Tutoring Blog Post
When Two Vowels Go Walking
It is more than a little helpful to have a handy set of flash cards ready to prompt younger learners and give them reading cues. When learning about “vowel pairs”, for example, cue cards like these are colourful and attractive:
As the time-honoured reading prompt goes: “When two vowels go walking, the first does the talking”. Then, feeling smug with your handy flash cards, you help the child out with the picture provided: “oa” makes “coat”?
To my surprise, the most effective set of flash cards that I have used with my Gr. 1 student is one that she created herself. When I uttered the phrase “when two vowels go walking” she immediately drew some minuscule legs on a couple of little vowels:
Note that the first attempt had a minor error: the order of the vowels. I urged her to reconsider: the first does the talking. She re-arranged accordingly and proceeded to create different vowel pairs “meeting” each other. The following results were stupendous:
The student rapidly became familiar with which vowels formed which pairs. The truth is, the effectiveness of these homemade flash cards should not have come as a surprise to me. Involving the child in the learning process is essential to developing their ability to retain the concepts and apply them.
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