Colourful Semantics

What is Colourful Semantics?

Many of the children that I treat have difficulties structuring the sentence in the right order as well as using vocabulary.

COLOURFUL SEMANTIC is a 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‘ was developed by Alison Bryan and is used by SLTs across the UK and beyond, to support spoken and written language development across a wide range of client groups.

The MAIN AIMS are:

  • To teach the possible structure of sentences using colour coding and Question words.
  • To develop/consolidate the understanding of “wh” questions i.e. Who, What, Where.
  • To develop the use of sentences containing: A subject the girl A verb is eating An object an apple A place in the kitchen
  • To increase the range of verbs used.

Who can use Colourful Semantics?

The approach can be used with children with a range of Speech, Language and Communication Needs including:

  • Specific Language Impairment
  • Developmental Delay or Disorder
  • Autistic Spectrum Condition
  • Down Syndrome
  • Literacy difficulties
  • Children with a reduced vocabulary.
  • Children that struggle with word order.
  • Children learning English as a second language.
  • Visual learners

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

The approach has 4 key colour coded stages. There are further stages for adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions and negatives.

WHO? – Orange
WHAT DOING? – Yellow
WHAT? – Blue
WHERE? – Red


The approach helps children to organise their sentences into key levels. The approach is used in stages and helps children develop language and vocabulary in addition to grammatical structure. It can be used to help children who are starting to develop language and have limited vocabulary to confident talkers who struggle to organise the grammatical content of their sentences.

Have a look at this document which has a lot of information. Colourful semantic

Reference Ref. Bryan A (1997)’Colourful semantics’ in Chiat S, Law J, and Marshall T (Eds). Language Disorders in Children and Adults, Whurr Publications

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