Though we carry Logic of English, we CANNOT sell it online or over the phone and it is available ONLY to in-store purchasers. If you want to purchase it after reading our review, you can order it from the Logic of English site using any of the links in this review (and we will receive a small commission).
For fans of the phonics-first method, Wanda Sanseri's Spell to Write and Read or Romalda Spaulding's Writing Road to Reading have been the go-to curriculum, but a common complaint is that they're hard to use, and teacher intensive. Logic of English is emerging as the user-friendly alternative to both. Its bright, colorful teacher manuals are highly organized and heavily scripted, and though there are many parts and pieces the actual program is fairly easy to implement, with very little prep time required.
Logic of English teaches the 70 basic phonograms plus four more. These are augh (as in daughter and laugh) bu as in buy, gu as in guide, and cei as in receive (instead of teaching the "i before e except after c" rule with its many exceptions, cei is taught as its own phonogram.) It also introduces four sounds for I, U, and Y instead of three, and two for X. (You can hear the individual phonograms and their sounds here.) After the basic phonograms, there are a number of advanced phonograms, that explain words borrowed from other languages such as "et" as in bouquet, or "pn" as in pneumonia.
How it works:
There are two series put out by Logic of English. Foundations is for younger students ages 4-7 who are eager to learn, and Essentials is for older students, students who struggle with reading, ESL learners, and adults.
Age range: 4 years to 7 years old
Logic of English markets itself as the reading solution for everyone, but the program is especially geared towards students who are eager to learn reading, who have mild to moderate dyslexia, or who are logical thinkers. The series consists of four books, Levels A through D, which should take about 2-3 years to complete.
The lessons become progressively harder as the books progress. Levels A-B lessons can be completed in about 30 min, Level C in 45-60, Level D in 90 min. But, this is a self-paced series, so you can go at the length your child can handle, speeding up when it's easier, slowing down when it gets more challenging.
Foundations comes with a huge chunk of supplements. At the very least, you'll need the teacher's manual, student workbook, and readers for each level (there are four levels: A through D.) Level A readers aren't sold separately; they're sheets in the back of the workbook to tear out and assemble. Level D recommends some optional additional readers (which we carry.) Unless you're going to skip a large chunk of the program, you'll also need the manipulatives, flashcards, and game tiles. Optional supplies that you can use are listed at the beginning of each book and at the beginning of each lesson. There are also two apps.
Before it ever introduces a single phonogram, Foundations A spends four lessons on phonemic awareness. In lesson five, the phonogram A is introduced vertically, with all sounds for that letter being taught at the same time. Doodling Dragons: an ABC Book of Sounds reinforces vertical phonics in a cute alphabet book format.
After completing Foundations your child can move on to Essentials if you've been loving LOE, but at this point your child should be reading fluently at a first grade level so you're free to move on to a different reading, spelling, grammar, handwriting, and writing program. However, most parents will like the fact that Essentials can be used as a complete 18-month multi-level language arts curriculum.
Age Range: 8 to adult
This series is for older struggling readers or spellers, ESL learners, or readers who can write and recognize letters. The book will take about a year and a half to complete going slow, but this series is made to be entirely flexible as far as pacing goes.
The lesson length will also depend on your pacing. There are about 40 lessons in volume 1, and each lesson has about two hours of material, which you'll want to spread out during the course of a couple days or weeks unless you're trying to go fast. The lessons itself are actually divided into five "days" worth of work, to make it simpler.
At minimum, you will need the teacher's manual and student workbook. There are a number of flashcards and tiles without which it will be hard to teach as a complete program. If you're using Essentials as a jumping off point for teaching English, or don't intend to use everything in the book, you can get away with just using the teacher's manual and workbook, but everyone else will need the full set, or at least most of the pieces.
The Essentials teacher's manual is currently being revised and split into two volumes (only volume one is currently available). You can still get the first edition single volume teacher's manual from Logic of English (while supplies last) but if you're buying the new one now you won't have too much longer to wait until volume two, which is scheduled for release Spring 2017. With a year and a half of material in volume one, most people starting it today won't need volume two for a while yet.
Where to go next: when volume two is released, that's the obvious next step. But many might be able to step to a different language arts or grammar program, if reading is strong.
Our Honest Opinion:
It's easy to be skeptical when something promotes itself as an answer to the inconsistencies in the English language. Possibly, we're so accustomed to the seemingly illogical facets of English that we can't conceive of a world where it all makes sense. And yet Denise Eide does a great job of closing loopholes in the laws of spelling. Not to mention her curriculum is colorful, scripted, multi-sensory, and just plain fun.
Since we started carrying this curriculum we've been hearing lots of positive feedback. Some teachers are coming to it (with relief) from SWR, and enjoy its teacher-friendly format. Teachers who like a little more freedom and have a lot of confidence may find the uber-scripted lessons restrictive, but Eide's thoroughness certainly provides enough material to build your own lesson plan on. SWR is more cost-effective for the teacher on a budget who is willing to put in the extra work to master the material, but LOE is a great investment for the amount and quality of the material you receive (not to mention cutting down on a massive amount of teacher prep time).
The different activities to do in one lesson will delight some children and may overwhelm others (although this is true for any curriculum.) Much has been said about LOE being a curriculum for dyslexic students, and while the lessons may move a bit too fast for those with more severe dyslexia (AAR Pre-1's pace is about half as slow, for example) others may benefit from the structured multi-sensory lessons.
Since we started carrying LOE, I've heard from multiple parents who say their kids finally enjoy and understand reading thanks to this curriculum. Though it's not a one-size-fits-all, it has the thoroughness of more popular phonics-based programs like SWR and is wonderfully teacher-friendly. We're impressed!
Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here.
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