Uncovering Goes to Press

Uncovering the Logic of English is now at the printer! Our official release date is February 1, 2011. The Phonogram cards, Spelling Rule cards, Phonogram CD and MP3, and a Quick Reference Guide are also in production and close to printing!

I am looking forward to using the new flash cards in my classrooom. They are on heavy paper, coated so they will not need laminating.

Literacy Crisis Statistics

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The National Reading Panel and The Logic of English

The National Reading Panel (NRP) was commissioned by Congress in 1997 to evaluate the research literature and determine what is known about effective methods to teach reading. The panel screened over 100,000 studies related to reading, held regional hearings and reviewed the testimony of teachers, parents, and researches. The report, issued in 2000, identified systematic, synthetic phonics as an essential component to effective reading instruction.

"Phonics instruction is a way of teaching reading that stresses the acquisition of letter-sound correspondences and their use in reading and spelling."

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Findings of the NRP on Phonics

Following is a small section of a document from the National Reading Panel (NRP) discussing the findings of the NRP related to phonics education. We include it here to highlight the section on phonics.

It is taken from the document Report of the National Reading Panel: Teaching Children to Read in the section Findings and Determinations of the National Reading Panel by Topic Areas.

The entire document is available in PDF format here .

How Torture Reading Helped Denise Discover The Logic of English

As I have spoken around the country, I have discovered a pervasive affliction: English spelling appears inconsistent, illogical, and for some impossible. This ache resides not only within our schools: public, private, and home, but within the hearts of professionals who cannot spell, parents who cannot answer their children's questions, intelligent adults who were in special education, employers who are despairing at the low literacy rates of the workforce, and on through all levels of society. The logic of English speaks straight to people's hearts and their greatest insecurities.

For language, spoken and written, is the basis of all academics and the medium by which we conduct business, science, politics and relationships. Without a firm grasp of our native tongue English, we sever the Achilles heel of individuals and our society.

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Use I Before E - Part 2

The spelling rule, "Use I before E, except after C, when it says A as in neighbor and weigh",-- is one of the most commonly known English rules. Unfortunately this rule generates as many rule breakers as rule followers.

Many programs that use the 70 Orton based phonograms have kept the "I before E rule." These programs also teach the phonograms IE and EI. In a previous post we considered the phonogram IE. In this post we will consider the phonogram EI.

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2011 Conventions Added


Denise will be appearing and speaking at the following conventions in the upcoming year.

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Use I Before E Except After C - Part 1

As I have been writing Uncovering the Logic of English, I have been researching every phonogram and every spelling rule. The next few posts will explore this popular rule more and demonstrate why I believe it should not be taught.

Many people know the rule "Use I before E except after C, when it says long A, and in some exceptions."

Those of you who have taken a class with me know I always teach this rule last and demonstrate how knowing the phonograms IE and EI and their sounds is a much better way to memorize which spelling is used. I have always felt that the long list of exceptions to this rule prevents it from being a useful spelling tool.

As I have researched this rule I have discovered several problems with the phonogram sounds. Today we will look more closely at the phonogram IE. In common lists of the 70 phonograms, students are taught that IE has three sounds: long E, long I, and short I.

The problem with this is twofold: the long I and the short I sounds are not accurate in describing the commonly used English words.

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