As I was making these cards, however, I found myself re-using clipart images. Clipart (especially clipart you can use for files posted on the Internet) can be difficult to find - and cute clipart is even harder to source! So when you have attractive images that fit a variety of words, you tend to re-use them.
I had wondered about this as I was making the cards, but then I got to thinking about the different strategies we use when teaching little ones to decode words. One of the strategies children learn and use frequently when they are early readers is 'using pictures to help you figure out words'.
This is a useful strategy, of course - but how often do your kiddos look at the picture and read 'rabbit' when the word is 'bunny', or read 'boat' when the word is 'ship' (etc, etc)? Looking at pictures will only get children so far - they need to be paying attention to the letters (and more than just initial letters!) in their words as well.
As I've been making these flashcards, then, and re-using clipart, I've started to re-use images quite deliberately. In the OW file, for example, there is a picture of a firefly for the word 'glow'. I've used this same firefly in the IGH package to represent 'bright'. And when I get to the I-E (Magic e) package, I'll use it again for 'firefly'. Similarly, the whale image I used in the WH flashcards does double duty in the OW package when it represents 'blowhole' (to be fair, I've also included an arrow pointing to the blowhole, to help make it clearer!).
I plan to make this a feature of how I use these flashcards to teach new phonemes - as a class, we'll have a look at how the same picture can be used to illustrate different things. Then we'll relate that to our reading, and how important it is to use the pictures along with the letters in a new word to figure words out when they get tricky.