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My Baby Can Read. Also, Logic of English is Awesome.

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Normally Wednesday would be a wordless post, but I am too excited about this!

It wasn’t that long ago that I was taking Bug out on a date and buying him a new book as a reward for reading me a book.  Mr. Man, the younger brother, is 4.5, and if you spoke to me two months ago, I would have told you that reading was a long way off.  Actually, I probably would have told you that any sort of formal schooling was a long way off, because it’s all I can do to get this kid to keep his underwear on, let alone focus on anything else I say for more than 3.5 seconds.

He’s been tagging along with Big Brother’s lessons since July when we started this school year. And, by tagging along, I mean following us around the room while he throws things, farts, “battles” (i.e. punches anything that moves, and some things that done), yells, makes obnoxious noises, and eats. He eats a lot of bananas while I am trying to teach because it keeps his mouth busy and his hands out of the toilet. It’s been interesting to say the least. This kid has one mood, and one speed, and that is Hyperdrive.

He’s an amazing kid. But he’s not a kid cut out for seatwork. At least not yet. The good news is, he is 4.5. He doesn’t HAVE to do seatwork. He really doesn’t have to do anything. Most states compulsory education laws don’t even kick in until sometime after the child is 6, so in all technicalities, I could allow him to run around naked and feral for a few more years.

To be honest with you though, I am a bit of a worrywart, and somewhat OCD when it comes to what my children are doing. And, my life would be much easier if both my children COULD be relied on to “do school” at the same time. I know Bug would focus better. So, I invested in school for Mason, and for the last few months, this kid has been working on his three R’s.

Here is the big news (I know, it took me 4 paragraphs to get here. I’m long winded): Mr. Man can READ.


This Kid.

WHOA, right?

But- here is a confession: I can’t take the credit. Well, I can sort of. We’ve been beta-testing the Logic of English Foundations program written by Denise Eide. This program is still not completely written, but when it’s done, I can tell you, it’s going to be fantastic. The program starts by increasing phonemic awareness in the child (as in, how to recognize sounds in words, the difference between a voiced and unvoiced sound, the difference between the sounds of vowels and consonants, and how to break apart a word phonetically, and blend sounds back together into words). It then teaches the child the first 26 phonograms (which are simply the letter sounds for the alphabet, as in “A” makes three sounds, the sounds from apple, bake, father) while teaching them letter formation.  (It goes on to teach multi-letter phonograms and much, much more).

You’ve heard me mention Logic of English before (more so if you know me in person, I carry a copy of the book in my car, and have lent it to more people than I can remember) because I use the Essentials program with Bug. It’s similar to All About Spelling (which I have also raved about), in that is teaches reading through spelling and systematic phonics (as in all Orton-Gillingham based programs do) but with a wider scope per level, and in my opinion, more teacher support, more fun, and more multisensory activities. Logic of English Essentials has taken Bug from being an emergent reader, to a fluent reader (at a 3rd grade level) in the matter of 6 months.

What is special about Logic of English, more than its content, is the grassroots movement that is supporting it. There is an amazing community behind the program, both on the Logic of English forums, and on Facebook, where you can connect with not only other people using the program, but the author herself. She is so passionate about her work, and is willing to help. More than once, I have asked a question online, only to be answered by her. On top of the community, Logic of English creates and publishes YouTube teacher training videos which will show you exactly how to teach the program, as well as give you practical tips on how to teach reading and spelling.  When I was teaching Bug to read, I was constantly second guessing myself, but this time, Logic of English has trained me to be a better teacher and I have the support I need to really feel like I can do this.

Foundations, the program Mr. Man is using, is clearly written with a young child in mind. Denise Eide, the author, is a homeschool parent herself, with active kids. She told me that “There has been a strange stereotype that phonics=kill and drill. It doesn’t need to be that way! It is about the methods not the content that makes a program engaging!” and her methods clearly reflect that outlook. The program includes active games, including things like scavenger hunts, read and do (words like spin, jump, run, hop, stomp), obstacle courses, and so many more. It also includes letter of the day activities, readers, worksheets, card games, and good old fashioned spelling dictation. Mr. Man asks to do these lessons, and is eager to play the games. It has turned learning to read into the time we look forward to most in the day.

