Logic of English: Foundations, Level A Cursive (Science of Reading) {Review}

Logic of English ReviewOne of the things that I was excited about in the prospect of signing up to do reviews with TOS Review Crew was knowing that I might get an opportunity to review a curriculum level of a product I’ve seen in the past, the other idea that made me happy was the chance that I would learn about something new-to-me. Today, I get to share with you a new treasure to our family in our homeschool curriculum and I’m delighted to review this new-to-me program that I definitely want to stick with on further levels in the Logic of English ~ (http://www.LogicofEnglish.com). I was granted the blessing to obtain and use Foundations, Level A as well as a set of reusable resources, and the iOS Doodling Dragons App and Doodling Dragons Book. I was curious about the curriculum, but had no idea the delight that we were in for on this adventure!

Logic of English Foundations Level A Review from @CherryBlossomMJ

I received this product free from Homeschool Review Crew for the purpose of reviewing it. I received no other compensation for this review. The opinions expressed in this review are my personal, honest opinions. Your experience may vary. Please read my full disclosure policy for more details.

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Logic of English: Foundations, Level A Cursive (Science of Reading) {Review}Foundations A Teacher's Manual (Foundations by Logic of English) by Denise Eide
Series: Logic of English, Foundations

Illustrator: Ingrid Hess
Also in this series: Foundations D Teacher's Manual
Also by this author: Foundations D Teacher's Manual, Essentials Teacher's Guide, Vol. 1
ISBN: 193670630X
Genres: Educational Resources, Language Arts, English Language, Grammar, Phonics, Spelling
Published by Pedia Learning Inc. on January 1st 2013
Pages: 209
Format: Hardcover
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Preparation notes, content notes, sample scripts, teaching tips, challenge activities and review...

Foundations Teacher's Manuals have all the information you need to begin teaching the Logic of English immediately!

The Teacher's Manual guides you through each lesson, from prep to each step of the instruction and the exercises, games, and optional activities.

Each lesson is designed to take about 30 minutes and includes instruction and activities in two or more of the following areas: Phonemic Awareness, Phonograms, Handwriting, Spelling, Spelling Rules, Words, Vocabulary, Reading, Fluency, Comprehension.

The Logic of English: Foundations program is recommended for ages 4 to 7 and is designed to easily be used in schools, homeschool settings, older struggling readers, and English Language Learners. I’m certain it would make a good addition to a co-op setting. The Level A is for the beginning reader and opens the world of reading through basic phonogram knowledge, beginning handwriting skills, short vowel and consonant blends decoding. Specifically, we are using the Foundations, Level A Teacher’s Manual (hardcover) and the Foundations, Level A Cursive Workbook (perforated paperback). The teachers manual retails for $38.00 and the workbook (regardless of font) for $18.00. (These prices appear to be the same for printed or PDF materials). I opted for the cursive workbook as we’re planning on starting this fall with a cursive curriculum recommended in Memoria Press first grade and I was curious if we could get a good start while reviewing some phonics we already knew in a completely different fashion than we’ve studied before.

Teacher’s Manual – 224 pages. Case-bound hardcover. Full color.
Student Workbook – 230 pages. High-quality paperback. Full color.
Doodling Dragons – 56 pages. Hardcover. Full color.

Logic of English: Foundations, Level A Cursive (Science of Reading) {Review}Doodling Dragons: An ABC Book of Sounds Series: Logic of English, Foundations

Illustrator: Ingrid Hess
Also in this series: Foundations D Teacher's Manual
ISBN: 1936706229
Genres: Educational Resources, Phonics
Published by Pedia Learning Inc. on February 11th 2012
Pages: 56
Format: Hardcover
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An imaginative journey of sounds that prepares young children to read. When children learn all the sounds made by each letter, they take a giant leap toward becoming strong readers and spellers. From Denise Eide, author of Uncovering the Logic of English, this playful introduction to the sounds of the alphabet opens the door for children to hear, say, recognize, and read the single-letter phonograms.

