rainbow grammar testimonials

“We have had the great pleasure of working with Jason for the last two years at Albany Junior School. His passion has been totally infectious with all in our learning community. His dynamic and very ‘hands on’ programme, ‘Rainbow Grammar’, has enabled our children to make great improvements in the technical aspects of their writing, such as grammar, punctuation and spelling. Our children have become incredibly skilled in a very short space of time.”

Craig Robertson, head Teacher, Albany Junior School (Stapleford)


“We implemented the ‘Rainbow Grammar’ system of teaching almost two years ago and it is now strongly embedded in Years 1-6. This approach to teaching grammar & punctuation has had a very positive impact on all children, but especially our boys who have loved working with Jason.  Children and staff’s subject knowledge on grammar has improved rapidly and all enjoy learning about language the ‘Rainbow Grammar’ way. An external review acknowledged the impact Rainbow Grammar was having on standards and our school is recognised as having it as an Area of Excellence. Jason Wade’s passion for English is infectious and his staff training, along with his ‘Rainbow Grammar’ approach to teaching grammar, has both improved standards and captivated both children and staff alike to learn more about language.”
Lorraine Tonks, Principal, Chetwynd Primary Academy (Toton)


 about rainbow grammar


What is Rainbow Grammar?

At the heart of Rainbow Grammar is a very simple idea – that colour can be used to expose the underlying structure of sentences, so that children can understand how they work, imitate their patterns and then apply those patterns to new contexts. Now, using colour to understand sentences is nothing new, but it is the unique way in which Rainbow Grammar does it that makes it so powerful.


Building Better Sentences

Rainbow Grammar identifies eight larger sentence structures – clauses and phrases – and assigns each a colour. Three of these form the core of nearly all sentence structures in English. This basic structure, learned in Reception and Year 1, uses a simple traffic light model, where green represents the subject of a sentence (who or what the sentence is about), orange represents the predicate (the action in the sentence) and red represents punctuation that stops a sentence. (Children learn the technical names in key Stage 2.)

The monster roared all night.

His pillow was soaked with tears.

Throughout Key Stages 1 and 2, children learn how to build upon this simple structure by both using the full range of eight Rainbow Grammar colours, which represent an increasingly sophisticated range of sentence elements, and by using the different patterns in which they can be joined together. For example:

Year 1  All night, the monster roared.

Year 2 The monster roared all night because he wanted his teddy.

Year 3 The monster lost his teddy, crawled under the bed and roared all night.

Year 4 Hugging his favourite blanket, the monster roared all night.

Year 5  The monster roared into his pillow, which was soaked in tears.

Until eventually, in Year 6, children are able to build more elaborate patterns using multiple elements to express complex ideas.

Because he wanted his teddy, the monster who lived under Jimmy’s bed roared miserably all night, huddled in his favourite blanket.

Along the way, children learn about organising words that join and link ideas together (prepositions, conjunctions, linking adverbs and relative pronouns), each year group having its own specific organising words to teach and learn. For example, in Year 4:

Prepositions: adjacent, despite, except, of, opposite, since, toward, upon, within, without

Linking adverbs: also, finally, however, meanwhile

Coordinating conjunctions: yet

Subordinating conjunctions: as soon as, by the time, even though, just as, so that


Understanding How Words Work

At the same time, children learn about the eight word classes – nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. – that make up the sentences they are building, and how they can improve the internal structure of these eight Rainbow Grammar elements. For example:

Year 1  adjectives of size: The huge monster roared.

Year 2  proper nouns (places): The huge monster roared in Sherwood Forest.

Year 3  precise nouns: The huge ogre roared in Sherwood Forest.

Year 4 adverbials of duration: The huge ogre roared in Sherwood Forest throughout the night.

Year 5  adverbs of frequency: The huge ogre often roared in Sherwood Forest throughout the night.

Year 6  compound-adjectives: The huge, thistle-furred ogre often roared in Sherwood Forest throughout the night. 


Creative Grammar

Accompanying the main Rainbow Grammar curriculum is the optional Creative Grammar section, which is packed full of creative sentence patterns and effective writing techniques that build upon and play with the patterns that children have learned in the main Rainbow Grammar curriculum. These patterns and techniques, when used sparingly, allow children to express creative flair in their writing. For example:

Year 1 rhyme: James bakes cakes.

Year 2  onomatopoeia: The rocket whizzed into the sky.