Today, he sat down with me, and he read me a book. (He read a Leapfrog Learn to Read Book, simple words, short vowels). It was amazing. I laughed, I cried, I bought him all the ice cream he could eat, and a few books for presents for good measure. I am a proud Mama.

My Big Boy, whom I never though would want to learn

If you are looking for a program to teach your child to read, I really encourage you to check out the Logic of English Foundations program. If you have an older child who is struggling to read, or are looking for a strong phonics based spelling program, the Logic of English Essentials is for you. (Look for a review on Essentials coming from me soon- it’s too good not to share.)

I’ll come back and let you know how Mr. Man’s reading is going in a few more months, and let you know if Foundations is still working for us. For now, we’ll keep chugging along, and I will enjoy listening to him read the early readers we picked up from the store today. We’ll also keep on fighting to keep his underwear on, and try to teach him not to lick people. But, Hey, He reads!

(All opinions are mine. I just love it, and want to shout from the rooftops that my baby can read, all thanks to Logic of English….. And a lot of hard work from Mr. Man)

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  • Hi! I see this was written a few years ago.. and I just stumbled across your blog now. Did you guys end up loving LOE all the way through? I’ve been struggling deciding between ARR, Abeka, and LOE and feel like I could cry… My 5 year old is reading BOB books independently but doesn’t know all the “rules”, like that the letter ‘u’ has 4 different sounds.. Was that overwhelming for him to learn? Do you think it will confuse her to go back to foundations and learn all the rules..???

    • Hi Hali,
      Each child is different, and I have used many resources over the years. My first two kiddos learned very easily with LOE. One came back and learned the rules after he was already reading a bit, and the other learned the rules from scratch. My younger daughter struggles with memorizing the rules, and has been a lot more challenging, but we are still working! I don’t think that the rules would be confusing to come to late in the game. I have tutored a few kids using LOE and I always explain to them that if they learn the “secret code” (the rules) that everything will start to make sense.

  • Did you ever review Essentials? I’m trying to search your site and can’t seem to find it. I have 7 and 9 year olds and am not sure if I should start with Essentials or Foundations.

  • I just came across the LOE recently and have been reading and researching it out. I came across this post that you wrote a few years ago. I’m wanting to start the program with my kids but having a tough time knowing where I should start. My kids are 7,6,4,3 and one on the way. My oldest will be in 2nd and my others will be in 1st and preschool. Now that a few years have passed where would you suggest I start? Thanks for your help.

    • With Foundations. I’d actually start the oldest two (possibly three) on A together. You may move through it quickly, but you really want that solid ground. It will improve reading and spelling across the board 🙂

  • Thank you for the review! My daughter’s only 3 1/2, but I”m starting to look for phonics programs for the near future. Do you have any idea what the main differences are between this, AAR, and PAL? I’d kind of narrowed it down to those, and then somehow ran across Foundations and was immediately intrigued (Oh, bother! – as Pooh would say), but can’t quite work out the fundamental details in which they differ, other than in peripheral things like hand puppets. 🙂 There’s not as much out there yet about this program, so I’m hoping maybe you’ll know. Thanks!

    Melanie

    • Melanie- all three of those programs are O-G based, which means they are very, very similar. I’ve tried them all- so in a really quick nutshell:
      AAR only focuses on the reading side, and requires you to buy AAS for the spelling side. Essentially, you’ll end up with MANY more levels to purchase this way. The program moves with baby steps and has very few varied activities. I ruled it out on having to buy a separate spelling program to cover decoding and encoding, and from the too-slow pace. We were bored, but it does work and a lot of people love it.
      PAL was a huge dud here- instead of only being O-G phonics based, it also includes sight words. IMO, it skips around too much and makes very little sense. It doesn’t build on itself. It relies on file folder games which some people love, but I found tedious to put together.
      LOE Foundations is the best of all of them, again, IMO. It is more cost effective because it is both spelling and reading, decoding and encoding. It is logical and progresses at a good rate. It has more varied activities and really speaks to the heart of a child with fun games and activities. It’s in depth.
      Of the three, LOE is my top pic. PAL is way down at the bottom. I hope that helps!

