13 Qualities of Good Flash Cards to Teach English (ESL and EFL)

The Perfect Flash Cards to Teach English (EFL and ESL)

The Perfect Flash Cards to Teach English (EFL and ESL)

Most English teachers use flash cards extensively in class when teaching children and even lower level adult students. Unfortunately,  teachers are often stuck with whatever materials their school bought or made. If you could design the perfect set of flash cards to teach English, what would it look like?

After years of using sub-optimal flash cards, I hired artists and had my own custom cards made. Here is what I think good English flash cards are  about.

1. Free Flash Cards are definitely the best price.

Why pay for images or buy expensive sets if you can get free flash cards to teach English here. Sign up to my newsletter and you will have a new set delivered to you about every ten days.

2. Good flash cards are in color.

It costs a little more to print color images but they are much more memorable and interesting for your students.

3. Flash card images should be professionally illustrated.

Using free clipart images to make your own flash cards takes a huge amount of time and you will only end up with many mismatched images of different illustration styles. It looks much more professional to have a single style for all your cards and the quality of illustration should be good. Teachers and students will be looking at those images for countless hours so get something pleasing to the eye.

4. Flash cards should have text on the front.

There are varying opinions on whether text should be on the back or front of cards. I think putting the text on the front with the images is much better for the following reasons.

a. First letter sounds, plurals, spelling etc. can be pointed out easily in the text with the image always visible.
b. There are more game possibilities when the back of the card is left blank.
c. It is cheaper and easier to print when only printing one side of the flash card.

5. Text should have correct capitalization.

“APPLE” or “Apple” are NOT correct so don’t show them to children. We never write in all capitals or with the first letter of a word capitalized unless it is in a sentence, so don’t model incorrect English for your students.

6. Indefinite articles and plurals should always be included so students can get lots of repetition.

We never say, “I like apple.” or ” “It is apple.” so don’t just put “apple” on the card. The text should read “apples” or “an apple” – the only exception could be phonics flash cards.

7. Text should highlight key points in red so that students can clearly see what is emphasized.

If teaching plurals, put the ending ‘s’ in red. (See the image at the top.) If teaching phonics, have the key letter combination in red.

8. Flash cards should have borders.

This one is not so important, but I definitely think flash cards look much better with a border and it focuses children’s attention to the center.

9. Flash cards should be colored coded.

All of my flash cards are color coded so that teachers know exactly which level they are teaching. This helps to show when flash cards might be too difficult for a particular level and can also show which lower level review activities were completed. This is especially important for new teachers because they are not likely to have a full understanding of all the targets in a given level.

10. Flash cards should be B5 size.

A4 is too big for children to handle and anything smaller is difficult to see in larger classes. Also, B5 flash cards are less prone to bending than A4 size. You can make smaller cards for use in games, but B5 cards are the best size for class activities.

11. Flash cards should be laminated.

Inexpensive lamination machines are readily available so print your flash cards on the heaviest stock you can and laminate them. The flash cards will look better and last longer, saving you time and money. Don’t put them in plastic sleeves, that will just cost more in the long run.

12. You shouldn’t have too many.

You don’t need flash cards for every vocabulary set your students will learn. Start off with key words and expressions but as children get older they can learn from reading, worksheets, conversations and the internet. Flash cards are fantastic for many activities but they are not the only way to teach. Always remember that you should be teaching what your children need to learn, not what materials you have available.

13. There should be a category image for noun sets.

For example, if you are teaching fruit, there should be a ‘fruit’ card, this goes for other categories as well. Students need to know the word ‘fruit’ if they are going to ask and understand questions like, “What is your favorite fruit?” or “What fruit do you like?”

Get Free ESL or EFL flash cards to teach English by signing up to my newsletter.

However many buyers become confused when trying to order medicaments from the Web because they don’t know how to do it. Families buy hundreds of thousands divers medications online. Let’s discuss about sundry medications. What about generic online and sexual dysfunctions? Did somebody tell you about online cialis? More info about the question available at order cialis online. Many rather believe the effectiveness of Kamagra is well documented. There are more than 200 recipe remedies can cause erectile dysfunction, including certain blood stress remedies, pain drugs, and several antidepressants. Ask everyone and he will answer that any drug has side effects. Keep in mind online pharmacy which offers such medications like Kamagra without a recipe isn’t safe. When you purchase from an unknown online pharmacy, you run the risk of getting queer remedies.

Be Sociable, Share!
eflfrog game set sample

Supercharge your English classes with this great game set. Ten full game sets with countless variations. Make English FUN for you and your students. Click here to learn more!

2 Responses to “13 Qualities of Good Flash Cards to Teach English (ESL and EFL)”
  1. on 22 Feb 2013 at 3:56 amMarta

    Hi John,

    Thank you so much the great flashcards on abcfrog.net. They’re really nice.

    I recently downloaded the “body” flashcards. I am planning to teach the cards in your set but I also wanted to teach “arms.” I was wondering if would be possible to add an “arms” card in there.

    Thank you!

  2. on 22 Mar 2013 at 8:47 pmJohn

    Hi Marta,

    I just added ‘arms’ to the set on ABCfrog.net. I also emailed you so you should have the file now.

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Please Give us your Comments and Ideas

Copyright © 2005-2016 ABCfrog(TM), EFLfrog, EnglishFrog. All Rights Reserved.