North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five

Domain: NC Foundations for Early Learning: Language Development and Communication (LDC)

Subdomain: Learning to Communicate

Goal: Children ask and answer questions in order to seek help, get information, or clarify something that is not understood.

Skill Progression: Answers questions

Age: 21-24 Months

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Answers simple open-ended questions (e.g., “What do you want?")

Situations for Observation of Skill

Observe the child during daily routines.

Elicitation Strategy

Adults naturally ask, “What do you want?” at lunch or when the child is frustrated and crying.

Behavior Observed

The child responds with one or more words, if she has the needed vocabulary. If the child doesn’t have the vocabulary, she points or takes the parent to whatever it is she needs.

Routines-based Intervention (Embedded Instruction)

Explain to early childhood educators and parents that “What” questions are some of the first questions children answer. Asking the child “What’s that?” and “What do you want?” enables the adult to understand the child’s expressive vocabulary. If the child is still pointing, the adult can model and provide time for the child to imitate the word needed. Parents often simply accept the point or supply the word, instead of waiting for the child to produce or imitate the word.

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

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