Organizing Literacy Task Card Materials January 25 2010

The Literacy Task Cards are a valuable resource for any classroom or reading program. There are many elements to this comprehensive program, some of which depend on whether or not you're working with the Word Building or the Vocabulary Development kit.

And these elements need to be organized! First, to make the greatest use of the materials. Second, to prevent the materials from becoming lost. And third, to maintain your general sanity, as classroom neatness can help that ever-present challenge.

What’s Included?

There are two sets of Literacy Task Cards, which are Word Building (set 1) and Vocabulary Development (set 2). The basic Literacy Task Cards sets come in three levels - Early, Emergent and Transitional - which are color coded for easy identification and organization.  The other provided materials include category cards, picture cards, word cards, and a Teacher’s Guide (this is downloadable should it disappear).

It's important to note that some items shown in pictures are not automatically included with the purchase of specific levels, which is helpful to those who already have a supply of manipulatives or wish to purchase manipulatives separately. These hands-on materials include magnetic letters, letter tiles, wikki stix, beginning sound cards, and the beginning sound poster. Also, baskets and labels are sold separately; however, these manipulatives, baskets and labels are included in the purchase of the Word Building Kit.

The Cards

The Task Cards themselves are color coded according to level - Early, Emergent, and Transitional. In order to keep costs down, the cards come in sheets that need to be cut. This would be a great opportunity to enlist help from parent or other school volunteers or production assistants. The Task Cards are not laminated, and it might be a good idea to do that before cutting. 

Along with the Task Cards, the category, word and picture cards must also be cut. Then they are assembled into plastic baggies or small manila envelopes according to availability and your preference. The Task Cards clearly state what students will use to complete the lesson, and the corresponding cards for each lesson have the task number on them. It's easy to figure out what goes together in each baggie or envelope!

The Manipulatives

To get the most out of Literacy Task Cards, a variety of manipulatives are required. These manipulatives are fairly common and good for students to use with other assignments in addition to the Task Cards. The hands-on materials to use with Literacy Task Cards include magnetic letters, letter tiles, wikki stix, beginning sound cards, and the beginning sound poster

Keeping It All Together

Each set comes with a Teacher’s Guide, and both are short and sweet. Should they become lost, there are pdf versions for download. 

Once the Task Cards are cut and assembled with the appropriate category, word and picture cards using baggies or envelopes. Affix the corresponding labels to each baggie or envelope for easy identification and organization!

The baskets are also very helpful for organization. Keep the baggies or envelopes in them and stack the baskets in a convenient place for a simple storage solution. Another use for the baskets is to set up a Literacy Task Card lesson with the corresponding cards and manipulatives, keeping everything at your students' fingertips!

What Should I Start With?

If you're like me and this is the first time you're considering using Literacy Task Cards, my suggestion for the best value is the comprehensive Word Building Kit. This kit comes with all of the manipulatives and organizational materials including the letters, labels and baskets. Then to have a complete set of Literacy Task Cards, add all 3 levels of Vocabulary Building and you're good to go!

However, the products are sold separately for added convenience. Literacy Task Cards are available by level, and manipulatives, labels and baskets are also sold separately.

Compared to other curriculum experiences I've had, preparing the Literacy Task Cards for student use was easy, and understanding how to best use this program took no time at all. I find that I get the most out of them when I make sure the materials are organized on a daily basis as my students use them, getting the most out of the Literacy Task Cards.