Using Picture Story Books with Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Did you know that core vocabulary makes up ¾ of what children and adults actually say? Core vocabulary is a small amount of simple words that are used very frequently in our everyday language. Core vocabulary includes words such as: want, that, mine, you, in, here, help. These words are used by everyone from very young toddlers right through to
older adults.

Many AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) systems have been designed based on these words.

As a speech pathologist, picture story books are common place in most of my therapy sessions. We hear a lot about how important it is to read to young children and how valuable books are for language development. This is of course also true for children who use AAC systems such as a Proloquo2go on the iPad or a PODD book.

At AGOSCI 2017, I presented on Using Picture Story Books in AAC. My presentation looked at the research behind the core vocabulary approach. I also talked about how we can use picture story books to help children learn core vocabulary words and use them.

One of my life long favourite books, ‘Where’s Spot’ by Eric Hill, uses lots of core vocab words.
“Is he in the piano?”

You can also work on answering yes and no questions, animal names and sounds.

There are lots of fabulous children’s books that many people will have on their bookshelves at home or remember from their own childhood featuring a range of core vocabulary words. I’ve put together a list of core vocab words and some books you might like to use with these words.

Gemma’s core words book list:

If you would like to know more about core vocabulary or using picture story books to teach language, contact Scope’s Communication and Inclusion Resource Centre (CIRC) at or 03 9843 2000.

Reference: Banajee, M., Dicarlo, C., & Stricklin, S. B. (2003). Core vocabulary determination for toddlers. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 19, 67-73