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Multi-Level Reading, Spelling, Grammar, and Vocabulary

In 2015, Logic of English launched a major expansion and update of our original Essentials curriculum. This new version make it even easier and more fun to teach your students the Logic of English. The first half (Lessons 1-15) was released that year, and the second half (Lessons 16-30) was released in 2018.

This page provides an overview of the changes for those familiar with the 2012 Essentials 1st edition and wondering what's new. You may also learn more about Essentials here.

In the new expanded Essentials, beautiful, clear, full-color layout and expanded content make it easy to learn alongside your students, navigate the clearly scripted lessons, find answers to questions, and teach the Logic of English like a pro! Three levels of spelling lists allow you to teach a variety of students together and to reuse Essentials for multiple years of instruction. Expanded vocabulary content leads advanced students into the fascinating world of morphology. New guidance on scheduling, a Placement Test and Pre-Lessons, and short assessments in every lesson help you find the right starting point for each student and customize your instruction as you go.

What's the same?

The core content. You'll find all the same content that is covered in the first edition of Essentials: complete and systematic phonics instruction, phonemic awareness, accurate spelling rules, morphology for vocabulary development, grammar, basic composition.

The approach. Through scripted, engaging lessons, students learn logical answers to their questions about language and why words are spelled the way they are. Concepts are taught in a manner that engages critical thinking, encouraging students to ask questions about language, explore, and understand rather than memorize by rote. The multi-sensory instruction supports all learners. Games and engaging activities make practice fun. Fully scripted instruction makes the curriculum easy to teach, allowing you to learn alongside your students.

New starting in the 2nd Edition

[Jump to Sample Pages]

Three levels of Spelling Lists for each lesson. Customize your lessons for each student, teach students at different ages or ability levels simultaneously, and use the curriculum for multiple years, enabling students to master the concepts and go deeper as they apply it to increasingly advanced words. The spelling concepts in each lesson can be taught and practiced with all students together; the three lists allow you to differentiate the application to provide an appropriate level of challenge for each student.

Ten optional Pre-Lessons help you to strengthen any foundational skills that need reinforcement before your students begin Lesson 1.

A Placement Test to help you decide where to start with each student. Assess students' existing skills, clarify whether it will be helpful to teach the Pre-Lessons, and determine whether the Level A, B, or C spelling lists will be the best initial placement in the lessons.

New guide to teaching Spelling Analysis. Step-by-step instruction and tips equip you to dictate, teach, and analyze each lesson's spelling words effectively in order to help students apply and master the concepts they are learning and strengthen reading and spelling fluency.

New Spelling Rules 31.1, 31.2, 31.3. Give students a more complete understanding of the "lazy vowel" schwa, why and when we hear it in words, and how to read and spell words that include a schwa sound.

Three levels of Grammar and Dictation. Teach the core content in each lesson together, and then use the three levels of activities to apply and practice the concepts with the spelling words each student has learned.

Expanded vocabulary lessons. Strengthen vocabulary, spelling, and comprehension as your students discover the power of morphology! Essentials now introduces even more suffixes, prefixes, roots and base words, compound words, and homonyms.

Separate vocabulary instruction is provided for each of the three levels, using concepts in the words from each level's spelling list and providing more challenging content for advanced students. New Morpheme Flash Cards for each level are used for instruction, activities, and practice. Level C vocabulary instruction includes dozens of new Greek and Latin roots!

Additional teacher helps. More Teacher Tips, restructured Spelling Lists with more teacher support, List of Morphemes, Index of Spelling Words, comprehensive General Index, and answers to dozens of commonly asked teacher and student questions about phonograms, sounds, spelling rules, and words.

Games included—right in the Teacher's Guide!

Clearer, full-color, easy-to-use layout in the Teacher's Guide.

One curriculum, multiple volumes.
You'll understand why we've divided it as soon you see it—with a wealth of new content and three levels of instruction, Essentials is huge!

The thirty lessons of Essentials are divided into smaller sets of lessons, in order to keep the Teacher's Guides a manageable size and provide greater flexibility in pacing.

Lessons 1-15 were released in late 2015 as Volume 1. We are now printing these lessons in two smaller sets: 1-7 and 8-15.
Lessons 16-30 were released in late 2017 and early 2018 in two sets: 16-22 and 23-30.

