If your students struggle with both communication and reading skills, then it’s time to integrate the skills into the same lessons. By targeting communication and reading activities together, students will develop critical life skills.
Why add core words into reading lessons
Core words are the most common words in communication. When you integrate those words into your reading activities and instruction, students can develop functional skills quicker than targeting individually.
Benefits of combining core words and reading activities:
- More opportunities to practice and make progress
- Deeper understanding from varied practice leads to generalization
- Aides in comprehension and understanding
- Easily adds in visual supports
- Helps students communicate their understanding
How to target reading skills and core words
There are so many ways to integrate these two skills. To begin, work with your speech therapist to decide on the core words to target. Try to pair the core words with similar theme units or lessons.
For example, when doing the community helpers unit in our classroom, we target the core words help, do, and who. The community helpers unit naturally gives us many opportunities to target these 3 core words.
For the best outcome, integrate these activities across the school day. This helps students be flexible in their understanding… which is especially helpful for students diagnosed with autism.
Examples of reading activities with core words
- In morning meeting, we read the core word (paired with the symbol). We then practice spelling it while we clap and stomp each letter. We also pair the word with a movement to help students understand. For example, when we work on the core word ‘out”, we point to the door to go out.
- Practice using the core word in sentences. For example, when we were working on the core word open, we brainstormed all of the different things we could open. We then practice writing, speaking, and building sentences with that core word.
- Find core words in a variety of texts: books, poems, songs, etc.
- Highlight the core word in books that you are reading. Have students match, find, or glue on the core word. Here is an example of how we glue the core word icon into the text.
Creating and using books like the one above gives us an opportuinty to target many skills in one reading activity. For example:
- One to one correspondence while reading by pointing to each word
- Cutting and gluing fine motor skills
- Core word reading and labeling
- Practicing the vocab for our theme unit…. we were working on community helpers and talking about what tools/vehicles are associated with each helper.
- Reading skills such as recognizing high frequency words, recognizing and reading along with repetitive texts, etc.
- Labeling items in the pictures
- WH questions about the pictures and text
So many ways to address IEP goals and standards in just this one little activity.
To integrate core words into writing, have students use core word icons to create and build sentences. Students can then practice speaking and listening skills by each taking a turn to read their sentences to the group. Alternatively, students could also then write their sentence into the journal or on a sentence strip.
There are so many ways to build core words into your ELA activities. Don’t make this another item on your to-do list. Instead, integrate the words into what you are already doing. This varied practice will lead to deeper, more functional skills for your students.
Be sure to follow me on Instagram to see our core word and reading activities in action.
Pin or share the image below to refer back to the list of ways to implement core word reading lessons into your classroom.