King Wordsworth

Once upon a time, in a land far away, lived His Royal Highness, King Wordsworth. King Wordsworth and his wife, Queen Letticia were very happy. They spent endless hours talking and singing and having a grand old time! Unfortunately, the King had to spend alot of his time traveling all around the world visiting other royals, making speeches and shaking hands. King Wordsworth and Queen Letticia wanted so badly to be able to talk to one another while he was gone, but since this was very long ago, they didn’t have a way to do that. One morning, King Wordsworth got up very early with a brilliant idea! He said, “I want to make up some letters so that I write to my wife while I am away. King Wordsworth made up 26 letters. He called them “Capital Letters.” The Queen wanted to help, so she made up 26 matching letters. She called them “Lowercase Letters.” On most of the letters, the King and Queen agreed on what they should look like, but for some letters they just could not agree. This is why some of the capitals and lowercase look alike and some don’t. (Show examples.) They next time the king was away, he was thinking about his wife and decided to write her a letter. He got out a piece of paper and wrote letters all over it! When the Queen got the letter, she was thrilled to hear from her husband! The queen loved the way her husband had written the letters so neatly, but she didn’t understand what they meant. (Show letter from the King with random letters on it.) When the King returned home from his travels, the Queen thanked him for his letter, but explained that she couldn’t understand what he was trying to say. Something would have to be done! But what? The King decided to sleep on it! The next morning, when the King awoke and looked out the castle window, he could not believe his eyes! All the letters he and Queen Letticia had made up were standing out on the castle grounds! Each capital had it’s matching lowercase partner right beside it! Suddenly, the King had a brilliant idea! Each pair of letters should make a certain sound. Those sounds could be put together to make words! Coming up with 26 different sounds would be quite difficult though, so the first thing the King did was to ask for 5 volunteers to help him. The letters Aa, Ee, Ii, Oo, Uu and Yy all volunteered. Since the King only needed 5, he took the first 5: Aa, Ee, Ii, Oo and Uu. He told Yy that he could help whenever he needed an extra. The King told these letters that they would be called “The Vowels” and that for helping him, he would always put at least one of them in every single word. But, the vowels wanted something else! “We want to say our names!” The King thought about it for a minute and agreed. “The sounds I have given you will be the sound you say most. It will be called your Short Vowel Sound. Whenever you say your own name, that will be called your Long Vowel Sound.” Everyone was in agreement and began the task of giving each of the other letters their sounds. These other letters would be called “The Consonants.” The King, together with his Vowel Helpers, started with the “Bb”s and gave each pair a sound. He said “Bb, your sound will be /b/ Repeat it for me, please.” And the “Bb”s said /b/ “Great!” . . said the King.

(Continue with all sounds, using only short vowel sounds and, very importantly, completely leaving out the letter Cc.) When the King got to Qq, he said “Qq, your sound will be /qu/ Repeat it for me, please.” The Q . just shook her head very shyly and would not make a sound. The King asked her again to make her sound. Again, the Q shyly shook her head, but motioned that she would like to whisper something to the King. The King walked over and Q whispered that she was very shy and would prefer to have her best friend U with her when she has to speak. The king agreed since the letters wouldn’t always be in order anyway. When the King completed the task of giving each letter their sound, he could hear crying. It was the letter “C”! When the King approached and asked her why she was crying, she told him that she was left out and did not get a sound. The King consulted with the Vowel Helpers, but they could not come up with another sound. As the King was making the sad announcement, the letter K was raising his hand. The King stopped and allowed the letter K to speak. “I would be glad to let C share my sound.” (You can also add that S wanted to share with C.) The King, the Queen and all the letters cheered! Right there on the castle grounds, the King showed the letters how to get together and make words. He always remembered his promise to his Vowel Helpers that at least one of them would be in every single word. It really was easy! He would just think of a word, listen for the sounds he heard and put those letters in order! The letters loved having a very important job to do! From that day for ward, whenever the King had to leave town, he would write a letter to his wife. And from that day for ward, she could understand it! (Show letter from the King to the Queen with understandable words.) Tips: *Tell this story early in the year, when introducing letter sounds. *Use King, Queen and even letter puppets to tell this story. *Be dramatic! Try to TELL the story instead of reading it. *When we start coming across words that have letters or letter combinations making different sounds than the ones in the story, I tell them that the King had to make a few more sounds. He even had to make up some rules for them! They know it’s just a story, but they want an answer! :) *I cannot take full credit for this story! Many years ago, as I was observing a class, I heard the teacher tell her students that the “Word King” made up all the rules for words, like the silent e rule, adding -s or -es, etc... Later on, I bought a set of flashcards from a Kindergarten teacher who had the King’s cards (capitals) and the Queen’s cards (lowercase). I just kind of put all that together and made up one story! Karen Mitchell :)

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