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The Clever Monks and the Lazy O: Why O sometimes says /ŭ/.

We at Logic of English® have been teaching about vowels saying schwa in unaccented syllables and unaccented words for some time, as have other Orton-Gillingham programs. This concept, which we explain to students as a lazy vowel sound, explains thousands of words like a, the, amazing, precise, companion, easily, bicycle, and fountain.

However, there were a number of common English words that used a schwa-like sound in a way that remained mysterious. They were not explained by the concept of schwa. In these words, the phonogram O says the sound /ŭ/ in an accented syllable. The normal sounds of O are /ŏ ō ö/, and yet we have words like won, money, love, other, wonderful, mother, brother... Why, we wondered, was this so?

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What is a Schwa?
 Helping Students Read and Spell the Schwa Sound

Schwa may be the most misunderstood sound in English. Most people have heard of schwa, but it is rare that a teacher or a student knows that:

  • Every vowel may say the schwa sound
  • Schwa is the most common sound in every dialect of English
  • Schwa may sound like /ŭ/ or /ǐ/ in English words
  • Schwa occurs in unaccented syllables and unaccented words

Linguistically, schwa is an unaccented vowel sound.

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Introducing Spelling Rule 31!

We're introducing a new spelling rule to teach students about schwa! This blog post builds on a three-part series we posted in August on understanding vowels, consonants, and syllables. If you didn't see them, they are a great starting point, as they clarify several foundational concepts related to our new spelling rule.

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Understanding and Counting Syllables

We continue this week's series on consonants, vowels, syllables, and schwa and how understanding them helps with reading and spelling. Today's topic: syllables!

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What is a Consonant?

Part Two in this week's Vowels, Consonants, and Syllables series!

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July 2014 Newsletter

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What is a Vowel?

Though most English speakers have learned that the vowels are A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y, this is an oversimplification. And many of us who can rattle off this memorized list and say that these letters are vowels have absolutely no idea why.

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Making words that end in Silent E plural

A customer asked a question on our forum recently that got me thinking about how we could clarify and simplify the application of one of our spelling rules.

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New Sample Schedules for Essentials

We're sometimes asked for advice about the best way to pace Logic of English curriculum, and we continue to discuss different ways to do this as we hear from you about your experiences. Most often the questions are about Essentials, since the lessons are long and designed to be flexible so that they can be taught in a variety of circumstances and to a wide range of students.

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I can read that! Controlled reader correlations between Foundations and Essentials

Do you have a 6- to 8-year-old in Essentials or a 7- to 9-year-old in Foundations? Are you looking for additional phonogram-controlled texts for reading practice?

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