I read this book in two days! Having two children with dyslexic tendencies, I am always interested in reading books that claim to have "the solution". I finally get why traditional spelling programs fail our children and what to do about it.
The book Uncovering the Logic of English by Denise Eide is the most concise appraisal and explanation of the English language I have ever read. It clearly lays out the foundation of our language, the phonogram, along with the 30 spelling rules used to assemble those sound pictures (what a phonogram really is) into words. English is NOT an illogical language and her book proves it.
Really, I have tried many programs, including Orton-Gillingham and methods based on Romalda Spaldings' Writing Road to Reading. While we landed on Spell to Write and Read by Wanda Sanseri and have seen much progress, there are still too many "exceptions" for my logical, science minded kids. Logical kids like to know the rules and possibilities up front instead of constantly being faced with "exceptions" or more new rules at every turn.
I'm going to go out on a limb and link two books together. The last book I recommended, "10 Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child," the author distills for the reader where rote memorization is necessary and not in the chapter titled, "Why Truth Is Your Enemy, and the Benefits of the Vague or Gradgrind, without the Facts." Rote memorization has its place. And, when used in it's place leads to developing a logical, efficient, yet imaginitive thinker. Our schools have dropped rote memorization for the important things like math facts, poetry, music and phonograms, in place of rote memorization of words (sight or whole word reading), spelling lists, as well as facts on history and science. Eide is not shy in saying we MUST, MUST, MUST have our children memorize those phonograms and associated spelling rules in order for them to truly understand the logic of English. Once they have those phonograms and rules memorized, they can logically spell AND decode words, thus improving their literacy.
I don't know about you, but I would rather give my child the tools to figure out how to spell and read rather than fill their brain with only a few of the words they need to survive, as whole word reading does. And, memorizing spelling words doesn't work for anyone but the visual learner. Visual learners can memorize the "shape" of the word, not the way the word is constructed with a roots and affixes. Most kids that learn by this method run out of "capacity" and stop advancing in their reading and spelling skills past the fourth grade.
The author mentions she will have a curriculum available in the Fall of 2011. I look forward to seeing it. If it follows the logic in the book, it will be a "logical" next step for my family.
"Intellectual distinction is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for election to a Rhodes Scholarship. Selection committees are charged to seek excellence in qualities of mind and in qualities of person which, in combination, offer the promise of effective service to the world in the decades ahead. The Rhodes Scholarships, in short, are investments in individuals rather than in project proposals..."