Elementary School, Freebies, Language, Materials, Musings, Therapy Ideas

Easy Language Sample Analysis

It’s definitely that time of year where I feel swamped. One of the most time consuming things I do during this time of year is evaluations. So.Many.Evaluations. I work with 3 year olds through 2nd grade so I do a lot of language sample analysis. I love doing them as they provide incredibly useful information, however they are tedious and slow.


Since switching job settings in November, I’ve started doing language sample analysis using Microsoft Word. Yes, you read that correctly! You can do so much using tools you likely already have! And it’s fast! Check out the steps below to complete one of your own:

Step One: Type in 50 utterances. Put each utterance on their own line. I like to use numbered bullets to keep track of how many I have. See an example below:

Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 11.58.58 AM

Make sure to break apart all morphemes with a space between them as shown below:

Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 11.59.17 AM

Step Two: Calculate total words. To do this, get rid of the numbered bullets first!! One you have a document with just the child’s utterances, go to Tools —> Word Count.

Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 11.58.25 AM

Step Three: Divide the number next to Words (113 in this example) by 50 (the total number of utterances). This calculation gives you an MLU of 2.26. Easy, right?!

Step Four: Fill out a Language Sample Analysis Checklist to analyze grammar, vocabulary, pragmatics, narratives, and more! I have a free one in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Click here to check it out!


Hope that’s helpful and it saves you some time! There are definitely more in depth ways of doing this, but let’s be honest, we are working under some serious time constraints!

{thanks for reading}

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11 Comment

  1. Reply
    April 10, 2016 at 6:12 PM

    This is an awesome idea! Definitely a time saver! Thank you!

    1. Reply
      April 10, 2016 at 8:02 PM

      You’re welcome!! SO glad you found it useful! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  2. Reply
    Ann Welker
    April 10, 2016 at 6:48 PM

    Thank you so much! I’ve been using Microsoft Word for language sampling but didn’t know there was a word count feature. Also, your checklist is just what I’ve been looking for, quick to use but also comprehensive.

    1. Reply
      April 10, 2016 at 8:03 PM

      That makes me so happy! Thanks so much for commenting.

  3. Reply
    April 10, 2016 at 11:31 PM

    So simple, but never thought to use it and will save major time! Thanks!

    1. Reply
      April 11, 2016 at 3:06 PM

      You’re welcome!! It is so simple but something I use all the time! Thanks for commenting!

  4. Reply
    Mrs T
    April 21, 2016 at 5:04 PM

    Thanks for this tip. I am a google docs user, and you prompted me to check and see if google docs has a similar feature. Yes, it does!

    Thanks for the checklist also!

    1. Reply
      April 23, 2016 at 10:15 AM

      You’re welcome! What a great idea to look on Google Docs! I will have to try that!

  5. Reply
    April 25, 2016 at 1:57 PM

    Great idea to use Word to quickly measure MLU! And this checklist helps me ensure that I include everything on my analysis. I just used it today for a 3-year-old I am evaluating. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Schoolhouse Talk

  6. Reply
    October 23, 2016 at 7:06 PM

    Love it. I don’t have the Word software so I am trying it with Pages. Seems to work in a similar way. Thank you. 😀

  7. Reply
    June 13, 2017 at 9:12 AM

    Language samples provide so much information and are, unfortunately, often overlooked. Thanks for your time saving hints. I just purchased SALT (Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts) software and am loving it. I use it with my K through 12 students. It is so helpful.

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