skip to content
Primary navigation

Professionals for DHH Families: Open-Ended Questions Transcript

[Title slide appears with the following text: “For Professionals Working with Families with DHH Children: Language and Literacy Strategies Open-Ended Questions (State of Minnesota logo) Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing”]

[Leala Holcomb appears and begins to sign.]

>> Leala: Asking open-ended questions is a good strategy to encourage development of expressive language. Open-ended questions do not include questions where the answer is either an ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but rather questions that encourage further discussion and expansion upon thoughts and feelings around the subject. I’ll share a few examples of possible open-ended questions: “What do you think?” “What will happen next?” “What is this?” Those types of questions can help the child envision thoughts and ideas about the subject that leads to discussions. Let’s take a look at some examples of some open-ended questions. 

[Leala is replaced by a montage of video clips. In the first one, a parent and child are sitting on the couch, reading a book together. There is an image of a boy and a llama on the page.]

>> Parent: What is this? (points to the llama). What is that?

[New video clip, the same parent and child are sitting at the kitchen table. Two cups and two bottles of milk and orange juice sit off to the side.]

>> Parent: What are those? (indicating the bottles)

>> Child: Cow’s milk. 

>> Parent: Yes. 

[New video clip, the same parent and child are sitting on the floor playing with a toy horse.]

>> Parent: What color is this? (indicating the toy horse)

>> Child: Brown… with white on its face… 

>> Parent: Yes, brown with white markings, yes. 

[Video clip ends and Leala returns onscreen and continues to sign.]

>> Leala (continued): Now, I will model how you as a professional can help the family practice this strategy. I will take on the role of a professional working with a hearing family. You will watch and ponder on how you can interact with this family. 

[Leala is replaced by a video clip. Leala as a professional sits with a different parent at a table with an iPad standing in front of them.  

>> Leala: See how the mother asks questions. How the questions are not limited to ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers? These questions can be answered in a variety of thought-provoking responses. 

(Parent nods along)

>>Leala: Questions such as… (thinks) “What is this?”... “What do you think?”... “How does it do that?” Let’s practice asking some questions, shall we? Ask me some questions? 

>> Parent: (nodding and thinking) “What… is that?”

[Video is paused with a screen text: “Pause video: practice what you would say to families.”]

[Leala returns onscreen and continues to sign.]

>> Leala: You can practice with families by engaging in different activities by applying this strategy in everything you do all day. 

[End credits: 

“Created by 

Debbie Golos, PhD 

Associate Professor & Coordinator of the Deaf Education Teacher Preparation Program 

University of Minnesota

Leala Holcomb, PhD 

Early Childhood Education Specialist

Brynn Roemen, MEd 

Instructor in the Department of Educational Psychology 

University of Minnesota

Damon Timm

Video Production


Leala Holcomb


Haruna Matsumoto


Oceana Matsumoto


Special thanks to Peters Pictures and Hands Land for permission to incorporate their material in this series and to Stanley Matsumoto and Aaron Waheed for additional filming.”]

[End credits:

(State of Minnesota logo)

“This webinar series was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $360,725 with zero percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit

“Produced by the Minnesota Department of Health, and the Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing.”]

back to top