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Functional Vocabulary for Children
Kira Likes to Go to School
Ages: 4-11   Grades: PreK-6

Children learn vocabulary for school as they select the appropriate photograph for each page and put it in place in the story.


  • Increase receptive and expressive vocabulary basic to everyday life
  • Generate single words, phrases, and sentences and fill in the blanks
  • Learn to read functional vocabulary words
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The simple format and repetitive story content work well for children with autism spectrum disorders or delayed language development.  The nine-page story targets seven vocabulary words: desk, notebook, pencil, crayons, paper, scissors, and glue.  Close-up photos of the target vocabulary are used in the story.  Students match identical punch-out photos to their counterparts on the story pages.  You get several teaching options:

  • teach vocabulary in isolation
  • teach vocabulary in the context of a sentence and in a story
  • fill in the blanks in sentences

The books can easily be used in an applied behavior analysis program.  Suggested expansion activities are included in each book.

You may purchase Kira Likes to Go to School individually or as part of the Functional Vocabulary for Children 10-book set.

The 10-book set consists of:
Functional Vocabulary for Children Ben Likes All Kinds of Sports
Functional Vocabulary for Children Dontel Learns About Transportation
Functional Vocabulary for Children Jasmine Sets the Table
Functional Vocabulary for Children Kai Gets Dressed
Functional Vocabulary for Children Kira Likes to Go to School
Functional Vocabulary for Children Michelle Goes for a Walk
Functional Vocabulary for Children Ramon Plays on the Playground
Functional Vocabulary for Children Sarah Goes to Bed
Functional Vocabulary for Children Tyler Gets Cleaned Up
Functional Vocabulary for Children Zoey Uses the Bathroom

Copyright © 2005

Each book: 14 8½" x 11" pages

Warning: CHOKING HAZARD - Small parts, not for children under 3 yrs.
  • Although social language has been a focus of much research within the autism population, expressive and receptive language skills, including overall vocabulary, were found to be significantly delayed given a child's age and cognitive level (Tager-Flusberg, 1999).
  • Stories about specific social situations help students with autism syndrome disorders (ASD) understand and respond to similar social situations appropriately (Kuoch & Mirenda, 2003).
  • Visual supports have been used successfully to increase social communications and generalization activities in individuals with ASD (ASHA, 2006).
  • Repeated reading of stories about specific social situations improves social understanding for students with ASD (Gray, 2000).

Functional Vocabulary for Children Kira Likes to Go to School incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). (2006). Guidelines for speech-language pathologists in diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders across the life span. Retrieved September 8, 2009, from

Gray, C. (2000). The new social story book. Arlington, TX: Future Horizons, Inc.

Kuoch, H., & Mirenda, P. (2003). Social story interventions for young children with autism spectrum disorders. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 18, 219-227.

Tager-Flusberg, H. (1999). A psychological approach to understanding the social and language impairments in autism. International Review of Psychiatry, 11, 325-334.


Christine E. Reeve, Mailman Segal Institute of Nova Southeastern University


Christine E. Reeve, Ph.D., BCBA, is currently the director of the Autism Consortium of Mailman Segal Institute of Nova Southeastern University in Florida.  She holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from SUNY at Stony Brook, New York, and is a board certified behavior analyst.  Christine provides consultation and training to school districts and parents across the country.  She also has a sister with autism, a sister who is a teacher of children with a variety of learning disabilities, and a mom who was a teacher and her earliest example.


The Functional Vocabulary for Children books were designed to help children with autism spectrum disorders or delayed language development use basic vocabulary functional to their everyday lives.  The books can easily be integrated into programs using the strategies of applied behavior analysis or into any type of language facilitation program for teaching vocabulary and generalizing object identification from picture cards to stories.

Before using each book, tear off the last two pages.  Carefully punch out the vocabulary photos.  Attach half of Velcro® to the back of each photo on the X.  Attach the other half to the appropriate page in the book on the X.  The vocabulary photos can be stored on the pages.

Introduce Kira Likes to Go to School by reviewing the target vocabulary.  For children in discrete trial types of programs, teach the vocabulary in isolation (e.g., trials with notebook as the target, trials with scissors as the target) before introducing them within the context of the story.  Then read the text of the story and have the child/children select the appropriate photo to match the photo on the corresponding page.  If working with one child or with a group of children, you might first have each child choose between two photos, eventually expanding the number of choices, depending on the child's ability.

The repetitive sentence throughout the story (She likes to go to school.) can be recorded on voice output communication aids (VOCAs), which will allow nonverbal children to participate in reading the story.  These children can then be readers for the group and hit their switches to say the last line on the page.  Individual vocabulary words can also be programmed on a VOCA to allow a child to use a switch to say a vocabulary word as the reader reads each page.

At the end of the book, you'll find a summarized version of the story.  Written using a cloze technique, the summary allows the children to fill in the blanks with the target vocabulary.  You may want to write in the answers with a dry-erase marker.  You may also want to cover the photos to encourage the children to answer without cues.

This book is also an excellent basic reader for functional vocabulary.  Students can read each page and find the matching photo to demonstrate comprehension.