‘Language for Thinking’ project 2020-2021

The dialogue between teacher and student that underpins learning frequently involves students being asked questions. However, a significant proportion of children find it difficult to understand these increasingly complex questions, including those with autism, social communication disorder, Developmental Language Disorder and learning difficulties. They may be able to understand simple and direct language, but when required to ‘read between the lines’ they struggle. This difficulty with questions may an impact on their understanding of social situations as well as reading comprehension.

Language for Thinking is a structured approach to develop children’s language from the ‘here and now’ to the ‘how and why’. 50 black and white drawings form the backbone of the resource. Written scenarios and question sheets are provided so adults can ask carefully promote children’s verbal reasoning and thinking skills.  The resource can be used flexibly with whole classes as the basis of a literacy lesson. With small groups or individual children it can be used as an oracy or literacy task. It is most applicable for use by Class Teachers working with 4-7 year old children as well as SENCOs and TAs working with children from 4 up to 11 years and more.

For more information about Language for Thinking click here.
Language for Thinking training provides participants with a greater theoretical understanding of the approach, as well as learning to set and run effective language interventions. Participants will be provided with a training package that can then be delivered to colleagues in their own schools/departments.  This course is suitable for Speech and Language Therapists, Class Teachers, specialist teachers, Teaching Assistants and Learning Support Assistants, SENCOs and Educational Psychologists. No prior knowledge of ‘Language for Thinking’ is required.

The aims of this course are:

  1. To be familiar with the ‘Language for Thinking’ (LFT) resource
  2. To understand the theory behind LFT.
  3. To understand how to use LFT in groups and within the differentiated classroom.
  4. To know which facilitation techniques to use and how to teach these to others.
  5. To have experience of scoring assessments and interpreting profiles
  6. To be able to deliver a brief ‘Language for Thinking’ trainin

What participating schools will receive:

  • Training for up to two colleagues on 24th March at Wodson Park led by Anna Branagan and Stephen Parsons who devised the approach
  • A copy of the Language for Thinking book

What the school needs to do:

  • Send up to two members of staff to the training day, one of whom must  be a teacher. 
  • Complete a case study in July 2021
  • Fund the supply cover for staff to attend the training in March.

To apply for a place please click here.


‘Word Aware project’ 2018-2019

Word Aware is a structured whole school approach to promote the vocabulary development of all children. Focussed on whole class learning, the resource is of particular value for those who start at a disadvantage – including children with Developmental Language Disorder, Special Educational Needs and those who speak English as an additional language, but it will extend the word learning of all students.  This approach is full of practical and inspiring ideas that can be easily applied by busy classroom practitioners to develop both spoken and written vocabulary.  Word Aware has been developed by combining up to date research with extensive classroom experience. Stephen Parsons and Anna Branagan have been using this approach and training many practitioners since 2010. The end product is an effective and time efficient method for developing the spoken and written vocabulary of all children.