More than a decade ago, I was studying every moment that I could to prepare for a marketing exam that would be given over the course of two days. It was a pretty big deal considering that the pass rate was about 30 percent.

I spent months reading, writing, and working in study groups but in the end, I relied on some handmade flash cards that I carried everywhere I went. I believe that those cards helped me remember, retain, and recall the information I needed to pass the test.

Flash cards are a great tool to help emerging readers:

  • Focus on letters, sounds, and other reading skills
  • Learn common sight words
  • Read the letter/skill by not simply relying on context and memory

Reading Horizons uses Reverse Listening Cards to help students successfully reinforce reading skills. These cards provide a test of a student's ability to read and decode at incremental levels. As unlikely as it sounds, there are students who can hear a dictated word and write it correctly on the board but when shown that same word in print, are not able to read it!

Reverse Listening Cards can correct this problem by reversing the listening skill to a reading skill.

For example, a parent or helper will read the word from the card to the student who will then write the word on a board or a piece of paper, verbalizing each sound as they write.

Once the word is written down correctly, the student will mark, or prove, the word. A true test that the student has grasped the concept is that they should be able to read any of the words or letter sounds they have written.

As a student progresses, they should be able to identify slides, vowels, blends, digraphs, and more.

Beginning readers will find that practicing with individual flash cards representing the 42 sounds of the alphabet is also of great help when learning to read.

While it’s true that we have many technological tools and advances to help our children and youth learn to read, let’s not forget that the humble flash card is still one of the best tools out there.

How do you use flash cards in the classroom?