What is Letterland?
Letterland is a phonics based scheme for learning to read. This means it is based on the actual sounds that letters make in words. For example, instead of explaining that C is the letter cee, you tell your child that Clever Cat makes her special whispered ‘c…’ sound in words like cat, cup and cake…
Letterland makes learning letter sounds fun! In Letterland, letters have good reasons for behaving the way they do. And children love knowing why. It is much more fun to learn that Harry Hat Man whispers ‘hhh’ in words because he hates noise, than to remember than ‘aitch’ makes the sound ‘hhh’… .
To learn to read and write, your child will need to know the sounds that letters represent in words. But traditional letter names like ‘aee, bee, cee’ don’t help because many of them begin with another letter’s sound (e.g. eff, aitch, em, are, you). By contrast, each Letterlander’s name always begins with its letter’s usual sound. So it’s brilliantly simple:
START to say the Letterlander character’s name, but STOP after the first sound!
That way, the right sound will immediately be on your child’s lips! You can also listen to the correct sounds on the Letterland Alphabet Songs CD. Letterland also makes it easy to explain why two letters sometimes come together to make another sound. For example, in Letterland sh makes the sound “shhhh” because Harry Hat Man is telling Sammy Snake to hush.
How does it work?
Letterland works by capturing children’s interest and attention. Children relate to characters like Bouncy Ben, Harry Hat Man, Sammy Snake and Talking Tess as friends. So learning about them feels like play. Yet they are laying solid foundations for successful reading. Why? Because all the information that your child needs is embedded in the Letterland characters.
The Letterlanders will also help your child with writing. Simple verses, set to music in the Letterland Handwriting Songs Cassette or CD, explain how to form each letter correctly.
Draw Dippy Duck’s back.
Go round her tum.
Go up to her head
And down you come.
The Letterlanders include clever clues to help prevent your child from mixing up letters that look alike. Letterland even explains why capital and lower-case letters have different shapes.
When can children start learning to read?
There is no rule, since all children are different. Children can enjoy books almost from birth. By the age of two or three, they may well start to be interested in letter shapes. The main thing is to let it happen naturally and to go at the pace that is right for your child. Because Letterland characters are so child-friendly, even very young children can enjoy them.
Reference: EdSource 2015 http://www.letterland.com.au/page/parents
Letterland at Tintern Grammar
The Tintern Grammar Letterland program also incorporates a range of experiences and activities for developing phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness refers to children’s ability to hear and manipulate sounds. Common experiences and activities include:
Counting syllables in words- using whole body movements such as patting hands down the body for each syllable
- Hearing and identifying rhyme- through oral rhyme games such as “tap your head and point to something red”
- Alliteration- i.e. happy Helen, able Amy
- Segmenting- breaking words into sounds using visual cues such as counters
- Blending- our puppet friend Ally Alligator only talks in sounds and children need to blend the sounds to work out what she is saying
Should you have any questions regarding the Letterland program, or are unsure of what you can do at home to support this learning development, please do not hesitate to speak with your child’s teacher.
by Helen Kirkland
ELC and Girls’ Junior School Learning Enhancement Coordinator