Top 5 Reasons to Use Literacy Task Cards January 22 2010

Literacy Task Cards, a Teaching Resource Center original product, is a valuable resource for any teacher, classroom or program that offers literacy education at a variety of levels.

What Are They?

Literacy Task Cards are part of a comprehensive program that teaches reading skills in Word Building and Vocabulary Development. These two kits come with task, category, word and picture cards.

As a classroom teacher, I have worked mostly with students in fourth, fifth and sixth grades. Through the years, there have been students who, at their reading levels, could have benefited from these Literacy Task Cards if I had known about them. These tasks would be great for English Language Learners at any level as well as students on the other end of the development spectrum who need early intervention.

Now that I have experience with this program, I've identified five clear advantages to using the Literacy Task Cards with students.

Easy To Use

As with any new program, I felt overwhelmed at first. However, I soon discovered that the program is incredibly easy to use. The kits come with a Teacher's Guide which is downloadable should it ever be misplaced.

In order to keep costs down, the cards are not precut. It would be a good idea to enlist parent or other volunteer help to cut them, but I found that cutting them myself helped me become familiar with them. As I cut them, I assembled each task in a baggie and affixed the appropriate label, which are available for purchase or downloadable.

There are three levels included in the program - Emergent, Early, and Transitional - and the Task Cards are color-coded at each specific level. Karen Birdwhistell, the Supervisor of Instruction at Hart County Schools, recommends the Literacy Task Cards for intervention teachers because of these levels and that the program is so easy to use.

A Variety of Intervention Strategies

This program not only benefits intervention teachers, it also addresses the variety of needs in the classroom. Many times in the area of literacy, students need intervention in specific areas that don't apply to the group at large. Tier One interventions can happen in the classroom without disrupting whole-group or small-group lessons or routines. It's possible to group students according to the interventions they need and work with these students in a small group setting.

In addition to small groups, the Literacy Task Cards provide isolated skill-building activities to address the needs of individual students. "The Literacy Task Cards give students something to work on in a specific area,” said Ms. Birdwhistell.

Promote Independence

Classroom management is not an issue as individual or small groups of students work with the Literacy Task Cards. The tasks are easy for kids to manage, and provide confidence and empowerment as they move through each task. Students also engage in problem-solving skills as they figure out and complete the task activities. They are able to do all of this on their own, without taking away from other students working around them in the classroom.

Hands-On Activities

The task cards include activities that are based on hands-on learning. Student manipulate category, word and picture cards as well as manipulatives. Some of these include wiki stix, letter tiles, and magnetic letters. Because students are engaged with figuring out how to complete the activities on the cards, they use the manipulatives appropriately. The cards are labeled by lesson number, which makes it simple to put them back should they become misplaced.

They’re Fun!

As a teacher, I like to see my students engaged in learning and applying new skills and information. The Literacy Task Cards help make this process fun for kids who often have struggled with literacy.  The variety of hands-on activities help make the Literacy Task Cards fun for kids to use. “We do a few a week and the kids see them as fun games and really enjoy them,” said Penny Gabbard, a teacher in the St. Charles County Schools in Missouri.

"I wish I had known about the Literacy Task Cards earlier in my teaching career. These cards would have supported the intervention strategies I was using with kids who were struggling with acquiring and applying literacy skills." As Marilyn Kidwell, a Reading Intervention Teacher in the Hart County Schools, said recently about Literacy Task Cards, "I haven’t seen anything better anywhere.”