Attributes – Functions and Parts

Curriculum Relevant Vocabulary List of Words with Functions

Pre-Academicbed – you sleep in it; coat – when it’s cold, you wear this to keep warm; cup – it holds drinks; fork – you eat with it; gloves – you wear them on your hands to keep them warm; house – you live in it; napkin – helps clean up messes; pencil – writes and erases; telephone – helps you talk to far away people;  other words with functions – can, car, door, eraser, glue, hammer, hat, house, ladder, lamp, paper, refrigerator, sack, shoes, shovel, sunglasses, tape, telephone, television, umbrella, window

Early Elementary backpack – holds your school supplies; clock – displays the time; comma – marks pauses in written sentences; dictionary – helps you spell and figure out the meanings of words; fireman – puts out fires and helps people; money – buys things you want or need; opinion – what a person thinks or believes; period – tells you the end of a sentence; rules – helps people know and remember acceptable behavior; scale – measures the weight of things; senses – gain information for your body from the environment; shell – protects and shelters animals, such as turtles and snails; soil – provides nutrients and shelter for plants to grow; stamps – letters need them to be sent through the mail; temperature – tells you how hot or cold something is; traffic light – controls vehicles to keep them from crashing; wings – helps birds and planes fly;  other words with functions – binoculars, calculator, calendar, capital letter, compass, cover, decimal, description, experiment, hibernation, healthy food, job, judge, lock, magnet, map, microphone, model, period, policeman, punctuation, receipt, road, ruler, shelter, shield, setting, skeleton, telescope

Late Elementaryadjectives – describes nouns; author – writes books; business – provides goods and services for income; compass – helps people keep from getting lost; evidence – provides proof of a theory or guess; index – lists words within a book alphabetically to quickly look them up; government – creates and enforces laws; persuasion – uses methods such as language to convince; plural – special type of word that shows more than one of something; research – gathers information to support or refute a hypothesis; voting – how democratic leaders are chosen;  other words with functions – abbreviation, ballot, character, culture, credit, data, draft, evidence, index, interview, introduction, employment, explorer, force, glossary, graph, law, measurement, prediction, recipe, recycling, resource, settler, signature, society, symbol, title, treaty, trial, verify, voting

SecondaryAmerican Revolution – fought to gain American Independence from Great Britain; encyclopedia – provides detailed information on specific subjects; jury – group of citizens determining outcome of trials; percent – tells parts of numbers; suffix – goes at the end of a word and changes its meaning; tax – money used to fund government services;   other words with functions – advertisement, Civil War, context, Declaration of Independence, ecosystem, erosion, evaporation, immigration, interest, intersection, judge, negative, percent, prefix, pronoun, quotation mark, reasoning, reproduction, Senate, technology

List of Curriculum Relevant Vocabulary Words with Parts

Basicairplanes: wings, cockpits, wheels, etc.; animals: legs, eyes, mouths, etc.; apples: seeds, cores, skins, etc.; books: covers, pages, titles, etc.; bugs: legs, antennae, eyes, wings, etc. cars: tires, steering wheels, headlights, etc.; houses: windows, doors, rooms, etc.; pencils: erasers, lead, tip, etc.; schools: kids, teachers, rooms, etc.; shoes: shoelaces, soles, tongues, etc; other basic vocabulary with parts: backpack, birds, buses, cats, coats, dinner, dogs, elephants, kitchens, pants, people, refrigerator, snakes, squares, stores, telephones, trains, trees, yards

Later Developing – atmosphere: clouds, layers, weather; books: titles, authors, indexes, etc.; calculator: buttons, screens, numbers, etc.; computer: mouse, keyboard, monitor, etc.; country: cities, capitols, borders, etc.; flashlight: lens, batteries, switch, etc. oceans: water, shores, whales, etc.; paper: top, lines, edges, corners, etc.; pencil sharpener: handle, gears, shaving container, etc.; sentence: capitalized word, punctuation, words; solar system: planets, sun, asteroids, orbits, etc.; watches: springs, gears, hours, minutes, etc.; other later developing vocabulary with parts: banks, boats, breakfast, buildings, calendars, cameras, cities, continent, deserts, dollars, equations, fiction, fish, glasses, highways, forest, map, movies, ovens, paragraphs, poems, recipe, rectangles, skyscraper

Secondarybusiness: presidents, workers, products, services, etc.; contract: signatures, promises, paragraphs, etc.; the Earth: core, mantle, oceans, etc.; fractions: numerators, denominators, ratios, etc.; reports: introductions, conclusions, transitions, etc.; wars: disputes, battles, treaties, etc.; other advanced vocabulary with parts: democracies, diets, economies, elections, experiments, piano, space shuttle, teams, trials, vacation

Basic Attributes Activities

Click on picture to view a small preview of each activity. Click on Doc or PDF to download worksheets in preferred format.

