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Eyewords Multisensory-Orthographic Heart Word Cards

Eyewords Multisensory-Orthographic Heart Word Cards

As educators, we understand the importance of teaching high frequency words. It is a crucial part of reading instruction that many teachers, especially those new to teaching, struggle with. Planning and implementing effective instructional routines and activities can feel overwhelming. Eyewords™ is thrilled to introduce an easy to implement, research-based, whole-brain approach to teaching high frequency words that has been designed to engage all learners. This method rapidly builds sight word knowledge using multisensory-contextual cues (visual-contextual picture, auditory phrase and kinesthetic action) along with orthographic mapping of regular and irregular sounds. Eyewords™ focuses on high frequency words which make up almost half of all the material we read, many of which are difficult to contextualize and decode phonetically.

The new Eyewords™ Multisensory-Orthographic Heart Word Cards include two powerful components. The first employs the whole-brain teaching method. On the front of each card a high frequency word is embedded with visual-contextual images, a related auditory phrase and corresponding kinesthetic action. These elements create meaning for abstract high frequency words which are hard to contextualize. In addition, when learning is presented in a way that engages multiple senses, it becomes more exciting and learners become more motivated to actively participate ultimately increasing sight word retention.

On the back of the card, is an orthographic mapping component that is designed to accelerating sight word acquisition. When we add orthographic mapping to multisensory instruction, we take what we already know about a word (meaning and the pronunciation) and connect the individual phonemes (sounds) to the graphemes (letters) that represent the sounds in the word. In doing so, the phonemes, graphemes, and word meaning are linked and the word is stored as a sight word for automatic retrieval. The word’s letter sequence becomes familiar. This is not the same as just memorizing the way a word looks. It is a mental process used to store and remember words.


When students practice sound mapping, each dot represents a phoneme in the word. Students use the oral language processing part of their brain to map (connect) the sounds of words they already have acquired language and meaning for. The sounds in a word (phonemes) are connected to the letter sequence of the word (the spelling). Learners then permanently store the connected sounds and letters of words (along with their known meaning) as instantly recognizable words (sight words).

Next, the goal is to be able to blend those sounds back together, sound blending. If a learner knows the pronunciation and meaning for the word /a/n/d/ and has good phonemic awareness skills, they can pull the word apart (segment) into its individual sounds (phonemes) /a/ /n/ /d/. The student can then push the sounds together (blend) to form the whole word. The arrow serves as a visual aid for the student to blend the word.

Another effective method embedded into Eyewords™ Multisensory-Orthographic Heart Word Cards is the Heart Word Method created by reading researcher David Kilpatrick in alignment with the Science of Reading. In his research, Kilpatrick noted that in order for students to become “good mappers” they must develop three skills: 1) automatic letter-sound associations, 2) phonemic awareness, and 3) word study.

On the back side of each card you will notice a heart in the sound mapping portion of some words, like the word “the.” This is because there are two types of sounds: regularly spelled (marked with a dot) and irregularly spelled (marked with a heart). Irregularly spelled sounds do not follow phonics patterns and need to be explicitly taught. We call words with irregular sounds “heart words”.

To explicitly teach heart words, identify the parts that are phonetically irregular. Identify what sound it makes and place a heart under this part of the word. Then, explicitly teach this irregular sound that the heart letters make. Students will need to learn this part “by heart.” There is no guessing for the teacher as all sounds are listed in the upper left corner of each card.

One FREE product in the Eyewords™ library is a High Frequency Words Categories List which lists the regularly (flash word) and irregularly (heart word) spelled words in each of sets #1-3, as seen in the example below.

Another excellent resource to aid in teaching high frequency words are the new Multisensory-Orthographic Printable Worksheets. Each set contains 50 words that match the Teaching Cards sets. The learner applies orthographic mapping strategies to map, graph and write words to create and solidify sight word knowledge. This digital product also includes a Phonics Scope & Sequence that allows the educator to teach words strategically according to phonics patterns such as short vowels, long vowels, vowel teams, digraphs, etc..

Eyewords™ Multisensory-Orthographic Heart Word Cards include 50 high frequency words per set or as a bundle of 150 words. You can preview the list of words and cards included in each set when you view the details for each product. Each set includes:
• Instructions for Teaching Eyewords Cards
• Categorized Word List
• Fun & Play-Based Games and Activities
• Sample Sentences using Set Words
• Eyewords™ Multisensory-Orthographic Heart Word Cards

Eyewords™ Multisensory-Orthographic Heart Word Cards are now available in both physical and digital form. For immediate implementation, simply print digital cards double-sided and start teaching with any reading curriculum, phonics program, or embed into your literacy routine and small/whole group instruction. This is as low-prep and easy as it gets!

Eyewords™ is backed by a published study by Stanford University and supported by the latest research in cognitive neuroscience and linguistics which has validated that for sight word acquisition, this method of combining an embedded picture, contextual phrase, and related kinesthetic action with orthographic mapping is more effective than plain text with phonics instruction alone.

In addition to boosting the overall effectiveness of kindergarten and primary literacy programs, it was quickly discovered that Eyewords™ has a tremendous benefit to children who struggle to read through systematic phonics alone. Eyewords™ has proven beneficial for:

  • K-2 learners
  • Those with learning exceptionalities such as Dyslexia, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Central Auditory Processing Disorder, Developmentally Challenged, Speech/Language Delayed, Working Memory Deficits, English Language Learning