The following post is from http://www.speech-language-development.com
Kids who are just learning to speak don’t feel secure with their ability to express themselves. When an adult in their life starts showing them pictures and asking them questions like What’s this?, What’s he doing?, and What’s going to happen?, kids often shut down and refuse to talk, much to the frustration of the adult involved.
Questions aren’t really therapeutic for language development. If you want to get a young child to talk to you, a much more effective way is to pay attention to something that the child is interested in at the moment, and you verbally express interest in it. This may change from moment to moment, so, as always, you have to follow the child’s lead.
Careful use of “I wonder” statements can be very effective in encouraging your child’s curiosity and anticipation. Holding a ball or toy car at the top of a ramp and saying, “I wonder how far it will go” invites your child to make a prediction without putting him or her on the spot. Whether or not he or she says anything, you can then say, “let’s see,” and release the object, then comment (enthusiastically) on how far it went.
One word of caution, however: it is easy to fall into the traps of simply using “I wonder” statements as an alternative way to ask questions, as in, “I wonder what you are doing, Jenna?”, followed by a pause during which you look at the child with that ‘okay, now you need to answer me’ look on your face. Be sure that your non-verbal messages – eye gaze, posture, tone of voice, etc. – clearly communicates that you are just ‘thinking aloud,’ and the child is welcome but not expected to reply.