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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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The Phonogram Flash Cards Have Arrived!

The Phonogram Flash Cards have arrived and they are beautiful! The 4.5 x 6 inch size is perfect for both the classroom and individual tutors. They are coated in a matte finish for durability with minimal glare. The front includes a simple picture of the phonogram, while the back includes a pronuncaition key, sample words, and spelling aids. For only $18 a set these are a great buy. After Uncovering the Logic of English, these are the most vital teaching aid for improving students' reading and spelling.

How Much Time?

One of the most common questions I am asked is: How much time should I spend teaching the logic of English?

Unfortunately there is not a magic answer. Though I would like to challenge people to think about the question in a different way. Reading and writing are the foundation to all academics in English speaking countries. If you cannot read and write well, everything else will be difficult. If you are teaching a student younger than 7 this material, it is the key to success in all other subjects. Learning to read, and to read well, should be the focus of our Kindergarten, first, and second grade classrooms. If you have older students who are struggling with reading and/or spelling, you know that lack of mastery in these key areas is holding the student back. For students who are struggling it would be better to quit all other subjects, except math, and focus on reading and spelling for a few months. Time spent learning to read is far more important than any other subject.

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How Denise Discovered 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.

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Our Dream to Teach All Students How to Read

Unless something changes:
Of the nation's 57.5 million K-12 students, 12.65 million will be functionally illiterate as adults. 27.6 million of these students will not be proficient in basic literacy skills.

What will it take to change the direction of reading and spelling education in the United States today? The National Reading Panel has already shown that systematic phonics is the most effective way to teach decoding. The National Reading Panel has also identified that most teachers have had inadequate phonics training.

In 150 pages, Uncovering the Logic of English explains how letters are arranged to form words in English. Uncovering the Logic of English demonstrates the need and provides teacher's with answers to questions their students are asking everyday. I believe this book can play an integral role in changing how we think about English and learning to read and write.

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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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