Have you ever had a student with almost no words but you knew that they had a lot to say? These are the students that fascinate me the most. I desperately want to know how to help them communicate something. But where do I start? There are thousands of words that I could try to teach them; words that their typically developing peers are using. What are the first words that these children need to learn? Core words.
Core words make communication possible. (Click to tweet)
According to AAC Language lab, over 90% of words that we use in spoken language are core vocabulary words. These are the words that you hear over and over: big, go, want, see, I. These words can be used in an environment and on any topic. These words vary somewhat depending on the age of the speaker as well as their developmental level. Praactical AAC has compiled a nice list of research and lists about core words here.
Looking at these lists, however, and I still wonder which words to teach and when. I know that for my students, I need to:
- Focus on one word for at least a week with hundreds of repetitions in the speech room, classroom, and at home.
- Integrate the core word into common core expectations by having a literacy component.
- Create a routine for teaching the core words.
So, how do I combine these three needs?
Teach core words according to the letter of the week!
I have blogged multiple times about how I use the letter of the week and how it has transformed my services in my self-contained classroom. Check out all of the posts here. If you are intrigued about using the letter of the week, but aren’t sure how to start, check out the 4 videos below:
Now the letter of the week is transforming my core vocabulary instruction.
Last year, I created a 26 part curriculum to teach 26 core words. Each word and activities correspond with a letter of the week. After going through the entire alphabet once, we went back and started over! It was incredible to see the progress that the students made when we focused so much on each word and then brought back words from previous weeks.
What was even better than having a pre-made set of activities for each word, was the buy-in from the teachers! They posted the posters around the room and sent home the letters to parents. They went out of their way to use the core word of the week every day! Since I cannot be in those classrooms all day, it was fantastic to see the teachers carrying over the speech goals into the room.
This program provides you with an easy to implement sets of activities, worksheets, and ideas focusing on CORE vocabulary for every letter of the alphabet. Core vocabulary is used for 94% of all the words spoken, and therefore most important vocabulary for all early language learners. Core vocabulary provides flexibility to request, comment, ask for help, and engage socially. It is the foundation for later language.
With “Letter and Core Word of the Week”, you will use a systematic way to teach the alphabet and increase phonics skills. My teachers and I have chosen to teach the letters in alphabetic order, however, they could be taught in any order that works with your other curriculum. Because there are more weeks in the school year than letters of the alphabet, go back and start over after finishing the first round!
With this program you will:
Know exactly what you are teaching week to week.
Teach and reinforce core vocabulary that will impact all areas of communication.
Expose students to the alphabet, phonics, and phonemic awareness.
Feel confident that you are working towards two crucial elements of development and education: literacy and vocabulary.
Have materials and ideas that you can use over and over again every year.
For each letter of the alphabet, this program contains a(n):
- Letter and Poster: The parent/teacher letter and poster should be handed out each week so that you can encourage participation by all staff and family members! You can improve carryover practice with these handy tools.
- Worksheet: A weekly black and white worksheet allows for practicing the core word and other letter vocabulary with your students in class or at home. There is no need to create any additional homework.
- Communication Board: The communication board combines important core vocabulary with specific vocabulary for the week so that you can model language and work on expressive language even with your very early language learners!
- Activity: The fun activity for the week focuses on the core word so that you have activity ideas ready to go for tens or hundreds of repetitions of the word in small or large groups.
- File Folder: The file folder activity can be used over and over for years to come and allows you to practice receptive language, expressive vocabulary, and multiple word phrases.
Buy “Letter and Core Word” of the week by clicking here!
Comment below and tell me if you use a systematic program to teach vocabulary with any of your early language learners?