New guidance on pacing. Each lesson is divided into five parts to make it easy to teach one lesson over the course of a week. Pacing is flexible and can be customized for your student and setting, but the curriculum is designed to take approximately one year to complete once through if moving at a one-lesson-per-week pace. Group parts together or spread a section across multiple days to suit your students and setting.

The five parts are structured as follows. Phonogram practice, spelling practice, and games are interspersed throughout.

  • Part 1: Essential Concepts. Phonograms, Exploring Sounds, Spelling Rules.
  • Part 2: Building Words. Spelling Journal, Spelling Analysis (using spelling list A, B, or C).
  • Part 3: Words in Context. Spelling Game, Grammar, Dictation.
  • Part 4: Words in Action. Vocabulary, Dictation, Composition. Optional: Essentials Reader.
  • Part 5: Check Your Understanding. Formative assessment.

Check your Understanding in every lesson. Instead of every fifth lesson being set aside for assessment and review, every lesson is instructional, and every lesson contains a formative assessment in Part 5. (This also means that Essentials now has 30 lessons instead of 40.)

The optional Essentials Reader provides phonics-controlled reading practice, with stories, poems, and nonfiction articles designed to meet the intellectual needs of developing readers age 8 to adult. Add the Essentials Reader book alone, or include the optional Essentials Reader Teacher's Guide and Essentials Reader Student Activity Book for a rich array of comprehension and composition activities using the Reader texts. This high-interest reader is recommended for all students using Essentials for reading remediation.

Questions and Answers

I'm already using the first edition of Essentials. Do I have to switch?

No! You can continue to use the first edition as long as you would like. The first edition of Essentials is a wonderful curriculum that has helped thousands of children and adults to become more successful, confident readers and spellers over the past four years. We continue to sell the 1st edition Workbooks in PDF format, and we will sell printed copies of the 1st Edition Teacher's Manual while supplies last. The 1st Edition Teacher's Manual is available in a digital format as well.

I'm already using the first edition. Might I want to switch for future students?

Yes, you might! Those who are interested in teaching the content to more advanced students, teaching students at multiple ages or ability levels simultaneously, or going further with vocabulary instruction than the first edition did are likely to find the second edition very helpful. We've also provided greater clarity and further support for teachers on any areas that we found were challenging for people in the first edition, and improved the layout, so you may also find the second edition easier to use.

If I want to switch, will I need all new materials for the second edition?

No, you will be able to use your supplements from the first edition. You will need the following new materials:

  • Essentials Teacher's Guides (Lessons 1-7, 8-15, 16-22, and 23-30 — order all at once or as you need them)
  • Essentials Student Workbooks (Lessons 1-7, 8-15, 16-22, and 23-30)
  • Morpheme Cards (1-7, 8-15, 16-22, and 23-30)
  • Updated Spelling Analysis Card
  • Updated Grammar Flash Cards, or download a PDF of the new cards on our Blog
Some items have had minor updates, so you may want to consider getting newer versions if you purchased them with the first edition of Essentials, but you can also simply add new concepts to the supplements you have. See more info on our FAQs page.
Upgrade / Essentials After Foundations Set

For those who already have a number of Logic of English supplements, we have created a discounted Essentials 1-7 After Foundations Set. This package, which includes the Teacher's Guide, Workbooks, and Morpheme Cards for Lessons 1-7, will be a great option for those who want to upgrade to the new edition and only need to add these new products to an existing set of Logic of English supplements. (If you are starting Logic of English for the first time, you will save more by purchasing the discounted Complete Set package, which includes all needed supplements.)

If you have an older struggling reader, you may also wish to add: The Essentials Reader; The Essentials Reader Teacher's Guide; The Essentials Reader Student Activity Book

What grade would you recommend Essentials 2nd Edition for? Is each of the three levels designed for a specific grade?

Essentials is designed to introduce the structure of the English language and the reasons behind English spelling to any students age eight and above who need to improve their spelling and/or reading skills, or who want to deepen their understanding of how written English works. The three levels are designed to enable teachers to adjust instruction for the needs of each student. They are not designed for a specific grade.

As a general estimate, Level A is likely to be appropriate for most 2nd grade students, as well as for struggling readers of any age. Level B is likely to be appropriate for 3rd or 4th grade students reading and spelling at or near grade level. Older struggling readers may also benefit from learning the spelling words from Level B alongside the Level A list. Level C is likely to be appropriate for students in 5th grade and above who are reading and spelling at or near grade level. But the most appropriate placement will always vary by student. The level should be chosen to provide the right level of application for the student you have.