Year 3 mirrored bridge: Cinderella danced and danced and danced until midnight.

Year 4  comparative adverbial:  Jim’s shed was colder than a freezer full of ice cubes.

Year 5 Triple see-saw: The ocean simmered and seethed, bubbled and boiled, fumed and foamed.

Year 6  ‘zoom in’ adverbial:  On a lone hill, in a knot of twisted trees, behind a mossy boulder, Silus cowered.



Rainbow Grammar is supported by an in-depth 135 page curriculum guide which details the content taught from Reception to Year 6. The curriculum is divided into two key sections, which are further subdivided as shown in the table below.

Sentences & Clauses Sentence Patterns Sentence patterns, using the eight Rainbow Grammar colours
Organisers The joining and linking words needed to build the sentence patterns
Punctuation The punctuation needed to build the sentence patterns
Words & Phrases Nouns & Pronouns Naming words and words that replace them
Determiners & Adjectives Words that introduce and describe nouns
Verbs Words that describe actions
Adverbs & Prepositions Words that describe where, when and how


The Sentences & Clauses section is concerned with larger sentence structures, and provides children with specific sentence patterns to learn, the organising words and punctuation required to build them in each year group.

The Words & Phrases section is concerned with grammar at the word and phrase level, systematically building children’s knowledge of the words and phrases that make up the larger structures of the English language.

The Rainbow Grammar curriculum booklet provides teachers with support for teaching each objective. As well as detailing the content to be taught in each year group, each objective is broken down and explained in detail, providing teachers with:

  • subject knowledge: what teachers need to know to teach the objective effectively
  • prior learning: the understanding required by children to access the objective
  • key idea: the one idea that children above all else should understand
  • vocabulary: the terminology teachers and children should use
  • deepening understanding: studying the objective in greater depth for more able children
  • teaching tips: tips, techniques and text to use when teaching the objective


Why Use Rainbow Grammar?

It’s rigorous.

Rainbow Grammar is whole-school approach to teaching grammar from Reception through to Year 6, building knowledge logically and systematically, year on year, so that children’s understanding slowly builds from a simple understanding of how sentences works and the key words within them, to more complex ideas of subordination, coordination and how to create shades of meaning and levels of formality through advanced techniques.

It’s explicit.

Rainbow Grammar takes a lot of concepts that are implicitly mentioned in the national curriculum and makes it explicit so that teachers in every year group, know exactly what to teach. Rainbow Grammar breaks down objectives into smaller chunks to build knowledge precisely and puts in building blocks that underpin some of the more challenging concepts.

It’s logical.

The current national curriculum is a huge improvement on what came before when it comes to teaching children how the English language works, but it has it’s shortcomings. For example, children in Year 1 learn about singular and plural nouns before learning what a noun is in Year 2. Rainbow Grammar more precisely builds children’s grammar knowledge in a logical, sequential manner.

It improves writing.

Children who are taught Rainbow Grammar well learn the structure of written sentences, improving their punctuation accuracy with grammar and punctuation, and increasing the variety of sentences they understand and apply. Put simply, children who are taught Rainbow Grammar well understand how sentences work. They understand how ideas can be joined together in a rich array of sentence patterns. They understand how to use language accurately. They understand how to apply these structures into their writing. They understand the effects that using the techniques can create. And they understand how to bend the rules, once they have learned them.

It’s fun.

Children seem to love learning using the Rainbow Grammar approach. The simple colour system helps children to more clearly see the underlying structure of sentences, and the ability to physically manipulate these structures helps children to understand how these structures can be rearranged to create a rich array of sentence structures.


introducing rainbow grammar training

Delivered as a whole day INSET or a sequence of three staff meetings, this hugely popular training introduces you to the Rainbow Grammar approach and covers the essential subject knowledge need to teach Rainbow Grammar from Reception to Year 6 including:

  • the traffic light model of the simple sentence
  • building a rich variety of sentences using the Rainbow Grammar approach
  • the eight word classes and their roles within sentences
  • phrases types and their purpose
  • clause structure
  • joining and linking ideas through coordination and subordination

Colleagues will experience several Rainbow Grammar lessons pitched at different year groups so they can get a feel for the approach in action.

