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RWI and Letterland: An In-Depth Comparative Guide for Parents

Updated: Jun 30, 2023


Welcome to Babington Education, one of the leading English language learning centers in Hong Kong, specializing in children aged 3-12 years old. As parents, we understand the significance of a strong foundation in phonics for our children's language development. In this blog post, we will explore the difference between RWI (Read Write Inc.) and Letterland phonics programs that are popular here in Hong Kong.

Understanding RWI (Read Write Inc.)

RWI (Read Write Inc.) is a highly regarded phonics program developed by Ruth Miskin. It is widely used in schools and educational settings around the world. RWI focuses on the systematic teaching of phonics, aiming to equip children with the skills needed for fluent reading and accurate spelling.

Babington’s unique RWI (Read Write Inc.) programme is a comprehensive and highly effective phonics programme that focuses on the systematic teaching of letter sounds and blending skills. RWI follows a structured approach to phonics instruction. It introduces children to letter sounds (phonemes) and teaches them how to blend those sounds together to read words. The program emphasizes the teaching of "speed sounds," which are the individual sounds that letters or groups of letters represent. By mastering speed sounds, children can decode words accurately and develop reading fluency.

At Babington Education, we have witnessed countless success stories of children who have thrived through RWI. Babington Education uses a blend of self-published and Ruth Miskin's official RWI materials published by Oxford University Press. The program utilizes engaging techniques and resources, such as phonics cards, interactive activities, and decodable books, to make learning phonics enjoyable and interactive for children. RWI's multi-sensory approach allows children to develop their reading and writing skills simultaneously, fostering a strong phonics foundation.

Exploring Letterland

Letterland is a phonics program that utilizes characters, called pictograms, to engage children in learning how to read, write, and spell in English. These characters have their own stories, actions, and songs associated with them. The characters and their corresponding sounds play a crucial role in teaching children the phonetic connections between letters and sounds in words. This approach aims to make phonics learning interactive, memorable, and enjoyable for young children.

Through the captivating stories and characters, Letterland fosters a love for language and literacy. It aims to develop children's reading, writing, and spelling skills by teaching them the essential letter sounds, phonics rules, and blending techniques. By integrating playfulness and creativity, Letterland seeks to motivate children to explore and experiment with language.

Letterland provides a range of resources, including storybooks, activity books, songs, posters, and interactive online materials. These resources support both educators and parents in implementing the program's methodologies and activities effectively. They offer opportunities for guided learning and independent practice, making it easier to reinforce phonics concepts at home or in the classroom.

RWI vs. Letterland

Now, let's delve into a comparative analysis of RWI and Letterland to help you make an informed decision. Both phonics programs have their own strengths and distinctive features.

Approach and Methodology:

  • RWI: RWI follows a systematic and structured approach to phonics instruction. It emphasizes teaching letter sounds (phonemes) and blending them together to read words. RWI focuses on speed sounds, word blending, and word building, providing a comprehensive foundation for reading and writing skills.

  • Letterland: Letterland takes an imaginative and creative approach to phonics. It utilizes characters (pictograms) that represent each letter, incorporating stories, actions, and songs to engage children in learning letter sounds and phonetic patterns. Letterland aims to make phonics enjoyable and memorable through multi-sensory techniques.

Teaching Resources:

  • RWI: RWI provides a range of resources, including phonics cards, sound sheets, decodable books, and online interactive activities. These resources support both educators and children in developing phonics skills and progressing through the program.

  • Letterland: Letterland offers various resources, such as storybooks, activity books, songs, and posters. These resources feature the Letterland characters and their stories, enabling children to interact with the program through reading, writing, and hands-on activities.

Learning Progression:

  • RWI: RWI has a clear progression of learning, introducing sounds and blending skills in a systematic order. The program builds upon previous knowledge, gradually increasing complexity to ensure a comprehensive understanding of phonics.

  • Letterland: Letterland also follows a progression, introducing characters and their corresponding sounds gradually. The program incorporates repetition and reinforcement to reinforce letter recognition, phonics rules, and spelling patterns.

Emphasis on Specific Skills:

  • RWI: RWI places particular emphasis on speed sounds, word blending, and developing fluency in reading and spelling. It aims to equip children with the skills needed for accurate decoding and encoding of words.

  • Letterland: Letterland emphasizes letter recognition, phonics associations, and storytelling. It focuses on engaging children's imagination and creative thinking while teaching letter sounds and phonetic patterns.

Choosing the Right Program for Your Child

Choosing the right phonics programme is essential for your child's language development. When deciding between RWI and Letterland, consider your child's learning style, interests, and individual needs. Some children may thrive in a more structured and systematic approach, while others may benefit from the imaginative and creative aspects of Letterland. Observing your child's preferences and progress can provide valuable insights.

At Babington Education, our dedicated team of educators is committed to providing high-quality English language learning experiences for children in Hong Kong. We believe in equipping children with the necessary skills and tools to succeed in their academic and personal lives. Join us in this exciting journey of empowering your child with the English language proficiency they need to thrive.

We invite you to book a free trial class at one of our learning centres to see the programmes in action and experience the benefits for your child.

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About the author

Hi there, my name is Clifford and I am the founder and CEO of Babington...

I apologize if you are reading this article in Chinese, as I used auto-translate to translate it from English! Unfortunately, I can't read or write Chinese despite being in Hong Kong since 2009. I am very much a family man and spend most of my time with my wife, our toddler and our ginormous labrador called Archie! I am originally from the UK and am passionate about education and children. I have a master's degree in education and am, unfortunately, I am a doctorate in education dropout. I hope to one day resume my doctorate!

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