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Spelling Tips and Tricks: Using Letter Tiles

Spelling Tips and Tricks: Using Letter Tiles - All About Spelling

In All About Spelling, color-coded letter tiles are used to demonstrate new concepts and to practice spelling new words.

Letter tiles are small magnetic tiles that provide a visual and kinesthetic way for children to practice spelling concepts.

Have you ever used letter tiles?

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of teaching spelling concepts with letter tiles. That’s because letter tiles make it easier for kids to learn to spell.

Here’s why letter tiles make spelling easy:

Letter Tiles 1

Letter tiles help you explain spelling concepts very clearly.

  • These concrete examples “stick” with the student. This is a HUGE benefit.
  • Your child can actually “see” the abstract concepts.
  • The different colors help the student visualize the different roles that letters have. For example, students learn that each syllable has a vowel, a concept they can easily internalize with the red vowel tiles.
Letter Tiles 2

They hold your child’s attention.

  • Since letter tiles give students a concrete place to focus, they hold a child’s attention better and make it less likely that his mind will wander.
  • Letter tiles also make a lasting impression. When students practice with letter tiles, the lessons learned are easier for them to recall later.
All About Spelling Tips & Tricks - Using Letter Tiles
Letter Tiles 3

Mistakes are no big deal.

  • Many students have had their share of failures with other spelling programs and are hesitant to make more mistakes. Using letter tiles allows them to quickly try out a word several ways to see what works rather than commit a wrong word to paper.
  • It’s much easier to exchange tiles than to erase and rewrite a word.
Letter Tiles 4

Letter tiles are easier for young kids.

  • For younger students who are still developing fine motor skills and for whom writing is more tiresome, the tiles make it easier to stay on task for longer periods of time.
Letter Tiles 5

You can squeeze in more spelling practice.

  • Your child gets more spelling practice in each lesson because he first spells the words with the tiles and then spells them with paper and pencil.
All About Spelling Tips & Tricks - Using Letter Tiles
Letter Tiles 6

Concepts and ideas become something your child can see and manipulate.

  • Children can have a hard time understanding abstract ideas and concepts. But if you can demonstrate a concept in a visual way, it makes much more sense.
  • “Building” words with letter tiles is a more concrete exercise than building them with sounds.
Letter Tiles 7

Letter tiles lay the groundwork for the accomplishment of bigger goals.

  • Letter tiles don’t take the place of spelling words with paper and pencil; rather, they act as a fantastic learning tool that will enable your student to learn to spell more quickly and accurately, helping him get to the real goal: writing.

So, is it time for spelling? Don’t forget the letter tiles!

Free Spelling Rules Posters

Photo credits: Michelle at Delightful Learning

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Leave a Comment

Rosie

says:

Thanks for the info

Kelly M

says:

Thank you for the free downloads! Your spelling curriculum is on my wishlist for next year. I am learning a lot from your blog posts.

Miranda

says:

I like the idea of the easy to use magnetic letter tiles! Also, thanks for the free Spelling Rules posters!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Miranda,
You are welcome!

Joni Jones

says:

My Kindergarten boy is captivated by the letter tiles. As an active boy, the kinesthetic connection is improving his reading by leaps and bounds!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

I’m happy to hear that your son likes using the letter tiles, Joni. Thanks for your kind words!

Kellie Duggin

says:

My 3rd grader loves using the letter tiles! We used them in 2nd grade too. Can’t wait for my daughter to start using them!

Stephanie H.

says:

So thankful for AAS!

Jennifer C

says:

I think the tiles have helped my little one retain the information. : )

Erin

says:

I love using the letter tiles. It makes building words so easy!

Nikki Jackson

says:

I love the letter tiles! My son is very visual and this helps him to see the spelling rather than just discussing it. My daughter also loves to “teach” her stuffed animals using the tiles.

Christina Chisholm

says:

I love the letters tiles! And so do my kids!

Michele Flowers

says:

This is very helpful! Thanks!

Sonja

says:

My twins love letter tiles!!!

Erica

says:

This is something I am going to try to implement. What I like is the ability for the child to have less stress with mistakes because they can trade tiles easily. Thank you for sharing this post!

