To my everlasting shame, I used flashcards with my junior high struggling readers. With all of my heart, I wish I could go back and do those years over again. Why did I quit when I began tutoring readers?
First Reason: My job as a teacher who specializes in literacy is to provide learning opportunities that inspire a reader to enjoy the process of thinking through a text. There is nothing enjoyable about flashcards. While not all activities that a student does will be enjoyable 100% of the time, I do employ this no-flashcards-approach especially for students who are already lacking motivation or desire. Don't bore them further with a boring task! There are other strategies to use that are far more fun and meaningful to help a reader see the word multiple times while helping them view reading as a meaningful, fun, worthwhile endeavor!
Second Reason: Flashcards are not reading. Reading is thinking about the meaning of the text. There is no thinking outside of word identification and is not allowing students to put to use a variety of word identification strategies. The problem with flashcards is that it was taking away valuable reading time. Students need to spend time in contextual reading. Is this possible with readers who are in the very beginning stages of reading? I believe so! Thankfully creative people have come up with riddles, songs, games, mini-book series, &etc. that make this entirely possible. My tutoring stu