by Erica Sanford, MA, CCC-SLP (Speech-Language Pathologist); NWACS Contributor
Have you been hearing the term Core Vocabulary lately? At all of the recent Assistive Tech conferences I’ve been to and websites I keep up with it’s been somewhat of a buzz word for the last few years! What exactly is Core? Why is it beneficial?
“Core” refers to words that are used frequently in a language and are very versatile. They are usually simple, familiar, short, and can be used across a variety of settings. It’s estimated that approximately 80% of words we use are CORE words! Teaching these essential and highly used words can help with language development in areas that are often limited when the focus of communication is simply labeling or requesting.
Some examples of core words are: go, my, turn, help, no, done, want, and that. Think about how often these words are used, especially for school-aged children. If you’re in a school setting, core words are also very frequently early sight words and can help with pre-literacy skills! By focusing on core words, students can learn to use practical and useful words to convey a variety of meanings in many different settings.
But what about all of the other important words? These are known as FRINGE words. Fringe words typically make up 20-25% of our vocabulary. These words are often specific to a person (e.g. names of friends, family, and pets, favorite foods, etc.). Fringe words are often nouns and often relate to a specific activity or setting. Some examples of fringe words may include: touchdown, quarterback, and field goal. These would most likely only be beneficial to learn (and only used) when talking about football. They are very useful when discussing a specific topic, but are not always as useful as core words out of context.
Our classroom has decided to start implementing a CORE vocabulary system. To get started, I highly recommend a bundle resource to help with activities and ideas! Our classroom is using the Core Word of the Week Bundle #1 by Jenna Rayburn Kirk that we found on Teachers Pay Teachers.
We are excited to start on this journey and will update you with materials, lessons, and tips as we go along! Are you using CORE with your students? What programs or materials have you found helpful?