753

Using Letter Tiles to Teach Reading and Spelling

Color-coded letter tiles are a fantastic way to help your child learn to read and spell! Whether you’re using the Letter Tiles app or the physical letter tiles, letter tiles enable your child to quickly and easily grasp new concepts.

Here’s a short video demonstrating how letter tiles can be used to teach reading and spelling. This particular lesson from All About Spelling teaches when to use K and when to use CK at the end of a word.

Do you see how easy that concept was for our student to understand? Letter tiles are awesome!

7 Benefits of Using Letter Tiles

Whether you use the Letter Tiles app or the physical letter tiles, the benefits to your child are the same.

  1. Letter tiles help you explain reading and spelling concepts very clearly.
    Concepts and ideas become something your child can see and manipulate.
  2. The different colors help students visualize the different roles that letters have.
    In the video above, for example, colored tiles helped Oliver distinguish between vowels and consonants.
  3. Your child can try out the rules and see how they work.
    With letter tiles, concepts are no longer abstract or difficult to understand.
  4. Letter tiles hold a child’s attention…
    …especially a child who has attention issues or auditory processing difficulties.
  5. Mistakes are no big deal.
    It’s much easier to exchange tiles than to erase and rewrite a word.
  6. Letter tiles make it easier to stay on task for longer periods of time…
    …especially for younger kids who are still developing fine motor skills and for whom writing is more tiresome.
  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. Instead, 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.

Color Coding Makes Learning Easier

Color coding makes it easy for students to see the role that each type of letter plays in a word. For example, consonants are blue, vowels are red, and phonograms representing the sound of /er/ (such as ER, IR, and UR) are purple. The chart below shows all our letter tile colors.

Letter Tiles App or Physical Tiles—Which Should I Choose?

You can’t go wrong with either the Letter Tiles app or the physical tiles. They are both great options! Here are some considerations to help you decide:

letter tiles app

With the Letter Tiles app:

  • It’s easy to capitalize words
  • You can hear the sounds of the phonograms as you teach
  • No more worries about lost letter tiles
  • Lessons are easy to teach “on the go”
  • Need to switch between students? No problem! Simply select your current lesson in All About Reading or All About Spelling and you’re ready to begin.

The Letter Tiles app has been our most requested product of all time, but the physical letter tiles have devoted fans as well.

physical tiles

With the physical letter tiles:

  • No tablet is required to complete the lessons
  • Larger tiles are easy to read
  • It’s easy to incorporate hands-on alphabetizing practice
  • Tricky word parts can be highlighted with markers
  • Timeless and traditional educational tool

As you’re deciding between the app and the physical tiles, consider which option would be the most engaging to your child. Which one would your child want to use? Some clues to consider: Does my child prefer colored pencils, or does she like computer games? Is my child used to learning from technology, or is he more comfortable with traditional methods of learning? Does she prefer to read paper books or eBooks?”

And be sure to consider your preferences as well. Do you like the larger format of the magnetic white board? Do you have a place to store the board, or are you attracted to the compact nature of the app?

The bottom line is that teaching and learning will be the same no matter which option you choose. What’s most important is that you have a way to teach the concepts and your child has an enjoyable way to practice and experiment. The physical letter tiles and the Letter Tiles app both provide interactive methods that make spelling and reading concepts more concrete for your child.

Additional Resources for the Letter Tiles App

Video of App Benefits
How to Use the App
The Letter Tiles app is intuitive and easy to use. Here are two videos to show you the basic and advanced features.

Basic Features:

Advanced Features:

Where to Get the Letter Tiles App
Follow these links to purchase the Letter Tile app:

Additional Resources If You Use Physical Letter Tiles

How to Set Up Your Letter Tiles
You can use your letter tiles on a table, but it is much easier to use a magnetic white board. You can get magnetic white boards at stores such as Walmart or Staples. Two feet by three feet is a good size because it will hold all the tiles while still allowing work space in the center of the board.

When you first set up your magnetic white board, you’ll only include the tiles that have already been introduced. You don’t want to clutter up your board with tiles that your student hasn’t learned yet. If you are just starting out in Level 1, then, your set-up will look like this:

By the time you get to the end of All About Reading or All About Spelling, your board will contain all the phonograms:

If You Ever Lose a Tile…
Here at All About Learning Press, we know that even in the most careful households, letter tiles sometimes disappear. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s Rachel with all the details!

How about you? Do you use physical letter tiles or our new letter tiles app? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!


Share This:

< Previous Post  Next Post >

Leave a Reply

Humera

says:

Great I love it!
For my kids reading long vowel sounds; ee -ea -ei is now clear. But when it is a time to write what is a rule which combination is coming?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Good question, Humera. However, there are 9 ways to spell the long E sound, but there are only a few rules or clues for when to use which way (the 9 ways are E, E-consonant-E, EE, EA, I, Y, EI, IE, and EY).

One clue is that the E-consonant-E spelling is rare. A few pretty common words use it (here, complete, Steve), but otherwise, it’s pretty rare.

Another is that the most common way to spell the long E sound at the end of a multiple-syllable word is Y. It’s not the only way, but it is much more common than other ways.

Another clue is for EI versus IE. “If the sound is E, it’s I before E except after C.” Note, this rule only applies to the long E sound (thus, the word “neighbor” and others are not exceptions because they do not have the long E sound). There are 10 common exceptions to this poem rule, and All About Spelling teaches them in two silly sentences. (The common exceptions are Keith, Sheila, seize, leisure, weird, sheik, neither, either, protein and caffeine.)

Otherwise, there are no rules or patterns for when to use which phonogram for spelling the long E sound.

