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Strategies to support understanding of questions at Blank Level 2 – Describing

What are Blank Levels?

Your child is developing their understanding at Blank Level 2 which means that they are learning to apply vocabulary and language to things in their environment (naming and describing). They need to develop the ability to select what to attend to, for example, which element of the picture or sentence, size, colour, function etc.

Your child is not yet able to describe, talk about events or stories and problem solve -infer, reason and answer ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions about pictures and spoken scenarios, information and experiences. This also applies to their emotional understanding.

Strategies to support understanding

  • Give one instruction at a time
  • Use short phrases to comment or request on the ‘here and now’, for example, “blue car”, “the boy is swimming”, “Jenni peel banana”
  • Provide choices, for example, “What is she doing? Is she running or jumping?”
  • Use sentence starters such as, “What is he doing? He’s…”
  • Use gesture or demo – give a gesture or sign to help your child recall, point to the answer
  • Provide a sound cue, for example, “It’s a ke…” for kettle
  • Ask questions where the answer is in the picture, for example, ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘what is happening’, naming characteristics
  • Teach the question link by modelling the question and answer, for example, “What colour is the ball..? The ball is red”) – you can do this after completing a sentence builder
  • Pre-teach vocabulary to enable to your child to answer wh- questions
  • Talk about categories using simple sentences, for example, “orange and banana are both fruit”
  • Talk about characteristics using simple sentences, for example, “You eat an apple”, “You travel in a car”, “The apple is green”, “Look at the big slide”
  • Comment on things that are ‘different’ and describe how, for example, “The banana is soft, the apple is hard”, “The horse is fast, the turtle is slow”

Examples of visual support

Examples of questions at Blank Level 2 – Describing

Ideas for activities

  • Teaching staff to access free LEAP training on Learn Sheffield – assess your child to identify the appropriate level
  • Teaching staff to access free VIP training on Learn Sheffield – assess your child to identify the appropriate level
  • Use a feely bag and treasure hunts for naming and teaching concept words such as “blue ball”, “small book”), or concept questions such as “find the blue ball”, “show me the green apple”
  • Use sentence builders and question prompts. Use symbols to build a sentence and then model question and answer such as “what is the girl doing… she’s climbing!”. This can be done with generic pictures, videos, photos of themselves or people they know doing activities.
  • Play category games:
    • use real objects or pictures and focus on matching e.g. category, colour, size, function.
      support your child to group them (e.g. “let’s put all the food in this bag and all of the animals in the box”, “lets find all of the red ones”).
    • support your child to link them (e.g. “which one goes with …?”)
    • support your child to identify function (e.g. “which one can you eat?”, “which one can you clean with?”)
  • Play barrier games where your child follows the concept word such as colour, size, attributes, in the short 2-3 key word instruction, for example, “make the car blue”, “make the big flower red”


  • Multi-step instructions such as ‘Can you go and put the bag on the peg and get the paint from the cupboard’)
  • Questions asking for a recall of an event, for example, ‘what happened?’)
  • ‘Why’, ‘how’, and ‘when’ questions such as ‘why did you do that?’, ‘how did that happen?’

Classroom learning ideas

  • Pre-teach vocabulary – nouns, verbs, concepts
  • Use sorting tasks – support your child to sort pictures into ‘what’, ‘who’, ‘what doing’, ‘where’, ‘what like’ & ‘how feel’
  • Play matching lotto games
  • Work on listening comprehension, for example, ‘Point to…’ ‘Find me a …’
  • Describe a scene of a story
    • Build a sentence maker
    • Talking – describe what they can see
    • You child’s response can be a spoken word, choice of a picture or Makaton sign
  • Answer ‘wh’ questions about the sentence maker – ‘what’, ‘who’, ‘what doing’, ‘where’, ‘what like’ & ‘how feel’

For more information please contact the Speech and Language Therapy Service at Flockton House.

Telephone: 0114 226 2333
Email: scn-tr.slt-sheffield@nhs.net

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: SL232

Resource Type: Article

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