From toddlers to seniors, core's simple words make up 80 percent or more of everyday communication and are the heart of language development. Action words like "want," "put," "get," nouns like "thing," "stuff," and "people," pronouns like "I, me, my, mine," and "he, she, it, them," form easy sentences with demonstratives like "this" and "that." Early adverbs like "here" and "there" enable all children to express themselves. "Put it here," "Get me this," and "I want that" are what little kids say when they are building their mean length of utterance (MLU). Data suggests that children with disabilities build early language three-word phrases with core vocabulary (Baker, Hill & Devylder, 2000).
Our core or abdominal muscles enable us to perform basic everyday motor tasks such as sitting, standing, and walking. From those activities branch all the activities that make our activities for the day. Core words in vocabulary work in much the same way. Core words create a foundation for language on which we can build an entire conversation. Core words come from a variety of word types (verbs, pronouns, questions, etc.) and can be used across environments. Fringe words, in contrast, are nouns that can only be effectively used in environments or situations in which the noun exists (e.g., bubbles, goldfish, cookies, car, etc.). Utterances made of core words are general and a message such as, "I want it," can mean many things. However, the use of additional nonverbal communication strategies (e.g., pointing, eye gaze) can repair miscommunications.
I will be sending home information about a new core word every two weeks or so to some of my students. The resources you will receive were created by two SLPs using evidenced-based research. One of the creators is an SLP who also works here in Howard County and she is a friend I made in graduate school. The first word we will be focusing on will be..."Want." A letter with activities to do at home and a simple book will be sent home. Below I have shared the PowerPoint version of the book we will use at school (it is the same as the one you we will put in your child's backpack). Staff will also be provided with ideas for how to teach this core word throughout the school day.
Kristin Meadows, M.S. CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist at Rockburn Elementary School in Elkridge, MD. In the past, she has taught at Ducketts Lane Elementary, Worthington Elementary, Gorman Crossing Elementary, and Elkridge Elementary. She is a certified member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and obtained both a B.A. and M.S. from Loyola University in Maryland.