First things first, the Logic of English (LOE) curriculum is a BEAST. That is a pro and a con. The pro is that you would not need to buy another Language Arts curriculum or supplementary products. The curriculum covers everything that is needed to get a child reading and writing fluently. Using the Orton-Gillingham approach, LOE Foundations covers phonics/reading, writing, listening and comprehension skills, and if you plan to continue using the LOE Essential curriculum it also covers grammar. And best of all, it does it in a FUN way. If you have watched my Insta-stories, you can see my kids having lots of fun with the curriculum. The con being that there is a lot of repetitive products and I am here to help you sift through them after using the curriculum for a month and a half.
So let me just be very clear that LOE is comprised of two inter-connected curriculums and I don’t want you to get them confused. The first is called Foundations. The second follow-on product is Essentials. In my blog post I will only be focusing on Foundations. For those who are have primary-school aged children who wish to use Essentials, you might want to try googling reviews of the curriculum because we won’t be looking at Essentials for another 6-8 months.
The Foundations curriculum is further sub-divided into Foundations A, B, C and D, so this begs the question: should I buy all four sets or can I start mid-way through Foundations? Well, it really depends on your child’s progress but here’s my take:
Foundations A is for children with zero exposure to phonics and want to start learning. Children who are also struggling with blending CVC words and/or struggle with writing lowercase alphabets should also start at Foundations A and re-learn their basics. In Foundations A they would learn all the basic phonogram sounds and how to blend them. Upon completing Foundations A, the child should be able to blend and even write/spell simple CVC words and recognize at least 87 high-frequency sight-words.
At what age can you start Foundations A? I believe ages 3-4 is a great time to start. There are in total 40 lessons in each of the Foundation series and if your child is only 3 yo, you can take it slow and do one lesson a day. For us we started our girls at age 3.5. Its also completely fine to start late at age 5 or 6. The curriculum is suited for any child between ages 4-7. For an older child who is progressing smoothly, you can cover as many as 2-3 lessons a day. Each lesson should only take 10-15 minutes of your time. These short bursts of time allow the child to fully concentrate and also leave the lesson feeling accomplished and positive about what they learnt.
Foundations B is for children who can already blend CVC words well and can write all their lowercase letters well. In Foundations B they continue reinforcing concepts learnt in Foundations A but also start introducing new longer vowel and consonant blends and concepts such as syllables, schwa and silent E. In Foundation B, the curriculum also begins introducing the child to basic spelling rules so at the end of each lesson there is typically a quick spelling test to see if they have grasped spelling and phonogram rules learnt from existing and previous lessons. Here, children will also learn how to write uppercase alphabets and learn how to match them to lowercase alphabets. By the end of Foundation B, the child should be able to read a story book with 2-5 short and simple sentences per page and spell single-syllable words quite well. In fact, our 5 year old skipped Foundations A and started directly on Foundations B of the curriculum.
Foundations C is for children who are already blending their words expertly and reading simple sentences. In Foundations C they will continue learning to read even more complex multi-syllable words and sentences using fictional and non-fictional texts. Foundations C focuses heavily on comprehension skills so skills such as understanding the text’s content, identifying key words and grasping main ideas from texts are taught. Writing in sentences and spelling dictation will also be introduced. By the end of Foundations C, the child should be able to read books with short paragraphs and write stories with 3-5 sentences.
Foundations D is a bridge to getting the child prepped for the Essentials curriculum and for children who are on their way to reading independently. Foundation D differs from Foundation A to C because here, the child starts learning advanced phonogram and spelling rules as well as start to read more complex texts and write more complex sentences. Each lesson begins with a short text which will be used to illuminate further phonogram, spelling and grammar rules to be grasped.
So what to buy to make sure you are ready to get start with Foundations A to D?
**Note: When you are deciding on your purchases, make sure you are aware whether you are choosing the format in Manuscript or Cursive, depending which handwriting style you are teaching your child.
The LOE e-store to buy the Foundations curriculum can be accessed here.
- Teachers Manual Foundations A, B, C and D – you can buy the single license PDF and just read it off your laptop/iPad while teaching thus, saving you money from printing a manual copy.
- Foundations Workbooks A, B, C and D – it is certainly cheaper to buy a physical copy but shipping is quite expensive. It is therefore much cheaper to buy the PDF and print it out on your own and if you have more than one child to teach, you can reprint it again at a later time. I printed my workbooks in black and white and sent it off to a printing shop because its really a lot cheaper than using your home printer. Although some of the activities required seeing colours, there were ways to get around it with your own imagination and creativity. Printing in color is too expensive so its more cost-efficient to print in black and white.
- Doodling Dragons, Whistling Whales and Knitting Knights
- Foundation B, C and D readers: I bought the PDF versions and my kids read the readers off the computer laptop. You can alternatively download and print it out.
- Storybooks listed in Foundations D. You can buy the storybooks directly from their website or The Book Depository or you can just loan them from NLB when the time comes. These are really popular picture story-books that most of you would already likely have at home or at your nearest libraries.
- Basic phonogram flashcards: This would be really good to have on hand because it saves time and you can bring it with you anywhere. But you don’t really need it. What I tend to do is write out the phonogram on the whiteboard and teach it from there because I start getting lazy trying to find the flashcards. A lot of children find flashcards effective in reinforcing learning so this would be a good buy.
- Advanced phonogram flashcards: Only useful for Foundations D and the Essentials curriculum. So if you have yet to get started on Foundations, you can postpone this purchase.
- Spelling rule flashcards: Again same as above, only to be used to reinforce learning for children who enjoy flashcards. You can easily write out the spelling rule on a whiteboard or paper while teaching the concept.
- Grammar flashcards: Only useful for Foundations D and the Essentials curriculum. So if you have yet to get started on Foundations, you can postpone this purchase.
- Phonogram and Spelling rule quick reference chart: Repetitive product. Its basically all the rules in one nice chart for easy reference.
- Phonogram game cards: If you are into playing games or game-ifying the entire curriculum, then get this. To use this effectively, it can be bought together with the Phonogram and Spelling Game Book but it would be used most effectively for children already on at least Foundations C or D.
- Phonogram game tiles: Not necessary. Its basically phonogram tiles you can piece together to form words and sentences. I think useful for children who struggle with writing or dislike using paper and pencil to write.
- Rhythm of Handwriting quick reference: Skip it.
- Rhythm of Handwriting tactile cards: Skip it.
- Student white-board: We have our own student whiteboard so we did not purchase this. You can easily get one from Taobao or Popular bookshop. It is necessary that the board has the 3 writing lines. If its a blank board, you can simply add the lines yourself with washi tape. The workbooks, however, provide lined pages for writing practice if paper and pencil is not an issue for your child. For children who dislike pen and pencil, a whiteboard or chalkboard would be better alternatives.
- Sounding out the sight words: This book has about 66 lessons covering how to master sight words the phonics-way rather than memorising by rote. Each lesson isolates a phonogram sound, and lists all the sight words exemplifying that sound. It really makes learning sight words so much easier. However, all the sight words are already covered in the Foundation workbooks so this is a repetitive product. However, if you just want your child to learn high frequency sight words and not deal with the rest of the Foundations curriculum, this would be a good buy!
- Everything on the Extras list, is exactly an Extra so buy according to your preference. We did not get any of it.
My review on the content of the LOE curriculum Foundations A can be found here.
Youtube video: Logic of English presentation by Denise Eide