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In Shichida’s book, it was emphasised that quantity is more important than quality. The Shichida instructors advise the parents not to show the same flashcard more than 3 times because babies get bored if they are presented with the same material over and over.
To illustrate this example, there was an incident with one child who was not able to speak but could use word cards to tell her parents what she was thinking. When asked to describe her father, she picked “gentle daddy”. When asked to describe her mother, she picked “annoying mummy”.
How many flashcards should you show your baby a day? As many as you can so long as your baby is still interested. In Shichida’s book, two parents had a target to show their child 20,000 cards covering a wide range of topics by the time she turned two. If you start at one year old, that’s an average of 60 flashcards a day which will take about a minute since you’re flashing one card a second.
The challenge with this activity lies in keeping ahead of your child because flashcard creation is time consuming. It takes me a couple of hours to create a series of flashcards for the kids and they’re done with it in the a matter of minutes! Therefore I recommend getting as much ready-made flashcard resources you can get hold of as possible. You can supplement what you buy with materials that you make yourself.
If you are stuck for subjects to cover, this is what I like to do… I have a series of books hubby and I bought in the MPH warehouse sale under the “Tell Me” series which we were going to keep for Gavin when he is older. Lately, I have started reading a couple of pages each day to both Gavin and Gareth while they play. At night, I work on flashcards covering the topics we read about. Sometimes the topics are difficult to represent with flashcards, so as long as the pictures are related, I use them. For instance, for the subject of “time”, we had day, night, sun, moon, moon phases, month, sun dial, analogue clock, digital clock, hour glass, seasons, autumn, winter, spring, and summer. I try to get at least ten images related to each topic. I’ll be posting these up so you’ll be able to download them from my flashcard database.
Aside from the books, I also use the Encyclopedia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite for flashcard creation. This resource is very useful for creating “bits of intelligence” cards (Doman’s method for giving your baby encyclopedic knowledge).
Words or pictures? At Heguru, they say that it is easier to hold a child’s attention with picture flashcards. Doman says that if you want a child to learn how to read, you need to show the word on its own or the picture will distract the child. What Doman does accept, however, are flashcards with the pictures and words shown separately. For instance, it is okay to flash the word “car” followed by a picture of a car, but it is not recommended to flash a picture of a car with the word “car” written underneath it.
It is important to have a combination of flashcards with words and pictures because they both achieve different things. The word cards are good for teaching your child whole-word reading. The picture cards are required for image training.
What is the purpose of showing flashcards?
- The right brain is like a library that you can use to store information for future use. Early childhood is a period when it is easy to input information into this library. To make sure it is stored in the right brain, you need to show the flashcards quickly because Shichida says when the left brain functions, the right brain cannot. Since the left brain works more slowly, it needs time to absorb new information. When you present information too quickly for the left brain to make sense of it, it by-passes the left brain and the right brain takes over.
- Rapidly showing flashcards also exercises the right brain which is like working out a muscle to make it stronger.
- Showing picture flashcards also helps to train the image function of the right brain.