In spite of all the advances we’ve made in understanding the learning process, struggling readers are still with us in large numbers. And there is nothing as painful to see as a struggling reader who has come to detest the process of learning to read. As we work to help those struggling learners, often we resort to doing things that on paper seem that they should work, but which in reality bring us no closer to our goal.
And the downside for the struggling reader is that the more “stuff” we try, the more chances they have to fail again and again. The message that is imprinted on their minds and hearts is that they are failures and unable to learn to read.
In this scenario, what is called for is something friendly and kind, attractive and vastly different from what the struggling reader is used to seeing in school.
"I just have to say how thrilled I am with the SnapWords cards! I just figured out my 6-year-old daughter is a right-brained and visual learner. We have been using sight word flash cards for about a year with the curriculum we are using and she was just "not getting it". The words were not soaking in. We would drill the flashcards over and over and she'd memorize a few of them, but when I would show her the same words in the context of a reader, she would act like she had never seen the words. I was starting to get so frustrated and then I happened upon your website and saw the SnapWords cards. I ordered all of them and I just can't believe how quickly my daughter is now "getting it"! It's as if a light bulb has been turned on in her head! We are already almost through the first set and usually I just have to show her the side with the drawing only once and she has it! I am AMAZED! And now, she is picking those words out in the books we read together. It's as if her mind takes a snapshot of the drawing side and then it's easy! Even later in the evening when we're reading books and she sees one of those words, she will actually say the little saying on the back of the card and I can tell she is visualizing the card and then the word appears in her mind. AMAZING! Thank you so much. I am so glad I discovered the SnapWords cards!"
At first glance they offer a little flicker of hope to the child. They are different, colorful, engaging, funny at times, and easy to capture in a blink of an eye. Here are 7 reasons to reach for SnapWords® at the first sign of trouble.
- Capturing the Whole Thing in a Glance – Children who struggle to learn to read most frequently cannot handle the process we put them through as we teach them to read. They struggle to manage the various details involved in letter shapes and sounds and then stringing them together into a word that makes sense. Well by the time they have managed to figure out what the word means, they have forgotten where they were in the sentence and very often a couple of minutes later when confronted with the same word, they begin the process all over again. In other words, all the words they don’t know instantly on sight are chores to decode. SnapWords® are designed so that new and struggling readers can capture the whole word and its meaning as instantly as snapping a picture with a camera.
- Using a Different Part of the Brain – Struggling readers most frequently are visual learners. The significance of this is that they learn by snapping mental pictures – not by working through rules and by memorizing facts. They are utilizing different regions in the brain than when they just try and memorize strings of letters and their sounds. The beauty of the visual cortex and how it works with learning is that it is an instant thing. We see an image and it is imprinted on our minds immediately. So anything we want these strugglers to learn and remember will be best transmitted to their minds using visuals that are embedded in the material. SnapWords® are done for you. The visual, the body motion, the spoken aspect of SnapWords® combine to target several regions in the brain making for a rich learning experience.
- Experiencing Success Quickly – Children who have struggled and failed in learning to read desperately need to experience some success. They need to learn that they ARE capable of learning to read, that the way they learn is most efficient, that they can understand how they learn and can apply this knowledge to learning across the curriculum. A child who is failing will be empty of belief in his or her abilities – this lack will haunt them throughout their lives. On the other hand, experiencing success quickly will carry over into other areas of their lives – they will gain a sense of empowerment and competence that will propel them towards reaching for their dreams.
"My son has dyslexia and nothing was working for him until I started using your sight word flash cards - now he is learning words very quickly." -Lisa
- Comprehending the Meaning of Words – When you use SnapWords®, the image embedded in the word shows the child immediately what the word means. In fact there is no way the child wouldn’t understand that the word carries a meaning. For many struggling readers, the very process of reading is so tedious that they come to believe that just deciphering the words is the goal of reading – and they often miss completely the fact that the words are simply vehicles that carry a story/meaning. The colorful images in SnapWords® show a little story. On the backs of the cards are sentences that elaborate on the word picture on the front of the card. It is like you are telling a mini-story when you show a child a SnapWords® card.
- Mastering the Most Frequently-Used Words – Our collection of SnapWords® will act like a rocket that will propel your struggling readers into competence in reading. The reason for this is that we’ve carefully compiled a list of almost 630 words that make up the greatest percentage of the words kids will find as they read books. Many of the words are impossible to sound out anyway and having a child be able to recognize the words instantly will make reading a passage so easy because they will be left with only a few words that they haven’t already learned – many of which will be easy to figure out based on the context of the story. I have personally experienced bringing struggling readers up to grade level in unbelievably short amounts of time.
- Engaging Active Learners – For those children who can’t sit still for longer than a nanosecond, SnapWords® are a life saver! “Blink!” and they have it. I have been known to crawl around on the floor in pursuit of a very active struggling reader trying to get his attention for a second, long enough to show him a SnapWords® Card. Once he caught a glimpse of the card, I had him. He would grab for the card and stare at it for a bit. So I learned to take advantage of the magnetic quality of SnapWords® and made games that included SnapWords® to be paired with plain sight word cards. The child would snatch up a SnapWords® card and hold it in one hand as he scanned the floor for the matching plain sight word card. He would grab the second card with his non-occupied hand and make the match. In just seconds he’d worked through matching up all the words.
Making it Easy to Link Stylized Words with Plain Words - Because the goal is of course to transition children as quickly as possible from the picture side of the SnapWords® card to the plain word as it would appear in a book, we have designed SnapWords® to include a plain-font version of the sight word on the reverse of the card. As I stated, the goal is to transition rapidly from picture to plain word. Having the plain word “stuck to” the sight word picture is a real helpful time-saver!
Of all the benefits of using SnapWords® with your struggling readers, we can’t fail to mention the issue of cost. It can be very costly to remediate struggling readers. There are the costs of tutors and the materials purchased and tried that possibly didn’t work. There is the discouragement of putting your hopes in a new product or a new learning environment only to find that basically the approach was the same: all dependent upon learning sounds, sounding out words and using drill and memorization to try and gain a sight word vocabulary. Try something radically different and see if the results are not also dramatically different.
"Your SnapWords® flash cards have changed my daughter's life. She could not read anything before we started with them, now she can recognize and spell most of List A on her own and is working through List B now. Thank you!!!!" -Jessica
What are you waiting for? Go! Get started today and see an energized child by year end! As always, please call if you have any questions about your particular learner and what you might need to give him or her the most significant boost in learning!