9 Ways to Keep Reading and Spelling Lessons Motivating

Cartoon mother and daughter spelling with letter tiles

Any daily activity—whether it’s washing the dishes, walking the dog, or practicing piano—has the potential to become repetitive after a while. And that’s true of working on reading and spelling too.

That’s why the ability to keep your children motivated and open to learning is an important part of being a master teacher.

A happy, nurturing environment is essential to a pleasant educational experience.

When children are frustrated and dragging their feet, no one is learning … and no one is happy!

Keep Reading and Spelling Lessons Motivating!

Thankfully, there are several things you can do to encourage an upbeat and motivating atmosphere for reading and spelling lessons. These nine tips will help you keep your child’s reading and spelling lessons motivating—starting today!

  1. Work at your child’s level

    Cartoon child holding oversized book

    It’s important to select the appropriate level of reading or spelling instruction for your child. If you start at a level that is above your child’s head, he’ll start out feeling as if he’s already behind, which can promote feelings of inadequacy and stress caused by your child’s inability to perform up to the level expected. Try to avoid focusing on grade level—in fact, let go of grade levels. If your child needs to learn the rules for adding Silent E, go back to that lesson, no matter what “grade” he’s in.

  2. Set small, attainable goals

    Part of setting up your child for success is providing opportunities for frequent success. It is very motivating to reach a goal, and small successes will lead to more successes. For example, in AAR and AAS we teach just ONE concept at a time, allowing the child to be successful before moving on to the next concept.

  3. Set your child up for success

    Young cartoon girl on swing

    Don’t even think about sitting down for a reading or spelling lesson if your child is cranky, hungry, or full of pent-up energy! Go for a brisk walk around the block or send the kids outside for a 10-minute recess. Have a high-protein snack to keep the brain energy up, and get the good endorphins working in your child’s favor. Starting lessons on the right foot will help your child be more receptive to learning—and enjoying!—the new material.

  4. Keep things fun

    Make lesson times fun and engaging. All About Reading and All About Spelling were written with this in mind. Both programs use hands-on activities that are way more fun than the typical boring worksheets found in many programs. But these multisensory activities aren’t just fun—they will also help your child learn and retain the skills and concepts presented in the lessons. It’s fun with a purpose!

  5. Correct mistakes in a helpful, instructive way

    Cartoon mother helping daughter spell words with letter tiles

    Tailor your responses to your child’s specific errors. For example, if your child misspells a word that you feel he should have been able to spell, ask him to self-check his spelling to see if he can spot the mistake on his own. Or if your child reads a word with incorrect pronunciation, remind your child to “pronounce for spelling.” Review any skill or concept that is applicable to the situation or try working out the problem together with letter tiles.

  6. Use charts to show progress

    Happy cartoon boy holding progress chart

    It’s motivating to see where you’ve been and how much progress you and your child have made together. Take the time to track your advancement on the All About Reading and All About Spelling Progress Charts and celebrate each accomplishment accordingly. Make cupcakes, go to the beach, or visit Grandma—small celebrations can commemorate the occasion and provide incentive and excitement for future lessons.

  7. Avoid negative comments

    As motivating as the progress chart can be, you can just as quickly put a damper on your child’s enthusiasm by making negative comments during lesson time. Take steps to minimize negativity, and avoid expressing your own frustration or impatience with your child. Stay away from phrases such as:

    “You’re not trying.”
    “I’ve already taught this to you!”
    “I don’t think you’ll ever get this!”
    “Just concentrate.”

    These types of negative comments are never effective. No child ever thinks to himself, “Oh, you’re right. I will improve my concentration right now.” Instead, these phrases build frustration and resentment toward the lesson, and part of your child’s brain shuts down. Give a hug, take a break, and come back to the lesson later when both of you are ready to approach the lesson with a fresh perspective and your customary enthusiasm.