In addition, to these two full-color books mentioned in the last paragraph, we also received a square picture book by the same author titled Doodling Dragons: An ABC Book of Sounds. The book retails for $15.00. This has become my two-year-old daughter’s favorite accessory and she is seldom seen without it. We also were blessed with the iOS Doodling Dragons App that I have used on my new iPhone 5C in the OB waiting room on numerous occasions and most recently on our family hand-me-down first generation iPad running iOS 5.1.1. The book is is about 10×10″ and a quality hardcover. Each page spread contains a set of American Alphabet phonograms and a matching set of illustrations and words to example the phonogram sound. They are silly and fun and definitely have both of my girls (ages four and two, nearly five and three) entertained and in love. It is colorful and full of delight! The app is more than just the book, while the book is in the app with the ability to be read by the child or narrated to the child… there is also a phonogram legend where individual sounds can be selected and played aloud, as well as a game using the pages of the book where a student hears the sound then clicks on the picture what word is being blended.
Logic of English Review

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imageThe app is quite difficult to manage outside of the book on my cell phone but still provides enough entertainment. The screen is just too small to really navigate the game. However on the iPad that’s a different story altogether and it is quite fun and entertaining. So different parts for the different children. My two-year-old listens to the story and the individual phonogram sounds. Her preference is definitely for the hardcover book, but will beg for permission to do iPad school with the app as well. My four-year-old uses it all and is challenging herself with the blending game. The app is available across most platforms and so anyone can join in the experience for iOS or Android. The app retails $4.99 and is recommended for ages 2 to 7 years old.

All of this already forms a good starting place that is full of fun, but truly that doesn’t even scratch the surface as there are also the “REUSABLE RESOURCES” that truly give the cream to this program. The Student Whiteboard is a perfect lap or desk size measuring about 8×11″ and is double sided for dual purposes. The half-size whiteboard retails for $9.00. I believe the Logic of English company now also sells a Teacher size as well measuring at 11×16″. (Actually, I think the Teacher size is the original size while the student whiteboard size is the new product.) This high-quality, durable white board has three lines in the color navy blue on one side (top line, mid-line, and baseline for students to practice writing their letter strokes and final letters. Once we get there I’m sure she could write a word or two on this side as well in practice. (Side note: we are working on CVC and magic e words in our previous curriculum, but starting from the beginning in Foundations, Level A we are starting over with the cursive strokes and trekking along with oral lessons.) The backside of the whiteboard contains six sets, also blue, of 3-line handwriting lines and could fit a short paragraph (when we get there!). We personally just use thin Expo dry erase markers and truly have had no issues with erasing or staining, even when we forget to erase right away.

Next up in the reusable resources are the Basic Phonogram Flash Cards which contain the 74 basic phonograms needed to read most English words – the A to Z phonograms plus 48 multi-letter phonograms in a black text on white card format. In my experience, I’m pretty quick to run to laminate cards that I want to last (like our Art Cards!), however I feel like these are a pretty durable quality cardstock and I’m not too concerned with them being bent (however I’m not handing them off to my toddler either). These flash cards are 4.5×6″ and have a black tab across the top for easily being differentiated from the Rhythm of Handwriting Tactile Cards. On the front side of the card you’ll find the phonogram and on the reverse is each phonogram sound and sample words using the sounds. Using these cards and reinforcing with the Doodling Dragons book or app is a great learning set of tools! The Basic Phonogram Cards retail for $18.00. (There is also a set of Advanced Phonogram Flash Cards used with the Essentials program that retails for $15.00.) 

Now you heard me mention the Rhythm of Handwriting Tactile Cards (in cursive or manuscript). We chose cursive for our studies so our cards are cursive to match our workbook and the color is a bright green on white. These again are a very quality cardstock that I believe with last without my running off to the laminator (yay!!). They are not quite as durable as the Phonogram cards, but with the raised sandpaper you wouldn’t want to laminate these anyway (don’t get carried away! If you have had years experience as a preschool printable homeschooling mama it can happen…) On the front of these cards is found a stroke, either a partial stroke or a full letter stroke. The front is a nifty sandpaper type letter that is definitely tactile. (I don’t have to make my own sandpaper letters after all! I mean it’s only been on my list for the last five years since I heard of the concept… hmm… I guess I’ll be buying the manuscript eventually!) Then on the reverse the name of the stroke is found and a description of how to form the stroke (where to start, and what to do step by step). If it is a full letter and not just a partial stroke for forming the letters, there is the name of what type of stroke letter it is (G = loop). Under this is the phonogram sound (/g-j/) and below this is a description of how to form each stroke in the letter with the main text in black and each stroke name highlighted in green. These tactile cards measure 5.75×4.25″ by my measurements. I’ve seen them listed as also being 4.5×6″ so I’m not certain if these are slightly different for review or if they are purposefully a different size. A different color is helpful, but the different size also makes it great when I’m reaching in my bag to find which set of cards. The full set provides the hands-on experience for learning the strokes to forming the 26 letters of the American Alphabet as well as the numbers 0-9. The Cursive Tactile Cards retail for $28.00. 

