When two vowels go walking…

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.




The Importance of Having a Strong Foundation in Basic Math Skills



In each year of elementary and high school, students learn new math concepts and skills, and build upon what they learned in previous years. It is incredibly important that students have a strong understanding of the concepts they learn in one year in order to meet the challenges of the next year. So, when a student needs help with math, one of my top priorities as a tutor is making sure they have a strong foundation of basic math skills.


Taking time now to practice basic math skills is incredibly important, and will save many hours in the future. Having a strong grasp of addition and subtraction helps students progress to multiplication and division with ease. Multiplication and division are necessary for almost all units of math above a certain grade level, so it is incredibly useful to know the times tables by heart. One of the most frustrating parts of math homework for students can be how long it takes, but being able to do addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division quickly without a calculator can make it go much faster.


Practicing math skills doesn’t have to be boring either. I have found that when I am enthusiastic while teaching, students are more enthusiastic while learning. Never underestimate the power of a positive attitude! Flash cards are another great way to practice math skills; they are fast, and don’t involve pulling out a textbook, workbook, or pencils. This makes them perfect for math practice on-the-go. You can also incorporate a challenge aspect to math practice, such as seeing how many correct answers a student can get in a minute.


If your child enjoys playing games online or on their phone, consider finding some math websites or apps for them to use. Every child learns differently, so it can be helpful to try out multiple strategies to find what works best.


If your child needs help developing a strong foundation of math skills, or understanding complex topics, the tutors at Little House are happy to help!