Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Logic of English - a preliminary review.

My 9 year old daughter has trouble spelling. I have heard from friends: "oh, that is normal." But you see, she reads a lot of books every month. Not just fluff stuff but Classics, scientific books, chapter books, biographies and more. You can check out our Learning Logs to see some of the books she reads. I have restrained her reading exploration some because of content. She is only 9!

Still she has trouble spelling.

It was hard for me to understand that because I find spelling easy. I speak 3 languages fluently and have a photographic memory. I was naive to think that my own children would have the same easiness with languages as I do.

Because of this struggle, I have been on a search for a spelling program to teach her how to spell. Now why is spelling so important to me? I feel her lack of spelling knowledge hinder her learning journey.

 My daughter walks in the room and tells me she wants to write a story. "Get some paper and write it down." I tell her. "I can't. I don't know how to spell!", she grumbles back. See what I mean?

When my daughter writes, she writes the words the way she hears them. Now because she has not learned the correct sound for each phonogram, she ends up with words in the paper that look more like codes instead of English words. She feels limited because of her inability to spell. I want her to write her heart out, not dread writing!

We tried AVKO Sequential Spelling last year and my daughter did really well. She was able to pick up on the patterns and sequence and spelled 99% of the words correctly. However, a couple of days later, or hours for that matter, if you asked her to write one or two words from her list, she would spell them wrong.

I learned that my daughter does not have the photographic memory that I have. Her memory and learning style is more of a logic one, so although she could pick up the patterns, she did know understand why the words were spelled the way they were so she did not retain the learning.

Denise Eide talks about two different readers/ spellers: one that learns to read intuitively and the other that is very logical. The intuitive one will use and learn the differences of phonetic sounds without being aware of them. The logical reader will "see" the difference in the sounds and not understand why they are not consistent with the limited rules they have been taught.

For example, did you know that the F in the word OF sounds like a V? I had never noticed it until I saw my daughter write OV instead of OF. Now if she wrote OV that meant I said OV even though I had no idea that I was sounding it like a V. I am an intuitive reader/ speller. She is a logical one.

So for my daughter, Sequential Spelling, made no sense, since there were no rules being taught.

I am a native of Brazil, my first language is Portuguese. When I was 12 years old, I learned to speak, write and read in English while I lived in California. I barely have an accent. When I was 27 years old, I learned Spanish. I can speak, write and read in Spanish too. I am definitely an intuitive learner. I can pick up a language quickly WITHOUT having to know all the whys and hows.

My son, who is almost 7 years old, will from time to time correct me when I say a word that has a TH phonogram in it with the wrong pronunciation. Words like Arthur and thought sometimes come out wrong  because Latin languages have no TH sound in it. He will instinctively correct me. Yes, he can spell. He can spell better than his sister who is 9. He has made some connections that his sister hasn't yet.

In my search for help, I found the Logic of English. On their website, I watched THIS video and it changed my life. The video described some of the things that was happening to my daughter. I knew she was not stupid and that she was able to learn anything. Something clicked and I knew that I had found the answer to help my daughter.

I then watched THIS VIDEO and I made my mind right then and there, that I needed this curriculum. I learned a lot of things just watching this 40 minute video. Light bulbs kept going off during the whole presentation. I knew that this would finally help my daughter make sense of spelling and boost her confidence in her capacity to learn.

I will be reviewing The Logic of English curriculum in the next few months. If you have children struggling with reading or spelling I would recommend you begin by watching the videos I linked here. Then go check out Denise Eide's book: Uncovering the Logic of English. You can read samples of her book on the link I provided. It's also on Kindle format.

It might help you too to read this article that Denise wrote where she explains how she discovered the Logic of English. As a homeschooling Mom, she talks about her struggles and how finding out her children's individual learning styles affected the way she taught them.

After receiving the Teacher's Manual, the Cursive Student Workbook as well as a  set of Basic Phonogram Flash Cards, I began immediately working with my daughter. Together we read the Phonemic Awareness in the Introduction part of the Teacher's Manual. As a kinesthetic learner it was so important for my daughter to see how the different sounds were made in her mouth. I learned a lot too and realized that I am definitely an intuitive learner. I had no idea that the A had 3 sounds, but I use them every time I speak!!!

If you would like to read more on my reviews as we go on this journey, feel free to follow me or subscribe via email. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear it in the comments section. Thank you.

Have a blessed summer!!


PS. I used Hooked on Phonics to teach my 2 oldest to read. They learned the sounds of the letters by playing and watching TV. Once they desire to learn to read, I work through Hooked on Phonics program (k-2nd grade) and within 3-6 months they are independent readers. This program does not teach the sound of phonograms with the use of flashcards or the rules of spelling.

* As a homeschooling Mom, I share my experiences and reviews to help other homeschooling parents. All curriculum mentioned in the post above was purchased by me, with the exception of the Logic of English Teacher's Manual, Cursive Student Workbook and Basic Phonogram Flash Cards, which I received free of charge in exchange of my review.

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