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Literacy for Children with Combined Vision and Hearing Loss

Strategy 2: Introduce vocabulary in a meaningful context

What to Do

  • Choose a vocabulary word that is useful or interesting to the child  (e.g. wash, swing)
  • Determine the setting and/or activity the child will naturally encounter this word
  • Select the representation of the vocabulary word, based on Strategy 1 (e.g. object, print, braille)
  • When in the setting or during the activity and naturally encountering the word, pause and have a conversation with the child about the new word
  • Make sure to include the representation of the word in the conversation

Things to Consider

  • Have you observed the child showing interest in the word? Follow the child’s interests by selecting vocabulary that relates to objects or actions the child is drawn to when exploring.
  • Is the vocabulary word chosen one that will benefit the child’s communication? (e.g. if the child’s family uses public transportation you might want to choose BUS as a vocabulary word rather than CAR)
  • Have you thought about other related vocabulary words? (e.g. for CAR related words could be lights, door, window, seat, tires/wheels, wipers, open, close, fast, slow, stop, go)
  • Have you considered how to allow the child to fully explore the setting? (e.g. location, mobility, others in the room) 
  • Did the child have the opportunity to independently explore the object(s) related to the word? (e.g. touching, smelling, handling, mouthing)


Always Ask Yourself