Teachers using Logic of English in a classroom often wonder what their students should practice at home, especially if parents are not familiar with the phonograms and spelling rules or are used to receiving a list of words to drill or an assigned amount of time that children are required to read.
Here are some ideas for homework that will reinforce the skills you are teaching in Foundations or Essentials!
The most important thing for students to practice at home is the sounds of the phonograms! They are the basic building blocks of written English, and frequent, short, fun practice helps students master them more quickly and lay a strong foundation for reading and spelling fluency.
Since many parents are not familiar with the concept of phonograms and have not been taught all of the sounds of the letters themselves, it is important to provide clear guidance and tools they can use to help their children practice. Involving parents in phonogram practice can not only support students' progress but build the literacy skills of the whole family!
Free Resource: Take-Home Phonogram Game Sets
Free phonogram practice assignments for Foundations and Essentials, designed for parents to do with their children at home! Print them out as a take-home activity, and use them as a model for additional phonogram practice assignments of your own.
Take-Home Sets Introduction
How to use these sets
Foundations Sample Take-Home Sets
For use after Lessons 40 and 50
Essentials Sample Take-Home Sets
For use after Lessons 3 and 6
(You can also use Foundations Set 1 after Essentials Lesson 1)
Other Phonogram Homework Ideas
- Assign your students to teach their parents or guardians the new phonogram (or spelling rule) they learned today.
- With students who can already write comfortably, have students make their own phonogram flash cards in class as you introduce new phonograms and take these home for practice.
- Have families review the sounds of assigned phonograms by clicking on them in our interactive online Phonogram Chart.
- If you are able to ask your students' families to purchase items for use at home, or are having students make flash cards in class, some of the following ideas may also be an option:
- Consider having each family purchase two decks of Phonogram Game Cards, the Phonogram & Spelling Game Book, and either the Phonogram & Spelling Rule Quick Reference or a set of Basic Phonogram Flash Cards (to help the parents learn the sounds). Then, to assign at-home phonogram practice, simply assign which phonograms should be practiced and a recommended game from the Game Book (or let them choose).
- Ask parents to keep their Basic Phonogram Flash Cards sorted by which phonograms their child has learned. Send home weekly assignments indicating which new phonograms to add to the "taught" set." (You can also do this with a set students build in class and take home as they learn the phonograms.)
- With young children, have the parents hide the phonogram cards that have been taught around a room. The student hunts for the cards and tells the parent or guardian the sound each phonogram makes as he finds it. Students learning to write can practice writing it in manuscript or cursive after reading the phonogram.
- Phonogram writing drill: the parent shuffles the "taught" cards (or a selection of them needing practice) and then reads the sounds of the phonograms from the back, one at a time, without showing the student the front. The student writes each phonogram. For additional practice, have the student read the sounds back to the parent aloud at the end.
Reading Fluency Activities
A word of caution: Many parents are used to kill and drill practice to help their student memorize whole words, or early readers that encourage children to guess words from the pictures or the pattern. Be sure to let parents know that their children are learning to truly read words from their sounds, and that you want your students to practice sounding out rather memorizing whole words. True fluency comes from decoding words and phonograms again and again until the brain processes the sounds so quickly that it seems instantaneous, and the skills students gain from doing this apply to thousands of words rather than simply to the list of words being practiced.
Send home the cut out cards from the Foundations high-frequency word games (check your teacher's manual to see if they need to be saved for another lesson at school first), along with instructions for a game, so that the child can play the game at home. Remind parents that the goal is simply to provide some additional practice sounding out these words, not to drill the cards until they are mastered.
If you are able, send home copies of the Foundations readers after students have read them in class so that they can reread them. Give a specific assignment, so that the rereading has a purpose: to read the story aloud to a family member, to read it to a parent and guardian and then say what her favorite part of the story was, etc. Remind parents to encourage children to sound out words, and to provide help by explaining the sound a phonogram says, or sounding out the whole word for the student to blend, rather than by stating the whole word if a child is stuck.
With older struggling readers, send home The Essentials Reader for the student to reread that lesson's chapter, after completing the corresponding Essentials lesson in class. You can also send comprehension questions from the Essentials Reader Teacher's Guide for the parent to discuss with the student. (Do not require independent reading or writing work besides reading the Essentials Reader itself until the student is confidently reading texts that are not phonics controlled.)
Recommend additional readers that use only the phonics tools taught thus far in Foundations for at-home reading practice with developing readers. Note that there aren't very many out there until students are near the end of Foundations C, because so many early readers are written based on sight word memorization, or picture or pattern "reading," rather than on a logical progression in phonics difficulty. Do not require students to read books that are not phonics controlled until they finish Foundations C or begin to voluntarily pick up and read additional books on their own.
For Foundations students, memorizing spelling words should be a low priority except for as a way to provide an additional challenge for strong readers. However, if students are making good progress in reading, and getting lots of practice with the phonograms and sounding out words to read them, it is fine to assign occasional practice sounding out and writing words they have learned in a low-pressure and fun way, such as with the spelling games in the Miles and Jax lessons in Foundations C. Make sure parents understand that the goal is simply to practice the skill of sounding them out and writing them; if they spell a word wrong, the parent should gently point out the phonogram that is incorrect and then have the student try again.
For Essentials students, practicing the spelling words they are learning is a great way to build their skills at home. Again, make sure the parent understand that the goal is to practice sounding out and spelling the word, not to simply copy it repeatedly for rote memorization, and that if the student guesses a phonogram that is incorrect but does make the correct sound, the parent should affirm the guess and have the student try again.
Essentials spelling practice ideas
- Any spelling game from Essentials
- Grammar activities with the spelling words that can be completed independently (such as identifying the nouns in the spelling list and writing them as plurals
- After completing a Spelling Journal activity for a new sound: Adding words from prior spelling lists that use that sound to the correct sections of the Spelling Journal.