Creating Core and Fringe Boards

One of my goals as an Infants and Toddlers home service provider was to infuse core language and visuals into homes and daycares as much as possible.  I understand it can be daunting for even teachers to utilize (core performance anxiety) so empowering parents and daycare teachers were top on my list!  After so many years of teaching and success with core language, I knew it had to be one of my goals for this past year.  A few posts ago I shared about Power Core Words, if you missed it, check it here!  I have been promising to show how to easily create these boards so let’s get started!

Why Core Language?

I loved this article from the ASHA Wire that quoted research on Core Language: “Research shows that 80% of what we say is communicated with only the 200 most basic words in our language (Baker & Hill, 2000). We use core words to make ourselves understood.”  You can find the direct link to the article here for more information!  While the fringe (ie: nouns and more specific labels such as waterfall) are also important, giving children the core language words will broaden their ability to communicate.  For example, would it be more helpful for me to only learn the word “cracker” or to know the word “eat”?  I could get my point across much faster if I could at least sign, gesture, point to or say the word eat as opposed to cracker.  That does not mean we do not still expose children to robust language but focusing on core words can open up a whole new world to communication!  Now that door isn’t only labeled a door but also “open” and “close” or “go”.

Core and Fringe Board Activities

You can use core and fringe boards in many ways depending on what you’re trying to target.  If you’re brand new to core language, it just takes practice, don’t pressure yourself to memorize where every single symbol is on a board.  Sometimes I will put some highlighter tape or pipe cleaner around the edges if I’m targeting 1-2 words at a time.  Your goal is to model model model the language with your student or child.  It is ok they do not yet look at it, touch it, say it, or point to the words.  You are going to use something called “aided language” as you use the boards.  Be that detective and use the board to practice during preferred activities.  For example, your child loves to use crayons or bingo daubers and you’re working on “my turn”.  You dab dab dab the paper a few quick dots and your child is reaching for the bingo dauber, and you say, “your turn!” while touching the “you” and “turn” symbol.  Next, it’s your turn so you model “my turn” and use the dauber.  If the child doesn’t want to hand it back that’s ok, use another one until they tolerate switching the colors.  Or maybe your child loves the blocks, and you touch the “want” on the core board and then the color “blue” on the fringe board.  Your child then reaches for the red block and you model “I want red” as you say it out loud.  The main thing is to have fun with language, your child is not judging you on how swiftly you navigate the board!  Check out my two videos on how to create these boards! Happy Communicating!


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