The Placement Test is the best guide for which level to use as the starting point for each student. Teachers may also move between the levels as needed while teaching the curriculum to provide students with greater challenge or support.

Is the second edition of Essentials a complete Language Arts program?

With the expanded content in the second edition, Essentials provides several years' worth of complete instruction in spelling, grammar, and vocabulary development. The new, optional Essentials Reader and activity guide include reading comprehension and composition activities. This reading comprehension supplement was designed as a high-interest reader for students in third grade and above who are struggling with reading, but it may also be used as a primary reading comprehension and composition program for students in 3rd or 4th grade.

What's in the Complete Set?

Essentials Lessons 1-15 Complete Set:
Full price: $221. Package discount $198.

  • Essentials Teacher's Guide, Volume 1 - new - $75
  • Essentials Student Workbook, Lessons 1-7 (student consumable) - new - $7
  • Essentials Student Workbook, Lessons 8-15 (student consumable) - new - $7
  • Spelling Journal (student consumable)
  • Morpheme Cards, Set 1 - new - $22
  • Basic Phonogram Flash Cards
  • Spelling Rule Flash Cards
  • Grammar Flash Cards
  • Advanced Phonogram Flash Cards
  • Phonogram Game Cards: Bookface
  • Phonogram Game Cards: Manuscript or Cursive
  • Phonogram Game Tiles
  • Spelling Analysis Card
  • Phonogram and Spelling Rule Quick Reference

Essentials Lessons 16-30 Sets
Full price: $118. Package discount $98.

  • Essentials Teacher's Guides, Lessons 16-22 and Lessons 23-30 - new - $40 each
  • Essentials Student Workbook, Lessons 16-22 and Lessons 23-30 (consumable) - new - $7 each
  • Morpheme Cards, Lessons 16-22 and Lessons 23-30 - new - $12 each
Save when you buy a discounted set!

Total cost, Essentials 2nd Edition (30 repeatable lessons, 1-4 years of language arts curriculum): $296

Cost per additional student/to repeat a second year: $34
Workbooks $7 each (1-7, 8-15, 16-22, and 23-30); Spelling Journal $6.
Optional: extra sets of Game Tiles per student, $15; Student Whiteboard per student, $9
If teaching more than four students simultaneously, add additional sets of Phonogram Game Cards, $20, for each group of four.

The Essentials Reader and supporting resources are sold separately as an optional, supplemental reading comprehension and composition program.
The Essentials Reader: $22
Teacher's Guide: A Companion to the Essentials Reader (optional): $20
Student Activity Book: A Companion to the Essentials Reader (optional, consumable): $12
If teaching multiple students, order enough copies of the Reader for all students to have access, and if using the Student Activity Book for comprehension, composition, and extension activities add one copy per student.

What factors should I consider when evaluating the price of Essentials?

Essentials is a very cost-effective approach to language arts instruction. In it, students gain a complete understanding of the English spelling system and extensive practice and application, replacing years of spelling word memorization. It also teaches several years' worth of grammar, basic composition, and vocabulary instruction. A good way to consider the cost of Essentials in comparison with other programs is to calculate what you would spend on two years' worth of curriculum for:

  • phonics
  • spelling
  • basic reading skills
  • grammar
  • basic composition and punctuation rules
  • vocabulary
If you are considering using the Essentials Reader for a student who is still developing reading fluency, add in that cost. Then include the cost of
  • readers
  • reading comprehension activities
  • composition activities
from other programs in your comparision.

To compare the cost of Essentials with other Orton-Gillingham-based programs, calculate the cost of the program's full curriculum (all levels) for reading and spelling instruction, as well as any training required to teach the curriculum. (And, if you haven't, check out our free online training videos!)

Are there Cursive and Manuscript versions?

The second edition of Essentials is designed to be used with any handwriting style. If handwriting instruction is needed, begin with The Rhythm of Handwriting in Cursive or Manuscript before starting Essentials (learn why we recommend cursive!) or while completing the optional Essentials PreLessons. The only handwriting-specific piece is the Phonogram Game Cards; choose manuscript or cursive so that your students can practice reading the phonograms in the handwriting style they are learning.

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