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St John XXIII Catholic Primary School Inspiring Faith in our Future

What are 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:


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
  • Dyslexia
  • Literacy Difficulties
  • English as an Additional Language (EAL)