We’ve all seen that I Love Lucy bit where Ricky fails miserably at reading a picture book, right? He mispronounces words like through, rough, and cough. It’s just a hilarious example of how the English language is impossibly illogical. You have no choice but to just memorize how each and every word is pronounced and spelled. That’s what I thought before I read Uncovering the Logic of English. The whole book was a revelation for me. How did I not know all this stuff already? Now that I do, I now feel so much more confident to teach my own children.
Title: Uncovering the Logic of English: A Common-Sense Approach to Reading, Spelling, and Literacy
Author: Denise Eide
Publication Year: 2011
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Comments: I’ve been giving a lot of thought recently to how I want to homeschool Language Arts next year. So far, I’ve really just flown by the seat of my pants with my oldest. We read a lot of books. He writes a lot of “essays.” His reading skills are coming along, he’s an avid writer, and he’s having fun. That’s what’s really important to me. However, his spelling is, well, creative at best, atrocious at worst. Also, he definitely struggles with sounding out words that have unusual spellings.
Believe it or not, there IS actual logic behind the English language. (Before reading this book, I had no idea.) With few exceptions the entire English language can be governed by about 30 rules. For example, “English words do not end in I, U, V, or J.” If my son were trying to spell the word “have” and stopped at h-a-v, I could remind him of this rule so he’d know to add the silent E. Also, rather than learning an endless number of blends, it makes more sense to learn phonograms – all the different ways to write a single, unblended sound.
After talking with a lot of parents recently, I know I want to try an approach that focuses on phonograms and spelling rules next year. One mom I spoke with was homeschooled herself using the book The Writing Road to Reading. (I purchased that book and found the first several chapters and the spelling lists at the end useful, but I wanted something a little more structured.) That mom uses The Phonics Road with her brood of kids. I checked out the free samples from that program and personally thought it seemed a little TOO structured and intense with all the videos (not to mention expensive!).
I’m a big fan of the Bravewriter educational philosophy, so I actually purchased their full curriculum for early readers, The Wand. At the time, I didn’t realize it was going to teach phonograms and spelling rules. There is a lot about the program that I like, but I do it find it a little confusing. I’m sure if I were to follow the Wand curriculum, I’d eventually get the hang of it, but before I got a chance to try it, I discovered the Logic of English. I purchased this book, Uncovering the Logic of English, just to get an idea for the creator’s philosophy, and, OH MY GOODNESS, it is so easy to understand.
I think by explaining the logic behind the English language and the finite amount of information people need to know, it’s like I can see the roadmap for learning laid out in front of me. After reading this book, I now know I would like to try the Logic of English complete curricula. I’m currently planning to try their Foundations program with my kindergartner and their Essentials program with my 2nd grader in the Fall. If it doesn’t work out, I will likely move back over to the Bravewriter products. However, I have high hopes!
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Can you update on your experience with Logic of English vs. Brave writer? I’m a first year newbie struggling to pick a curriculum for my rising 2nd grader (with some learning challenges) and my Kindergartener who seems a quick study. Brave writer appeals to me for the 2nd grader who really dislikes writing because the mechanical aspect (and spelling) is so challenging. He has been in OT and PT since age 3 and continues to struggle with fine motor skills, postural endurance etc which makes writing especially hard. He also started 1st grade having learned almost no reading and phonics skills despite a summer intervention program. He was given an IEP at the start of 1st grade and has made tremendous progress and isn’t too far behind grade level now. Would love any guidance you might have after having experience with both programs…
Hi, Maggie! I did use Logic of English Foundations, but I actually only stuck with it for one school year. I am back to using Brave Writer. My rising first grader will be loosely following the Wand this year and my third and fifth graders will be doing Arrow guides along with freewrites. (I do most of the actual writing for my third grader, while she narrates her thoughts to me.) That being said, I think the Logic of English Foundations program is a very well-thought out, clear, easy-to-follow program. It is just very time-intensive. Personally, I prefer Brave Writer’s more laid back approach. That being said, even though I stopped using Logic of English’s curriculum, I do still use their phonogram flashcards with all my kids from time to time and I’m still planning to use the Doodling Dragon series of three books with my first grader. I think knowing the phonograms is helpful for spelling and sounding out difficult words. I just didn’t find the rigor of Logic of English necessary at this young of an age. Personally, I prefer the whimsy and enchantment of Brave Writer. Good luck!
Maggie Lynch Sterling
This is helpful – thank you! Time intensive/long lessons aren’t a great fit for us. I think I will stick with my original plan, which using Brave Writer’s Jot it Down plus copy work and possibly some handwriting without tears for writing (and maybe keyboarding without tears?) and using Reading Eggs as a digital teaching resource, which has been a huge hit with my youngest (almost 6 yo). I’m also looking into All About Spelling and Grammar Galaxy for my rising 2nd grader, and will look into Doodling Dragons and the Sounding Out Sight Words book as well.. Thank you for the guidance!
You are welcome. I think you have a great plan! Good luck with your school year!