Sunday, August 4, 2013


I had been asked if I blogged about Letterland yet.  So I thought, "self, that's a good idea right there".  Our school district picked up Letterland last school year and it started with Kindergarten.  Then, this year, it trickled up to first graders.

Letterland is a program to teach early reading skills, spelling, and phonics.  It also has a handwriting component which I LOVE but more about that in a minute!  Our school needed a handwriting program in the worst way.  I noticed how well it worked after my son had went through Kinder.  He was able to decode and blend sounds like nobodies business. His handwriting however, is like my husbands, so I am guessing the handwriting program part of it worked as well as it could have for him.

Letterland is actually a British program and most of the songs that go with it, have the accent of British people.  It's quite amusing.  I can sing like Super Nanny now.

This is my first year doing it with Kindergarten and the kids love it.  Each day, for the first eighteen days, we introduce two Letterlanders a day.  This is called "fast track".  It's a quick way to introduce the characters, their letter sound, and their letter name.  In Letterland, they all have a character, such as Annie Apple, but in real life, you just see their black and white, plain letter.  The kiddos really look forward to who we will meet and hear their stories.  Each Letterlander has a story, action, and song to go with him or her.

One of the negatives is that there is lots of assessing.  In Kindergarten, how can you assess, individually, every five days?!  That has been a challenge.  I just see what's right for my class and keep plugging along.

After the fast tracking, we go back and spend more time on each letter.  We practice the letter, it's sound, and letter formation.  The only thing I do not care for is the order it teaches the letters.  I may need to study up on it some more but I used to teach handwriting and letters by the form of their letter.  So I did c, o, a, e first because they all have the same round shape.  I know there are others but you get my point.

I have always been a stickler about handwriting and the way I taught in in Kinder a long time ago.  This part is tough for me but I am going along with the program and maybe next year I can make some of my own tweaks to it.

One more downside is the materials that this program has.  There are so many materials but our ditrcits only purchased the bare minimum.  When I am looking through the teacher manual, I see activities, etc, but realize that I cannot do them because I do not have some of the stuff.  That is where I need to make changes as I see fit and add other things.  They ask we use this program with "fidelity" and use ONLY Letterland characters when decorating our classroom and use their ABC line.  But if we do not have all of the materials, that is kind of hard to do.  So I use what I want!

All in all, it's not a bad program but it takes up a lot of time for each lesson.  I use the Daily 5 Literacy format and I am trying to get my lessons to fit into Daily 5 Focus Lessons.  I'll let you all know how that goes once we are up and running with D5.

No comments:

Post a Comment