All About Spelling and All About Reading are programs that I’ve always heard about through the grapevine. I had never tried them because I was a ‘Sonlight girl’ and didn’t feel the need to add anything new to the mix as to keep my life simple.
I also felt like as long as my kids were not having problems with spelling, there was no need to search out a new curriculum.
However, this year, since we are expecting baby #5 in October and my sons are a little too young for the next Sonlight Core, I decided to hodge podge our curriculum. I’d heard great things about All About Spelling and All About Reading from my fellow moms at Hip Homeschool Moms.
This year is a big year in terms of spelling for my oldest son. He is in 2nd grade and reads very well. However, his spelling is definitely not where I’d like it to be.
Likewise, my Kindergarten son (5.5) is ready to focus on reading and spelling and I want to give him a strong start. I’ve learned that giving my oldest good reading and spelling instruction early on made a huge difference in his independence now that he is a bit older. This is the ONLY way I can survive homeschooling with multiple little ones–get those older kids reading and writing well!
I reached out to All About Learning Press and they graciously offered my readers a giveaway of a level of All About Spelling. Yay to that! Here’s our experience so far, about 6 weeks into each spelling program.
First, let me explain the supplies, and what I think about them.
When you order AAS, regardless of the level, you will be using a box of flash cards daily as well as a magnetic board with letter/phonogram/consonant chunks/vowel chunks. When I received the programs in the mail, I was a bit overwhelmed with all the supplies because other programs I had used were very different.
Why overwhelmed? Well, other spelling programs I had used didn’t have all these moving parts. It took me 1-2 hours to tear apart the flash cards and get my letter tiles set up on my magnetic board. AAS has designed their programs to be streamlined, organized, and systematic. Once you have it set up, you get through the lessons quickly.
The spelling curriculum comes with teacher guides, but not student texts. This is perfectly fine. The kids use hands on letter tiles and in older levels, I just use notebook paper to have my son write his words.
You can learn more about the supplies and how I organize them in my video review.
All About Spelling Level 1:
I am using All About Spelling Level 1 with my 5 year old. He would technically be in public school Kindergarten. He already knew his letter sounds, how to write his letters, and can decode basic words. I’m also using All About Reading Level 1 with him this year.
So far, we are moving SLOW with All About Spelling. This is not a bad thing at all. The program is much more thorough than other spelling programs I’ve used (as a public school teacher and a homeschooling mom). The foundation that All About Spelling lays down in Level 1 is an entire new level of quality instruction.
Level 1 begins with ensuring the child knows their letter sounds (they call these phonogram cards). My son knew most of them. He still confuses b and d, and j and g. The ‘q’ sound is shown as ‘qu’ so that took some getting used to.
The phonogram cards are a new ball game for me. I haven’t taught a program that teaches all the various sounds for a, o, etc. I realize that sounds crazy, and of course children eventually learn those things-but I like giving my young son the tools an facts early on so that he can be confident in his spelling skills.
All About Spelling introduces the phonograms slowly over time. So, it’s not like they expect your 5 year old to know it all right away. It’s a very well paced consistent program. My son who is using it could probably be categorized as having hyperactivity and he makes it through the lessons just fine.
How Long Does it Take You Each Day?
10-12 minutes. It only takes about 2 minutes for me to grab the supplies before we start. The lesson moves quickly. Even when he’s whining or doesn’t feel like it, the work load per day in AAS Level 1 is very manageable.
Will You Keep Using It?
Yes. I see both of my big boys gaining confidence with each lesson we complete. I also notice a difference when they do ‘free writing’ time. They do not ask me how to spell things as often and they are recalling their spelling lessons.
Thoughts About Dyslexia
Just a quick note that my husband has dyslexia. I showed him a few lessons from the program and he said he thinks something that was very structured like All About Spelling would have benefited him greatly as a child. He was taught phonics, but AAS is more thorough than just a phonics program. So, if you have a child who struggles with a learning disability, this may be a program that would give them more control over their struggles.
Rewards and Mastery
Various sticker charts come with each level of All About Spelling (as well as their other program All About Reading). Each day when they finish their lesson, they put a sticker on their chart. Level 1 also includes a Phonogram Progress Chart for each phonogram they master. My son loves these.
It’s also a mastery based program in which you file cards they know into a new file. The Teacher’s Guide gives tips and answers all your questions on how to see if your child has mastered a skill. No guess work!
Level 2 Review
I’m using All About Spelling Level 2 with my 7.5 year old. He’d be in 2nd grade if he were in public school. Prior to this program, I’d used Sonlight’s language arts program, some Hooked on Phonics, and some Spelling You See. Spelling You See is a very different program than All About Spelling. Every child is different and has unique needs. See my review for that program here.
He did not know all the phonograms (4 sounds for a, o, etc.) before starting AAS. So, the first week or so, we did mainly the phonogram flash cards from Level 1 to get him caught up. It wasn’t a big deal for him to learn those at all.
How Long Does Each Lesson Take?
10-20 minutes. Usually closer to 10, depending on how quickly he’s willing to work. We also choose how often to do spelling depending on how difficult the lesson is. Some weeks we do lessons every day. Some weeks, it’s just Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Sample Lesson of Level 2:
I would highly recommend All About Spelling to all my homeschool friends. It is economical, reusable for future children, and rock solid teaching. A home run for any homeschool family for sure.