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What are Blank Levels?

What are Blank Levels 1-4?

The Blank Levels of Questioning, sometimes known as the Language of Learning model, was developed by Blank, Rose and Berlin in 1978. The main aim is to develop children’s verbal reasoning and abstract language skills. There are 4 levels of questioning which move from simple and concrete questions to more difficult and abstract questions. The questions encourage development of general language and vocabulary, as well as skills in comprehension, reasoning, inferencing, predicting and problem solving.

Watch this 6 minute video on What are Blank Levels?

Level 1 – Naming things

At this level, your child will be able to apply language to what your child sees in the world. The information is directly in front of them, or recently removed. Responses are short or non-verbal, for example, pointing.

Level 1 Example question
Scanning for a matching object Find me one like this
Identifying an object by sound and touch Show me what you heard or touched
Naming an object heard, touched and seen What did you hear or touch? What is this?
Imitating a simple sentences Say this…
Remembering pictured objects What did you see?
Remembering incidental information What did you see?

Strategies and examples of questions at Blank Level 1 – Naming

Level 2 – Describing things

At this level, the information is supplied, but not directly apparent. Your child has to select what to attend to, such as, size, colour, and function of an object.

Level 2 Example question
Scanning for an object defined by its function Find one that can…
Describing a scene What is happening?
Recalling items named in a statement What things..?
Recalling information from a statement Who? What? Where?
Completing a sentence Finish this…
Concepts: Naming characteristics and functions of objects Tell me its…
Concepts: Attending to two characteristics Find one that is… and …
Concepts: Identifying differences How are these things different?
Concepts: Citing an example within a category Name something that is a …

Strategies and examples of questions at Blank Level 2 – Describing

Level 3 – Talking about stories and events

At this level, the language does not relate directly to what your child sees or hears, but instead your child must think and reorder the information given. Certain basic facts must be considered and evaluated before responding.

Level 3 Example question
Scanning for an object by integrating verbal and visual information Find one to use with this
Describing events subsequent to a scene What will happen next?
Assuming the role of another person What could he say?
Following a set of directions Do this, then this
Arranging pictures in a sequence Make these into…
Formulating a set of directions Tell me how to…
Formulating a generalisation about a set of events What happened to all of these?
Formulating a statement to unify a sequence of pictures Tell this story
Concepts: Identifying similarities How are these the same?
Concepts: Selecting an object by exclusion Find the ones that are not…
Concepts: Selecting a set of objects by exclusion Find things that are not…
Concepts: Citing an example by excluding a specific object Name something that can… but is not a …
Concepts: Citing an example by excluding a class of objects Name something that is not a…
Concepts: Defining words What is a…?
Unusual imitations Say this…

Strategies and examples of questions at Blank Level 3 – Talking about stories and events

Level 4 – Solving problems

At this level, your child has to reason beyond what is seen, heard or said. Your child needs to draw on past experiences, make parallels, examine causes and likely effects, as well as justify the decision made.

Level 4 Example question
Predicting: Changes in position Where will…?
Predicting: Changes in structure What will happen if…?
Justifying a prediction Why will…?
Justifying a decision: Essential characteristics Why wouldn’t it…?
Justifying a decision: Non-essential characteristics Why would it…?
Identifying the causes of an event What made it happen?
Formulating a solution What could you do?
Formulating a solution from another’s perspective What could she do?
Selecting the means to a goal What could we use?
Explaining the means to a goal Why should we use that?
Explaining the construction of objects Why is… made of that?
Explaining an inference drawn from an observation How can we tell?
Explaining the logic of compound words Why is this called…?
Explaining the obstacles to an action Why can’t we…?

Strategies and examples of questions at Blank Level 4 – Problem solving

Additional resources and information

The videos below have been created by Barnsley Children’s Speech and Language Therapy service

Blank level questioning

Time: 7 minutes 43 seconds

How to use blanks at home

Time: 1 minute 19 seconds

Blanks at home – Living room

Time: 2 minutes 44 seconds

Blanks at home – Kitchen

Time: 2 minutes 36 seconds

Blanks at home – Bedroom

Time: 2 minutes 22 seconds

Blanks at home – Bathroom

Time: 2 minutes 41 seconds

Contact us

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: SL230

Resource Type: Article

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