Using Flashcards to teach word recognition

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Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:09 am

Using Flashcards to teach word recognition

Post by EricRomm » Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:01 am


Index Cards cut into rectangles
Key rings, one each for every student
Stamps, stickers, markers or color pens
Envelopes for each child

Using a list of high frequency words appropriate for the grade level, or a list of current vocabulary words, make flash cards for each student.

Attach one set of cards to a key ring so that each student has their own set of vocabulary words. To make flash cards sturdier, laminate cards before putting on key ring.

Have students practice and read each word on their key ring. Each time a student reads a word correctly, without hesitation, put a stamp, sticker or mark on the back of the card.

When the student gets ten marks for a word, remove that word and replace with it a new high-frequency or vocabulary word. The original word is placed in the student's box or envelope and reviewed on a weekly or biweekly basis.

Once they are comfortable with this approach of learning through flashcards, you can then implement it online with tools like cram. This helps them to learn high-frequency words and become more fluent in reading.

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Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2014 8:28 pm

Re: Using Flashcards to teach word recognition

Post by AbigailM » Wed Dec 14, 2016 2:07 am

Hi Eric-- that sounds like a good strategy that can help many children learn in classroom setting. But it might be challenging for dyslexic kids-- it wouldn't have helped my son, for example. The problem is that dyslexic kids often do not perceive the letters in a word accurately and consistently.

Here's a true story - my son is now a grown man in his 30's, but he struggled to learn to read as a kid. One day he got into a debate with his younger sister. She had written the word "up" and my son insisted that was not a real word. I said, yes it is -- and he got angry and shouted, "P - U is NOT a word!" We were all looking at the same two letters, but my son had mixed them up, and literally was seeing them in reverse order. He was age 11, in 5th grade at the time -- and that is when I knew he really needed help.

I agree that automatic recognition of those high frequency words is vitally important -- and that is something that is often missed these days with so much emphasis on teaching phonetic decoding. My son never had a problem with phonics -- but he had to struggle with even the simplest words, no matter how many times he saw them in print. But since he was mixing up letters in his mind, it's no wonder he couldn't remember the words.

For us, the Davis strategies made all the difference in the world. With Davis Orientation, it seemed like the letters magically fell into place.

The Davis approach also uses clay modeling of all those high frequency words, one at a time, focusing on word meaning, pronunciation, practice visualizing the letters of the word, even spelling the word backwards and forward. The clay modeling takes more time for each word than flash cards, but the multisensory and comprehensive approach to word study means that that the knowledge of the word is ingrained and usually retained without the need for further practice or study.

I think the problem that many dyslexics experience -- and that parents are aware of -- is that performance is uneven and that something that appears to be learned one day seem to be forgotten the next. So your idea of putting a stamp on the card 10 times is good in theory - you would expect that after a child has easily read a word 10 times he would know it -- but that is what makes dyslexia so frustrating-- because the dyslexic kid is the one who could get the word right every single time he saw it on a flash card, but completely fail to recognize the same word when encountered in a passage in a book. It could be a difference in the font used between the flash card and the book, or the difference in context between reading isolated words and reading sentences, or anything else about the book and the surrounding words that leads to disorientation --- but that's why we advocate a more in-depth approach to learning those words.

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