Connected Speech Pathology
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Allison Geller's Blog

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Get your kids talking! 15 helpful conversation starters

If you ask a child “How was your day?”, often they respond with a simple “I don’t know” or “Nothing happened”. I encourage adults to try to avoid asking that question. Instead ask specific, open-ended questions that can lead to a deeper and more meaningful interaction with your child. Open-ended questions and responses that are engaging and high in quality and quantity promote social, neurological, language, and literacy development. What I mean by that is increasing the number of words a child is exposed to and asking open-ended questions can lead to improved reading and writing skills, understanding of speech, and also vocabulary size. Open-ended questions require more than just one or two words to answer and can allow for a multitude of responses. They can encourage critical thinking skills because they require your child to use more language to explain himself. Examples of open-ended questions include “What do you remember from…” “What happened when…” “How do we make…” Tell me about your….” “How do you feel about…” etc. After you have asked the question, wait 5-10 seconds for your child to think and formulate responses, allow your child to fully answer the question without interruption, show that you are interested your child’s answers, keep the conversation going until your child gives you clues to move on.

Below I have listed 15 conversation starters for the drive home from school or dinner time talk. Remember to make sure that your questions are open-ended. Have fun with it and enjoy fostering your child’s language and literacy while you bond with them. 

  • Tell me one thing that made you laugh or smile today.

  • Tell me about your favorite part of your day.  

  • Was there a time today that you were a good listener? If so, what did you learn?

  • If I walked into your classroom what would I see?

  • Tell me about something nice you did for someone today.

  • What classroom jobs did you have today?

  • Who did you play with at recess and what activities did you do?

  • What are you looking forward to on the next school day?

  • What was the most interesting thing that you heard today?

  • Who did you sit by at lunch today?

  • How did your lunch taste? 

  • What is something your teacher said to you today that you are still thinking about?

  • Tell me about what you read in class.

  • What was the hardest thing you had to do today?

  • What did you do to make someone else’s day terrific?

Lauren Goldblatt from Kickstart Reading has some more great questions and tips to get your kids talking!

If you have any comments or questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out!