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.
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)