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Using Flashcards to teach word recognition

Posted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:01 am
by EricRomm

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.

Re: Using Flashcards to teach word recognition

Posted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 2:07 am
by AbigailM
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.

Re: Using Flashcards to teach word recognition

Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 1:41 am
by EricRomm
Hi. Sorry, I just got a chance to come back to the forum. Yes, you need a lot of patience to make them understand and it's common that they'll get angry (sometimes even toss things around). The variations in fonts may cause a problem and that's why the most generic font that's close to many others (something like an Arial or Times New roman) will be helpful.
Flashcards are mainly meant to instill the basic understanding and memorizing the words as to how they look, sound, etc. Students have benefitted by that.

Re: Using Flashcards to teach word recognition

Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 2:53 am
by AbigailM
But why use any method that leads to anger and throwing things around-- when the child can learn the same words in a calm, fun and pleasurable way?

Anger is a sure sign that the person is frustrated and probably disoriented. Not only will the anger prevent learning, but it will increase likelihood of mistakes, including mistaken perceptions.

We provide strategies to eliminate anger and would encourage taking a break if the student wasn't able to easily release and re-orient.

The specific method of clay modeling word letters and meaning is something tied specifically to the Davis method, but the concept of using a multisensory approach certainly isn't unique to Davis. By bringing in tactile and kinesthetic strategies, the learning is more complete and is better anchored in the mind.

Re: Using Flashcards to teach word recognition

Posted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 1:47 pm
by Parent33
I have a child who has dyslexia and I would like some advise how to support her at home.

Re: Using Flashcards to teach word recognition

Posted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:37 pm
by AbigailM
The book The Gift of Dyslexia explains what we do and gives detailed instructions on how to get started at home.