Core Vocabulary

The core vocabulary approach treats inconsistent phonological errors by focusing on high-frequency and high-value.

Who It's For:

Children with inconsistent phonological errors (inconsistent phonological disorder). Inconsistent phonological disorder is characterized by better imitation than children with childhood apraxia of speech, oromotor skills that are within normal limit, no groping, no prolongations, or repetitions of speech sounds, appropriate prosody and diadochokinetic rate.

How It's Practiced:

Choose a pool of 70 target words with help from parents/caregivers, the child, and their teachers. Focus on 10 targets every session with the main point being consistency of their best production rather than perfect productions. This approach requires parent participation. High frequency words that are meaningful to the child and family can be used as targets as well.

Download the Core Vocabulary approach handout here


Two 30-minute session every week for 8 weeks (but may take less time).

1st session:

  • You will introduce 10 words and provide cues and feedback to help the child create best production then practice words in repetition. You can add a game for the remainder of the session.
  • Select up to 10 words.
  • Teach words sound by sound and syllable.
  • Have the child produce each sound in isolation to determine stimulability.
  • Then combine sounds within syllables and then combine syllables (if applicable).

2nd session:

  • You will revise word list and test the child on the revised list.
  • 10 words produced 3 times separated into 3 separate chunks.
  • Check 10 untreated words every fourth session


Dodd, B., Holm, A., Crosbie, S., & McIntosh, B. (2006). A core vocabulary approach for management of inconsistentspeech disorder. Advances in Speech Language Pathology, 8(3), 220–230.

Crosbie, S., Holm, A., & Dodd, B. (2021). Core Vocabulary Intervention. In A.L. Williams, S. McLeod, & R. J. McCauley (Eds.) Interventions for Speech Sound Disorders in Children (2nd ed., pp. 225-250). essay, Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. .