May 13, 2014

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Logic of English

Daniel, Abbie and I have been reviewing Essentials: Logic of English Complete Set from  Logic of English. It is most definitely a complete program! It's intended for emerging or struggling readers ages 7 to adult, and is based on a holistic, multi-sensory systematic approach with the purpose of teaching reading, spelling and writing in one complete program. Now that's a tall order, but I think Essentials does just that.

The Complete Set consists of:

a Teacher's Manual: a thick hardback book that is the heart of the program

a Student Workbook: a thick, paperback, consumable, book where the student writes their assignments. It also contains some extra reading practice. You can choose for the workbook to be manuscript or cursive

a Spelling Journal: the sounds of the English language are sorted alphabetically in this book. The student looks up the sound to discover the different ways of spelling that sound. Most of each page is blank so the student has room to write down the words he/she has difficulty remembering how to spell.

a phonogram and spelling rule quick reference chart: a sturdy "mini office" booklet that the student or teacher can use for, yes, a quick reference

a Phonogram and Spelling Game Book: a softcover book with over 70 games to play for help in practicing sounds and spelling words

so many decks of flashcards:

  • Basic Phonogram flashcards
  • Advanced Phonogram flashcards
  • Grammar flashcards
  • Spelling Rule flashcards

and finally game card decks: with the phonograms on them for playing the games (we received the blue bookface and the manuscript decks)

Overwhelmed yet? I was. But everything you need to know to use this program is in the Teacher's Manual. It contains all the information of how and why this method is used. It has a scope and sequence, a list of needed materials (it's short and everything but colored pencils and paper are already listed above), five different schedules so you can meet the needs of your particular student, whether struggling, emerging, or even ESL, fully scripted lessons, a ten-page "how to teach" section, spelling lists, and cheat sheets for the teacher for spelling rules, phonograms, and grammar.

Each of the 40 lessons is divided into three sections: phonograms, spelling, and grammar and every fifth lesson is an assessment lesson. The lessons begin with a quick overview of which phonogram, exploring sound, spelling rule and grammar topic will be covered. Then there is a list of exactly which materials you need to pull out. Your student begins with reviewing previously learned material, learns the new phonograms, explores how exactly sounds are made, learns a spelling rule, takes a spelling test, and has a grammar lesson. Each phonogram section has a suggested game from the Game Book to play with the phonemes that have been taught. The lessons are concluded with dictation and composition exercises. Included in each section are optional activities in case your student needs more practice.

When the Student Workbook, Spelling Journal, or Game Book is needed in the lesson, it is referenced very clearly so there is no doubt or confusion as to what I, the teacher, need to do. So there is very little prep work needed on my part. Each day I could pretty much just sit down, open the book, and teach the lesson.

Oh, but I didn't tell you about the Game Book yet! It's divided into nine chapters. Four are phonogram games (card games, active games, drills, and "other"), four are spelling games (card games, active games, creative and tactile ideas for spelling practice, and plain old spelling games) and one is sensory practice for writing letters. The games themselves each have a list of supplies needed, and clear directions on how to play. Some games have variations included. In the back of the book are reproducible game boards and templates for games like Bingo and Tic-Tac-Toe. How lovely it was to have to create those myself! Although some of them were blank so you could tailor make your review to fit your particular student. We enjoyed those, as well.

 In addition, we also had a chance to review the Phonics with Phonograms App, ($2.99) which is a fun way to review the 74 phonograms. It has ten levels or you can custom build a level for each individual student. You can also choose to display upper case or lower case letters. To play, the student is shown four phonograms, a pleasant female voice clearly says one of them (including the spelling rule when applicable) and the student chooses by tapping the screen. If he guesses incorrectly, that choice goes "gray" and a small sound tells him he was wrong. If he is correct, there is another sound and four new choices appear. He can push a button to re-play the phonogram if needed. The kids liked playing with the app, and I used the "all phonograms" tab when we played the card games as a way to make sure I was saying them all and correctly.

