Letter Games

These activities are also available in Dutch .


The Letter Games help people learn to write words in the language they already know and speak.

Communication with people who speak the same language often takes place orally, in contacts with people who can see, hear, and even touch each other. But often we also want to communicate with people we cannot see or hear. This can be done by learning to write down and read a language. This skill is not innate; we humans have to learn it through practice.

A language consists of words. Words consist of combinations of sounds or gestures[1]. Not all languages use the same sounds; every language uses a certain set.

People who speak the same language have all learned that certain combinations of sounds have a certain meaning. As a result, we know what someone means when that person uses a certain word.

After all, a word is more than just a combination of sounds or gestures. A word stands for something, symbolizes something, means something–an object, an action, an idea, and so on.

Words can also be written down. We use letters for that, or, in some languages, characters. Every language has a unique collection of sounds which can be represented in the symbols of letters or characters: the alphabet of that language.

A group of letters symbolizes a word. Each word is a certain, unique combination of letters. And that word can be written down, with letters.

Often the image or idea that the word represents can also be drawn. In the Letter Games, situations and objects are drawn first. The next step is for the participants to discover that the objects or situations in their drawing can also be ‘represented’ by means of letters: the written word. This has to be done and repeated many times before it ‘lands’ in our brains.

The Letter Games consist of various activities–the variety keeps it interesting and even fun, even though the exercises are repeated regularly. There is an ordered structure in the games, so that the participants can see that their language can be written down, learn the connection between sound and letter, learn to read and write words, and so on.

Letter Games A: Word and Image – The aim of these games is to familiarize people with the idea that spoken language, words, can be converted into images on paper. Then they can discover that the objects or situations in their drawings can also be represented by letters. In other words, that spoken words can be written.

Letter Games B: Learn to recognize letters – the purpose of these games is to help people learn to read and write letters.

Letter Games C: The sound of letters – these games aim to make people see the connection between letters and the sound they have.

Letter Games D: The meaning of words – in these games the participants learn to recognize short words and understand their meaning, and to expand their vocabulary.

Letter Games E: “Distance Talking” – these games aim to stimulate and increase writing skills, to let people discover that they can communicate with others “at a distance” in this way, and that they can use written information.

Letter Games F: Types of words – these games aim to make participants discover that there are different types of words: some words indicate the most important part of a story, others are less important; some words encourage you to do something, or not at all.

We wish everyone a lot of fun with these Letter Games and – ultimately – a lot of fun reading and writing!

[1] This description of languages and words applies to both spoken language and sign language. To make reading the text easier, only the terms “say” and “said” have been used in this article and in these games. But these activities can also be used in groups that use sign language.