Gretchen

says:

We just started All About Reading Level 1 this year. This Spelling program looks like it is going to be great for my hands on daughter!

Lisa Glendinning

says:

My daughter is a hands on learner and having a program with letter tiles would be so helpful to her! This program looks great, I would love to own one!

Kristen

says:

I use this program and AAR with both my kids. My daughter, who is a hesitant reader, asked if we could use the letter tiles because she LOVES them. Both kids also love organizing them and looking at tiles we haven’t learned yet.

Robina

says:

I haven’t used AAS spelling yet. But I think my girls would love it.

Cassy Brackett

says:

Wow, these are a great tool to teach spelling and reading…and FUN!

Shelley

says:

I haven’t used AAS before, but really feel my kids would be drawn to the letter tiles. I have visual and kinesthetic learners and we love more hands on approach and would keep phonics and spelling from being boring.

Tamara Gordon

says:

The use of color-coded letter tiles really appeals to my visual and kinesthetic learners! I also love how this program combines a review of phonics and spelling into one program. Phonics used to be a drudgery for us, but we’re all much happier with “All About Spelling.” Thanks for the great product.

Sarah

says:

I just started AAS with my 3rd grader. Before using this program, I felt that we just pushed to memorize the words with no true lessons being learned. Now we are understanding why words are spelled a certain way. She loves the tiles. They are much for fun than the typical spelling contract tasks, it is almost like a game. She is doing great on her advancement through the steps and enjoying it too!

Sarah

says:

I just started AAS with my 3rd grader. Before using this program I felt that we just pushed to memorize the words with no true lessons being learned. Now we are understanding why words are spelled a certain way. She loves the tiles. They are much for fun than the typical spelling contract tasks, it is almost like a game. She is doing great on her advancement through the steps and enjoying it too!

Jacqueline scifres

says:

I love the letter tiles. I believe it makes the learning process easier and lots more fun for kid and mom!

Eileen

says:

I have now used AAS and the tiles for 4 kids. We are in Level 4,3,2 and 1. I get a break and then kid number 5 will start in 2 years, but it has been incredible for my children. We love the tiles and the visual and tactile combination really helps (my boys especially) retain the information! Thank you for this program!!!

Julie K.

says:

The letter tiles were great for my son! I like using them for spelling practice instead of only pencil and paper.

Christina

says:

We love using the letter tiles in spelling – they are great for practicing alphabetical order, easy to move around if a mistake is made (no hunting for that ever elusive eraser!) and I love that they have a permanent home on our magnetic wipe board. We have many levels of AAR and AAS and thus a handful of replacement letter tiles – we’ve changed one “n” to “ñ”, and “l” to “ll”, and added a few accent marks to half tiles. We now use our AAS board for reading/spelling Spanish. It’s perfect!

Amancia

says:

I honestly often use a whiteboard that she or I write in. But she wants to use tiles now and this post has got me ready to do it!

R

says:

My struggling writer is able to focus on his spelling when using the tiles.

rebecca f

says:

my kids love using the letter tiles!!

Tracie W

says:

My daughter loves this method. She is the sort that gets bent out of shape about making a mistake on her paper, and insists on erasing am every small incorrect mark. A practice run with the letters tiles seems to take the stress off when it is time to write on paper.

Hannah Wetzel

says:

Ah! Now it makes sense! You know, I was actually wondering over the purpose of the tiles. I’m starting All About Spelling with my oldest in January so this clears up some of my concerns.

steph j

says:

Love using the tiles for spelling. Helps them to see them and touch them.

Melissa

says:

really enjoy using the tiles with my children and it makes practice fun. i am always looking for more ways to use them as the color coding REALLY does help them SEE the word after they have built it!

Connie May

says:

Love this idea, this will definitely help my son. Thank you.

Amber

says:

I’ve never used All About Spelling, but I really like this idea of using letter tiles. I have a visual learner, and this might be a big help to him when he gets into spelling (still in K4). I am definitely interested in looking into this further.

