Monday, April 4, 2016

Logic of English - a new edition of Essentials!

Logic of English Review

A couple of years ago, we were introduced to Logic of English when the Crew had the opportunity to review a number of their programs, including the 1st Edition of Essentials.  I loved the approach so much, especially with my dyselxic and/or struggling readers.  But the reality of trying to make it work with five kids, ages 7 to 16, was more than I could figure out.  I kept meaning to pick it back up and try harder, but that just didn't happen in the reality of my crazy life. Now, there is Essentials 2nd Edition and this is something we actually are able to do. 

Just look at everything that comes with it:
Logic of English Review
Four years ago, what most of my kids needed most was the reading instruction, though everything else was important too.  Now, they are all reading well, but the grammar and spelling are more important for us.  The new edition is perfect for both scenarios.

First off, Logic of English has a mission statement that I love:
We as a company seek to become a leader in reversing and solving the literacy crisis in America. Our goal is to make the Logic of English common knowledge among English speakers and increase awareness about sound, effective teaching methods through books, curriculum, software, and training. We seek to build collaborative relationships with other literacy organizations and support research and product development for the service of English speakers and learners worldwide.
Having a severely dyslexic son has made me so much more aware of reading issues as a whole, and one thing I'd love to do when my children outgrow my Homeschool Mom job is to do something to address the literacy crisis in my community.

Logic of English uses a variety of methods to logically proceed through phonemic awareness, phonics, reading, grammar, spelling, and vocabulary.  You learn a total of 74 basic phonograms and 31 spelling rules, and have fun in the process.

So how are we using this?

To begin with, I had used the first edition with all five of my kids before.  We loved it, and were learning a lot, but it was so hard to actually implement.  I had an early reader, a mid-elementary reader, two seriously struggling tween/teen readers who were far below grade level, and my eldest who could read absolutely anything but couldn't spell.

And I'm a busy, work-at-home mom.  I finally gave up, as I couldn't figure out how to do it all.  I had my younger two use Foundations at that point.

When I head about the second edition, and got a good look at it, I breathed a sigh of relief and thought, "this I can do."  The biggest change, besides just being prettier, is that there is now work for Levels A, B and C students.  This means there is a lot more information per lesson.  That also means that the Second Edition is split into a Volume 1 (lessons 1-15) and Volume 2 (lessons 16-30).

Right at the beginning, you do a pretest with your students to see which level they belong in.  I have students who test into each of the three levels, and that right there probably sums up why I struggled to implement this before.

Here's a side by side of the new book (the colorful one on the left!) and the old one (on the right!)

Obviously, the new teacher book is more visually appealing, but that isn't enough to get me excited about the changes.  What does thrill me is also visible in the above photo, if you blow it up.  Like before, this lesson focuses on the ar, ch, and oo phograms.  But for Level C students, it also covers the bt phonogram, used in words like doubt.

As you work through the lessons, it is clearly broken up into five days, so I don't have to guess at how much to do in a given day.  There are cute little symbols (the blue "All" square in the photo above, on the line that says "Phonograms") to indicate which students do the work being presented.  I don't necessarily follow that completely, because tweaking is just what this homeschool mama does, but it is still very nice to have those clues.  Let's walk through Lesson 6.
  • Day 1 - you cover the ar, ch, and oo phonograms with everyone, writing and saying the sounds and drilling with the phonogram flashcards.  You cover the bt with C students.  Everyone goes through a section about the schwa sound, which covers spelling rules.  You also cover the spelling rule about double letters at the end of a word (staff, tall, class, etc.)
  • Day 2 - you review phonograms with a game and review spelling rules.  Everyone works on the Spelling Journal.  There are lists for each level, with A doing words like ball and sharp, B doing words like igloo and fearless, and C doing words like spectacular and pendant. 
  • Day 3 -  you start off by reviewing again, and everyone ends up doing a grammar lesson on commas in a series and parts of speech.  Finally, there is dictation, which is different for each level.

  • Day 4 - again, you start with review.  The focus is vocabulary, and that varies a lot by level.  See the photo!  Level C is pretty lengthy.  There is dictation for each level.  Level A students have a composition assignment, and there is also a lesson in the optional Essentials Reader.
  • Day 5 - you finish it up for the week, by reviewing and then doing a few assignments to demonstrate what you've been working on.  
Making this work with all of my students is so much easier now, and the flexibility is fabulous.  My dyslexic teen is doing the Level C phonograms, the Level A spelling and dictation, the level A, B and C vocabulary, the Essentials Reader, and I decide individually about some of the other items.

My oldest son is doing straight Level C.

My elementary students are doing a combination of Levels A and B, but listening in on the vocabulary and advanced phonograms as well.

That all sounds a bit complicated, but it isn't.  I can pick the book up and pretty much just teach.  I don't spend a lot of time preparing for lessons.  We have all the cards and tiles together, and the kids grab what we need as we go.

What do we think?

I love this program.  Especially if you have kids who struggle with reading or spelling.  All of the reading research I've done over the past few years tells me that the approach used by Logic of English is fantastic for dyslexia especially, and is a solid approach for any student.

My only complaint is that Volume 2 isn't available yet.

Check out what the Crew thought!  Many of the reviews are of Essentials, but some also reviewed the Foundations programs.

Logic of English Review

Crew Disclaimer

1 comment:

Nancy Mayes said...

I appreciate your review! We have also been using the new Logic of English and are using all three levels at the same time. I was a bit worried about how I was going to be able to actually "do it all-especially at the same time." It is all laid out for us, which makes things so much easier than expected!

We are loving this program and can't wait for the 2nd volume!