Core vocabulary lists for written personal narratives

The authors of this study identified the most commonly occurring vocabulary in the written personal narratives of first and fourth graders. With a writing prompt of “One day when I got home from school ... ”, the children proceeded with the free-writing task.
The resultant data from over 200 children are summarized with full lists of the most-frequently occurring words, also divided by age and word type. The authors additionally denote overlap in their lists with previous studies that have targeted similar information—that is, other studies that identified the core vocabulary of children’s written language. This study extends what has been done before by including a significant proportion of Hispanic/Latino children in their study (32%), and also by using a specific writing prompt, which allows clinicians to easily replicate the task.
These lists can help guide SLPs in supporting similar children in similar tasks, as well as inform programming for children who use AAC. A particular challenge for AAC users is their reliance on appropriate device programming (especially before mastering an alphabetic system), and the vocabulary they need for everyday social communication is quite different than what they need to express themselves through writing.

See: Wood, C., Appleget, A., & Hart, S. (2016). Core vocabulary in written personal narratives of school-age children. Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/07434618.2016.1216596.