As of yet I do not have my organization system set. Eventually, I think I might like some good card boxes… but for now, I have put all of the cards in a gallon storage bag which sits in the edge of my teacher tote (a large box that is currently a temporary home to our curriculum for the year) next to my chair. I might plan to invest in some rubber bands and keep them together. (I do not plan to hole punch these cards, I’ve found in general that I do not like the wear that hole punched cards on a ring obtain.) The flash cards and tactile cards that we are using with current lessons (and review) are in another little tote with our other memory cards across the subjects (art, math, science, etc).

You heard me say all of the cards… well there is more! Another two sets of cards we received are Phonogram Game Cards. The game cards are available in three sets (differentiated by color, thank you!) in red for manuscript, blue for book font, and again green for cursive. We received a set of cursive and standard bookface with our set of reusable resources. These cards are much smaller at 2.25×3.5″ yet again on a durable cardstock that I’m not overly worried about (thank you for making my life easier!). Each deck has the 74 phonograms and wild cards in a set. While we haven’t come across the use of these cards in the lesson plans quite yet, we’ve enjoyed them in our own time and I have to admit that I need to find more ways to bring games into our curriculum across the board. The exuberance that it encourages from my student is entertaining to me a blessing to their learning environment. While my two-year-old is not quite ready for it, she pretends she knows what is going on and I’m sure is learning some bits by bits, during the time that her sister is reinforcing past lessons learned and gaining more knowledge. Each deck retails for $10.00.

Are you still with me? Oh! the treasures found here! 

image_11The last bit included in the reusable resources is a heavy duty laminated tri-fold chart, the Rhythm of Handwriting Quick Reference Chart (cursive or manuscript) folds to two slightly larger than 8×11″ pages with a fold-out flap making what I call the tri-fold. This I actually use as my bookmark in the teacher’s manual so I always have it handy and nearby. Again, my specific chart is in cursive to go-along with our Foundations, Level A Cursive Workbook. This chart is vibrantly colorful and contains everything that I might need to see at a glimpse for writing each type of stroke and letter in the handwriting style. We did couch school yesterday, and instead of getting up to run go get the tactile cards, I just showed her the letter and strokes on the reference chart and it was a different but still highly productive session. The Rhythm of Handwriting Quick Reference Chart retails for $10.00 in each font style. The Rhythm of Handwriting program (which is worked into the Foundations, Level A curriculum) is for ages 4 & up to adult. The difference with using just the handwriting program is the quick reference chart, whiteboard, tactile cards and a specifically Rhythm of Handwriting Cursive (or manuscript) Workbook, which as a set retails for $65.00.

Logic of English Review
All in all the “reusable resources” set retails from $9-85 depending on which pieces you choose to integrate into your situation. After all, as parent and teacher you know how your student will learn best. I came into this knowing my daughter thrives on flashcards and likes whiteboards. I had no idea just how wonderful of a quality these materials would be and I am greatly impressed. These resources are a great addition to our school and I’m delighted that they will be reused again and again through out additional levels (and even in some other subjects – love that whiteboard!).


Logic of English Foundations, the curriculum…

The Foundations program is currently divided into levels by letter rather than number or grade. Level A is blue, Level B is green, Level C is orange, and coming soon Level D will be purple. The book covers are similar (after all there is a reason we and other mamas call this “dragon phonics”!) but the square with the level is colored as is the pennant flying on the castle turret. The program is overall a complete phonics, reading, handwriting, and spelling curriculum for students ages 4-7 and other struggling readers. Levels A-C are available now, and Level D is tentatively set to release in September 2014 although an in-development PDF-only version is available on their website for purchase (typos-expected). It is my understanding that if you purchase an early release version, you will be given the final PDF version upon it’s release as well (typo and quirk-free *wink*). Interesting side note on going digital with Logic of English is that you can always get updated versions for free as they are released… so if you’re into the digital scene that might really appeal to you. Personally, I prefer more of a hands on, book in hand, approach, but maybe on future child workbooks… we’ll see.

image_6Now, Level A will take a student from basic phonogram awareness to short-vowel words. Level B will take a student through short sentences, long vowels, schwa sounds, and multi-letter phonograms. Level C will then take a student into paragraphs, new spelling rules and phonograms, and multi-syllable words. Level D lastly is said to take students basic phonogram mastery and reading REAL books. At first glance, I just assumed it was a level per year, but that is not necessarily the case. If we did a lesson a day, we could essentially finish the level set in 8-10 weeks and then jump into the next book. By labeling their levels by letter instead of grade-level, it makes it really friendly for learners of all stages where you can trek along at the appropriate pace to your child. What I’ve found (which may just be because we’re finishing up in Kindergarten material with a four-year-old that will not turn five until the end of July) is that some weeks we trek and race through a handful of lessons or more, and other weeks we might need to repeat a few parts of a lesson until the mastery really sticks. But that is part of the beauty of this program that we can do what truly fits my child.

