Is It Time to Shake Up Your Visual Card Drill?


Is it time to breathe new life into the visual card drill portion of your Orton-Gillingham or structured literacy lessons?

After your students become familiar with the card drill routine, it may feel like a mundane task. There are beneficial ways to offer the card drill routine that will not only increase engagement but also build mastery. These ideas don’t even take a lot of time or extra materials! You can use these alternatives without sacrificing time in your already jam-packed lessons.

If you’ve wanted to change up the card drill routine for a while, but you weren’t sure how or if your students were ready, then get ready to shake things up!

What Are Card Drills?

Card drills are commonly used in structured literacy or Orton-Gillingham lessons. The card drill is a brief, multisensory activity that gets the brain warmed up for reading and writing. These drills are used for explicit and repeated practice to build automaticity.

Why Are Card Drills Multisensory? Multisensory instruction is helpful with memory and processing, which are areas where many students with dyslexia show weakness. Incorporating explicit instruction with multi-sensory learning is beneficial for students with language-based learning disabilities, like dyslexia.

The Science Behind Card Drills

Card drills activate the convergent zones in the different lobes of the brain. This strengthens the neural pathways. Stronger connections create the best environment for automaticity and place less of a burden on our challenged readers. Card drills offer explicit repeated practice, repetition, and review.

Card Drills can… 

  • Build stronger connections between orthographic and phonological processors
  • Increase automaticity for letter and sound recognition
  • Offer much-needed repetition and review for challenged readers

Here Are Three Tips for Knowing When It’s Time to Shake Up Your Visual Card Drill

1. Is your student familiar with the routine?

If your student knows the order of the lesson, they know what materials to take out and when, and they know the directions without any confusion, it might be time to shake things up a bit!

2. Is your student able to follow multi-step directions?

If you’re going to be shaking up the way you present the visual drill, there may be more than one step to it. You may need your student to give you a receptive or expressive reply to a direction and they may also need to be handing you something at the same time. Ensure that your student is very capable of following multi-step directions before making any changes to your visual drills. 

3. Is your student comfortable with your expectations?

There are several expectations when we are within the confines of a lesson, whether it is 1:1 or in a small group. Your student will need to be comfortable with your expectations around behavior and participation as well as expectations around materials and transitions. 

When you feel confident that your student is meeting expectations in each of these areas, that is your cue to shake up your visual card drill routine.

Beyond the Card Drill!

This 3-day challenge will help to FULLY equip you with the background, the modeling, and the tools you need to branch out. Learn HOW you can change up your card drill and ELEVATE your students’ learning as you help them achieve mastery.

What does the 3-day challenge look like? This is a fully asynchronous and virtual training. You can complete the 3-day challenge at your convenience. Day 1 is where your training kicks off. On day 2, you’ll watch the card drills in action. And, on day 3 you’ll put what you’ve learned into practice by trying the drill yourself. 

What teachers are saying:

“I completed last night’s challenge and that was so fun. I appreciate all the different ways that you explained how to change the card drill up with fun ideas. I became certified last year as an OG tutor, so I am still going by the exact process of my practicum. Having fun ideas is exciting for me. Thank you so much For all you do in the dyslexia tutoring community.” Lisa M.

“I just finished Day 1 of the Card Drill Challenge and am so excited! I loved it and learned fun new ways to present this drill to my students. I can’t wait to see them modeled on Day 2. 😀 Your videos are very encouraging and always offer valuable ways to make my OG lessons more engaging, thank you!”Beth F.

“I just completed the challenge. Easily doable in one sitting. Lots of great ideas, spurring on more already! Thanks! Highly recommend it!” – Becky D-M.

Join the 3-day challenge, here! Or, become a yearly member of the Building Readers for Life Academy to join in on all of our challenges!


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