      • Thanks so much, that helps lots! There are so many out there, and it takes awhile to decipher the various methods and the details therein, so your input made things clearer, which I appreciate. 🙂

        Melanie

  • I just recently discovered the Logic of English Foundations program and am very interested in trying it for my five year old son. I came across your site while searching for reviews from others who have tried it. Your review is helpful but I have some questions. Did you use only Foundations A? I noticed on their website that Foundations B is not out yet out but is about to be available. I noticed that you talked about reviewing the Essentials program next so I was wondering if Foundations B is needed. I also wondered about the built in handwriting instruction. I am interested in doing the cursive first and wondered how you like the handwriting portion or if you used it all. Sorry about the long post but I am trying to get as much info as I can from someone who has used the program.
    Thank you!

    • We actually Beta tested it- so I have Foundations A-D here to use. Eventually, LOE will have E-H out also, which will bridge to Essentials level (targeted to about 8 years old or 3rd grade).
      It depends on the age of your student as to what you need. For a 5 year old, I would go from A to B and just keep on trucking with it. I did, however, teach my oldest to read and spell using Essentials only (because it was the only LOE product out at the time) with fantastic results, so if you were willing to put in the extra work adapting it, that could be done too.
      Honestly, Foundations is the best for a little guy- it’s active and fun and is play based, but VERY solid. I haven’t seen anything like it on the market and feel like i have tried ALL the learning to read programs. You can’t go wrong with it.
      As far as handwriting, yes, I used what is incorporated with LOE, and it works for both manuscript and cursive first. I love it.
      Let me know if you have any more questions, I’m happy to help!

      • Thank you so much for the info and responding so quickly! I am going to go ahead and order it. Thanks again!

  • Your younger son sounds just like my older son! My son just turned 5, and is finally settling down a tad, but is still, in his own words, “Motor-active!” and I was glad that in Maine, we can delay the official start of formal education until age 7, because I figured he’d need every moment of that lead time, before he’d ever be able or willing to sit still and do deskwork.
    I was thrilled with The Logic of English for my daughter, 8, who has flourished with its use, and even more thrilled about Foundations coming out. We’re waiting eagerly, because my motor-active son is also extremely bright and asked me outright the other day, “Mama, how do you make letters into words?” so I know it’s time, and I have no idea how to help him learn to read without a lot of sitting still and paying attention. The games sound wonderful. Your son licking people and farting, is very familiar to me. My son was driving us all nuts licking us, and loves the fart games, and even though he has settled somewhat now at 5, he’s still extremely robust physically and loves nothing better than good hard physical work. He’s also robust mentally, and asks me things like “Mama, are all the metals in our house conductive to both heat, and electricity?” so I am getting antsy waiting for Foundations to come out. I’m a bit nervous about beta-testing (a few weeks ago when I checked, the opportunity was still open) because I really just want it turn-key. But your story gives me a lot to look forward to, and also has me wondering if beta-testing might be ok, after all.

    • The Beta Testing really is very put together- it is quite nearly the final product (at least for the first few months worth of lessons- Denise is still rounding out the rest of the lessons), but each new group of lessons is more polished then the last as the beta testers weigh in with what they like, love, and want to see more of. If you started now, by the time you got to the end, the last lessons would be rounded out as well. The catch for me would be if you would plan on reselling or reusing, at this point of the beta test, you only get the PDF files, so that would not be an option. However, the price is fantastic, and the community of people Beta testing is priceless…. talk about customer support!

      I’m not sure on the current release date for the print version- I would guess late spring? No Idea on the cost either, but after seeing the content, I would expect it to be more than 100 easily. It’s high quality, so if cost is a factor, the beta test looks better and better. I use the PDF on a ipad, and only print off the student pages we need, so the printing cost is minimal for me.

