What is Colourful Semantics?
- Colourful Semantics is an approach created by Alison Bryan, a Speech and Language Therapist based in the UK.
- It is a method of teaching children how to understand and build sentences.
- It is aimed at helping children to develop their grammar, but it is rooted in the meaning of words (semantics).
- In Colourful Semantics, sentences are cut up into their thematic roles and these are colour coded:
- Who (Subject) – Orange
- What doing (Verb) – Yellow
- What (Object) – Green
- Where – Blue
- Pictures are also used to help construct the sentences and they are also colour coded to match the above. For example:
Once you have covered the above 4 key stages, there are additional stages for adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions and negatives.
Who can you use Colourful Semantics with?
Colourful Semantics can be used to help all children develop their language, but can be especially helpful for children with a range of Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) including:
- Developmental Language Disorder
- Developmental Delay or Disorder
- Autistic Spectrum Disorder
- Down Syndrome
- Literacy Difficulties
- English as an Additional Language (EAL)
Better yet, Colourful Semantics works brilliantly as a whole-school approach for supporting language and literacy development and can be used in all classrooms.
Who can implement it?
A range of adults trained in the approach can implement it, including;
- Speech and Language Therapists
- Teaching Assistants
- EAL specialist/support Teachers
A Speech and Language Therapist can train you on how to use the approach with specific children or can provide training for a whole school approach.
Why use Colourful Semantics?
Research into Colourful Semantics has found that it:
- Encourages a wider vocabulary
- Makes sentences longer
- Helps children to answer questions
- Develops use of nouns, verbs, prepositions and adjectives
- Improves story-telling (narrative) skills
- Can be transferred to written sentences and written language comprehension
- Can be carried out individually or in small groups
Examples of Colourful Semantics in use:
- A Velcro picture bank using the Who, What doing, and What pictures.
- Children are shown a picture, and asked to select the correct pictures from the picture bank to put into the sentence strip (bottom of the picture).
- The child then reads out the resulting sentence, and staff can also use Makaton signs to help them.
- Colourful classroom wall displays helps make the approach a whole-class intervention:
If you would like to know any more information about Colourful Semantics, or would like to arrange some training for your setting, do not hesitate to contact one of our Speech and Language Therapists at SLT for Kids on email@example.com or call 0330 088 2298.
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