Our experience with phonics started with just learning the names of the letters, then the main sounds. In the last year we have been using the Memoria Press First Start Reading program and overall like the oral and workbook approach (coloring pages are our friend). When I decided to start Foundations, Level A in Cursive I was thinking this will be review and a new handwriting skill to learn. I didn’t expect to find, what all was found in the pages of this teacher’s manual. We have gained an awareness of how sounds are formed in our mouths. Is it a voiced or unvoiced sound? Do you feel air coming out when you say it? Now what about your throat, does it vibrate with the sound? These are all concepts that we have never touched on before, and it added a fun and sometimes silly approach to our learning. Which in turn made it a game that AppleBlossom then went and taught to her sister and her dolls as well as her daddy and the random adult that walks by when we’re out and about.

The lessons have us blending and segmenting words audibly and are reinforced with written work that if I tried, I think my almost three-year-old might be ready for fairly soon and I never expected that. Skills are being taught to identify both the beginning and ending sounds of words as well as the phonograms sandwiched in between. Then, from what I see in the manual, there are even more skills to be mastered by the time we’re through.

At the beginning of each lesson teacher preparation is made easy! Actually the entire Foundations, Level A Teacher’s Manual is beautifully colorful and friendly in my opinion. There are pop-out boxes that provide optional activities, materials needed for activities (talking about Dr. Seuss books, stuffed animals – Beanie Babies in our case, and Legos here!), as well as the Logic of English specific cards or the Doodling Dragons book that are needed for the lesson.

Following every fifth lesson is a review lesson with assessments. Each lesson contains Phonemic Awareness, a new phonogram (most lesson), and Handwriting. The handwriting has physical activity suggestions such as air writing, tactile tracing, whiteboard, and on paper and more. The rest is varied and provides a plethora of activities that create a giggle goose in my daughter that begs for more “dragon phonics”! Whether we are to shout out the blended words, acting out a game of charades in segmented words, having a treasure hunt or animal find to a segmented word are are definitely having multi-sensory hands-on fun! We have more personally just read through it, but there is also suggestions on new phonograms to bring them alive such as on “c Day” you can eat cake, carrots, cream, corn and more. All while coloring castles and cats or cars and talk about cents and circles. There is so much.


Not ever suggestion in the lessons needs to be used, but it has a great method of presenting ideas, varying of activities that you can find what works for your student and run with it. I had no idea that learning phonics could be so fun, and now we can keep going with the program to learn more about reading and spelling. Lastly is the handwriting. It is integrated into each lesson and while the “School Font” is their own development for the Rhythm of Handwriting it is similar to D’Nelian in nature with a slight slant. I’m not a fan of the manuscript, but the cursive is attractive to me. image_13We started out with great enthusiasm which was quickly dimmed about five or so lessons in. AppleBlossom found the “curve” stroke to be quite difficult and thus balked when it came to writing it, we tried skipping that step straight for a “roll” and things jumped back into progression. However what I found was that even though I want to do the cursive, it was not mandatory to succeed and enjoy the rest of the program pieces. She is learning to recognize cursive and that is valuable too! The teacher’s manual is the same for both manuscript and cursive so we can compare and contrast and if I had varied students it would work for that as well.

As for last words to share with you. (Are you still with me??) I am a true fan of the Logic of English: Foundations program. I like what we’ve been using, but this is just too much fun to not continue and the enthusiasm from this child is enchanting and contagious. While one day the handwriting might have promoted tears, the rest of the lesson promotes giggles and grins!

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About CherryBlossomMJ

The Creative Madness Mama also known as Margaret is a Christian Stay-at-home Mama, married to the Enginerd, Quilter, avid reader and book-a-holic. A book blogger for bunches of different publicists. She loves to share the latest and greatest about books coming out as well as her quilt and other crafty projects with some pictures of her eight-year-old AppleBlossom, three-year-old Almond Blossom (the Rascal boy!), six-year-old OrangeBlossom (the Princess), and newborn Mermaid Warrior in between. Plotting to be a homeschooler, she's a cloth diapering, breastfeeding, babywearing, list making mama full of a little creative and a lot of madness.