      Good luck deciding if and when to dive in! If you love Essentials, I really don’t think you would regret it!

      • I too am using Foundations for my 6 1/2 year old son who is learning to read. We are on lesson 61 and he is a homeschooled Kindergartener. I am wondering if I should continue when Foundations is over and have him use Essentials for 1st grade or other programs since Essentials may be a review of what he is learning in Foundations. What’s your thought on this?

        • In my opinion, it’s really going to come down to if he is reading fluently. Essentials will build right onto foundations, so there will not be a repeat- however, they have different focuses and strengths. I did teach my oldest to read using Essentials, so you can move a child who isn’t reading fluently to that level with success, but that was before Foundations was released. Foundations has smaller “steps” and introduces more words more quickly than Essentials. Essentials will get you into grammar, and extended vocabulary. IF he was reading fluently at a 3rd-5th grade level, I would do Essentials instead of Foundations EFGH. For my little one (Mr. Man from this review) I plan on sticking with all of Foundations (the full A-H levels) and THEN moving on to Essentials. For the older who started with Essentials as an emergent reader, he will be repeating essentials 3 times, this first time, to cement phonics, the second, to cement spelling rules, and the third, to practice all of it again with the advanced spelling list. Its an easy to use, flexible program, so really, you can’t go wrong either way. Does that make sense?

        • Oh, and also- Essentials isn’t a repeat- it’s basically the next step up. Foundations is covering the phonograms and pronunciation rules, but isn’t digging into the spelling rules, which go hand in hand. Essentials adds in the spelling rules, and grammar rules to get your child to that bigger picture. They work SO well together. I would stick with it (and am going to with my kids).

  • How exciting! Congratulations to your little guy! We’re working on reading skills at our house too. It’s such an exciting time! I’ve also been looking into the Logic of English. Thanks for sharing about it!

    Stopping by from the Crew!

  • I cried when I found Logic of English Foundations, because I know this time teaching reading won’t be so hard. All I can think about now is that chocolate ice cream cone and how I want one ever so much!

  • So exciting. I will look at the programme. We are in year 2 of learning to read with one of ours and it has been a looong process.

    Popping over from TOS Crew and have just followed you via F/B.

    • You really should, especially with a struggling reader. How old is your child and what level are they at? If they are past the basic C.V.C. words (and can read, say…. hop on pop or the foot book) I would start them in Essentials. I’ll blog about that one soon- We’re doing Essentials this year focused on reading, and then we’ll repeat the program next year with more of an emphasis on the spelling and grammar. It’s taken Bug from “The Foot Book” to being able to read things like “My Father’s Dragon” and “Wayside Stories”. I can’t say enough about the strong phonics approach LOE uses. Even my spelling is improved!

  • Congratulations on your child reading! I too have a four-year-old that recently started reading. I taught her to read using the phonograms, based on a program I created after teaching elementary school for 7 years, five of them using The Writing Road to Reading. The phonograms are the best thing to come from my years of teaching.

    I’ve been blogging about teaching my daughter to read since she was two. She was a surprise baby almost 12 years after our previous child so I was extremely excited about the opportunity to teach her to read. Check out my blog at http://teachingellatoread.wordpress.com.

    Denise really has put together amazing resources. I’ve had a lot of experience teaching the phonograms, but have enjoyed her site and would love to view all her videos, just because I love the phonograms. I hope the word continues to spread.

    Mark Boline

    • The Phonograms really are where it’s at! I don’t know why *I* wasn’t taught these things! Your Daughter is adorable, thanks for sharing!

  • I found out the Foundations program is supposed to come out in March of 2013 and I’m excited to get it and use it with my 3.5 yr old. 🙂

    • It’s so well done for younger kids. It ramps up quickly, but does teach in manageable steps. When I first started using foundations he was barely four, and we shelved it for a few months while I waited for him to really be ready. 🙂 Hopefully your child will be ready right off the bat!

  • We are also using Foundations with a Kindergartener and loving it. I plan to continue on with Essentials next year in first so I would love to read your review of it. Your son is so cute and looks like he really enjoyed that ice cream.

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