How To

Teaching English words to children using flashcards

Teaching English words

This is a very important article in English teacher training. It has been shown that the number of words learned in childhood is proportional to success in higher education. Knowing more words, in fact, means having more keys to understanding than the speeches heard or the texts read.

It is good to apply consistently so that children acquire words in English, forming a solid and broad vocabulary. It is a check that the teacher must make because children do not always (indeed, almost never) signal when they do not understand or do not know this or that word.

Therefore, the conscious and active construction of the vocabulary test online is an activity in itself, which is a certain sense, is further and different from the acquisition of the passive vocabulary.

Vocabulary acquisition and learning

The involuntary acquisition of words leads to longer-lasting memorization than learning; it is unconscious and effortless. But you have to be aware that the acquisition requires a high amount of input (therefore, a lot, a lot of exposure: you cannot have spontaneous acquisition with sporadic exposure!!!).

Conversely, learning is mediated by conscious and “strenuous” activities. To maximize the child’s understanding of English and thus allow him to participate in the activities, it is necessary to help him broaden the spectrum of the vocabulary he knows and understands. Realize that understanding is vital. Without understanding, there is neither acquisition nor learning.

To learn, it is necessary to:

  • Pay attention to the stimulus
  • Understand (implicitly or explicitly) the input
  • Manipulate inputs and transfer them to long-term memory

In this article, we talk again about flashcards as a way to teach and fix the vocabulary. Here will be shown some of the recommended ways in which a teacher can use flashcards to help the child build an informed word bank. The experience of understanding leads to acquisition, and learning can facilitate understanding.

How to use flashcards to teach new words to children

This article will reveal using flashcards to teach vocabulary to primary school children who already know letters and phonics. They might be activities suitable for third graders and older, but they can be simplified for younger children.

What is it? The child may not be able to explain it in English, but you must be sure that he knows it. No child can remember a card that doesn’t quite know what it is. The image must be clear, on a white background, unique.

What do you call it? No child can remember a name they don’t have in mind. Be clear and stentorian when saying the name of the card, and have the child repeat. It is essential that the child has heard the sound well.

How do you spell it? If you have already spelled it, it is good to write the object name under the represented object. To acquaint your child with the spellings of the words, visit

Phoneme awareness: Always do this activity, whether the spelling is already known or you are studying phonics. Ask the children to identify the sound of the words. If nothing else, it will draw the child’s attention to the name. Phonemic awareness also includes subjective assessments such as “is the word long or short?”. Anything that consciously draws the child’s attention to the form of the word is fine because we are talking about mindful learning, and every observation of the child is an anchor for his memory.

This is a sort of “phase 1”, the simplest and most suitable for beginner children. It is important that this sort of procedure is done with all the cards. Whenever a child inserts a card into his visual dictionary, he should be able, at least orally, to answer all the questions in “phase 1”, as if it were some kind of flashcard identity card.

Stage 2 is significantly more complex and requires the child to be able to answer more challenging questions about the flashcard created or shown:

  • What do you do with it? (If it is an object): The child must be able to describe the use of the portrayed object
  • Where do you find it? The child must be able to place the object in context
  • What category? The child must be able to conceptually place the object in a category.

Conclusion: Whenever you show (or create) flashcards with the new words in English, you draw the child’s attention to all the information they can give you. By following the above phases, you can teach your vocabulary and facilitate learning spelling for grade 5 using flashcards.