Is your child a struggling speller? Has she struggled with remembering why English words are spelled the way they are? Has this impacted his ability to read? Or, have other phonics programs just not enabled your child to understand the way English words are spelled and pronounced? Are you an ESL teacher who desires to help her students to apprehend a challenging language?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions…or conversely, if you are just looking for a systematic and logical method to help your child’s understanding of the English language…then Logic of English may easily be just right for you!
Logic of English might be the most aptly-named curriculum I’ve ever seen. It breaks up English rules for spelling and pronunciation logically and simply into easy-to-understand lessons. Haven’t we all heard that English is terribly complicated to learn because there are so many exceptions to the rule? Well, Logic of English actually disproves that saying, quite emphatically, as a matter of fact! It teaches learners how phonograms combine to make words which fit into spelling rules and grammar usage.
We were asked to review Logic of English’s Essentials program, which is designed for ages 7 and up (even adults!). We received the following to use and review:
- A comprehensive hardcover Essentials Teacher’s Manual ($95)
- A softcover Essentials Cursive Workbook for my student ($25)
- Logic of English Phonogram & Spelling Game Book ($25)
- A set of Basic Phonogram Flash Cards ($18)
- A set of Spelling Rule Cards ($15)
- Two sets of Phonogram Game Cards ($10 each)
- Phonograms App for iPad ($2.99 from iTunes)
The Essentials Teacher’s Manual is extremely well-organized and user-friendly (as is the entire curriculum). There are tips on teaching various types of learners, a scope and sequence and an explanation on teaching, as well as the lessons themselves. Optional activities are discussed and recommended (like phonogram games and journaling). Each lesson (40 in all, including assessments & reviews, which appear every 5 lessons) outlines step-by-step instructions for each portion of the lesson. Lessons are segmented into three categories:
- Part One: Phonograms, where phonograms are introduced and reviewed. Sounds are explored and practiced and spelling rules, related to the phonograms, are introduced.
- Part Two: Spelling Dictation and Analysis, where words connected to the daily lessons’ phonograms are taught. Words are used in sentences, broken down into syllables, spoken and written.
- Part Three: Grammar, where parts of speech are learned via grammar lessons, dictation, composition and vocabulary development.
You can see how each of these categories builds upon the previous ones. Phonograms are learned, and then used in spelling practice and connected to spelling rules. Words are put together and then identified and used as parts of grammar. And all of these are done while handwriting skills are used and practiced
The Logic of English Phonogram & Spelling Game Book is a wonderful adjunct to the Essentials program. Games are woven into many lessons and reinforce the phonograms being learned in those lessons, so learners can continue to apprehend the information even when they may think all they are doing is playing! 77 games are organized within the book into:
- Phonogram Card Games (using the game cards mentioned above)
- Active Phonogram Games (such as Last One Standing and Phonogram Kangaroo)
- Other Phonogram Games (anyone for Phonogram Bingo?).
- Phonogram Drills
- Sensory Practice
- Spelling Word Card Games
- Active Spelling Games
- Creative and Tactile Ideas for Spelling Practice
- Spelling Games (like crossword puzzles or tic-tac-toe)
I was interested to use Logic of English because Jackson was a VERY early reader. He actually started to read just before his 3rd birthday, and took off from there. So we bypassed the entire phonics learning time that most children complete during their early years of school, because he was able to pick up reading skills via sight words. I thought it would be wonderful to use Logic of English so that he could learn some of the letter combinations, or phonograms, and their rules which make up the words of the English language, to enhance his reading/spelling skills.
What I discovered was that, although Jackson wasn’t struggling with spelling and found many of the words in the spelling list on the simple side, the presentation of the phonograms and the use of them in related words, plus the spelling rules that partnered with those phonograms, provided a foundation for spelling and pronunciation that will help him throughout his life. I also found that the grammar rules, simply presented and repeated, continued to build his understanding of the grammatical knowledge that, in my opinion, can still be relatively abstract for a pre-teen.
Each day during school, I followed the lesson plan in the teacher’s manual almost exactly. I led Jackson through the three-step process that covered the day’s phonograms, spelling/analysis, and grammar. We used the phonogram flash cards to introduce each new phonogram; I would show Jackson the phonogram, then flip it to the other side to show its various pronunciations. The flash cards are really excellent; they have the phonogram on one side and all the pronunciations for the phonogram on the other side (for example, the phonogram “i” has four different pronunciations possible in English). We proceeded step-by-step through his workbook; he would say phonograms out loud, write them, identify them. We then completed each spelling rule and its associated activities, then each grammar rule and its accompanying writing. There is repetition but not too much of it; and all that repetition served to lay those mental pathways that will ensure understanding of the spelling and grammar rules of the English language.
One thing that I was astonished to learn is that there are phonograms in English that you will never see at the end of an English word! These include (but aren’t limited to) ai, v, j, oi. Of course this makes perfect sense and those of us who are adults intuitively know this, but there is actually a spelling rule that informs you of this. Logic of English is full of this kind of information; things that we as adults take for granted but that our children may not have picked up from other phonics programs.
After Jackson had reviewed many of the phonograms, we pulled out the Phonograms App on Dad’s iPad. The App provided a wonderful review of apps in game format. A voice pronounces one of 4 pictured phonograms, saying the phonogram itself and its various sounds, and the student must select which phonogram is being voiced. After a phonogram is selected, the screen changes to another four phonograms. The process continues until all the options in that level are selected, then a score sheet is displayed that shows how well the student has understood that level of phonograms. We haven’t learned all the levels of phonograms yet but they grow exceedingly more difficult as each level is mastered.
I found the lessons easy to prepare and enjoyable to present, although I do recommend that the teacher review them the night before; they are so clearly laid out that one might be tempted to just pick them up the morning of the lesson. That can be done but it will inhibit the flow and, I believe, lessen the overall effectiveness of the lesson. Each portion of the lessons moves clearly and effectively into the next part. In addition, the games and flash cards included bring some fun and excitement to all learners. The student is able to move through a variety of activities, which helps keep his interest up.
Another plus for The Logic of English is that it is not limited to success for one kind of learner. Instead, lessons include activities for visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. You can see this especially in the games from The Logic of English Phonogram & Spelling Book; there is a myriad of games for ALL kinds of learners to enjoy.
I can wholehearted recommend The Logic of English for your student, whether it’s an elementary-age child, a struggling older or adult reader, or even an ESL student. It is clear, easy to use and teach, and it makes sense of a language that we’ve all heard is long on exceptions and short on common rules. You can order Logic of English here. Your students will receive an excellent grounding in the essentials of the English language….and so will you!
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