Aimee

says:

My 10-year old son loves using the tiles for spelling. He loves moving them around, and I think the visual color aspect is helping him see the difference between vowels and consonants. It is easy to make sure you have one vowel in each syllable when the vowels are a different color than the consonants.

Anne S.

says:

Love the letter tiles idea. I have been trying to figure out how to do this with magnetic letters and it’s just not working. Thanks for the tip!

Diana N

says:

I’ve backed off using the tiles. These are some very good reasons to break them out again. Thanks for the reminder!

Brooke M

says:

We just recently received AAS level one, we are excited to use it!

My kids adore letter tiles, and they really work well for my dyslexic son!

Kimberly

says:

I should have been using letter tiles all along with my “must-move” child! Why did I not think of it before – it’s so helpful to have something to physically move around!!!

Susan D

says:

The letter tiles make it easier for my children to stay focused for longer periods of time and make the lessons more fun. So grateful for this curriculum!

Kala

says:

The letter tiles has helped my hands on daughter so much!

So many great tips & tricks in this post. I love that the letter tiles allow the kids to be hands-on. We look forward to using AAS when the time comes!

AMY WARREN

says:

I used this method with my struggling speller several years ago, now he is a great A speller at 14

Amanda B

says:

The letter tiles are great!! My kids love to practice spelling words…which is great because they don’t realize that they’re actually learning and not just having fun/1 =)

Sheryl

says:

Using letter tiles has helped my daughter see how words are put together for spelling. . She is able to see the rules put into practice and catch any mistakes easily.

Angela S.

says:

These letter tiles have been key to my son’s letter reversals, as well as giving him a break from the task of physical writing.

Linda Waldman

says:

I love this. I found out that my son didn’t really know all of his vowel sounds when we started using this program and can see why spelling was a challenge for him. We’re still on level one, but moving through it, I an see how much it helps.Using the letter tiles for writing will be a great help since he hates writing.

Jen

says:

We like the letter tiles and I agree, they are great for tactile learners. My daughter loves to spell words using them and it makes the lessons fun.

Anita

says:

I like using letter tiles! They are really helpful for the tactile learners.

Natasha Puryear

says:

We love the letter tiles….just wish my youngest would leave them alone so we quit losing them lol

Teena

says:

I love the letter tiles. It has helped my daughter so much! It makes learning fun for her too.

Kristen

says:

My daughter and I have found the spelling tiles help her SO much. I am so happy with this program.

penny

says:

I love love love the spelling tiles, and the kids love them too!

Angela

says:

The letter tiles are great! It’s so helpful when the kids spell a word to see right away that they left our a vowel, or that a word has a suffix, or is a vowel team, etc. My 8 year old daughter has even corrected me by replacing the two phonograms I used with the correct vowel or consonant team!

Sela Y.

says:

I’m just starting AAS 1 with my second child. My first one is a natural speller and hasn’t needed the tiles as much, but this second child of mine…he does so much better with the tiles than without because they are tactile and they do indeed keep his attention longer. So glad we’ve found AALP, thanks!!

Michaela Cooper

says:

I’m a newly graduated speech pathologist & using tiles sounds like a great idea. It could particularly help my clients that have handwriting difficulties. I think the colour coding aspect is particularly important as I have a significant number of clients even in the upper primary grades who do not have a clear understanding of vowels versus consonants.

Tracy

says:

My children spot their errors very quickly with the tiles. They don’t seem to get as frustrated as they did when working with pencil & paper alone. My son has derived great benefit from AAS – those developing fine motor skills won’t let him work with pencil for very long before his hands are tired and work gets sloppy…. but he can slide those tiles around for a long time! We have them on a large whiteboard, and we combine tile work with writing the words in dry erase marker. Somehow that’s WAY more fun than a pencil! Thanks for AAS Marie, it has made a world of difference for us!

Maxine N

says:

I love how the letter tiles encourage my reluctant writers to still learn spelling. They enjoy it! I didn’t know how useful they were with understanding and development though. That’s great!

Letter tiles have really helped me see my daughter’s problem in spelling as it happens, rather than later on when I’m looking at her work.

What a good reminder! We have some letter tiles, and I think my 4 year old might be ready to start working on some letter names. If nothing else, I can work on her spelling her name.

jenna sybert

says:

I would love to try AAS, Currently we are doing AAR, but looking forward to adding this component!

