Whew! It has been one crazy fun summer for our Ohana (family). We took a long trip to the mainland U.S., with stops in Chicago, Washington D.C., New York City, Boston, Connecticut, and Vermont. Needless to say, we are all EXHAUSTED. I’m sure I’ll write up something about our adventures and how we made our trip tie into our homeschool, but for now I have to share about this great new book from Logic of English (LOE). It has helped us jump back into schoolwork smoothly and without complaint!
Logic of English released two new picture books this summer, Whistling Whales: Beyond the Sounds of ABC and Knitting Knights: Beyond the Sounds of ABC, for use alongside their Foundations B and C programs, respectively. Written by Denise Eide, the founder of Logic of English, Whistling Whales is now included with the purchase of the Foundations A-B Complete Set. Knitting Knights accompanies the Foundations C-D Complete Set. Both books can also be purchased separately, priced about the same as most hardcover picture books at $15. Like Doodling Dragons: An ABC Book of Sounds, (LOE’s first picture book used in Foundations A), both of these new read-aloud books reinforce all of the phonograms taught in their corresponding levels. In Foundations B and C, however, the phonograms are multi-letter phonograms such as TH, SH, TCH, etc, so Whistling Whales and Knitting Knights definitely include a bit more challenging phonograms for the advancing new reader. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, head over to my review of Logic of English’s Foundations A program for a little background.)
We haven’t used Knitting Knights much yet, so I’ll save the details on that one for another post (by next week, I promise! EDIT: Post is up! Check it out here!). In Whistling Whales, each multi-letter phonogram introduced in Foundation B is highlighted over a two page spread. The first page shows the phonogram and the sounds (phonemes) it makes, each sound written in a different color. Accompanied by gorgeous, fanciful illustrations (Ingrid Hess), the next page uses the phonogram’s sounds in a few, often silly, sentences. The sounds corresponding to the featured phonogram are colored to match the colors of the sounds from the first page. In this way, adults who are unfamiliar with the phonogram’s sounds can use the words on the second page to determine how to read the sounds on the first page. Alternately, advanced young readers can reference the sounds on the first page to decode the words on the second page, though young readers are not expected to be able to decode all the text in this book, as it was written for use as a read-aloud.
When reading this book aloud to your child and asking him or her to help decode, the color-coding really removes that frustration-factor that can often kick in when early readers forget the sounds a phonogram makes. Although the book is not intended for independent reading by young readers, I found that after becoming familiar with the text my daughter wanted to read it independently. Miss Bella (6) utilized this thoughtful color-coding feature a few times when she read Whistling Whales upon our return from our mainland trip. While she has completed Foundations B and is about halfway through Foundations C, besides reading together on our trip we had not done any real review of the phonograms in well over a month, maybe even two. Reading Whistling Whales together before bed was a perfect stepping stone to ease our way back into our school routine and give Bella the opportunity to review the phonograms from Foundations B.
As a read-aloud, Whistling Whales does include a few phonograms that have not yet been introduced so I wouldn’t just cut my new reader loose on it. Instead, it is perfect for exploring together or even with an older sibling. There are really a variety of ways to incorporate Whistling Whales into your Foundations B lessons and beyond. If you are getting started in Foundations B, reading each phonogram’s pages to your child as you introduce that phonogram in the lessons would be a great way to demonstrate how each sound can be heard within the words. Once you’ve read it to your child a few times, some will remember the text and will be able to “read” it back to you. This is certainly not expected though! Once they’re familiar with the phonogram you can, however, ask your student to “read” that first phonogram page because they will be working on learning those sounds. I think it is great for injecting a little bit of review into other parts of the day, such as bed time or on car rides. Every little bit of review helps!
Since she’s in Foundations C already and we’ve had the chance to read it a few times, Bella zooms through most pages of Whistling Whales independently. She still slows down here and there (OU and OUGH are tricky ones!), but for the most part I see her radiating comfort and confidence with each page. A few days ago she told me, “Mom, soon I’m always going to have my nose in a book, huh?” Of course I agreed with her! So now that Whistling Whales has become an independent read for her, for an added challenge as she reads I encourage her to tell me the rules associated with the phonograms (if their use is restricted by rules). One example is the phonogram AI. I’d ask her to tell me the sound AND the rule: Two letter ā that may NOT be used at the end of an English word. Not only is she reviewing the phonograms then, but she’s also reviewing the spelling rule. It gives a little extra depth to our fun review time. Of course you can do this with your child too even when you are reading aloud together.
Now that we’ve explored Whistling Whales I really can’t wait to delve into Knitting Knights next. Stay tuned for that review, coming soon! I am so glad I was given the opportunity to review these books (thank you LOE!) because already Whistling Whales has become one of Bella’s favorites. She has asked to read it every night for the past three nights! I honestly wasn’t sure how well it would go over considering she has already learned all the phonograms in it, but she really is loving it. And I am definitely loving all the additional phonogram review opportunities it has brought us. The extra dose of confidence and empowerment in my kiddo’s eyes have been pretty great, too! So if your child is heading into Foundations B this school year and you don’t already have it, go grab a copy! Or if your child has moved on to Foundations C or D already, definitely consider picking up a copy for the incredible review and confidence-building opportunities it offers. I continue to be impressed with everything Logic of English has released… I am so grateful to have their curriculum in our homeschool!
If you are interested in the Logic of English program, please consider using one of my links to their website. I was blessed with the opportunity to use affiliate links, which means your purchase of LOE could support our homeschool at no cost to you. Thank you!