Helen and I were thrilled when Sue O’Malley, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist offered to write a post about Semantic feature analysis. It isn’t something I have used ….yet, but it looks really useful and I will be trying this soon! You can find out more about Sue on her website www.chattertutor.co.uk. Here is her post:-
Semantic Features Analysis for Vocabulary Development and Word Finding Difficulties
I wanted to share a technique I have been using with some of my children recently. I found it on the website Reading Rockets. A grid is used to help children explore how things are related to one another. They complete and analyse the grid which enables them to see similarities and differences between items, enhancing their vocabulary knowledge and hopefully their storage and retrieval of words.
Here is a grid I made for a child
- I chose the topic: Animals/insects/mini beasts
- I provided key vocabulary words down the left-hand column: fly, fish, butterfly, duck, wasp and parrot.
- I provided features of the topic across the top row of the chart: has a beak, goes in water, has wings, has feathers, may hurt you, has two legs and could be a pet.
- The child then placed a tick or a cross in the matrix when a vocabulary word aligned with a particular feature.
Some of the children I am working with cannot read so I have used pictures created on Lessonpix rather than written words. Once we have completed the grid e.g. “Does a fly have a beak”, “Does a fish have a beak”? etc, I have gone on to use the Headbandz game, using the same vocabulary: butterfly, duck etc to see if the children then use their knowledge to generate questions e.g. “Does it have feathers”? and “How many legs does it have”?
I have found this a useful approach as I have tailored the grids to suit the gaps in different children’s knowledge. For example, on this occasion I realised that the child did not know the words ‘beak’ or ‘feathers’.
The Reading Rockets website provide a link where you can download blank grids and here are more useful links here for Lessonpix (which changed my life for the better!) Here is a link to the Headbandz game (but you can create custom made Headbandz cards on Lessonpix too).
I hope you find this approach as useful as I have.
Sue O’Malley: Specialist Speech and Language Therapist- Bury Lancashire
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