Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Using Flash Cards With Struggling Readers

I have two girls in my class this year that began the year reading just below a first grade level.  They struggled with phonics and didn't seem to know many sounds, but they both have exceptional memories.  So, I decided to try to work on developing their sight word capabilities by using flash cards. This has worked extremely well and they are both close to reading at a second grade level right now!

Each day we practice sight words using flash cards and the method outlined below.  Recently, we have begun doing word hunts for books they are independently reading as well as for texts we are going to work on as a class.  The girls go through the text, and find words they do not know and write them on index cards.  I then rotate them through with the sight words they are working on.

You can see here that we were working on reading a Scholastic news article about reindeers that live in tundra areas. (the pink is simply covering the student's name). I think it gives the student ownership to write their own words (although I have had to fix spelling from time to time).

I put the flashcards in order this way:

Known word
Known word
Unknown word
Known word
Unknown word
Known word
Unkown word
Known word

This helps the students to feel successful on the majority of the cards.  I based the amount of new words on research that found that third graders can retain 3 to 4 new pieces of information at a time.

As we go through the pile of cards, I put tally marks on each card that the student says correctly.  Once a card has 5 tally marks, they become a known word.  When the card has 10 tally marks, the student gets to take the card home because they "own" it!  They love taking cards home and they even continue to practice at home.

This has worked so well, that I have started using them to practice math facts for some of my other students who are struggling with that as well.

Do you use flash cards?  If so, how?

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic idea Kelly! I love that they get to own the card. I use flashcards in my maths tubs, the students test each other on maths facts, very competitive at times :)
    Mrs Poultney's Ponderings


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