  8. Point out the positive

    Proud cartoon mother next to happy daughter

    A friendly, supportive teacher draws frequent attention to a child’s achievements, and doesn’t become bogged down in perpetually pointing out the child’s shortcomings or mistakes. Make it a point to regularly praise your child’s good work and progress, which will build your child’s confidence and encourage him to strive for further success. During your spelling lessons, include positive phrases such as:

    “Very good! You are a quick learner!”
    “You remembered that from yesterday—great!”
    “Way to go!”
    “Excellent—you did so well!”
    “You are doing great!”

    Our blog post on encouraging words gives many more examples and includes a free downloadable poster as a reminder.

  9. Always end a lesson on a positive note

    If your child is struggling with a concept, don’t end the lesson at the point of frustration. Back up to a point where the student can be successful, then spend a few minutes there before bringing the lesson to a close.

The way you approach reading and spelling lessons can have a huge effect on your child’s motivation. When you use the All About Reading and All About Spelling programs, tips for building motivation are built right into the lesson plans, making it easy for your kids to stay on track, stay motivated, and stay enthused about learning.

Do you have a tip for keeping reading and spelling lessons motivating? Please share it in the comments below!

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Great article!



Make things fun! Sometimes, in the rush of trying to just get school done, we forget to have fun in some subjects.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Yes! I was cleaning out cabinets and drawers today, and “found” lots of review games and hands on projects for pretty much every subject, and we haven’t used any of them in months. I knew I had all those things, but I just don’t remember to use them often enough.



Always good to be reminded to stay positive. It works!



This is always a good reminder! It’s so easy to get overly focused on daily tasks or the end result.

Michelle R


I appreciated your pointing out positive correction vs negative correction. I think I’ve have been saying things like “just concentrate.” Not helpful:( Thank you for bringing that to my attention!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Yeah, this is a hard one I struggle with too.

Jessica Britto


Encouragement is huge for my son! I love to see his smile when he feels good about learning.



These are great reminders. Thank you!

Jen m.


Thanks for the great tips!

Renee Smith


I am not a home schooler, but I do have a tutoring business. We use many of these products to help our students. We seem to attract children with learning challenges. These products have really helped us help our students.

Anna Zudell


I am in the same boat – and using All about Spelling with my students. I love, love, love this product and can’t wait to try the Reading Program!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

It’s great to hear that your products are helping your help your students. Thank you.

Cheryl Long


Thank you for these reminders. Some days are just so hard!



Thank you so much for your program and your willingness to always help in any way.

Lynn Conroy


I love All About Reading. Thank you for the helpful blogs.



Very helpful reminders!



Thanks for this post! You always with great tips for us!



Love this!

Aimee McDonald


We love All About Reading in our house! Two kids using it and growing to become strong readers!



I love this useful tips. All of these are great things to remind myself frequently!



Always ending the lesson a positive note is such an important one to remember, not matter how the rest of the lesson went! Helpful list.



I am using All About Spelling now and look forward to trying All About Reading as well.

Melissa Gilman


Thanks for these very encouraging tips!

Sarah Nusz


I’m so thankful for the free resources!!! My daughter struggles reading and your blog has been helpful!

Jessica B.


These are great tips to help me out.

Karen Gabbert Armand


Love All About Spelling and look forward to All About Reading.

Stefanie Summers


Absolutely love All about reading and spelling.



Great information. We have been struggling with our 6 year old who wants to go much faster than he should but then gets frustrated when he gets stuck.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Awww, these little impatient learners. Does he play video games? Maybe explain to him that he must master each level of the video game in order to be able to complete level 5 (or whatever). If he tried to jump from level 1 to level 5, he would fail the level, right? Well, reading is much the same. He needs to master each Step completely before moving to the next, so that when can win at reading.



Oh, how I needed this today! Thank you for these fantastic reminders.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

I love when our posts are timely for someone!



We love all about reading and spelling!



Great article! We love All about reading and spelling. My daughter is about to start level 3 and my son is about to start the pre-reading program.

Jacque Shideler


I am excited to get started. I have a 4 year old, 2 year old and 8 month old that we are planning on homeschooling, Looking forward to all the help I can get.



Awesome article!

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