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A Child's View of the Logic of English

This story was sent to me by someone who began teaching her elementary-aged daughters the spelling rules as found in Uncovering the Logic of English.

Wow! How exciting to watch the CLICK CLICK CLICK in each of my kids brains!!

They're off school today and we spent over an hour starting to learn stuff this morning.

Not to bore you - but you're the only one I know who will understand my experience . . .

I started by asking them if you built a house out of bricks and left out 5 bricks on the first layer, what would happen in a couple of years? They got the relationship between the house and their own learning. This prepared Callie to understand that learning this is also useful to her. I explained it to her like this: You know how a pinball machine works? If you just hit the ball from where it lies, it doesn't go very far; but if you pull back the trigger and let go, the ball goes flying! That's why we're going to "back up" a little bit and teach you the basics -- that way, with how smart you already are, there are no limits!

With the house concept in mind, I asked what words are made of. Callie said, "Letters . . . " a moment of thought ". . . and sounds!" With that, we learned what phonograms are and learned how to write the sound symbols for A B and C on whiteboards. After learning all the A sounds, I had them guess how to write the sound(s) for B. Their mistakes made for a great learning tool (consonants don't use symbols above them -- only vowels do. B only has one sound. After C we took a "break" and learned spelling rule #1.

We then continued on single-letter phonograms to F, where we learned about voiced & unvoiced pairs and skipped to S to reinforce that idea. Sadie got indignant when she realized no one told her S says /z/ in kindergarten, "Those teachers are mean!" I was able to explain that not even the TEACHERS know this stuff -- so they're not mean, just uninformed. :)

We stopped at that point, then Callie noticed the word Logic on your book cover and said, "The G says /j/ because it's followed by an I . . . " big smile . . . questioning look from mom . . . "I read ahead to the next rule!" (I started writing the rules on index cards.)

Then Sadie asked if she could read me her fairy book. She got to the fairy's name and said, "MOM, LOOK! Her name is Alice -- the C says /s/ because of the E!"

What joy! I know from reading your stuff that we're in the honeymoon phase and we might fall off the excitement wagon -- but I really want to get through this stuff with them. Thank you for the suggestions on your website to keep it fun.