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Multisensory Learning

Beverly Menken
Co-author of Hands-On English
with Linking Blocks

multisensoryslideThe brain receives information through one’s senses. When multiple senses are employed in learning, one retains the information longer. By using the sense of touch, the tactile sense is stimulated, and one’s hands serve as a neurological connection to the brain. If the visual modality is combined with the tactile, this is a powerful combination for memory. Hands-on-English with Linking Blocks is a method for teaching English grammar that employs the tactile and the visual learning pathways to the brain. When one sees a blue noun block and a red verb block and moves the blocks together to make a simple sentence, the brain is registering the thought, “This is a simple sentence with two parts—blue and red.”

Hands-on-English with Linking Blocks not only incorporates the tactile and the visual modalities for learning, but the student also vocalizes as he arranges the blocks. While the exercise of picturing the colored blocks occurs in the right hemisphere of the brain, the left hemisphere is functioning when one is verbalizing the colors and the names of the parts of speech. Instead of grammar terms escaping one’s memory, the student has a color association which he reviews every time he builds a new sentence with blocks. Purple adjectives, orange adverbs, and yellow prepositions become like velcro to the brain. Tapping the colored blocks and verbalizing these abstract words becomes even yet another powerful memory device.

Nanci Bell on her web site records how brain scans recorded an actual growth in gray matter volume when students were taught to read by methods that incorporated imagery (right brain picturing) and verbalization. These scans were done before students were taught by these methods, and then also after the therapy. The students made significant gains in their reading scores, and the brain scans showed actual changes in the brain. See the article and video on her web site. The results are quite fascinating!

Although Hands-on-English with Linking Blocks does not teach reading, the methods of instruction incorporate visualizing the colors in one’s mind and verbalizing the concepts that match those colors. Retention of the concepts is typically greatly improved, and the student develops understanding of patterns in the English language.

In summary, understanding of language concepts such as a noun, verb, and a simple sentence is greatly enhanced by using many senses and by right brain imaging (picturing) and left brain verbalizing.  Could this be a revolutionary new learning tool that helps students as never before? Try Hands-on-English with Linking Blocks and see for yourself!

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New Book Update

Although it is not surprising, we have had some issues in the printing process of the new books. I was hoping to have the 3rd edition Student Workbook & Answer Key delivered today, it looks like it will be later this week before they arrives. I will let you know when we are ready to start shipping.

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Exciting News!

Linking Blocks is excited to announce that we are moving forward with our products. Our latest Student Workbook should be available before the end of April. This will be our Third Edition. Stay tuned for updates and availability. Student Workbooks & Answer Keys will be on back-order until our shipment arrives! We are certain it will be worth the wait.
We are also on the verge of having our Teacher’s Guide (formerly Teacher’s Maual), Third edition published. This is full of updates and provides teaching tools to make the Hands-On experience easier and more fulfilling for everyone. Watch for our announcement!
Additionally, John Menken, our author has been hard at work on our Intermediate and Advanced Courses. Our goal is to have these Teacher’s Guides available around the beginning of 2013. This may be ambitious but we will work hard to make it happen as close to this goal as possible.

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Purpose Statement from Author John Menken

authorsslideJohn Menken recently shared his purpose and vision for Hands-On English with Linking Blocks with me.

Like every viable and solid enterprise, Hands-On English with Linking Blocks has a guiding principle embodied in a philosophy statement. It goes like this:

Hands-On English with Linking Blocks™ exists to train able communicators
that will positively impact the culture through journalism and authorship.

How will we know if our venture is successful? Each new student and each new family that uses the program is, of course, a measure of success for us. Testimonials encourage us along the way. But the real measure of success is two generations into the future. We will have been successful if in journalism, the world will have intelligent, and able adults who learned their communication skills through Linking Blocks. They will be people of influence because their abilities will position them in the information market. Through their abilities they will find voice in the media to influence large segments of the population. We will have been successful in authorship if our grandchildren will have available to them top-quality, meaningful, creative, and uplifting literature that was created by our students. Today we are reaching a generation that needs to know the basics of written communication. As we equip them, they will be able to pour their creativity into stories and books that will be on the shelf when the following generation comes along.

The scope of this vision has no boundaries. We believe that our influence will spread and bring wholesome value to people around the globe.

John Menken

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Recent events and a highlight

We participated recently in two great events– the Illinois Christian Home Educators (ICHE) convention in Naperville, IL and Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators (NICHE) convention in Des Moines, IA.  This fall our event slate will be highlighted by our participation in the International Dyslexia Association annual convention in Phoenix.