Index Cards

Index cards are great for:

  • Making customized flash cards
  • Sequencing activities
  • Randomizing/shuffling and using in game-type settings

Here are some ideas for activities to do with your index cards. Click on the tabs to see activities in each category.

Index cards are a great tool for capturing and reviewing information in small chunks. They are easy to sort and group.

Reading comprehension strategy

  • Before reading a full passage, find and write key words or phrases from the text on separate index cards.
  • As you read and encounter each word, write notes on the index card related to the words.
  • For a pop of colour, attach a sticky note to your index card for your key words.
  • At the end of the passage, review all your cards. Add more notes or pictures.
  • Now read the whole text again.

Note: You can use this activity in an online session using a document camera.

Index cards can be shuffled and the pack extended each session. They are perfect for reviewing previous sessions and then building on topics each time you meet.

Writing sparkers

  1. Start with five index cards. Write a different word on each card relevant to your learner.
  2. Shuffle the cards.
  3. Ask your learner to take a card and create a sentence with the word they find on the card.
  4. Choose another card and create a new sentence. Try to link it to the first.
  5. Continue until all five cards have been chosen.
  6. Keep the cards and next time you do this activity, add three new words to the pack.

Wacky sentences

  1. Create five piles of index cards – one with articles, one with adjectives, one with nouns, one with verbs and one with adverbs.
  2. Shuffle each pile separately and then choose the top card of each to randomly create a wacky sentence – some will make sense, others may sound funny!

Scrambled sentences

  1. Write each word of a sentence on a separate index card.
  2. Shuffle the pack.
  3. Ask your learner to recreate the sentence.
  4. Make it more difficult by creating longer sentences or mixing words from two different sentences together!

Note: You can do these activities in an online session using a document camera.

Learner uses a document camera as they order and sort cards in front of them.

Index cards are an easy tool to use to create customized sets of flash cards that are relevant to your learner. They can be carried around and are easy to pull out and review during the week.

Flash cards

  1. Create customized flash cards
    • mnemonic devices – write words and then include a mnemonic device to help memory.
    • sight words – create flash cards of the 100 most common sight words.
    • most misspelled words – google 100 most misspelled words to get a list with tips on how to spell them.
    • work-related words – custom build a pack of flash cards that your learner needs to know.
  2. Review each card in a warm up activity each week.
  3. Use stickers to mark cards that your learner recognises each week and ones they struggle with.

Note: Your learner can do this activity in an online session using a document camera.

Index cards can be just the thing you need to make simple games to play in a tutoring session. They are also portable so learners can take them home to play on their own or with family and friends.

Memory game

  1. Develop a set of word pairs, the more pairs you have, the harder the game will be. You could create pairs based on:
    • word families, e.g., game – fame, sight – might, funny – bunny
    • parts of speech, e.g., egg – spoon, eating – running, I – you, green – yellow
    • synonyms
    • antonyms
    • homophones, e.g., pair – pare, their – there, two – too
    • long vowel sounds
    • contractions and their counterparts
  2. Write each word of each word pair on a single index card.
  3. Shuffle the cards and lay them out face down.
  4. Take turns to pick up a pair. If they match, keep the pair. If not, turn them over and the other player takes a turn.
  5. When all the cards are matched, the winner is the one with the most pairs.

Note: This activity can be done in an online session using a document camera.

One of the pair holds the cards and the document camera. The game is played by telling each other which cards to turn over.

Where to find index cards

Index cards are easy to find and relatively inexpensive:

  • Literacy Unlimited provides index cards in different colours to learners in their Literacy Kits. Find out more about home literacy kits here.
  • Dollar stores have index cards
  • You can even make your own cards by cutting up larger pieces of card

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