Letter Sound Strategies with Letterland
Letterland uses child-friendly characters to help children understand the relationship between a letter shape (grapheme) and the sound (phoneme) it makes in words. These memorable characters are hidden behind plain black letter shapes which bring them to life and make learning dry phonic facts fun!
As children develop confidence in recognising letter sounds, they will need to rely on the Letterland character less and less. There are two key teaching strategies that Letterland uses to make this transition easy for teachers and students.
Read on to find out more.
Using the Sound Trick to Reinforce Letter Sounds
Each Letterlander has a name that starts with the letter sound they make in words, to discover any letter sound you can just start to say the Letterlander’s name. This is what we call the ‘Sound Trick’.
To know what sound each Letterlander makes when they are in a word, say their name very slowly:
Then say it again but stop after the first sound:
That’s the sound Munching Mike makes in words,
All the Letterlanders' names work this same way, giving children a simple and easy-to-use method of associating a letter shape with its sound. It also helps prevent the addition of extra sounds to a phoneme, for example /b/ can be pronounced /buh/ or /s/ can be pronounced /suh/ when the sound isn’t formed correctly.
Using Letterland Flashcards to Reinforce Letter Sounds
You’ll often find Letterland flashcards with the Letterland character (pictogram) on one side and the plain black letter on the other side. It's very important to ask children for the correct response for each side.
Letterland Character Side
When you show a child the Letterland character, you can ask questions like ‘Who is this?’ and wait for the child to respond with the character name. For alphabet letters it’s the character the helps children identify letter sounds and shapes. In more advanced stages, ask children to explain the story logic behind a digraph or trigraph.
Plain Black Letter Side
When you show the plain black letter side, ask children to say the correct sound. If further help is needed and they respond with the character name, use the Sound Trick (say character name slowly and just stop after the first sound) to work out what the correct sound is. The important thing is to encourage the response of the letter sound when given the plain black letter.
Once you’ve introduced a new sound, it can be a good idea to show the plain black letter again and ask children to respond with just the sound to reinforce the relationship between the two. Over time the connection between the plain letter and the letter sound will be established and the characters will no longer need to be used.
You’ll find more information on how to implement Letterland accurately and effectively in your Teacher’s Guide as well as tips on how to deal with common problems that may arise. If you need any further information or assistance, please contact us here.
We’re always happy to support you on your phonics journey!