Letterland is a synthetic phonics approach used for teaching reading, writing and spelling to children aged from 3 to 8 years. Children are taught shapes and sounds of letters by assigning them imaginary names and shapes and presenting them as living in the fictional land of Letterland. Letterland characters transform plain black letter shapes into pictogram characters. By translating the full range of dry phonic facts into engaging stories, children are motivated to listen, to think and to learn. These stories explain letter shapes and sounds, allowing children to progress quickly to word building, reading and writing. It was originally created and developed by Lyn Wendon in 1968 and first published in 1985 and was first televised by the television channel Nickelodeon in America between 12 September 1992 and 30 March 2001 and the UK on CBBC between 18 July 1997 and 5 October 2001. The voices for the Classic Letterland characters were done by Josie Lawrence in the animated series.The Cambridge Encyclopedia of The English Language. Ed. David Crystal. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. p. 256. ISBN 0521401798
List of Letterland videosThe Letterland Story (1997)A Letterland Christmas Story (1998)Detective Dippy Duck (1999)Once Upon a Time in Letterland (1999) (with additional voices by Felicity Montagu)
List of characters
In 2003, the series was revived, with ten of the alphabet character names changed to less derogatory ones, and others receiving minor alterations to their appearances. For example, Hairy Hat Man is now clean-shaven, and his name was changed to Harry Hat Man, Impy Ink gained multicoloured ink (his ink was dark blue before), the Wicked Water Witch accidentally turned herself into a sappy old walrus named Walter after testing a spell, Robber Red was finally arrested and sent to prison (some time after that, he built his own robot known as Red Robot to do all the robbing for him), Max's friend Maxine was not always with Max to make the X sound so it was Max on his own as a standalone character (now known as Fix-It Max) and a new character named Vicky Violet was introduced who is now always seen alongside the Vase of Violets. The pre-2003 character names are now known as the "Classic" range. Transition stories, explaining the changes, are available on the official Letterland website. This enables teachers and parents to use a mixture of both Classic and New Letterland books without confusion.
Additionally, the five vowel characters known as the Vowel Men, also had carers simply named Mr A, the Apron Man, Mr E, the Easy Magic Man, Mr I, the Ice Cream Man, Mr O, the Old Man, Mr U, the Uniform Man and their families. There was also Zig Zag Zebra's cousin, Zoe Zebra, Fireman(/Firefighter) Frank, Naughty(/Noisy) Nicola, Jumping Judy, Linda Lamp Lady(/Light), Diana Duck, Munching Mike's mother, Munching Maria, Bouncy Ben's mother and brothers, Berny, Blake and Bobby, Golden Girl's grandparents, Peter Puppy's cousin (Poor )Patsy Puppy, Sammy Snake's sister, Sally Snake and Ticking Tom. Other characters in the series that are not part of the main cast include Long Lisa, Blue Bunny, Grinning Granny, Marvellous Mo, Dopey Dove, Big Bug, Angle Man, Grumpy Granddad, Happy Holly, Gorgeous Georgia, Giant All, Elf Full, Gentle Ginger, The Boot and Foot Twins, Roy, Mr. Tion and Mr. Mean-E.ISBN 0-17-410166-X. NPN 9 8. Post-1988.