English on a Roll! This amazing educational tool is creating excitement among those of us involved in teaching and learning English as a first or second language. Its tactile nature is unique in the grammar field and evokes the student’s (and teacher’s!) senses of creativity and play. By manipulating a set of 40 color-coded cubes to build
word groups and sentences, students learn all the fundamentals of English grammar.
English on a Roll is a high-quality, durable set of engraved, solid plastic cubes, which is used by students on every continent in the world (including Antarctica!). In the United States and Canada, thousands of students enjoy it in programs for English language learners ages 5 through adult. Although the English on a Roll manipulatives are
especially suited to beginning and intermediate levels, they are used by college-level students as well. There is essentially no limit to the sentences that can be created, including all verb forms, and because related words are grouped together on their respective cubes, students learn word relationships by association as they build phrases and sentences.
Manipulatives are outstanding learning tools for a number of reasons. They are certainly a lot more fun than lectures and written problems, and we humans learn faster and better when we’re having fun. Even more important, with manipulatives we build meaning with our own hands. This tactile (touch) experience is recognized as one of the three main learning styles. The other two are auditory (hearing and speaking) and visual. In some ways, the tactile learning style is the most powerful of the three. We may forget a hundred “Don’t touch!” commands, but we remember one burned finger for a lifetime.
Math and science lend themselves to hands-on activities, and there are many excellent manipulatives in use for those subjects. The best of them engage all three learning styles at the same time. Language teaching, on the other hand, relies almost exclusively on auditory/visual methods, and manipulatives are generally unavailable, apart from ABC building blocks and word tiles. English on a Roll is one of the few manipulatives available that is intentionally designed to systematically teach the structure and patterns of the English language.
The enthusiastic write-up in one of the curriculum catalogs carrying English on a Roll is worth quoting:
“Quite possibly one of the most innovative and practical manipulatives on the ESL market today,
this high-quality set of word cubes has everyone rolling and learning!"