(1)(2) (3)(4) (5)

(1) Matching Parts – Basic 1 Doc PDF;     (2) Matching Parts – Basic 2 Doc PDF;       (3) Fill in the Blank – Basic 1 Doc PDF ;     (4) Fill in the Blank Basic 2 Doc PDF;     (5) Pick Two – Functions Doc PDF

Attributes Activities – Tic Tac Toes and Grids

Click on picture to view a small preview of each activity. Click on Doc or PDF to download worksheets in preferred format.

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)

(1) Tic Tac Toe – 3 in a Row – Basic Parts Doc PDF;     (2) Tic Tac Toe – 4 in a Row – Elementary Parts Doc PDF;     (3) Varied Attributes Grid 1 Doc PDF;     (4) Varied Attributes Grid 2 Doc PDF ;     (5) Functions Grid 1 Doc PDF;     (6) Functions Grid 2 Doc PDF

Attributes – Other Activities

Click on picture to view a small preview of each activity. Click on Doc or PDF to download worksheets in preferred format.

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)(7)

(1) Matching and More Doc PDF;     (2) Various Activities Doc PDF;     (3) Functional and More Doc PDF;     (4) Scripts and Drills Doc PDF;     (5) Functions Bingo (2 pages) Doc PDF  (6) Fill in the Blank – Later Elem Functions 1 Doc PDF;     (7) Fill in the Blank – Later Elem Functions 2 Doc PDF

Close Ups

Practice attributes, giving reasons, and/or comparatives/superlatives! – Click on picture to view a small preview of each activity. Click on Odt or PDF to download worksheets in preferred format.


(1) Close Ups 1 Odt PDF;     (2) Close Ups 2 Odt PDF;     (3) Close Ups 3 Odt PDF;     (4) Close Ups 4 Odt PDF;     (5) Close Ups 5 Odt PDF;     (6) Close Ups 6 Odt PDF;     (7) Close Ups 7 Odt PDF; (8) Close Ups 8 Odt PDF

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Background Information

Functions – The targeting of functions is an integral part of working on other semantic language skills, such as adjectives, attributes, categories, and describing. Functions are often thought of first when asked “What is a ____?” Filling in the blank with words, such as refrigerator, fire extinguisher, telephone, pencil, etc. shows how frequently this is true. For many other words finding the function requires thinking outside the box. These are words where examples are much easier to produce than what each word does. Consider words, such as state, senses, punctuation, and months, that can also be described by what they do.

Research suggests that depth of semantic representation is an important contributor to word retrieval (Capone and McGregor, 2005). A richer semantic representation of a word leads to greater recall ability of that word. Children with difficulties describing may benefit from working on functions prior to categories. This is because functions as a means of describing is more prevalent in earlier developing language, while categories become more prevalent with advanced age (Reed, 2005).

A good extension of addressing functions is working on providing functions that best describe a vocabulary word. This overlaps with the concept of specificity. For example, when asked to describe a period, a definition that includes “It tells you when a sentence is over,” is more specific than “It goes after a sentence.” Tests that assess for functions include the Battelle, CELF, LPT , PLS, TOSS-P, TOSS-I, Woodcock Johnson, and WISC assessments.

Some Specific Therapy Ideas

Catalog.  Get out a catalog. Talk about the items for sale.

Example statements:  “Why would somebody want a coat?” “It keeps you warm”. “Why do people buy wallets?”  “Why are those pillows so big?”  “What do you need umbrellas for?”  “Are those shoes big or little?”  “Does that blanket look comfortable?”  “Could I wear those gloves, or would they be too tight?”

Textbook.  Get out a textbook. Instruct student to describe vocabulary words at or below student’s level by using functions.

Example statements:  “What does a period do?”  “What is a shelter?”  “Why do bears have to hibernate?”  “What is a map?”  “Why would you need an index?”  “What was a covered wagon?” “What is the Constitution?”

Look around you. Describe functions of objects in your environment or of things commonly seen in offices. Take a walk, and describe functions of things seen in the hall out the window, etc.

Example statements:  “What is a stapler?” “It attaches papers together.” “What is a trash dumpster?” “It holds the building’s trash until the garbage men get it.”

Specific interests.  For example, for younger kids, talk about video games, television, or sports, or for older students talk about cooking, construction, or health care.  Discuss
specific interests.  Use the internet if needed.

Example statements:  “What does a cutting board do?” “What does a remote do?” “What do anesthesiologists do?”

Homework maker:  Create a list of from five to ten words at student’s level.  Write directions such as the following:  “Provide a function for each vocabulary word.”  Write helper next to a blank line for any helper to sign.  Provide individualized incentives for completed return.  For example:attribute-homework-example

9 thoughts on “Attributes – Functions and Parts

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