A screen displays each phonogram with the number of times the student got it correct in a row, the number of times the student has seen it, gotten it wrong, and gotten it correct.
So how did we use all of this? Well, my main goal with Essentials was to strengthen Daniel's (and Abbie's, but mostly Daniel's) phonemic awareness in order to help them read more fluently. He struggles with learning and remembering the more complex phonemes. Mostly any of them that uses more than one letter. So I put most of our time and emphasis on that section of the lessons. I also focused more on Daniel and Abbie just joined in whenever she was free. But both of them played the games, which was nice, because very few of them are one player games.

Even though I consider Daniel as a struggling reader since he can read but has trouble with it, I chose to use the 6 to 7 year old emerging reader schedule with him and Abbie. This put us completing one lesson a week and spending roughly 30 minutes a day on it. They spent about 15 minutes playing a game each day, as well.

I can tell you that he did not really enjoy it. Reading is not his "thing" nor are flashcards or writing. He spent most of the lessons gently suggesting that it was time for the daily phonics game. Because he did enjoy the games. Their favorite was Phonogram Snatch where I laid out five cards, said a sound and they had to be the first to grab the card with the correct phonogram. However, enjoyment aside, he made great strides in his phonogram recall, even with ones that he has historically struggled with mightily. I can see where Abbie has benefited as well, even though she mostly just played the games with him.

I loved how thorough this program is. I loved that everything was well laid out and left no room for confusion on my part. I loved that the majority of the material is non consumable and that for less than $35 I could use this with additional students. I loved the games because my kids thrilled to them, begged for them, learned from and asked to play them again and again. But mostly I loved that my kids have both been able to move to the next level of reading because of Essentials. 

I would have liked for there to be a little less writing. None of my kids are strong writers and both them balked at the spelling lists, the dictation and the composition parts of the lesson. I compensated by having them take turns (one does odds one does evens) or even just skipping that portion of the lesson if I felt we could get away with it. For the spelling tests, we often used letter tiles instead of having them write it out. But this was a minor thing, because, as you see, it was easily tweaked to fit our needs. If your kid is normal about writing it probably won't be an issue for you at all!

In short, I am happy that we get to use Essentials and intend on Daniel and Abbie working their way through the whole book. 

You can buy Essentials: Logic of English Complete Set for $243. You can check out sample pages or take a video tour. You can click on the banner below to read what other Crew members had to say.

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Sherri said...

We are the family on your live feed from Korea. My husband works with the government and we are assigned to S. Korea at this time. I have homeschooled for over 16 years and we have 4 children. Two are grown and two still at home.

I have been looking for LoE Essential reviews for a few weeks; hoping to glean as much from this as possible before making a decision to purchase. Of the few I came across, your review was the best written with information of "How your family used the program". I even thought Denise should use this on her site.

I just purchased yesterday and look forward to starting in the next few weeks. The package will take 5-6 weeks to arrive by boat. The price to pay for being overseas:)

I have a few questions.

1) In one of the pictures, your son is using letter tiles. Are these tiles from LoE or a different brand? If a different brand, what are they?

*I have AAS tiles, but I am not too crazy about using these any longer. They are thin laminated paper and the magnets continue to come off (even after gluing). I prefer a letter App, maybe the thicker LoE tiles, or something of that nature. It appears the LoE tiles are a sturdy, thick, coated cardboard tile. Something like this or plastic would probably a lot easier to work with and not as delicate. I do have a gave set with letter tiles that may work for this.

2) Have you used other OG phonogram programs? I am considering using LoE Essentials (mainly for remedial spelling) and continuing with the phonograms, syllable spelling, and markings with the SWR WISE Guide. I have not received this yet, so I am not entirely sure this will work. Do you have any experience with SWR (Spell to Write and Read).

I truly appreciate your thorough review of LoE.

Thank you,

Four Little Penguins said...

Thank you so much for your kind comment! :)

The tiles are actually ones that I made myself to use with All About Spelling because I was too cheap to buy theirs. I just printed them out on cardstock and covered them with clear packing tape and stuck magnets on that I found at our local dollar store.

I have no experience with the other programs you mentioned.

I hope you have a great experience with Logic of English!


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