The Logic of English Essentials
|Publisher: Pedia Learning, Inc.
Author: Denise Eide
Review last updated: June 2012
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The Logic of English
The Logic of English Essentials course (LOEE) was written for an audience of students ages seven through adult who needed a structured, integrated program for learning reading, spelling, and grammar. While the program presents methodology for teaching younger students, it provides only general directions for introducing the A-Z phonograms and blending phonograms into words. Then it begins the first detailed lesson with a review of those phonograms, introduction of the rule regarding the phonogram “qu,” instruction regarding vowels and consonants, spelling dictation with a word list that includes “hand” and “quilt,” and instruction on identification of nouns and formation of plural nouns. The general instruction for younger students might be sufficient for some parents to work with but not for those who need step-by-step assistance. However, author Denise Eide is in the process of developing a separate comprehensive program for younger learners.
The methodology appears similar to that of The Writing Road to Reading and the many other programs developed from that approach. The most popular of those programs is Wanda Sanseri’s Spell to Write and Read (STWR), so I’ll make some comparisons to that program in this review. The first difference to note is that STWR is designed to begin teaching younger students. Consequently, there is a bit more attention given in STWR on how to form the letters than in LOEE. However, LOEE does cover the basics on teaching the beginning phonograms while also providing brief instruction in handwriting. LOEE also has optional sandpaper letters (sets of either uppercase or lowercase) and a Cursive Handwriting workbook, both of which might be especially helpful with younger learners.
There are extensive similarities between the programs. Both teach the phonograms with all of their sounds at the same time rather than beginning, for example, with only short sounds of the vowels. They use phonogram cards as an essential part of the teaching process. Both programs integrate reading, spelling, composition, and grammar, using multi-sensory learning activities making these comprehensive language arts programs.
You can see how comprehensive LOEE is by looking at the design of the lessons. Lessons are divided into three parts. The first part is further divided into three sections: phonograms, exploring sounds, and spelling rules. The second section focuses on spelling. The third section includes grammar, vocabulary development, dictation, and composition work.
Both programs use a rules-oriented approach, teaching rules that encompass about 98% of the words in the English language (according to LOEE). Lessons are taught from the teacher’s manual and require direct instruction. Both programs also use frequent dictation, teach awareness of mouth and tongue movements required to produce sounds, stress the importance of learning the rules of syllabication, recommend teaching beginners the sounds rather than names of the letters first, and recommend teaching cursive rather than manuscript printing first.
While STWR requires students to create their own notebooks, writing down all of the rules, phonograms, spelling words, etc., LOEE provides student workbooks and does not require as much notebook work. LOEE offers the student workbook in either manuscript or cursive versions (both using a slant print style) to align with whichever form of writing you choose to use at this stage. The workbooks make LOEE a good choice for students who struggle with small motor skills.
Both programs use a system for marking the phonograms such as underlining key phonograms within words or marking a number to indicate which of two or more possible sounds of a phonogram apply to a word. LOEE does less marking than STWR.
Teacher’s manuals for both programs offer very detailed explanations and instructions. LOEE’s teacher’s manual includes step-by-step lesson plans that make it even easier for parents and teacher to prepare and present lessons.
Inductive methods are sometimes used in LOEE so that students “discover” rules or patterns rather than being told what they are.
Struggling students or older students needing remediation (even adults) might do well with either program. LOEE might be completed in as little as two to four months by older students while younger students will probably take one to two years.
While both programs incorporate multi-sensory activities, LOEE has scheduled them into the lessons and has created extras to make it easy. Even though a variety of activities are suggested, many are optional and it is up to the parent or teacher to decide which are beneficial and practical for each learner. Optional activities include bingo games, card games, oral activities, recitation, and additional written work. Optional activities are often done independently. For even more activities, The Logic of English Phonogram & Spelling Game Book offers creative learning games and sensory activities, the majority of which can be used with a single student as well as with a group.
LOEE has three key components: the teacher’s manual, a student workbook, and the Basic Phonogram Flashcards. While some other items are mentioned in the lessons, you can make up your own substitutes or skip them if you want. These include Spelling Rule Flash Cards, Grammar Flash Cards, Advanced Phonogram Flash Cards, Game Cards, a Spelling Journal, Foldout Reference Chart, Phonogram CD, and sandpaper letters in either upper or lower case.
You might also want to get author Denise Eide’s book, Uncovering the Logic of English, in which she presents the background and philosophy of the program as well as the methodology and charts of rules and patterns. While spelling and grammar rules are presented in the Essentials book, if you want to make up your own cards, you might find Uncovering the Logic of English book very helpful.
Phonogram Game Cards are useful but a bit pricey. You will need two decks (at $10 per deck) to play many of the suggested games. Instructions for five games are on the website. Some learning activities with the cards are in Essentials. Other games are in the Phonograms & Spelling Game Book. Cards are available in three different colors and your choice of bookface or cursive fonts.
The Spelling Journal is a handy tool for students to organize words under various phonograms, but you could easily create your own notebook for this if you want to save money.
Like STRW, LOEE offers integrated language arts instruction based on research and thorough methodology. It can easily be used with both children and adults. LOEE does require some advance reading and preparation by parents or teachers, but it does not require training classes or other extensive teacher preparation. Once past introductory information about the program, you can teach most lessons without significant lesson prep time. That factor makes LOEE an especially practical choice for many parents who want to use this type of methodology.
Although training isn't required, some parents really want training and a deeper understanding of how the program works. To that end, author Denise Eide has created free video training. Videos can be accessed at www.logicofenglish.com/training/video-training. This is extensive training that covers an introduction and overview of the methodology along with in-depth information on phonograms, spelling rules, spelling dictation, handwriting instruction, learning styles, morphology/vocabulary development, language development, reading research, phonemic awareness, and more. While the training is presented in segments that you can watch individually at your convenience, it adds up to full-day training course. An optional, downloadable manual to use alongside this course is available for $10.
teacher’s manual - $95
workbook - $25 each
Basic Phonogram Flash Cards - $18
set of the 3 basic items -$138
Logic of English Essentials Full Curr Cursive
Logic of English Essentials Basic w/ Man Wkbk
Logic of English Essentials Basic w/ Cursive
- Suitable for: one-on-one or group
Audience: primarily ages 7 and up but can be used with younger children; works for children of varying ages and abilities learning together
Need for parent/teacher instruction: high
Prep time needed: moderate to begin, then low
Teacher's manual: essential
Religious perspective: secular but "Christian friendly"
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