PrAACtically September: AAC Resources for a Year of Core Vocabulary

August 27, 2018 by - 4 Comments

PrAACtically September: AAC Resources for a Year of Core Vocabulary
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Are you supporting AAC learners who have SGDs or communication boards/books with high-frequency words? If so, join us as we work to model, practice, and teach these words throughout the day. It can feel overwhelming, so we tend to focus on a subset of words each month.

The Year of Core Vocabulary approach isn’t a developmental list of words to be introduced in a specific order, but rather a way of gradually exposing learners to more and more words over time. We do that by modeling them on their device or communication aid when we talk, and plan specific instructional activities to teach word meanings, play games to help them better recognize and understand the symbols for those words, and, elicit them frequently from those who are just learning their AAC systems. Our AAC friends need practice, practice, and more practice. Over time, they will gain more fluency and automaticity with the words in their AAC system.

Whether you are following along with the first set of core words  (2013; 12 words/month) or the second set  (2014; 16 words/month), or just getting started, here are some helpful resources. Our words for this month are as follows.

  • Set 1 (2013): almost, call, listen, name, nice, over, place, sit, time, we, write
  • Set 2 (2014): around, bug, cool, far, fly, hair, kind, less, lunch, middle, money, open, orange, sometimes, through, tomorrow

We can model and elicit them on their own or in sentences like these (download here).

PrAACtically September: AAC Resources for a Year of Core Vocabulary

Thanks to the support of PrAACtical AAC readers from near and far, we’ve assembled some resources for a range of AAC symbols.

  1. Templates for you to plug in your own symbols: Set 1 words, Set 2 words
  2. Speak for Yourself: Set 1 words; Set 2 words
  3. Minspeak/Unity version: Set 1 words
  4. PCS versions: Set 1 words, Set 2 words
  5. Lesson Pix: Set 1 words
  6. Symbol Stix: Set 1 words
  7. Smarty Symbols: Set 1 words, Set 2 words
  8. CoughDrop: Set 1 words; Set 2 words
  9. WordPower: Set 1 words (Note: This is a large file that contains the resources for several versions of WordPower)


PrAACtically September

As we all know, story reading is a great way to highlight core words, build fluency with AAC, and support literacy development. Here’s a book list, courtesy of Yukiko Okuma, that can be used to model and elicit the first set of core words (2013). Happy reading!

Need more ideas? Check out Rachael Langley’s calendar for some wonderfully prAACtical ideas. Click here or on the image below to get a copy that you can download and print. There are no dates written in so that you can use this year after year and plug in the numbers based on the day that September begins on in any given year.

PrAACtically September: AAC Resources for a Year of Core Vocabulary

Here’s a set of fun and easy activities for the Set 1 words (click here to download).

PrAACtically September: Resources for a Year of Core Vocabulary


You can download a printable version for the Set 1 words here.

PrAACtically September: Core Vocabulary ResourcesMuch appreciation to Bill and Lori Binko, Brian Whitmer, Nancy Inman, Lisa Timm, Eric Sailers, Rachael Langley, Heidi LoStracco, Alison Wade, Russell Cross, Gail Van Tatenhove, Yukiko Okuma, and all the others who have made these resources and allowed us to share them.

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This post was written by Carole Zangari


  • Sheri Jahner says:

    Hi Carole!
    I love the idea of A Year Of Core; however, working with 3-5 year olds, some of the words/concepts are a little advanced for that age group. Is there a set for preschoolers? The majority of our students are using Speak For Yourself.

    • Avatar photo Carole Zangari says:

      Sheri, I love that you are thinking about their vocabulary needs from multiple perspectives! The only 2 versions we created are the ones in this post. If I come across some that are age-specific, I will let you know.

  • krissy says:

    is there a 2020 September . calendar?

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