Graphic Sight Words and Vocabulary Cards

By Rachel Betzen, M.A., CCC/SLP

One of the advantages of doing whole child intervention is that we can focus on multiple skills at the same time. Your child may need more help with decoding words, understanding words and stories, learning to read and write sight words, or need help with all of these skills.

We developed Graphic Sight Words and Vocabulary Cards at Dallas Reading and Language Services to help children improve all of these skills, however, these techniques can easily be adapted by you as the parent or guardian, for use at home with your child.

Instructions for Using Graphic Sight Words and Vocabulary Cards

Graphic Word Cards for spelling and vocabulary can be a powerful tool to help student learn how to decode, spell, visualize, and explain the meanings of words – all on one card! Help your child set up organization separately for spelling tests, science words, language arts vocabulary, etc.

To Make Graphic Word Cards:

  • Write target words on one side of an index card, using a pen or marker that won’t show through on the other side.
  • On the other side of the index card, write the word again with graphic cues:
    • Separate the syllables; write the vowel sounds in a speech bubble above as needed.
    • Underline two or more letters that make one sound (vowels and consonants), with the sound in a speech bubble above. (Say the word slowly to yourself to accurately mark the phonetic sounds).
  • Introduce the card with the graphic cues. Help your child decode by giving missing sounds, or correcting incorrect sounds, as needed.
  •  Ask the child, “What does the word make you picture?” to assess his or her word understanding. Give your child additional examples as needed until he or she shows a complete understanding of the vocabulary. Allow your child to draw a picture to explain the word if desired.
  • Alternately, or additionally, your child can have all the difficult words from a reading passage on one page, with the graphic cues showing.

Practicing With Graphic Word Cards:

  • Have your child decode the word, showing the graphic side, and then use the word in a sentence.
  • Air trace the word together with your child and as you and your child say each letter. For multi-syllabic words, say each syllable first, and then say and air trace the letters for each syllable.
  • Flip the card over and have your child read the word without the graphics.
  • As your child improves, practice more without the graphic side until he or she masters reading, spelling, and writing the target words.
© 2016 Dallas Reading and Language Services