Sephra

says:

My son loves AAS! He actually begs me to do the lessons. Great program!

Karesa

says:

I haven’t used these specific tiles but have used the concept of these spelling rules before when tutoring dyslexic children. These rules worked wonders. Even my five year old can understand most of them. I love the Orton-Gillingham methods.

Julie Larsen

says:

Looks like fun– ;)

Danielle

says:

I’ve always wondered why spelling tiles seemed so much easier for my child.

Question: My daughter has gotten into the groove of the lessons and wants to skip doing the letter tile part, she isn’t making any mistakes (we are about two thirds done with level one), should I let her or is it worth the battle to get her to use the tiles?

Merry

says:

Hi Danielle,

What you can do is use them just for the demonstrations, and then let her decide if she’d like to practice with the tiles first or just go to writing them.

If you start to see mistakes, you can always have her do more practice with the tiles.

Karina

says:

Hi Marie,
Letter tiles – what a brilliant idea! I’ve been using all kinds of other items and this seems so much easier. At least my kids are getting several tactile methods of learning letters. Thank you for sharing.

Sincerely,

Karina

Shevon

says:

The use of letter tiles is a great way to give your child the opportunity to manipulate words and play with spelling patterns.

Elaine

says:

We’re excited to get our letter tiles; I think they will help my kids tremendously!!!

Ashley Barrett

says:

We love our letter tiles. We also took it a step further and got reading rods which use the red and blue as well. They have been fun to mix things up and to make the tiles more portable by just taking our bucket with us and building. Our letter tiles live on our whiteboard :)

Lisa

says:

Can’t wait to try this with my daughter!

April

says:

We have been using AAS for several years. The tiles may it more visual for my daughter. It is better for her than just reading, memorizing, and writing on paper. Thank you for this program.

Sarah Marie

says:

Thank you for these great ideas!

Valerie

says:

We used to use the magnetic letters on the refrigerator. Now that we have been using the letter tiles as directed in level one on our magnetic board, our son has really responded to improved spelling in a concrete way. I really appreciate that the lessons are well written and easy to follow. Our son is continually improving with each lesson. When he gets stuck, I just go back to those tiles and it works!

Taneil

says:

My boys like the tiles and compete with each other to see who can alphabetize them the fastest.

Kerri

says:

We have loved the letter tiles in aar1! Excited to see how they work in aas for us!

Aila hoori

says:

Letter tiles were great with all about reading now we are going to start level of all about reading.. I’m sure they help a lot with spelling too.

Katie

says:

I think this would be great for my kids

Virginia

says:

We use cookie “letter tiles” from the dollar store with our 5 y/o. Would love to have an official set!:)

Rebecca

says:

I have been so thankful to use this program (and AAR) for my sweet daughter who has phonemic awareness deficit. It has opened up the world of reading in ways I doubted would ever happen.

Sarah

says:

My kids and I LOVE AAS! Thank you!

amy

says:

My son HATES to erase letters when he’s made a mistake. You are right though, if he makes a mistake using the tiles, he doesn’t think it’s a big deal!

Heather S

says:

My kids enjoy practicing with the letter tiles, but their favorite part is making silly words. They always spend far more time playing than it actually takes them to spell the words I ask. Little do they know I think it’s great to practice all those other words, too. :)

Ashley

says:

My son loves letter tiles!

Christelle

says:

Great idea! I look forward to trying this with my son.

Erica Stokes

says:

We love to make letters with Scrabble tiles and fridge magnets. Using tiles (manipulatives) really helps make spelling stick!

Jenny K.

says:

The letter tiles are a great help for my 2 girls. Both of my children are visual learners. Being able to see the letters in front of them rather than visualize them while staring at a piece of paper has made a huge difference. I wish I had been taught how to spell like this!

Kendra

says:

My son is a visual learner and loves using the tiles to make words and go over phonic sounds.

Helen

says:

Our son really loves using the letter titles. It helps to cement the words!

Kelly

says:

My kids love using the tiles.

Jennifer C

says:

Love this for my hands-on learner!

