Wednesday, September 11, 2013

{Crew Review} ~ Logic of English: Essentials

Understanding English is more than just being able to read. It is spelling, vocabulary, composition, and so much more.

And Logic of English has some great products that help you teach your young ones about our beautiful, yet sometimes complicated language.


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What It Is:

Logic of English is a full reading/grammar curriculum. There are two different levels: Foundations and Essentials. I received the Essentials package to use with Dasher.

Meant for ages 7 to adult, this comprehensive reading, spelling, and grammar program is very teacher friendly. In fact, the first 69 pages of the teacher manual are devoted to introducing you to the program. Logic of English begins by focusing on Phonemic Awareness, which is basically the sounds that make up speech. Being made aware of the relationship between the sound of speech and how words appear in print is an important part of reading. Next, the student will learn how sounds come together to make words. They will be taught to see patterns, learn about rhyming, and identify syllables. Another emphasis of the program is to begin with cursive; this can help prevent common printing mistakes and is a more natural way to learn how to write.

The lessons are broken down into parts:

Part 1

Phonograms: These are the sounds that are systematically introduced to the student. Flashcards, teacher-led activities, and worksheets are used to reinforce the sounds taught.

Exploring Sounds: This section includes more phonic activities and exercises that aid the student in identifying different phonograms.

Spelling Rules: In each lesson a new spelling rule is taught. These include ones like the GH being before the letter T, or knowing to double an F after a single vowel.

Part 2

Spelling Dictation and Analysis: In this section you will dictate the spelling list to your child. There is emphasis on breaking the word into individual sounds and tips for difficult spellings.

Spelling Markings: These are marks that the student will make on words to remind them to see multi-letter phonograms as a whole. For example, seeing  sh and ai and saying them as one sound.

Part 3

Grammar: Grammar rules are taught using the spelling list. Parts of speech and punctuation are also taught in this section.

Dictation: Hearing, and then holding a sentence in their memory while they write it is an important skill to have. Many of the lessons have dictation exercises.

Composition: This sounds daunting for beginner students, but these simple exercises help students to build sentences using the words they have been taught.

Vocabulary: This section teaches compound words, roots, and adding prefixes and suffixes.



There are also optional activities that are listed; these are conveniently marked with a symbol that denotes its learning style (kinesthetic, visual, auditory, and creative). These are varied and include interactive activities and creative exercises to further teach the concepts in the lessons.

What You Get:

This is what I received from Logic of English:

Essentials Teacher's Manual $95.00
Essentials Student Workbook $25.00
Basic Phonogram Flashcards $18.00
Spelling Rule Flashcards $15.00
Phonogram Game Cards $10.00
Game Book $15.00

You can purchase these items separately, or purchase them in a package. The Essentials package comes with even more goodies.....a Spelling Journal, the Grammar Rule Flashcards, Advanced Phonogram Flashcards, a Quick Reference Chart, and a second set of the game cards. The package can be bought for $187.20, which is a $24 savings if purchased separately.

Included in the Teacher Manual is a very helpful Teacher Resource section; this has all the spelling lists, basic phonograms, spelling and grammar rules, and a helpful grammar guide for writing sentences.

The Phonogram & Spelling Game Book was a great resource. This book contains a ton of games using the provided game cards. Ranging from Go Fish! to Phonogram Basketball, to Spelling Word Memory, these proved to be a creative way to learn the phonograms. The book is divided into sections and include Active Games, Card Games, Sensory Practice and Spelling Games to name a few. At the back of the book are templates and reproducible cards.



The game cards come with two sets, one in cursive and one in manuscript. This helps your child become more familiar with reading cursive sentences.

The Student Workbooks also come in two formats, manuscript and cursive, depending on what you would prefer.

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How I Used This:

The first thing I did was open to the beginning and read the teacher section. And what was very impressive to me was the versatility of this curriculum. A late reading elementary student to adult -age student can use it, a struggling speller, a young reader, an emerging reader, and even an ESL student can benefit from this program. There is a whole section for each of the above categories; with tips and sample schedules. There are some prerequisites to this program; before beginning Essentials, it is suggested that your student have basic phonemic awareness and know how to sound and write the letters A-Z.

Reading the struggling reader portion made me think of Dasher who has really had a hard time with reading and writing, so I decided to use this with her. I did spend a few days preparing and familiarizing myself with the curriculum and then we dove in. My goal was to teach one lesson a week. I divided up all of the sections and parts and we met, just the two of us, three times a week to go over the material.



I started at the beginning, even though at times she felt that what we were doing was silly. For example, in the first lesson we sat and said each of the sounds together and talked about what our mouths were doing. This does make sense if you think about it; we hear sounds and put them together to make words and sentences, so knowing exactly what your mouth should be doing when talking is important. We progressed rather quickly through the first two lessons, and starting slowing during the third week. And this is where I started really loving this program; you can easily slow things down and spend more time in the sections when needed. This was also where I started using the Optional Activities, and playing more of the games in the Phonogram & Spelling Game Book. The games were extremely helpful in reviewing the lessons, and were fun to play as well.




What I Thought:

I was pretty impressed with this program. It truly was all-encompassing. I loved it that we would sit down for 30-60 minutes a day and get grammar, spelling, composition, dictation, and vocabulary done. The pace was good; like I said it is very easy to tailor it to your child's needs. And I really appreciated the combination of oral and written exercises. Dasher has a hard time with writing, so being able to spend a chunk of her school time doing oral activities with me was a plus. There are convenient lists of materials needed before each lesson; it listed all the spelling cards, game pieces, and few things from around the house (red pencil, a dice, paper bag, or bell) that you would need to complete the lesson.

The flashcards were very helpful. Below you can see her reading the QU one.



If you turn the card over, you can see examples of the spelling rule. This was very helpful for Dasher; she liked seeing exactly how that rule affected the words.


Every fifth lesson is an Assessment and Review. The Teacher Manual gave specific things to be looking for in your assessment and also listed review activities if needed. The emphasis is not on judging or grading, but mastery. It is also stressed that mistakes will be made, and that part of learning is sometimes forgetting and then remembering. I really loved this. My goal is for my child to master reading and spelling, and to not be discouraged by their mistakes.

The most impressive thing about this program? No complaints from the student. Dasher really, really liked this. Every single day that it was on her schedule she was bugging me to sit down with her and do English. She began to enjoy writing, and together we saw her improve on her spelling. I am super excited to continue using this with Dasher this year.

You might ask what comes before Essentials? It is Foundations, a complete reading, spelling, handwriting and phonics program for those ages 4-7. Other members of The Crew reviewed that, and still others reviewed Logic of English's Rhythm of Handwriting. See what they all thought by clicking below.



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