The Gift of Struggling Students

As a teacher, the greatest gift I have been given is students who do not think like me. The students who are most different from me have taught me the most. They have stretched me to look from new perspectives, to see the world from new angles and by doing so have taught me more than any of my "formal" education.

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English Spelling Keeps Becoming Simpler

This morning, I woke up early to write curriculum. As I am creating the spelling lists, I have been investigating words further. Each list teaches a rule and also practices the new phonograms.

This morning I began to investigate words that end in UE. In Uncovering the Logic of English, all my examples were words ending in the long U sound. I am so amazed by what I just discovered and how it solves a few words I didn't even realize I still didn't know how to spell or why.

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The Spelling Frequency of Long Vowel Sounds

I have found research on the frequency of long vowel spellings. These are the most difficult sounds to spell in English and require the most rote memorization. The full study is found at the English Spelling Society website.

Blogger Reviews Uncovering the Logic of English

Check out Cathie Baier's blog review of Uncovering the Logic of English.

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20 Ways to Help Reverse the Literacy Crisis

1. Talk to neighbors, friends, co-workers, and family about what you are learning. "English is logical."

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Logical English and Our Future Scientists and Engineers

I love hearing from people who have read Uncovering the Logic of English: A Common-Sense Solution to America's Literacy Crisis. This weekend, a 70 year old man approached me. He explained he had a successful career as an engineer, solving complex problems using math, science, and computer programming. With tears in his eyes, he said, "When I read your book, I understood for the first time that English is a code and that all these years it was not my fault I didn't understand it. Thank you." He then went on to explain that since retirement, he has been tutoring children in the public schools. Each year, he is paired with a third or fourth grade boy who cannot read. He described each boy he had tutored and their passions and talents. He summarized it this way, "They are all gear heads like me."

How Reading Relates to Math and Science

The state of the Union, the news, everyone seems to be talking about how the United States is falling behind in math and science education. We have made huge efforts to push forward in math, creating honors math programs and funding science classes, but we are missing the root the problem: our failure to teach reading.

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Developing a Spelling List

I am greatly enjoying writing curriculum to accompany Uncovering the Logic of English: A Common-Sense Solution to America's Literacy Crisis. Having the book in front of me has been an invaluable tool. I have been able to reference sample words for each rule and it is providing a consistency across the curriculum.

The most challenging aspect at this point to writing the curriculum is creating a word list. I have done extensive research on high frequency word lists. Most curricula based upon Dr. Orton's 70 phonograms use the Ayres List of the 1,000 most frequently used words or an Extended Ayres List for spelling.

I have decided not to use the Ayres list in isolation due to three concerns. First, the Ayres list was originally published in 1918. In the past 93 years there has been a shift in usage.

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Teaching to Mastery: The Key to Learning

One of the biggest mistakes I have made when teaching struggling readers and spellers is lack of sufficient repetition. The logic of English provides students with a systematic way to analyze English words and understand their spelling. Though it greatly reduces the amount of rote visual memorization, memorization is still required. Knowing the logic of English aids students in finding the parts of the word that must be memorized.

When learning a new rule, students need varying amounts of practice before they begin to apply the rule consistently. For example, a student may learn that English words do not end in V. Nevertheless, they may misspell hav in their writing. Why? Because learning to apply spelling rules consistently takes practice.

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Testing New Logic of English Curriculum

I have been writing the reading and spelling curriculum to go along with Uncovering the Logic of English. In my experience as a teacher, language arts have usually been taught in a fragmented manner. Teachers use one reading curriculum, a different one for spelling, another for grammar and usage, etc. Yet all these subjects are integral to learning to become fluent readers and writers in English.

I have taken a different approach. Logic of English will cover phonics, spelling, grammar, punctuation, and usage all in one curriculum. It simply makes so much sense. The program builds from one concept to the next incrementally, guiding students and providing support. In this manner all children can succeed.

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