Language for Thinking: A structured approach for Young Children aims to encourage the development of verbal reasoning skills. These include defining, explaining, justifying, predicting, comparing and contrasting and evaluating. As children develop verbal reasoning skills they move from the concrete “here and now” to the more abstract “how and why”. This resource provides a structure for this development.

Theoretical Foundation

The framework that forms the basis for this resource is derived from Blank, Rose and Berlins (1978a) Blank Model. In this model children start with the most concrete language at level 1 and move to the most abstract at level 4. For example, language level A uses who and what questions. In language level B the child is required to read between the lines and make inferences e.g. “Tell me how the children planted the seeds?” In language level C the child is required to analyse, explain and reason, e.g. "why" questions.

Intervention description

The programme is divided into 3 modules. Each module uses questions from all three levels of Blank’s Model, however the presentation becomes more abstract. In Module 1 the child is shown a picture of a scenario (e.g. children watching a puppet show, or a girl who has dropped her ice-cream) and is read a short story that goes with the picture, then the clinician asks questions (e.g. “Who is in the puppet show?, “do they like the puppet show?”). In Module 2 a picture is shown to the child and the child reads the text to his/herself, then the clinician asks questions. In Module 3 the child reads the story for himself with no picture, then the clinician asks questions. As there is no picture in this module it is the most abstract as the child has to find all the necessary information in the text. To determine a starting point for therapy, the child’s language level needs to be established. The child’s language level is determined through administering items from each module at all language levels. The child’s answers are scored from 0 to 3 points depending on completeness and accuracy, indicating the level of understanding of the question. The language level then indicates which module you should start with. The manual recommends 10 – 15 lessons on intervention before reassessing the child to see if they are ready to move up a module. On-going monitoring varies depending on the therapy situation – you may score a child’s responses every time if doing individual therapy, or just record comments if working with a group and reassess periodically.

Materials/Training Required

The resource comes complete with all the material that is required to use the resource. The materials include:

  • 50 black and white drawings
  • Question sheets
  • Three parallel assessments of language to determine each child's starting level and assess progress
  • Strategies for helping every child succeed
  • Tracker sheets to record each lesson
  • Worksheets and further suggestions to support each child's learning
  • Photocopies of the question sheets and pictures provided will need to be made.

There are no additional materials that need to be used.

Similar/Alternative Interventions

There are some resources available that target verbal reasoning skills which are only applicable to specific populations (e.g. Autism & PDD: Abstract Concepts Level 2 by Linda Mulstay-Muratore). However there are no published resources that are available to use with the same wide range of clinical populations that this resource targets. A clinician could devise their own questions and picture stimuli based on Blank's levels of questioning.


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