As most of you know, I'm a teacher. And I'm well aware that when it comes to early learning, flashcards are taboo. But you know what? I still think they have their time and place within a balanced approach to literacy (or numeracy, or whatever the case may be).
When it comes to sight words, we've used cards to help our girls learn, and it hasn't hurt them yet. But this time we tweaked the flashcard idea and saw a great improvement in our younger daughter's motivation.
Maggie (who's 4 and in her first year of Ontario's Early Learning Kindergarten Program, which is all-day, every day) wasn't originally very enthused about practising her words. So I used a bunch of my old business cards from when I had a central teaching position (they put "Kathleen" on them instead of "Kate" which really deterred me from using them) and made them into a matching game with Maggie's Year 1 (JK) words. If you find a match, you have to be able to read the words in order to keep them.
Maggie plays this game with her older sister, and she loves it. I'm not kidding: she actually begs to play, and has even cried on nights when we didn't have time. Plus, it's very low-organization and low-supervision for the parent (I realize I must come across as lazy sometimes, but I also try to put myself in the shoes of busy parents - which isn't hard - and I know that if an activity is too lengthy or complicated it just won't happen).
(I also saw Maggie's competitive nature emerge when she came home one night all excited to tell me "My teacher says that when I know the Year 1 words, I get to have the Year 2 words!")
In case you're looking for word suggestions, here's what our Kindergarten parents were given:
Year 1 Words (JK - 4 years old)
Year 2 Words (SK - 5 years old)
(P.S. If "sight words flashcards" is the most taboo topic I've covered here at This Mom Loves, I think I have to resign myself to a "vanilla" designation. For the blog, at least.)