Flashcards: Methods to Best Improve Your Child's Learning

How do you make the best use of your flashcards so your child will learn and retain as much as possible? Try these suggestions:

1. Print off your own flashcards so each category has it's own color.  This will help your child's brain organize the different categories. For example, if the vowel team ea is on a pink card, it's short e, as in bread.  However, ea on a green card, is long e, as in real.

2. Using the downloadable flashcards from the Orton Gillingham & Beyond bundle, make the following categories for your flashcards:

Short Vowel Sounds
Long Vowel Sounds
Other Vowel Sounds
Consonant Digraphs
.Cle Syllables
Ending Combinations
Irregular Combinations

3. Whenever possible, don't hold the flashcards yourself. Let your reader hold them while arranging them. They become a kinesthetic pathway to the brain.

4. Have your reader organize a selection of flashcards (that you have chosen) and put them in in alphabetical order.

5. Play the Flip-Over Game: Line up some of the flashcards face down that your reader is learning. As your reader turns them over one at a time, have him or her say the sound.  If your reader is correct, leave the card face up. If your reader gets it wrong, turn it back face down, until he or she gets it right twice.

6. Have your child create charts with the flashcards. Keep the auditory pathway open by having your child say the sound as he puts the card down under the right category.  Start with just a few and add as he learns more.  This chart is an example of the long vowel sounds. The pink short vowel sound flashcards have been used as category headers.

7. Use the flashcard set from the category Other Vowel Sounds to have your reader organize the cards into groups to show the different ways to spell the same sound.  Be sure he or she says the sound of the card as it's laid down.  This will often help to catch any mistakes. This could also be done with numerous other flashcard groupings such as ways to make:

the /j/ sound [j, dge, ge]

the /m/ sound [m, mb, mn]

the /n/ sound [n, gn, kn] and many, many more.


8. Use the cards to blend. This could be done on a blending mat for your reader to decode. Or, select your choice of flashcards, lay them out and tell your reader to put the right ones in order to spell ________ to encode.