Following on from my other post with some ideas for starting to teach reading words, Here are a few ways I have been using flashcards to help Jet learn to read some of the most common words on sight.
The flashcard set I have are useful, in that there are two of each word. This opens up a whole load of possibilities for word matching, which is a really useful early reading skill as it helps them start to remember words on sight. I picked these up from a nearly new sale for 50p, and they are in really good condition with no missing cards 🙂 I love nearly new sales 🙂 But even if you pay full price for yours, it is very handy if you can find some with two of each word.
I started by sorting out a selection of 12 words he has been working on – some he knows on sight and others he is still learning, making sure I had both of each of them. We read each word and laid them out in a grid pattern like this:
Then we played a quick game of ‘Can you find…’ (not the most imaginative name – but at least it’s descriptive!) I say ‘Can you find the word up?’ He has to point to it. If he needs a bit of help spotting it, I sound out the word for him, ‘u-p’. Sometimes, I ask him to give me a word to find, then I can do my hilarious joke of getting it wrong (oh, the laughs we have!) to see if he’s paying attention.
Next I give him the duplicate cards and ask him to match them to the words in the grid. He reads the words as he goes along, internalising the letters, the shape of the word, all without prompting unless he makes a mistake, when I will help by asking him to check again, or sounding out the word for him.
If he’s still showing an interest, or later if not, I will lay out some word cards to form a short simple sentence. This set includes the characters from the Oxford Reading Tree books – Kipper, Floppy, Mum, Dad etc, so I can use them as subjects in the sentences alongside ‘I’ and ‘you’, which he has learnt.
I can also make a silly sentence where I can change the subject whilst leaving the rest of it the same – Here’s mine: Mum is a dog, Gran is a dog, etc until we finally get a sentence that makes sense – Floppy is a dog! It is great to put the words into the context of a sentence, so he can begin to recognise ‘his’ words in text.
I read it the first time, then encourage him to join in, until he is reading it himself. The joy of repetition! He loves learning to read – he keeps asking to do some reading and points at everything, asking what it says. I hope you find some of these ideas useful if you’re currently teaching anyone to read 🙂