Teresa

says:

Thank you for your suggestions. They have been invaluable!

Maria

says:

My daughter doesn’t work well with the tiles and prefers pencil and paper but I still break them out every time we have a letter team to show her how they work together.

Merry

says:

Maria, that’s a good approach. Some kids are ready to move beyond the tiles sooner than others. Using them for demonstrations of new concepts can still help them get that visual of seeing the letters as one phonogram, and writing is a kinesthetic activity as well.

Maryna

says:

Love these, I have made some letter tiles some time back for our Afrikaans friends in South Africa, there are not as pretty as yours, but parents find them very helpful for their kids.

Anneri

says:

I tried to teach my daughter some spelling rules like c says /s/ before e,i and y rule, but she just could not remember it. We have started using AAS level 1 and I was amazed when she immediately understood (and remembered) that rule after i use the letter tiles to demonstrate it. Same with the floss rule. Now we are ready for level 2!

Mary

says:

I am looking forward to using the magnetic letter tiles with my son. I think seeing and touching the letters will really help him.

Michelle

says:

We are loving the program so far. The letters tiles have been very helpful!!

Erin R

says:

Letter tiles would definitely be beneficial for my son. He has some fine motor issues, so having to write out spelling words would be frustrating for him. These tiles are great!

Lydia R.

says:

Every so often I would jumble up the a-z tiles and have my son rearrange it to let him practice alphabetical order. Now, he’s on level 2, and I don’t have to remind him to rearrange the tiles after spelling out words!

Tiles helped him with the floss rule. For the most part though, he prefers writing instead of manipulating the tiles.

Amy

says:

I can’t say enough about what AAS has meant to our family! We stared Kindergarten going the Sonlight multi-subject package route and by 1st grade, we began discovering that we needed something “outside the box” but we weren’t really sure what we needed. We kept coming back to AAS and decided to try it this summer and are about done with Level 1. AAS really pointed out areas where my child was struggling and revealed some underlying reading issues and dyslexia. The tiles have been such a great addition because it gives my busy son something to physically put together. As he “builds” a word with tiles, he is building the word in his mind which creates this mental picture that he rarely forgets. The constant team tiles have really helped him put sounds together and to visualize a word before writing it. There have been lessons where, because of time, we skipped the tiles and just went straight to paper and those are the very concepts my son is still struggling with because we didn’t take the time to thoroughly learn the concepts when they were first introduced. We are having to back track because of that (lesson learned!!). Because of the success we’ve seen w/AAS and how it’s carrying over to reading as well as working with a tutor and seeing how her methods line up with the format of AAR, we are looking to switch over to AAR within the next month as well! While I wish we had started out with AAL in the beginning, we learned some valuable, life-changing lessons about homeschooling and letting go of the standard educational and age expectations as well as letting go of what’s not working despite the money invested in it for the benefit of our child and his education and future…lessons we wouldn’t have learned otherwise.

Brandy L.

says:

We love AALP products and own every single spelling and reading product and recommend them whole heartedly to everyone. We’ve had great success with both programs and it’s the some of the only curriculum I don’t want to part with once we are done with it. With that said, all three of my very different children LOATHE the tiles and no one was more surprised than me. After a few years of having them up on the board to use, I finally took them down at the beginning of this year because they just didn’t see any action. Even my young boys who do not enjoy the physical act of writing one iota, still prefer writing over using the tiles. For some reason, the tiles frustrate my kids. They all say they can just write the words much faster. For a few weeks I did color code the dry erase markers we used to write the words to match the letter tiles because I could see the benefit, but even that annoyed them. I think they also didn’t like how easily the tiles fell off the board. Turns out my kids just didn’t need to use them to be successful. They are all wonderful spellers and readers.

My daughter also loves using the tiles instead of having to write out the words when she is first learning. It makes it a lot easier for her to make a mistake. I also found that she is more tactile and uses the tiles to her benefit to remember something. For example, trying to remember that f, l and s are doubled at the end of a one syllable word with a short vowel….she started pointing to the tiles and now she has no problem remembering which letters usually double. Could not be happier. Thank you!!!

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