Flash Card Teaching Strategies

Helping Students Learn with Flash Cards

child learning with flash cards
Check out these flash card teaching strategies. Brad Killer/E+/Getty Images

Check out these flash card teaching strategies to become more effective in helping children use flash cards whether at home or at school.

Flash Cards for Learning

Flash card teaching strategies are popular with teachers because of their effectiveness. Parents also appreciate the flash card because it's an easy, at-home teaching method. There are several ways to use flashcards for teaching. Taking a moment to learn about the best strategies for using flash cards, however, can help you make the most of your time and effort.

Flashcard Teaching Strategy - The Constant Time Delay Technique

This particular flashcard teaching strategy, the Constant Time Delay (CTD) technique, is widely used by educators. The CTD strategy can be used easily with flash cards at home to teach any subject.

All you need are flash cards with a question, problem or sight word on the front and an answer prompt on the back.

How to Study With Flash Cards

The first step in using flash cards effectively is to use them the right way and in the right environment:

  1. Sit comfortably facing your child.
  2. Arrange the flash cards in the order you would like to present them (if you wish, you can also choose cards randomly depending on what seems to work best for you.)
  3. Hold up the first card so your child can clearly see the front. Keep the back of the flash card toward you so your child cannot see it.
  4. If necessary, read the front of the flash card to your child. For example, you may read a math problem or a question from the flash card front. Wait three full seconds. There's no need to use a timer. Count to three in your head. This will allow your child about three seconds to consider the question on the flash card and think about his answers. Remember, the key is keeping things fun. The best kind of learning occurs when your child is having too much fun to realize how much she is learning.
  1. If your child gives a correct answer, place the correctly answered flash card in a pile on your left.
  2. If your child gives an incorrect response or no response, tell them the correct answer and place these flash cards in a pile on your right side.
  3. After you have finished showing your child all of the flash cards, you may continue your flash card teaching session by using the stack of incorrectly answered cards. Continue in the same manner, placing correctly answered flash cards on the left and incorrectly answered flash cards on the right.
  1. Once your child has mastered the full set of flash cards, practice them periodically to ensure your child remembers them.

Flash Card Tips:

After a long day of school, even the most motivated students may have difficulty paying attention during a flash card session. Have no fear. These motivators can help.

  • Keep the flash card session fun and game-like.
  • Take activity breaks from your flash card session as your child needs them.
  • Revive energy for study with a healthy snack.
  • Reward your child with their favorite physical activity.
  • Take advantage of free motivators, like hugs and cheers for a job well done.

Finding or Making Flash Cards for Home or School

There are many sources for flash cards, yet the easiest (and cheapest) is simply to download them yourself. Here are some flash cards to download to get you started:

Other Way to Improve Learning at Home or at School

Flash cards are but one in which parents can supplement what their children are learning at school. Check out these thoughts on how to help your child with his homework as well.

Getting Started

It can be difficult to know how much you should teach your child at home among the things they will be learning in school.

And looking to magazines or parenting groups may leave you more confused than before you began. Many parents have strong feelings about how active they should be in teaching their child, and there is a wide spectrum of these strong feelings.

Thankfully, your intuition as a parent is likely one of your best resources. If you and your child are enjoying teaching and learning together it can strengthen your bond and sometimes give your child an edge in school. On the other hand, if trying to help your child get ahead impedes your joy as family and puts strain on relationships, it may be time to step back a bit.

Here are some thoughts on what your child should learn before kindergarten. Keep in mind that what matters most at any age is not what your child already knows, but that they are ready to learn. In addition, studies suggest that the most important "teaching" at home includes things such as general health and nutrition.

Sources:

Ling, J., Robbins, L., Wen, F., and N. Zhang. Lifestyle Interventions in Preschool Children: A Meta-Analysis of Effectiveness. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2017 Feb 22. (Epub ahead of print).

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