The Lively Letters App
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The Lively Letters App

Three Engaging Activities


The long-awaited Lively Letters Phonemic Awareness and Phonics App features three engaging activities that incorporate and enhance the unique, multisensory features of the research-based Lively Letters program. Unlike most phonics apps, this one is actually teaching, as opposed to just drilling or testing, phonemic awareness, speech production, and phonics. It includes proven techniques to help even the most resistant learners of all ages, including those learning English as a second language. It includes progress monitoring for all three activities, and throughout the app, you can choose which letters to work with and what types of letters to use (i.e., Lively Letters pictures versus plain letters and lowercase versus uppercase letters). You can also record and play back the student’s voice. In the Flashing Activity, the famous Lively Letters characters or plain letters flash in one at a time, and students can choose to hear the sound, the song, and the letter sound story in English or Spanish. They can also see the associated hand and mouth cue photo and practice printing the letter.  In the Tracking Activity, students and instructors can manipulate the chosen letters in real and/or nonsense words using the Lively Letters proven word play strategies to develop reading and spelling skills. They can even choose to play the famous Lively Letters “Human - Alien” game to keep score! The Matching Game is a fun way to practice naming letters sounds. It also helps students transition from Lively Letters pictures to plain letters and associate lowercase letters with uppercase letters. Let the fun begin!

FAQ for App Users


Q. When I select plain letters, why are all the icons there except the “book” icon for hearing the letter sound stories in English or Spanish?
A. Although all of the other feature icons are accessible with plain letters, the letter sound story icons are only present when the Lively Letters type of letters are selected, as the stories reference specific details in the pictures.

Q. How do I stop the letter sound story if I don’t want to hear the whole thing?  
A. You can just press the “ear” icon to play the sound, and that will stop the story.

Q.  Should I choose to work first with lowercase or uppercase letters?
A.   In Lively Letters the initial focus is on lowercase letters for best carryover to improve phonemic awareness, reading, and spelling, especially for struggling students. For non-struggling students, working with uppercase letters before or while working on lowercase is not as much of an issue.

Q.  I noticed that in the uppercase letter selections, you have a “Q,” as well as “QU.” Which should I use?             
 A. We gave you both options to select from, with separate stories, because some teachers prefer to teach the letter “Q” alone. Others prefer to teach it with the “U,” to match the lowercase “qu.”

Q. When selecting plain uppercase letters, there is a “C,” and there is also a “C” with what looks like an upside down “v.” What is that?
A. That upside down “v” represents the picture of the rock that is in the Lively Letters story for both lowercase and uppercase hard and soft “C.”

Q. When I’m looking at the lowercase plain letter selections page, you have “th,” and “th,” “oo,” and “oo,” I understand that the underlined “th” represents the noisy tongue biting sound as in the word, “them,” and that the underlined “oo” stands for the sound in the word, “hook.” Books don’t have underlined letters. How will my students know what to do when they’re reading books?
A. They would have to use context, trying the word both ways, to decide what sound would make the word makes sense. If they can’t figure it out, you may have to help them by giving them the pronunciation of the word.

Q. Why is the silent “e” rule introduced before vowel combinations? 
A. Students are expected to read words with silent “e” as early as Kindergarten, and many students typically need lots of practice to master this rule. For these reasons we address words with silent “e” (King Ed) right after teaching the short vowel sounds. The vowel combinations (the two sounds of “oo,” “ou,” “ow,” “au,” “aw,” “oi,” “oy”) and the “r” - controlled vowels (“er,” “ir,” “ur,” “ar,” and “or”) come next in the sequence.

Q. How do I teach the vowel pairs, “ai,” “ea,” “oa,” “ay,” “ee,” or “ui?”  
 A. Some vowel pairs have their own special sounds in the app (the two sounds of “oo,” “ou,” “au,” “oi,” and “oy”).  Outside of those special vowel pairs, more often than not, when you see two vowels together the first one says its name. The Lively Letters program materials feature the famous “Vowel Path” picture and story to address these vowel pairs. Future updates may include this picture and story. Here it is.

The Lively Letters Vowel Path Story


Q. Can you give me an example of how I would make one letter or sound change at a time?                                                                            
A. Here’s an example of a word chain, where each word is different by one letter or sound. This list includes real and nonsense words: “rat, bat, bit, dit, dig, dog, log, mog…”

Q. When making changes to the words, do I just keep substituting one letter or sound for another?                          
 A. Substitutions are the most common, easy, and effective type of change, but eventually you may want to progress to all kinds of changes. You can reverse two sounds (“lest” to “lets”), omit a sound (“drip” to “dip”),  substitute a sound (“slop” to “slip”),  add a sound (“bat” to “brat), or transpose two sounds where the two sounds are not beside each other in the word (“straps” to “sprats”). The Lively Letters program uses the acronym, ROAST, to help remember these kinds of changes and provides sample word chains in the instruction manual.

Q. My student can sound out each letter in a word, but can’t blend those sounds together to actually read the word.  What can I do?
A. The Lively Letters Instruction Manual and trainings feature several clinically proven techniques for those with trouble blending sounds. Several of these strategies are listed here:

- Begin with real consonant-vowel-consonant words (CVC)
- Have the first consonant in the word be a continuant sound (one that lasts a long time when you say it, such as /m/, /n/, /r/, /l/, /s/, and /f/, as opposed to quick sounds such as /p/ or /t/.
- Encourage the student to say the vowel sound loudly and to stretch it out for a long time. Remember, these are the superstars!
- Slide the first two letters over to meet the last letter in the word, as opposed to using the “onset-rime” technique. For example for the word, “mat,” slide the “m” and “a” over together to meet the “t,” extending that vowel sound, and saying it loudly. (“maaaa -  t” instead of “m -  at”)
- Model by using your own voice to help blend the sounds, and by helping to move the letters, almost giving away the answer while you help the student sound out the word, over and over again, until he or she recognizes the word. Eventually fade your model (don’t help as much) as your student picks up this skill.

Multisyllable Words

Q. Do you have any tricks for dividing and sounding out multisyllable words?
A. The Lively Letters program materials and trainings provide in-depth instructions in this area, however here are a few tips to get you started. Keep in mind, these multisyllable division rules work approximately 85% of the time.
- If there are two consonants between the vowel sounds, the student should divide between those two consonants. (Example: “muf / fin”)
- If there is only one consonant between the vowels sounds, the student should divide right in front of that consonant. (Example: “ro / bot”)
- Tell the student that the dividing line is a mirror.
- If a vowel is right before that line (the mirror), it sees itself and yells out its name. (Example: “ho / tel”)
 - If there’s a consonant coming right before that dividing line (the mirror), it’s in the way and the vowel cannot see itself in the mirror and say its name. Instead of saying its name, it says its regular sound. (Example: “rab / bit”)


Q. What letters should I choose when playing the Matching Game? 
A. Chose the letters that the student has been using already in the Flashing Activity

We will be updating this section as more important questions roll in!

Be sure to visit our online store for information about the Lively Letters program materials.
For information about our upcoming training webinars and seminars, please visit our training page.