Make It Visualtoolbox with cards

This is one you won’t find in the books, but it works. Anything that moves a child closer to decoding works, in my world.

You remember using Fast Flash (see also Fast Flash Demo) for teaching sight words*, right? Right. So we’re going to modify this visually for variety, and to turn on the lightbulb in your child’s decoding brain.

The greater variety of teaching tools we have in our toolbox, the better, because we’re creating new and different neural connections with each one. So here goes…


Okay, Now, Break It Up!

Young readers often get stumped just because a word looks intimidating; they have yet to understand that the word is made of smaller, much more manageable units. This tool will help them over that hurdle. And as always with our children with Down syndrome, we make it visual.

Let’s say you’re teaching your child a group of 5 flash cards. With this tool, you’re going to duplicate each one, so there will be a total of 10 cards now.

BUT the duplicate card will be separated into syllables.  Please note: separation of syllables will NOT necessarily match the correct dictionary version. Rather, it’s more helpful if you split the word as the child will typically think it separates; in other words, as his ear hears it. Like this, and in this order of showing, for example:

                1. Ma   ma
                2. Mama
                3. Da   ddy
                4. Daddy
                5. Fro  zen
                6. Frozen
                7. pi  zza
                8. pizza
                9. ki  tty
                10. kitty

Fast Flash is done in 1-second bites, right? But for this variation, we’ll show the syllablized card for a fraction longer than the whole-word card. That’s long enough for the brain to have its “Aha!” moment.

Do I Say the Cards Differently?

Yes. For example, with the Daddy set of two cards, you’ll be saying (as you Fast Flash them), “Da…ddy” and then “Daddy”.

This helps the child to see, in correct brain-speed, that words can actually break apart into manageable bits. Then immediately, we show the brain the word’s “wholeness” with the correct word card. And as with the usual Fast Flash method, you’ll flash the whole set 3 times.

Your child’s brain just loves this. Fast repetition is its preference, and as an aside perk, there’s no time for boredom, for either you or your child. That means you will love it too!

Chee ri  o,

Na  ta  lie

*”Sight words” in my definition means any word you want to teach your child by sight, whether it’s a “word list” word or a super-high-interest word. In other words, a sight word should be defined as any word taught by sight rather than phonics.

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