Today, one of my learners really struggled to recall the difference between the spellings ‘when’ and ‘went’ when writing a sentence.  I developed a method to show him how to know when to use ‘wh’ in words.


First of all, it’s really important to check;

1-Your learner understands when a questions is being asked

Practice modelling some oral sentences, say some which are questions and others which are statements. Ask your learner to tell you when you are asking a question. You can then ask the learner to say some of their own sentences which include a question.

2- Check if they know the punctuation that is used at the end of the sentence, the ‘?’.

Ask them to write the shape with a pen, also, if typing, can they find the key and type it (some require a shift key pressing at the same time).

3 -Next, if there’s a problem between spelling words such as ‘when’ and ‘went’, demonstrate to the learner they actually have different sounds. Sound the words out together. You might also do this with ‘what and ‘want’. Write the words down and and highlight the different sounds (this can be seen at the end of the video).

Once you’re satisfied these points are understood, watch the video and then practice writing and  identifying if there’s a ‘?’ at the end of your sentence. The learner will need to look for the ‘?’ and then ‘wh’ in the spelling.

Top tip: Highlighting in a ‘hot’ colour (pink, red, orange) will help with your learner’s visual memory too.

Take me to the video now