each other. Instruct students to ask and answer one of each other’s questions.

4. Then, have one line of students step to the right so that they are matched with a new partner. Repeat the “asking and answering” step and then rotate again.

Continue rotating until each student has “asked and answered” with the full line.

Exit Ticket

Have each student ask YOU a question before the lesson ends. Make sure the six question words are clearly projected so that students can remind themselves of how to start a question. An anchor chart can be used if Smartboard is no longer on. For struggling students, have a few ideas ready to share with students. You might say to students….

Ask me about my favorite color.
Ask me about my favorite food.
Ask me about my favorite animal.
Ask me about my reason for being a teacher.