Product Review by Renee Knoblauch

Renee Knoblauch reviewed English on a Roll for The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. She home schools her 13 year old daughter with severe learning issues, including Autism, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, and Arthritis, and has had trouble finding a grammar program that works for a child with her special needs. Here is what Renee has to say about English on a Roll:

It seems like a never ending task trying to teach my 13 year old daughter how to understand English grammar. Everything I have tried was overwhelming for her with

all the steps, time it took to teach her, and the writing it required. Not to mention that I was feeling overwhelmed with the complexity of the programs. I was pretty excited when English on a Roll came my way after reading about the program.

English on a Roll is a unique multisensory cube-based English grammar learning system. This unique English Grammar program comes with an Instruction Manual and 40 engraved solid plastic cubes in a heavy duty compact plastic case for storage.

All of the 40 cubes are color coded to help recognize a pattern in our English grammar.

  • Blue –pronouns
  • Green-question words
  • Dark Blue-articles, prepositions, and nouns
  • Red-verbs
  • Orange-adverbs
  • Purple-adjectives
  • Black-punctuation and conjunctions

English on a Roll is intended for ages 5 through adult. It’s very versatile and can be used with one student to several students. One set of cubes can be used for up to six students at a time and only one manual is needed. If you are using this in a large classroom they recommend that you have multiple sets of game cubes with one set for every 6 students.

It can be used for a variety of students with different learning needs.

  • Children without any Special Needs
  • Autism
  • Dyslexia
  • Beginning Readers
  • Special Education
  • ESL(English as a Second Language)
  • ESOL, (English for Speakers of Other Languages)
  • ELL (English Language Learners)
  • EFL (English as a Foreign Language)
  • ABE (Adult Basic Education)
  • GED (General Equivalency Diploma)

The Instruction Manual is a paperback book with 150 pages. There are teaching tips, lesson plans, and reproducible materials for copying. The curriculum has 36 lessons. I love that it guides you step by step with the teaching. It’s very easy to follow the instructions and it leaves no questions as to whether I am teaching the program correctly. The lessons average around 15-30 minutes.

On every page you have a gray box that helps you prepare for the lesson.

  • Prep: This section lets you know which cube you need to complete the lesson. What pages in the book you need to copy for your student. If applicable to the lesson it will list what other material is needed for the lesson like paper, pen, and other supplies.
  • Notes: This will be a short blurb of what you will be doing and saying to your student.
  • Vocabulary: It will lay out what vocabulary will be taught throughout the lesson. Along with some helpful tips with the vocabulary words.

All the lessons have the same format.

  • Teaching the Concepts: word to word verbatim of what you say and do to teach the concept to the student. This introduces the student to the cube used in the lesson and the color coding of the grammar.
  • Conversation/Games: This is where you put the cubes in action. The student will say the sentences out loud and build the cubes during this exercise making sentences and learning the basic structure of English.
  • Written Exercises: This is the pages you copied prior to the lesson. None of the assignments require a lot of writing and some of it is more of a visual cue that you discuss. The exercises can be done together with another student or independently. They recommend that you encourage and help one another during this section of the assignment.

With all the plethora of curriculum out there it’s hard finding something that works for a child with special needs. I should know as I have a 13 year old daughter with severe learning issues, Autism, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Arthritis, and much more that makes teaching her difficult. 

My daughter responded so well with English on a Roll. She loved the cubes and putting the color patterns together. She wanted to jump ahead of the lessons to know what each cube color represented. It was like playing a board game with her. There are so many grammar skills taught without her even knowing it.

She was able to put the sentences together with very little cues from me after a while. She liked rolling the cubes to see what the word would be. After she rolled she would turn over each cube and read them to me. She liked being able to build her own sentence without writing them out. I would ask her to “build a sentence using a plural.” She would proceed to build the sentence for me. Next, I would say, “make the sentence singular” and she would make the sentence singular. Some of the written exercises asked her to locate the cube and match the word to the paper. She would read the words to me. The lessons varied and some of them had simple writing exercises.

I am really impressed with English on a Roll. It was easy to teach, and the manual tells you everything you need to do and say. The prep time was quick and easy. The best part is that it was stress-free teaching my daughter. She enjoyed it so much and didn’t even fuss at me when it was time for her lessons. No one is feeling overwhelmed and that makes this one happy mom! This is just a unique and fun way to teach English and I would recommend English on a Roll.

— Product review by Renee Knoblauch, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September, 2016