Making Words with Letterland
Once your child has learned a few letters and their sounds, they will be ready to read and then write some simple words!
Read on to find out more about teaching your little learners about making words (and some useful resources that might help).
Knowing the correct letter sounds is essential. Giving priority to letter sounds is also the reason that learning to read and write is often referred to as ‘phonics’ – which is just a more technical word for letter sounds.
Most schools now teach children to read using a process called ‘blending’. This involves looking at a written word and speaking or ‘sounding out’ each letter’s sound separately e.g. h-a-t. Extending or ‘stretching’ each sound can make this easier e.g. hhh-aaa-t. After making each sound separately, children are then taught to blend the sounds together, slowly at first and then quickly, until they can say the word smoothly as hat.
Writing down (or spelling) the words we speak simply reverses the blending process and is called ‘segmenting’. In segmenting, each speech sound is said separately, e.g. h-a-t. Each sound may also be extended or stretched as it is spoken, e.g. hhh-aaa-t.
This helps young children to correctly identify each sound in the word and then write its letter in the correct order, e.g. hat. Since letters are a kind of code for the sounds we speak, it is worth noting that reading is sometimes also referred to as ‘decoding’ and writing (or spelling) as ‘encoding’. At the beginning, whether blending to read or segmenting to spell, children should start with short, simple words. These are often called CVC words because they start with a consonant, have a vowel in the
middle and end with another consonant e.g. cat.
Although blending and segmenting may seem hard at first, the good thing about this approach is that children quickly learn that they can read and spell virtually all regular words without having to memorise them. This can really boost their confidence. Once children are comfortable with reading and writing simple words they are ready to be introduced to longer, more complex words.
Two letter sounds such as sh, th, er and ow are called ‘digraphs’ and need to be learned in order to read and spell words like shop, then, her and down. Three letter sounds such as air and ear are called ‘trigraphs’ and are needed for words like pair and hear.
If your child needs some help with making words (or you just want to get ahead of the game), we have a number of resources that will help. Read on to check out our top resources!
This sequel to Letterland ABC also transports young readers to the imaginary world of Letterland where letters spring to life and their sounds are taught in a unique story format. Read about Harry Hat Man making Clever Cat sneeze 'ch' or Walter Walrus being 'aw'ful to Annie Apple by splashing her with water! Featuring 22 essential digraphs with plenty of things to find containing the target digraph sound, young learners will develop their phonics skills quickly. The child-friendly story logic appeals to children's minds, making the phonic facts easy to remember forever.
This fun-filled activity book is a great preparation for school. Divided into two sections, it will help your child develop essential first reading and writing skills. Research has shown how important the right support at home can be. This lively series of activity books has been designed to help you make the adventure of learning to read, write, rhyme and spell a pleasurable part of home life.
An exciting book with split pages that gives children hands-on practice in making lots and lots of words. Designed with spiral bound binding, the pages are split into two sets of flip over pages, allowing the children to flip the pages over and discover new words. Flip Flap Phonics is designed to develop skills in blending sounds together to make words and to help children identify rhyming patterns in real and nonsense words. It can also be used as a valuable teaching aid and a focus point for blending sounds and reading words in small groups.
A pack of 80 versatile flashcards featuring decodable words in large, lower-case letters. Printed with the Letterland letters on one side and plain letters on the other, children will easily make the link between them and move from one to the other. There are lots of games ideas included and the pack also contains key sight words with less regular parts underlined.
Other Letterland products that help teach making words:
Beyond ABC (paperback)
Beyond ABC (audiobook CD)
Far Beyond ABC (paperback)
Far Beyond ABC (audiobook CD)
We hope you found this article useful. If you'd like to use Letterland to help teach your little learners about making words, head over the our website to grab all these brilliant resources.
Want to read more? Check out our article on using Letterland to teach alphabet sounds and shapes.