The training also provides an overview of the 150 page Rainbow Grammar curriculum document, which is provided free of charge with the training.


follow-up CPD

follow-up staff meetings

Individually tailored staff meetings to support your school’s implementation of Rainbow Grammar. These might be focused on recapping, embedding or furthering subject knowledge, or developing the range of effective teaching strategies. These staff meetings could focus on (but are not limited to) areas as diverse as:

  • reviewing aspects of subject knowledge
  • teaching an effective Rainbow Grammar sequence: key ingredients for success
  • the power of daily practice to secure long-term understanding
  • Rainbow Grammar games and activities – a suite of teaching techniques to build into lessons to support pupil understanding
  • effective techniques for modelling and guiding children’s writing using Rainbow Grammar
  • analysing writing using Rainbow Grammar  to understand authorial technique
  • the art of the sentence combining: moving children from simple sentences to communicating complex ideas within sentences
  • creative Rainbow Grammar – advanced Rainbow Grammar sentence patterns designed to create impact


embedding rainbow grammar training

A follow up to Introducing Rainbow Grammar, this whole day INSET or deepens understanding of the Rainbow Grammar approach. This training can be tailored to meet your school’s needs by covering aspects from the staff meetings listed above, but most typically covers:

  • teaching an effective Rainbow Grammar sequence: key ingredients for success
  • the power of daily practice to secure long-term understanding
  • Rainbow Grammar games and activities – a suite of teaching techniques to build into lessons to support pupil understanding
  • effective techniques for modelling and guiding children’s writing using Rainbow Grammar


rainbow grammar clinics

Two types of Rainbow Grammar clinics are available to support your staff. These are half-day sessions working with small groups of teachers/TAs to develop their subject knowledge and further improve their ability to teach Rainbow Grammar.

phase group clinics

These clinics are for phase teams (typically Reception to Y2, Y3&4, and Y5&6), and dig deeper into the Rainbow Grammar curriculum within the year groups in which colleagues are working. Staff within each phase would spend half a day examining the content that they will be teaching to ensure that they fully understand the finer details of the subject knowledge, unpick any misconceptions, and feel confident in teaching every aspect of Rainbow Grammar, with a range effective strategies for teaching the objectives.

booster clinics

These half-day clinics are designed with those colleagues who need a little extra support in mind. Perhaps some colleagues find grammar subject knowledge particularly challenging, perhaps colleagues have moved to an unfamiliar year group and need to brush up on content, or perhaps colleagues are returning to the classroom after a period of time out and need a recap. Whatever the reason, booster clinics aim to support colleagues with their subject knowledge and ability to support their pupils’ understanding.


team teaching using the lesson study model

See the impact of good quality Rainbow Grammar teaching on the children in your school.Plan, teach and review a sequence of lessons alongside a Rainbow Grammar expert. Select those aspects of Rainbow Grammar that staff are finding difficult to teach or children difficult to learn and benefit from the experience of a Rainbow Grammar lessons who will

  • help your teaching staff to plan effective Rainbow Grammar lesson sequences
  • model the teaching of these lessons
  • team teach alongside your teaching staff
  • help you to review the impact of the teaching
  • identifying and plan for next steps in learning


subject leader development pack

The English subject will play a key role in the successful implementation of Rainbow Grammar in your school, so package of support to ensure they are able to support staff and effectively monitor the implantation and impact of Rainbow Grammar will be an important factor in your children’s success.

The Subject Leader pack is a suite of three days spread over the course of the first year that your school is embedding Rainbow Grammar. These days can be flexible and be tailored to meet the needs of your school. The outline  below is a guide only. Do get in touch to put together your personal plan.

Day 1: establishing Rainbow Grammar

The first day will help you to get Rainbow Grammar up and running and focuses on:

  •  put together an effective development plan
  • setting up expectations for how Rainbow Grammar is taught in your school
  • planning Rainbow Grammar into your English curriculum
  • supporting staff with planning and teaching in the early stages
  • ascertaining staff subject knowledge and confidence, and identify areas for development


Day 2: monitoring the quality of teaching

The second day will support you to identify strengths and weaknesses with the teaching of Rainbow Grammar and focuses on:

  • planning analysis to establish coverage and gaps in teaching
  • lesson observation and feedback
  • ensuring the classroom environment supports effective learning
  • putting together a staff CPD package


Day 3: measuring the impact on learning

The final day will support you to identify the impact on pupil attainment and focuses on:

  • work analysis to establish the impact on pupils’ writing
  • pupil interviews and questionnaires to ascertain grammatical understanding
  • next steps for school development