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Colourful Semantics

What is Colourful Semantics? 

Colourful Semantics is an approach created by Alison Bryan. It is aimed at helping children to develop grammar but it is rooted in the meaning of words (semantics). 

This is a Speech and Language therapy technique which uses colour coded cards to help children to learn the important elements of a sentence, and how to join them together in the correct order. 

Colourful semantics reassembles sentences by cutting them up into their thematic roles and then colour codes them. 


The approach has four key colour coded stages and each colour code represents a word or part of a sentence: 

Who – orange 

What doing – yellow  

What – green 

Where – blue 


There are further stages for adverbs and adjectives: 

Who to – pink 

What like – cloud words 

When – brown 

How – black 

Why - purple 

Why use Colourful Semantics?

It is a system to support spoken and written language learning across the curriculum. It can be used for: 

-  sentence development 

-  understanding questions 

-  developing narrative 

-  understanding written text 

-  developing vocabulary and learning facts 

-  understanding instructions and sentences 

-  following in discussions and to communicate their own ideas effectively 

-  reducing problem behaviours such as anger and aggression (if this is the result of frustration associated with language difficulty). 

-  a great visual support 

-  identifying key word level (how many words are understood) 

This intervention helps develop the child’s ability to write grammatically accurate sentences and helps them understand word order and categories in the English language. 

If you would like any further information or activities please don’t hesitate to contact Vicki Carding or Katie Fairclough. 

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Ysgol Maes Hyfryd Specialist High School, Fifth Avenue, Flint, Flintshire CH6 5QL

Tel: 01352 792720 / 01352 792727 | Email: [email protected]