Are You Drip Feeding Core Words?

 I’ve heard some criticism recently about the “drip feed” method of teaching core words one at a time when, in fact, we don’t actually learn or use words in that way.  I think this has been the result, in part, of some misunderstanding among some SLPs of how to teach core words in general and in part to the preponderance of resources being sold on the TPT website of interactive books; each focusing on a single core word.

don't teach core words 1 at a time

As one of the very first creators of interactive core words book on TPT let me state here categorically that I have never been a proponent of teaching a single core word at a time - unless, of course, the individual truly needs to learn that way. And those individuals are not as common as many SLPs seem to think.

I believe and have strongly advocated for a robust vocabulary for all of my AAC users. I have long advocated for “beginning with an end in mind” philosophy of setting up AAC systems, so that there is access to a robust vocabulary, location of symbols can be stable and, if necessary, some symbols can be hidden temporarily as students are learning vocabulary and concepts.

We all know - or should know - that vocabulary, language needs to be taught in context. In the context of using words in daily routines. In the context of using words in daily play. In the context of using routines in daily work. In the context of reading words in the text of books.

But we also know that for some students additional decontextualized practice is necessary to cement learning and promote generalization.

My purpose in creating the interactive books - some of which focus on a single core word and some of which focus on core word phrases - is to provide that decontextualized practice.  Anyone who has looked at my AAC resources has also seen that I provide a variety of activities, games, role playing situations and activity simulations in which students can get genuine communication opportunities to practice core words in a variety of ways.

If you are interested in going beyond simple practice of single core words, which is necessary for students to truly learn to use language, take a look at some of my activities to learn core words. I have had good feedback from both students and therapists.

Remember, AAC users need a robust vocabulary to build language! So, keep on talking!

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