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Targeting Semantic Language Skills in the Literacy-Based Therapy Framework

Updated: Feb 19

Semantic activities focus on learning new vocabulary and/or thinking about words and their relationships.

Semantic skills include:

🎯 Learning vocabulary in or related to the story

🎯 Synonyms & antonyms

🎯 Associations

🎯 Categories

🎯 Describing

🎯 Words with multiple meanings

🎯 Basic concepts (e.g. qualitative, spatial, temporal)

🎯 Comparatives & superlatives (e.g. big, bigger, biggest)

🎯 Prefixes & suffixes

💡 Here are some fun ideas for targeting some of these skills! 💡


Create a personal vocabulary dictionary or journal for each student

synonyms & antonyms:

Choose a word from the text. Work with students to generate synonyms/antonyms.

Then have students go on a scavenger hunt around the room to find items that the synonym/antonym describes (e.g. soft and hard, wet and dry, long and short).

After they find their item, students can make a sentence about their item using the synonym/antonym. Talk about if their items are similar to the item from the story or the opposite.

Describing & categories:

Version 1: Write nouns from the story on pieces of paper or sticky notes. Each student draws one from a bag and describes it to the group while the group tries to guess it. Or each student could just choose an object from the pictures in the story.

Version 2: Put a sticky note on Student A's forehead (or in a headband from the HedBanz game) and have each student in the group describe the item for Student A to guess

prefixes & suffixes:

Select a prefix/suffix featured in the text. Give students a root word and meaning of the target affix/suffix. Have them determine the target word using the root and affix/suffix.

Want even more ideas? Take a peek at these blog posts:

Before you go...if you're looking for a no-prep or print and go resource that has a variety of activities already done for you, then take a peek at my:

I hope this has been helpful 💛

about the author Sarah


Ukrainetz, T. A. (2006). Contextualized Language Intervention: Scaffolding Prek-12 Literacy Achievement (1st ed.). Pro Ed.


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