Close friends of mine know that I have been enjoying her book, Uncovering the Logic of English. There are a number of reasons I like her book, and they revolve around how well the program in the book complements Montessori's language lessons.
Firstly I love the way Montessori presents language lessons from the sound games all the way through to sentence analysis. The lessons are thorough, fun, short, focused and they address the different learning styles of children. They are, however based on teaching a phonetic language (Italian) and not a language like English, which is a combination of a number of languages with different spelling rules.
Some children like my daughter, a visual learner spells effortlessly. My son, however prefers to spell phonetically but would like to spell correctly (in order to get what he wants using Minecraft single player commands!).
Enter Denise Eide's book. We have now learned the phonograms. (Good car activity) For example, ou can be pronounced ow as in house, o as in soul, oo as in group and u as in country. We have a little story associated with this card about a group of souls that live in a graveyard around this old house in the country. The point of all of this is, if he asks me "How do I spell about?", all I have to say is use the "ou" as in house. It is a lot easier than spelling out a word and it constantly reaffirms the phonograms. It is empowering to him.
The second GREAT thing about the book is that it gives a list of 30 discreet rules that cover 98% of English words. I have been teaching the rules also, but now I can constantly revise rules any time he asks me for a word, such as English words can not end in j, so anytime you hear j at the end of a word, write ge.
So that is a book which I highly recommend!
Seeing her in person yesterday was great. She is young and full of vim and vigor. She is passionate and full of ideas about helping kinesthetic learners learn to read, write and spell. Her youngest child, a gymnast (now 9) is in the gym 4-6 hours/day. She constantly needs to move. Denise was adamant that these kinesthetic learners need A LOT of exercise if you would like to keep them still to do their work.
Being still is a skill you need to teach slowly. Follow the child to work out the best active/still time ratio. (It make me feel quite sick to think of all the children medicated to keep them still, and so very fortunate to be able to work this out with my child.)
She noticed a big difference in her child after she started spending a lot of time in the gym. (I gave myself a pat on the back for signing Tristan up for breakdance! Of course I should have done it years ago.) She used Nerf guns, basketball games and all sorts of movement oriented activities to help children learn phonograms. She had an interesting way to teach handwriting, with movement, sound rhythm and explanations on what the body is doing when it makes sounds. And she said that you have to write down phonograms as you learn them (oops!). There is a hand/brain connection (duh!).
I have taught Tristan these phonograms in the car (just orally). Now I am going to reinforce them and teach him cursive. Wish me luck! Two hours on the trampoline first! And a back up Nerf gun! And a can of whipped cream!