Therefore, the best way to approach teaching how to spell the long E sound is a little bit at a time. Teach just one way and then give the student a lot of practice and time to work on that way before teaching the next way. All About Spelling does this. The first way to spell the long E sound is taught at the end of Level 1, and it isn’t until Level 5 that the ninth way is introduced, and the concept is reviewed in Level 6. Since the child has lots of practice with each way to spell the sound before learning the next one, confusion misspellings are greatly reduced.

I hope this helps some. It is a tricky issue for many students!

Marjorie Goertzen

says:

We always have the tiles before us on a metal board when we work at All about Spelling and All About Reading. Sometimes our grandson prefers to spell a list of words orally; but if he is stuck, putting the tiles together and being able to visualize the word helps trigger his memory and helps cement the spelling in his mind.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Yes, such a great point, Marjorie! The letter tiles are a great resource even when students don’t need to use them all the time.

Linda Halter

says:

I love using the actual tiles on my white board. The kids love to be part of moving the tiles and it really keeps their attention! I highly recommend buying a good white board with easel. We use it every single lesson!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thanks for the recommendation, Linda!

Shobana

says:

We started with All about Spelling level1 and its so helpful. I setup the tiles on the magnet drawing board which is very convenient for my kid.
We also use the app for phonograms.
I definitely recommend this program to all parents. Take out the guessing of words and reading with writing becomes easier and stress free.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for recommending the program to others, Shobana!

Kristin

says:

We love letter tiles at our house. They are super helpful for my dyslexic kiddo.

Christina

says:

The letter tiles and letter tiles app are quite helpful when teaching your student the sounds that each letter makes. Great foundation in teaching reading.

LaTisha Cash

says:

Love the letter tile App for sure. We was forever losing letter tiles. With the app the tiles for the lesson is easy to use.

Dam

says:

Physical Tiles are very useful to teach for my kids.

Karin

says:

We love using the physical tiles.

Kimica

says:

I am a new homeschooler and this program is just what I’m needing for my struggling speller. He can read very while but has issues when it comes to spelling words.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sounds like All About Spelling will help, Kimica! Let me know if you have questions about placement or anything else.

Heather

says:

Thanks for the info

Julie Price

says:

Our family has used the letter tiles since Kindergarten. My youngest just finished 8th. We utilize them to break down visually larger words when we need to. A fun activity we do to challenge my kids was to see who could spell the word the fastest with the letter tiles.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I love the idea of challenging your kids to fast spelling, Julie! Thanks for sharing it.

Marie

says:

I can’t wait to try this!

Lindsey A.

says:

We love the letter tiles app! I use it for both of my children for both the AAS and AAR programs. They want to do the lessons because they like to play on the iPad. Also, it allows us to take our lessons on the go without having a to worry about dealing with a bunch of little tile magnets!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

It’s great to hear that the Letter Tiles app is working so well for your family, Lindsey! Thank you.

Amanda

says:

I use the physical tiles as he likes to have something to touch. We are half way through level one and he still mixes up b and d. He knows the sounds that go with each but when reading he switches them about 75% of the time. Any suggestions?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Confusing b and d is fairly common, Amanda. In fact, we have a blog post on How to Solve Letter Reversals that focuses mostly on these two letters. The tips and ideas will help. Just be sure to focus on one letter at a time, spending a few days or a week working on the activities from the blog post for just one of the letters. If you work on both b and d in one day, it can make the confusion worse and not better.

Melanie

says:

We use the physical letter tiles right now. I am considering the app, but with younger siblings, any tablet time has to be carefully monitored, because they all want their turn, and we try to be pretty firm with how long each child gets to use it in the day. Also, I like the physically touching the tiles – I think it helps reinforce a little more than the screen.

Melanie

says:

We use the physical letter tiles right now. I am considering the app, but with younger siblings, any tablet time has to be carefully monitored, because they all want their turn, and we try to be pretty firm with how long each child gets to use it in the day.

Katharine Gindin

says:

That’s very kind!

Lynelle

says:

I’m a Special Education teacher for a virtual school. One of my 1st grade students used this program this year and was successfully removed from the RTI program because of her progress using AAR! Way to go!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Oh, that’s wonderful, Lynelle! It’s exciting to hear the progress your student made with All About Reading!

Stephen T

says:

This is such a great idea!

elizabeth

says:

my son LOVED using the physical letter tiles. They are a great manipulative that engages him in all aspects of sounding out words as well as spelling.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Love to hear that, Elizabeth!

Lauren

says:

I wonder if it would be possible to use this system for the kids own writing ?

Lauren

says:

This is an interesting idea I wonder if it can be used for a spelling lesson to correct his own writing

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lauren,
I’m sorry, no. The app does not correct spelling. we won’t have auto-correct for spelling errors. An important part of this method for learning spelling is the individualized feedback from a parent or teacher regarding mistakes.

Rebecca

says:

Awesome!

Amy

says:

This is new information for me.. the pandemic situation has forced me to look for other options to teach my kids. This is sure useful. Thank you

Amanda Dye

says:

We love the letter tile app!! It is set up perfectly and I love that it has the letter pronunciation for each letter too. Worth every penny and more!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Amanda! It’s great to hear the Letter Tile app is working out so well for you.

Brandy

says:

my kids are advancing so much more then expected!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Great to hear, Brandy! Keep up the excellent work!

Sarah

says:

We enjoy using the tiles to learn!

Julie Straus

says:

My son loves the hands-on aspect of the letter tiles on the chalkboard. They help him practice dividing words into syllables.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Great point, Julie! The physical act of dividing the syllables with the tiles is very helpful for many students.

Amy Dunn

says:

My daughter loves using her letter tiles to build words and decode them. Excellent curriculum to teach reading.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Amy.