A PrAACtical March: Resources for A Year of Core Vocabulary Words
Do the AAC users in your life use only a fraction of the core words in their SGD, AAC app, or communication board? One way to help them move forward is to make a concerted effort to use, highlight, and provide additional teaching on a variety of words. It’s hard to do this without getting overwhelmed, so find a strategy that works for you. A few years ago, we decided to approach this by focusing on 12-16 core words each month. (If this is too much for the teams with whom you work, that’s not a problem. Just cut it back to 4-6 words/month.) Each month, we can highlight those words in our conversation (aided language input), direct intervention, and home programming activities with AAC learners. The repeated experiences with those 12-16 (or 4-6) words help our AAC learners develop new skills, and keeps the team focused on the same destination.
It’s gratifying to see many of you using this approach, whether it is with our word lists, or one of your own. As we prepare to turn the page on our calendars, here are some resources that may be helpful. These resources are available thanks to the generosity of Barbara Fernandes, Brian Whitmire, Bill and Lori Binko, Heidi LoStracco, Alison Wade, Russell Cross, Gail Van Tatenhove, Eric Sailers, Rachael Langley, Danielle Maglinte, and others. Many thanks for sharing your work with us!
Set 1: away, bad, come, good, it, make, now, off, read, there, thing, where
Set 2: baby, dirty, easy, friend, finish, home, loud, mother/mom, next, red, sleep smart, teacher, toy. win, wrong
- Templates for you to plug in your own symbols: Set 1 words, Set 2 words
- Minspeak/Unity version: Set 1
- PCS versions: Set 1; Set 2
- Speak for Yourself version: Set 1, Set 2
- Symbol Stix version: Set 1
- Lesson Pix: Set 1 Words
- Smarty Symbols: Set 1 words, Set 2 words
- CoughDrop: Set 1 words; Set 2 words
- WordPower: Set 1 words (Note: This is a large file that contains the resources for several versions of WordPower)
- WordPower: Set 2 Words in Symbol Stix and PCS (Both are large files that have sets for different versions of WordPower)
- Print them and hang them on a bulletin board or refrigerator.
- Laminate, cut them apart, and put them on a binder ring that you keep handy so that you can show just one symbol at a time.
- Use them to create activities that help with symbol discrimination, such as a fun, interactive matching game or scavenger hunt.
- Add them to a core word dictionary.
- Hide them in a sensory bin filled with rice, sand, or beans.
- Develop a language experience survey around one or more of the words.
- Use it as a word wall, and create ‘mystery word’ or guessing activities (e.g., “I’m thinking of a word that…).
One terrific thing about core words is that they are easy to combine in sentences. We can model these words as we talk throughout the day. Here are some suggestions to get you started (Thanks, Danielle!).
Need more? Here you go!
- That’s GOOD!
- READ IT.
- COME here NOW.
- Let’s go AWAY.
- That wasn’t BAD!
- Turn IT OFF.
- Take IT AWAY.
- MAKE a BAD joke.
- WHERE is IT?
- MAKE IT go AWAY.
- We can READ NOW.
- WHERE do you want to READ?
- Is IT A GOOD THING or a BAD THING?
- Do you want IT OFF?
- That is a BAD THING
- THERE is my GOOD friend.
- IT is A GOOD THING.
- IT is GOOD to READ.
- THERE is WHERE we are going.
- SMART cookie!
- It is EASY.
- She is too LOUD.
- Shh! The BABY is SLEEPING!
- My FRIEND is SMART.
- My MOM is HOME.
- The BABY is all DIRTY.
- Give your FRIEND the TOY when you are FINISHED.
- That TEACHER is SMART.
- I am FINISHED with the RED one.
- MOM said it is time to go to SLEEP.
- What TOY should we play NEXT?
- Your TEACHER said you FINISHED all your work!
Reading is such a fun and easy way to provide targeted exposure to core words. Here are some book suggestions compiled by Danielle Maglinte for some of our March words.
- Ten Little Pirates By Brownlow
- ThereThere Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly by Colandro
There are lots of ways to target these words beyond storybook reading. Rachael Langley has, once again, put together two lovely calendars of suggestions. There is a perpetual calendar for Set 1 words that you can use year after year, and a dated calendar for Set 2 words (created in 2017). Though the dates may not match up, the activity ideas suggestions are timely and prAACtical. Thank you, Rachael!
Thanks again to all our kind friends who generously shared their resources.
Do you have ideas or materials for the Year of Core Words? We’d love to hear from you!
This post was written by Carole Zangari