Implementing Color Coding Writing Strategies

Last Updated on October 6, 2023 by Editorial Team

A piece of text on the screen or a notebook inferred for longer durations turns boring or dull. It is crucial to turn these interesting to facilitate the engagement of readers. Ameliorating it visually is a fair idea, as most pupils like visual inferences or better learning. But, how can one make the text visually better?

Coding the lines with different colors or even highlighting them assists the reader in making out logical and relevant aspects even in a large text. While we call it color coding writing, this strategy has multiple insights worth comprehending. Here we ensured to explain all relevant information about color-coding strategies along with some examples. 

What is color coding?

Color coding is an evidence-based writing program or strategy that is suitable for all pupils to assist in their common core curriculum. As the name hints, it is the process of assigning one or multiple colors to a piece of text.  This model prepares students to respond and discern better. This way, performance challenges related to academic discourse if any are addressed. 

Showing children an example paragraph and using color coding as a writing tactic is a good idea. A student using a highlighter pen in the classroom to highlight crucial insights can turn into an easy example for color code writing. 

What edges does color coding bring with it?

The primary goal of color coding is to segregate and organize information. Here are a few instantaneous edges that the strategy ensures:

  1. Better visual Memory: When colors of the text are given a specific color label, pupils implicitly reorganize the significance of each code, and often combine color with text to remember. This ensures better visual memory. 
  2. With the implementation of multiple colors, the text often turns more interactive, thereby students invest better attention to the chapter. 
  3. Various spaces on the page are effortlessly identified. For instance, a place for heading, text, and answers is easily made out
  4. Before tests or in time-bound instances, important points are easily revised by following a specific color code that was previously decided
  5. Based on the scene, definitive color is used to express the text better. For instance, yellow may be used for happiness, and orange for energy. 

Color coding strategies of writing- Insights to make notes better

Color coding is entertaining, but it also has a deeper meaning. Colors might help you remember things and pay attention. Color coding is an excellent approach to give scaffolding for pupils who require it while also engaging students who do not. Here are a few strategies to employ:

1. Employing color codes for selective Highlighting:

Employing color codes for selective Highlighting:

With multiple color highlighters in hand, a pupil makes their reading session better with selective highlighting. The strategy is all about identifying crucial areas and marking them.  Say, the learner is preparing for a test and they need to be ready for long questions and also for one-word answers. Here, while reading through the lines, they choose green highlighter for probable long question concepts and yellow for one-word answers. 

2. Employing Color coding as a graphic organizer

Employing color coding as graphic organizer

Usually, images, graphs, and flowcharts are considered as graphic organizers. Nonetheless, color coding converts text visually better too. Say a teacher wants to conduct a test of 5 questions. To make it further engaging, they outline a square around each question and also in the answer sheet for answers. This way, pupils better engage with the test attributes. 

3. Color coding to Determine different levels 

Color coding to Determine different levels 

While we learn how color coding differentiates different parts of the text, it may be a good idea to represent different levels or types of context. For instance, if the teacher wants to explain different layers of the atmosphere, they can mark the troposphere in blue, and the Exosphere in red, depicting the exosphere as the most inhabitable layer. 

4. Note-taking is made easy with Color coding

Note-taking is made easy with Color coding

Making notes with care needs a color-coding strategy. To make them better organized, students choose multiple colors of pens and highlighters to distinguish different levels of content. For instance, different color codes for questions, answers, and important points. This strategy mostly helps when an aspirant wants to take running notes in class. Even though the text is taken at a pace, the color coding often assists in easy comprehension later. 

5. Color coding to mark grammar

 Color coding to mark grammar

Grammar learning involves a set of concepts like parts of speech, tenses, and punctuation. Bringing them together gets easy with a color-coding strategy. The mentor asks the pupil to mark past in red, present in blue, and future in green. Or, while learning parts of speech, the teacher uses eight different colors to mark each of them in a paragraph or in a mindmap to explain to students. 

What do researchers say about color coding?

The inferences about color-coding ensure credibility when a research speaks about it. Bryce A. Geigle[1] did thesis research and made a research report analyzing how color-coding formulas enhance writing. The aim of the research was to investigate the status of students’ synthesis of color-coding writing, thereby determining their effect.

Interestingly, the results were mixed. While it was concluded that color-coding overall has a positive effect. Some selective colors also have a negative impact. Accordingly, he outlined these shades for further research. These conclusions depict the need for color coding as well as constraints. 

How does color-coding assist special needs individuals?

Color has an impact on individuals with learning difficulties too. Be it lower self-esteem or academic performance, this strategy can be employed to succeed. Below-mentioned points depict how color-coding assists special individuals:

  • Calmer colors are employed to assist in the reduction of anxiety. Colors often link emotion with text. Ensuring serene colors like blue[2] and green further calm while inferring. This way, anxiety for the subject also be addressed. 
  • Improves concept comprehension. In most cases, a concept explained in the text has multiple areas to mark and understand. With different colors assigned, understanding levels are enhanced. Say, if the text narrates about the working of a turbine, then the concept be marked in green, the definition of each part in yellow, and functions in blue. This way, different sessions are inferred effortlessly. This eventually Addresses organizational concerns as well
  • Improves academic performance with better understanding and structuring of content in class as well as in tests. 
  • Enhances phonics and mathematics skills. For young learners, identifying a phonic in a word may be strenuous, but giving out different colors easily differentiates each of them.  In math, operations like additions and subtraction of multiple numbers can be discerned easily with distinct color codes. 
  • Ameliorates self-esteem. Appropriate color code repair mood. For instance, Yellow is often for the mind and intellect, thereby improving confidence. 


While most teachers are accustomed to color coding, they must educate kids on using color to improve their learning. Color coding, when used correctly, can be an outstanding scaffolding and involvement technique for students.

Even though color coding is pretty beneficial, too much of it may not be preferable.  Try to confine yourself to three or fewer colors per lesson and maintain consistency. You can use any color for any topic; however, the color should be coherent to avoid confusion once introduced. For instance, if students used blue when comparing at the start of the year, make sure you use the same color for all comparing lessons.


  1. Geigle, B. A. (2014). How Color Coding Formulaic Writing Enhances Organization: A Qualitative Approach for Measuring Student Affect. Online Submission.
  2. Jacobs, K. W., & Suess, J. F. (1975). Effects of four psychological primary colors on anxiety state. Perceptual and motor skills, 41(1), 207-210.

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