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Curriculum > Early Literacy > Letter Links

Letter Links

Brennen's letter link consists of his name plus a picture of a brontosaurus.

Letter links is a literacy learning tool that uses children's natural interest in their own names to build their understanding of the connections between sounds and letters.

What Is a Letter Link?

A child's letter link consists of two elements: the child's printed name plus a picture for a word that starts with the same letter and sound. For example, Brennen's letter link consists of his name plus a picture of a brontosaurus, and Maya's (below) includes her name plus a picture of a mitten.

Letter links can be used by children and teachers in many ways: to label children’s artwork and belongings in the classroom; to identify children in classroom signs, lists, and messages; and to create fun and engaging classroom literacy activities.

Using this sign-in sheet, created with Letter Links Online, children write their names next to their letter-linked picture each day when they arrive.

To the right is a sign-in sheet for Katie's preschool classroom, also created with Letter Links Online. Each day, Katie prints out a new sign-in sheet, and children use it to "write" their names — in scribbles, invented spelling, or conventional spelling — as they arrive.

The letter links name-learning system enables you to introduce your students to letter names and sounds. As children use letter links to identify themselves and their classmates, they begin to develop an understanding of the alphabetic principle — the concept that alphabet letters and the sounds of speech are connected. Children also build phonological awareness — the ability to attend to the sounds of language as distinct from its meaning.

HighScope has several products that will help you understand how letter links can be used to build early literacy skills and will enable you to create letter links for the children in your preschool or kindergarten classroom. These include Letter Links — Alphabet Learning With Children’s Names, by Dr. Andrea DeBruin-Parecki and Mary Hohmann, and the Spanish version, Enlaces de letras — Aprendizaje del alfabeto con los nombres de los niños, as well as the Letter Links Online program already mentioned.

Maya's letter link is shown on a page of small (4" x 1¼") labels created with HighScope's Letter Links Online program.

Note that Letter Links Online is the only HighScope product that provides images for both English and Spanish words, so teachers with Spanish-speaking children in their classrooms have a wider range of choices. For example, if Paco is an English language learner who speaks Spanish at home, the teacher might choose a letter-linked picture for a Spanish word such as perro (dog) or pez (fish).

Visit the Letter Links Online site (please note: some pages are password protected).


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