What are core words?

Core words, also known as core vocabulary, are the words that make up most of what we use to communicate. These approximately 200 words are about 60-80% of the words we use every day. Core words can be used in many different contexts, which is why they’re important to understand! They can include verbs, pronouns, prepositions, and more. The rest of the language we use is made up of fringe words.

How to Teach Core Words

Individuals who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) often benefit from intervention that specifically targets the use of core words.

The “Core word of the week” approach is a common way to target core words in speech therapy sessions, in the classroom, and in other instructional environments Using this approach, one core word is targeted multiple times over the course of the week to increase exposure to it and highlight how it can be used in different contexts.

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Core Word of the Week: GO

There are MANY ways to teach and use the word GO in context. Below, we’ve included several different activities that can be used to target this core word. You may choose to use all of these activities in speech therapy sessions or just a couple. These activities can also be shared with other educators and caregivers so they can participate in them outside of speech therapy sessions.

How to Use the Core Word GO

  • To move to another location, to start an action, to turn a page in a book, to indicate it is someone’s turn in a game


  • Go [action], go [location]
  • More examples: go play, no go, go home, go sleep, go up, go down, ready set go, go away, let’s go




  • Communicate go before blowing bubbles, sending a car down a ramp, pressing a button to open a popup, and more.
  • Communicate go in a turn-taking game. Say go before each person’s turn.
  • Communicate go in movement-based activities, such as musical chairs and freeze dance.
  • Toy Options: Bubbles, Toy Cars, Pop! The Pig Game

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