Core Vocabulary

Core Vocabulary

Core vocabulary is a small set of words that are often used in day-to-day communication. The same 400 or so core words make up around 80% of what people say in a typical day. Core words are usually pronouns (I, we, she), verbs (is, go, see) or modifiers (all, some, more). These small but mighty words can be used flexibly across environments, contexts and individuals which makes them powerful communication tools. 


Check out this video to hear all about core vocabulary from one of our SLP’s.


How to support its development

When parents and educators support core vocabulary development, there can be lasting effects on children’s communication skills. The most effective way to support it is through modeling. Modeling can be verbal, with pictures, symbols, signs, text or a combination.

  • A core board is a grid-layout of core words in the form of symbols or text. Pointing to a core board as words are spoken is a great way to model core vocabulary during turn-taking games, everyday routines or sensory play.
  • Signs for core words such as “more” or “go” can be modeled during daily activities such as snack time or getting into the car.
  • Many children’s books highlight specific core words which provide opportunities to model these words while asking and answering questions or learning sight words.

The opportunities to model core words with your child are endless. To get started incorporating core word more often with your kids, follow this link for a free core board download! 


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