Standards Based Read Alouds and Core Language Boards

Due to popular demand, I am here to show you a read aloud using a core language board!  It has been incredible seeing the empowerment among teachers and their students through learning how to use core language.  You can literally infuse core language everywhere. In this post, you will see a model of how to utilize core language with a read aloud.  I think back to my general education co-teachings days and the grade level standards we were using.  When reading stories and thinking about wh-type questioning, I remember the standard “Students will ask and answer questions about the text”.  Shew. Big one. Especially when many of your students may be working on basic learner type skills.  There are so many scaffolding skills that lead up to such a chunky standard.  BUT there’s no reason we cannot tackle this type of standard using core language and an age appropriate read aloud with some strategies.  Check it out!

Core Words and Grade Level Standards

When handed a grade level standard like the one mentioned above, I like to think about what skills are involved.  To ask and answer questions you need language practice with -wh type questions (who, what, where, when) so having those type of symbols on your boards is helpful!  You may also need verbs (eat, drink, play) and prepositions (in, out, up, down).  Of course, you need to be able to label some nouns (also known as “fringe” in the language world) but that will be another post! For now, emphasizing the nouns in the books as you label them is helpful, or if you have adapted books with interactive pieces, you have the nouns available!  As always, as I mention in the video below, if a student has a dedicated device and specific language program make sure to use that! You can always use the same one in a larger format or in a classroom core language board in conjunction for your other students. You can start with one core word during a read aloud or several, it all depends on the needs of your students! 

Preparing for your Read Aloud


Ok so now that you’re all pumped up to tackle grade level type standards appropriately within your read aloud…how do you prepare?  I love to highlight the words I am targeting on my core board using Washi tape, highlighter tape, and even cut up pipe cleaners around the symbol. So often WE are the ones worried about remembering where the symbol is on the board but the more you practice the better you get.  It is not a race to model the core language as fast as you can.  Depending on the attention span of my students and the length of the story, sometimes I will paperclip pages together that are not crucial to my core language targets.  If it breaks your heart to skip pages, you can simply summarize the language on those pages.  Sometimes the length of amazing stories is just too long for the current moment, and you don’t want to lose your audience.  Check out some more information here on materials in my June post.

Read Aloud Tutorial

If you want to see a read aloud with a core language board, check out my video below! The most important thing to model, model, model!  All students have the right to communication and a voice!  Some days it may feel like your kids aren’t paying attention or that the board isn’t doing much but I promise if you stick with it, you will see a huge difference!  Happy learning!


Gina Russell, B.S , M.Ed
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  1. Why is the communication board color coded? What does each individual color mean? How do you determine the color assigned to each word?

    • Hello!

      Great question, the communication board is color coded according to grammatical categories. There are two main approaches to color coding: the Modified Fitzgerald Key, and the system developed by Goossens,’ Crain, & Elder. You can find more detailed information what each color means from the amazing writers over at PrAACtical AAc here:

      Sometimes, SLPs and educators will use black backgrounds on every symbol for certain vision needs for easier viewing.

      Thanks for your question ! Gina 🙂


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