We've put together a list of frequently-asked questions to help you make the best choices for your school or setting. If we can help further, please just ask!
A. Letterland is a uniquely language-rich synthetic phonics programme that meets all current recommendations for effective phonics teaching while also engaging children’s thinking skills and their imaginations.
A. Although Letterland focuses on phonics, we gradually phase in essential sight words in a separate downloadable resource which teachers can choose to introduce at their own pace.
A. Synthetic phonics is the method favoured by the UK Government and many educators internationally because it prioritises learning letter sounds and the skills of blending (synthesising) and segmenting those sounds to read and to spell words.
A. An analytic phonics approach puts learning whole word shapes first. Learning about letter sounds comes second, gradually introduced by an analysing process of studying the sounds within the initial whole word vocabulary.
A. Letterland is an established programme that has grown from small beginnings 40 years ago into a system that is popular world-wide today. In Letterland every phonic fact has a story behind it, so children use their intelligence rather than simply having to memorise phonic facts. They can speak the instruction language too, because it has a story logic.
A. The alliterative character names are a temporary bridging device, leading children to the letter sound by sensitising them to the alliteration in each descriptive character name (e.g. Annie Apple, a…, Clever Cat, c… and so on. This strategy enables children to learn the a-z shapes and sounds quickly and securely.
A. The traditional alphabet names can be introduced at any time, but a delay until letter sound knowledge has been mastered is strongly recommended. This avoids the typical confusions between letter sounds and letter names that can last a full year or more, delaying reading progress for many children.
A. As soon as they are confident in their letter sound knowledge. At that point they can start using the ay, bee, cee letter names without any danger of confusion between names and sounds. Often in the meantime they have picked up the names independently, but Letterland provides strategies for learning the alphabet names in case of need.
A. Letterland is a multi-sensory scheme that utilises all learning channels. The picture mnemonics have a high visual and auditory impact. They are designed with built-in ideational and interactive links between the Aa-Zz letter shapes, their regular sounds, and also their changes in sound. There are actions for every letter, art and craft activities, songs, poems, games, role-play and other multi-sensory activities to ensure successful learning for every child.
A. Letterland is based on Received English Pronunciation for children learning to speak, read and write the language clearly, whether English is their native or an additional language. However, the Living ABC software includes a variety of other accents.
A. Letterland covers all 44 sounds of the alphabet and all the major spelling patterns. It’s a highly visual scheme that offers clear guidance to teachers and easy-to-follow instructions in every publication. You can begin each lesson by reading the script in your story-telling voice, or retell the story content in your own words. The Early Years Handbook and primary Teacher’s Guide both provide you with plenty of follow-up activities and there are also discussion topics and activity sheets for you to photocopy and use. For those with computer facilities, the Living ABC and Living Code Cards software programs will strongly support your teaching.
ABC Book and
Early Years Handbook are both set out in alphabetical order, to be used as is, or in a flexible order of your own choosing.
The primary Teacher’s Guide (for ages 5+) begins with an 18 - 25 day Phonemic Awareness Fast Track programme in a-z order, followed immediately by word-building and early blending and segmenting skills in the following order: c, a, d, h, m, t, s, i. Once you have completed the Fast Track introduction you can continue to teach story explanations for each new sound while following another recommended curriculum order, if preferred.
A. Children love stories and Letterland capitalises on this by introducing the letter characters in magical story format. The phonic stories build on children’s understanding and experience of the world around them and quickly turn the characters into their friends. When the characters interact to make a new sound the children can follow a logic because there’s always a reason the change. For example, Clever Cat belongs to Harry Hat Man and each of them makes a special sound in words. But as soon as she finds herself next to him in a word, his hairy hat makes her nose tickle, so Clever Cat sneezes, and all you can hear is her ‘ch…’ sound.
A. Contact Lesley White by email: email@example.com or contact the trainer nearest you.
A. All phonic programmes aim to teach the same sounds for each letter, so the end result should be the same. Of course we’d prefer you to use the complete Letterland range but if this isn’t possible, our resources are flexible enough to fit with most other schemes. We particularly recommend the ABC Book and Living ABC software for younger learners and Beyond ABC Book and Living Code Cards software for those who’ve already mastered the a-z sounds and shapes.
A. Letterland is not a reading scheme. It is a system that provides children with the key to the alphabetic code. This code knowledge gives them a strong foundation to access any reading material at an appropriate level. It therefore integrates nicely with most well-structured reading schemes. In addition the new Vowel Readers provide a useful progression of decodable readers for learners aged 5 plus.
A. We publish a 20-lesson ELT starter course for teaching young English language learners. It’s suitable for children from age 4 up, and includes a Teacher’s Guide with an accompanying CD plus one Student Book and one Workbook per child. Used in parallel with classes being taught the main Letterland lessons, it can enable children starting with no English to get up to speed early on. Alternatively, the program can stand alone as a child-friendly introduction to the a-z letter sounds and for learning an early speaking vocabulary and for understanding teacher instructions in English. The standard Letterland range of books is also widely used and valued by teachers and parents with children whose first language is not English.
A. Letterland is popular with nursery and pre-school teachers because it’s a highly-visual scheme focusing on engaging characters and activities, all designed to stimulate thinking, speaking and listening activities essential in all under-5 settings. Most teachers begin with the ABC Book and the Early Years Handbook and its 200+ focused phonics activities for early years. Teachers find that children who start main school with a pre-school grounding in Letterland move into reading, writing and spelling with genuine confidence.
A. Yes. Letterland has a number of products that are eminently suitable for home schooling parents and their children. Our aim is to make our materials accessible to all and to include useful instructions for parents and carers. A new Letterland monthly magazine will be launched in September 2008 to add to the fun for 3 to 5 year olds.
© Letterland International, 2011. Registered in England no. 1540779. Registered office: 8/10 South Street, Epsom, Surrey, KT18 7PF. VAT Number 424813757.