Semantic Knowledge

This ability can be affected by poor auditory memory skills and can have challenging implications for pupils in the classroom. If they cannot retain an understanding of the meaning of new vocabulary, they will have difficulty in understanding new concepts and ideas. This will affect pupils' ability to express their own ideas.

Children with difficulties in this area may:


+ Have word-finding problems
+ Have difficulty with word classification
+ Make inappropriate responses to questions, instructions and directions
+ Have difficulty developing more than a literal understanding of text
+ Have a poor short-term auditory memory
+ Need to be given time to process information
+ Have kinaesthetic strengths and learn better through concrete materials and practical experiences
+ Have visual strengths and enjoy learning through visual materials.

Activities to develop semantic knowledge:


Comparisons (e.g. in maths or science) - Using and analysing comparative language (longer/shorter, rougher/smoother than...)

Sorting (using given categories) - Related to subject or topic (such as types of toys, instruments, shapes, foods, materials, words).

Classification (using pupils' own chosen criteria) e.g. science materials, living things, shapes, foods etc.

Bingo (pictorial) - Ensure pupils' understanding of baseboard category before the start of the game (e.g. passenger vehicles, footwear).

Where Is It? - One pupil chooses and object in the room, then give clues describing its position (in front of, next to) allow two to five clues.

Opposites (using visual concrete materials) - Introduce key concept vocabulary within different contexts (such as hard/soft, full/empty, heavy/light, sweet/sour).

Odd Word Out - From a group of words, identify and explain reasons for the odd word out; use categories in different areas of the curriculum to aid understanding of subject -specific vocabulary.

Homophone Pelmanism - Using pairs of words e.g. see/sea, meet/meat, hole/whole. Rebus symbols can be used to aid understanding.

Compound Word Dominoes - Played as a traditional game (such as START/bed, room/to, day/for, get/car, pet/butter, fly/pan, cake/foot, ball/hand, bag/light, house/FINISH).

Compound Word Pairs/ Plemanism - Collect words like foot/ball, butter/fly, to form compound words.

Word Families - (like the card game Happy Families) - Collect words in teh same categories (such as fruit, clothes, animals) or related to subject/study units.

20 Questions - Pupils ask 20 yes/no questions to find the identify of a hidden object.

Just a Minute - Pupils talk for one minute on a given subject (such as cars, animals, food).

Synonym Families - Pupils use a simple thesaurus to make up games for others using synonyms such as enormous/huge/massive and so on.