Logic of English with Strong Readers and Spellers
The material taught in Logic of English® curriculum fosters critical thinking about language and enables gifted readers to master spelling more efficiently. Our material equips advanced students with powerful tools for discovering the meaning of new words, understanding how language works, and sharing accurate information about English with others.
This article covers the following topics:
- Essentials with an Advanced Student
- Foundations with an Advanced Student
- Strong Readers are Not Always Strong Spellers
- The Power of Morphology
Essentials with an Advanced Student
Spelling Lists and Essentials Students
The purpose of the spelling words in Essentials is not primarily to memorize specific words, like a traditional memory-based spelling course, but to help students gain an accurate knowledge of spelling rules and phonograms. Essentials spelling lists encourage students to apply the linguistic skills they learn and analyze how the tools work together in these words.
Through Spelling Analysis, students apply and practice all the tools they learn in Essentials and master how English spelling works. Each word they learn is helping them read and spell dozens of others.
Increasing the Difficulty of Essentials Spelling Lists
If you have an advanced Essentials student, and you are looking to increase the difficulty of the spelling lists, you could:
- Teach the words from the Essentials Level C spelling lists, understanding that they are simply samples to practice applying skills and knowledge.
- Provide additional words that you would like to teach your student. Teach the new words through the process of Spelling Analysis. Be sure to only present words that use the rules and phonograms taught.
- Example: You could teach 'nuisance' in lesson 18 or later since students would at that point have learned the phonogram UI, Rule 12.3 (silent final E making C or G say its soft sound), and how vowels in unstressed syllables often say the lazy schwa sound.
- Include some of both - use the Essentials Level C spelling lists but supplement with more challenging words as you choose.
Foundations with an Advanced Student
Our Foundations curriculum, designed for ages 4-7, works wonderfully for early, gifted readers in this age range. Children with strong language skills and interest in language usually love learning how written English works and using critical thinking to apply their knowledge to words. They quickly begin applying what they are learning to other more advanced vocabulary and looking for instances of it everywhere.
Increasing the Difficulty of Foundations
Students who quickly master the skills they are learning in Foundations on the level needed for reading can focus on the more significant challenge of mastering spelling. For example, you might decide to switch many reading fluency activities to spelling practice activities, asking them to apply their knowledge of the phonograms to write the words in the activity after hearing them instead of reading them aloud. At the same time, they can be reading increasingly complex children's literature as they apply the tools they have learned to more and more words and doing the challenge activities suggested in various Foundations lessons.
See our article, Increase the Challenge of Foundations, for additional tips and ideas.
Children begin to read at different points, but everyone benefits from learning how our language works!
Strong Readers are Not Always Strong Spellers
Strong intuitive thinkers often learn to read well without learning the rules. They perceive the patterns and fill in gaps in what they were taught. However, spelling accurately without knowing why requires something else in addition: a very strong visual memory. Many good spellers rely heavily on this; they understand that a word 'looks wrong' even if they can't explain why it's spelled the way it is. Those with strong verbal skills, but less capacity for remembering visual information, may become excellent readers while still struggling with spelling.
Spelling becomes more straightforward once students learn why and can spell using understanding rather than rote memory. Even strong spellers, who rely on an excellent visual memory, struggle with words that "look wrong." For example, some may not remember whether the final consonant is doubled before a suffix in certain words (preferably? preferred?). Until they learn the rules, they may not understand why written English is spelled the way it is.
The Power of Morphology
One of the most powerful ways that Essentials improves the reading and writing skills of older (and younger) students is by incorporating morphology. Morphology is the study of the units of meaning (or morphemes) that make up our words. Learning about the roots, prefixes, and suffixes in English and the patterns in how they work together strengthens spelling. Many words are spelled to reflect their meaning as well as how they sound (consider "muscle" and "muscular," or the different prefixes in "effect" and "affect," or the spelling of two, twin, and twice...).
In addition to helping with spelling, studying morphology improves reading comprehension, gives students powerful tools for deducing the meaning of unfamiliar words, and further develops the habit of thinking critically about language. Students who already have a strong vocabulary gain powerful tools for increasing it and for using the words they know with greater skill.