What is Colourful Semantics?


Colourful Semantics is an intervention approach created by Alison Bryan. It is aimed at helping children develop grammar (syntax) by linking it to the meaning of words (semantics). It's an excellent way of supporting vocabulary development, spoken and written language and narratives.


Who is Colourful Semantics suitable for?

This intervention can be used to help children with a variety of needs from those who are just starting to develop language and have limited vocabulary, to confident talkers who struggle to organise the grammatical content of their sentences. It is a very visual approach incorporating Makaton, colour and symbols and is therefore ideal for children with the following needs:

  • Specific Language Impairment

  • Developmental Language Delay

  • Autistic Spectrum Conditions

  • Down Syndrome

  • Literacy difficulties

  • EAL children

How does it work?

Colourful Semantics reassembles sentences after first breaking them down into thematic roles and colour coding them accordingly. The approach has four key colour-coded stages. Once these first four stages are mastered, additional levels are gradually introduced to include adverbs, adjectives, prepositions, conjunctions and negatives. 

Who can deliver this within our school?

Once it has been established that a child's language can be a supported in school and does not require a full SaLT diagnosis, we can work with you to set appropriate targets for individual learners. The intervention can be delivered 1:1 or in a small group.  As with all of our interventions, for greatest impact in the classroom, we aim to work closely with staff to ensure we incorporate current topic vocabulary and narrative.

Whole school approach

The Colourful Semantics method can also be embedded as part of a whole school approach to boost literacy attainment and phonics teaching.

For an informal chat about Speakwrite delivering this intervention within your school, drop us a line, give us a call.