Take a Trip to Letterland!

This year at MCS the Grade 1/2 class adopted a new phonics programme – Letterland! The Kindergarten class is supplementing their instruction with an introduction to the programme as well. Here is a quick overview of this unique programme.

Letterland introduces us to phonics learning by using characters for each letter. Their names start with the sound of the letter. For example, "Annie apple”, "Bouncing Ben” and "Clever Cat”.

Children quickly and easily learn the names and their associated sounds. Next, the children explore how the Letterlanders interact together in words. This forms the basis of the phonics instruction. Digraphs (two letter combinations such as /ck/ or /th/) all have a corresponding story which helps students to remember the letter combinations and the sound for each digraph. This is the story for /sh/:

Sammy snake loves to hiss (‘sss’)
but Harry Hatman (‘h’) hates noise so he hushes him
with a ‘sh’ sound.

Letterland is based on scientific research on reading and phonics instruction. The following excerpt provides the rationale for the programme:

The use of characters and actions to teach phonics is supported by scientific research. The Letterland system is also in line with research on memory and the way we learn. Each Letterland character has a personality and lives in a realistic environment filled with alliterative objects. By integrating phonics with life experience, they provide children with a systematic and motivating framework for learning all 44 sounds and their spellings and for developing full literacy.

Each week, a new concept is explored in a variety of ways. The children explore the concept by understanding why is it needed, (ie. a "magic e” is needed to change a short vowel sound into a long one) using letter cards to make the words. Verbal/physical cues are used such as finger-sounding (joining successive fingers to make each sound). Students pretend to be Letterlanders and work together to form the words in the unit. Games, colour-coding, writing activities and a host of other activities reinforce the concepts.

Each day, students cannot wait to "go to Letterland” and discover more! For more information, please contact me at the school or ask any K-2 student!  Visit the website at www.letterland.com.

Written by Roger King, our fine Letterland teacher in the grade 1 & 2 class.


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