My first day of prac I was blown away how much my mentor was obsessed with the phonics program Letterland. I have to admit it was a little daunting, as I had no idea what she was talking about as I had never seen nor heard of Letterland, or their characters.
Here is a quick little overview of Letterland
Letterland is a systematic and explicit phonic literacy resource phonics program which teaches letter sounds (rather than the names of the letters) and slowly builds up to blending and spelling. The letters in it are assigned characters in a fictional land called “Letterland”. Each character then makes a sound which is also the starting sound of their names. For e.g. Golden Girl goes “guh guh guh” (the children are taught the hard sound first). While a lot of other phonics programs teach this, Letterland follows this through to digraphs. For e.g. “Sh” makes the sound “Shhhhh” because Sammy Snake’s (letter S) hissing sounds gave Harry Hat man a headache. So Harry Hat man turned around and puts a finger to his lips and says “shhhh”. It provides friendly letter characters provide strong visual memory cues so children learn and retain phoneme/grapheme correspondences quickly
I know it might sound like I am speaking another language but from observing my mentor for the past two weeks, reading up on her Letterland books and even having a go at teaching it myself, I can see how beneficial the program is in assisting children to read, write and spell. And the kids absolutely love it!