As much as I desire to instill a love for reading in my children, teaching them to learn sounds, blend them together, and learn to do it on their own can be difficult at times. I’ve used several phonics programs over the years. I’ve strongly disliked some and enjoyed others, but recently I’d begun to look into trying out something new.
My youngest daughter, who is three years old, has known her letter sounds for over a year. She is very bright and eager to learn and is beginning to memorize some books, page for page. I wanted a fun way to start teaching her how to begin to recognize how those letter sounds turn into words. I wanted to find something that was colorful and engaging, but still solid with instruction. A fellow homeschooler recommended Logic of English, specifically Foundations, Level A. When I received the opportunity to review this very curriculum just a short while later, I was very excited to give it a whirl! I also was given the reusable resources to accompany the set.
This is more than your standard phonics curriculum. It’s a multi-sensory, systemic approach to promoting well rounded literacy. Rather than only utilizing lists of words and rules, your child will learn by using various approaches. Fine and gross motor skills are exercised, connections are made, review is provided, and on top of it all, there is fun!
The Foundations, Level A hardcover teacher’s manual (retails for $38.00)is 208 pages of detailed guidance for parents. It contains 40 lessons, broken down into segments that are designed to take approximately 30 minutes per day over the course of one week. There are helpful teacher tips that give suggestions on how to aid students who are struggling with concepts, fun activities that will engage children’s senses and reinforce teachings, book lists, speech tips for better articulation, and more. The beginning of each lesson lays out the objectives for that portion in phonemic awareness and handwriting.a You will also find a list of materials that are required to complete the lesson and optional resources for enhancement. Lesson instructions are clear, concise, and scripted for ease of use. Review is provided after every five lessons are completed.
|Looking in a mirror to watch what her mouth does when she says a sound|
The paperback student workbook (retails for $18.00) is available in cursive or manuscript and has 155 bright and colorful pages ready for your child to use. Words and letters are in a larger than normal print to make it easier for little eyes. The pages are not overcrowded with information or pictures which can help to prevent students from becoming overwhelmed. This is not your standard workbook! Inside, you’ll discover activities to increase phonemic awareness, games to bring about mastery, comprehension, and specific skills, handwriting worksheets, and readers for your child to use to practice what they’ve learned!
Doodling Dragons: An ABC Book of Sounds (retails for $15.00)is a vibrant hardcover picture book that teaches all of the individual sounds that the 26 letters of the alphabet make. Teaching all of the sounds a letter makes at first can help students get a better grasp on reading and spelling. The illustrations are silly and full of color to capture the attention of young ones. Every two page spread includes one letter and then accompanying pictures of words that use the various sounds of that letter.
The reusable resources set (retails for $85) includes a double sided whiteboard, a quick reference handwriting chart, tactile handwriting cards, basic phonogram flashcards, and two decks of game cards. While the price for this seems hefty at first, it is actually a great value. The entire set can be used for every level of the Foundations curriculum so it is a one time purchase that will be used for several school years.
Our favorite parts of this set were the whiteboard and the tactile cards. My little girl loved being able to practice the handwriting strokes that she was learning, erase them, and do it all over again to her heart’s content. The handwriting cards provide an example of the learned stroke that has a rough, bumpy feel to it. Students use their finger to trace over the mark and they can actually feel it as well.
|Using her finger to practice a handwriting stroke on the whiteboard|
I loved that this was virtually an open and go curriculum. With the supply lists, you can easily plan ahead for what materials you will need so that they are at the ready. The scripts provided help me teach new concepts in a way that is easy for my daughter to understand. The multitude of activities help bring the learning material to life and add a bit of fun and flair to our school day! When learning is exciting, children become eager to do it!
The overall pricing of the curriculum is a little on the expensive side, in my opinion. However, it really gives solid teaching in three areas: phonics/reading, handwriting, and spelling. The cost is worth the output. Since everything is non consumable except for the student workbook, it is also a nice investment if you have more children that will be coming down the line.
Level A is designed for children ages 4-7, but if you have a precocious child like I do who is a tad younger, but ready for some more formal instruction, this is easily adaptable to suit your needs. Rather than do one lesson per week, I broke them down even more, moving slowly and at her pace. We will continue to take our time and really absorb all that it has to offer as we journey down the path to reading!