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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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Leave a Comment

Al

says:

Had a spare box of parquetry tiles, drew words (in out line form). got a water paint box from the dollar shop. If my 3y old daughter got it right, she got to keep it in an old arnotts bicky tin after she painted it. Repeating daily after work and gradually adding words. Great fun for both of us.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Al,
What a fun way to make reading review hands-on and artistic, plus a treasured reminder of the words she has learned! This is very clever, and I know my children would have loved to paint words on wood tiles when they were little. Thank you for sharing this idea!

Kristin

says:

Love these simple ideas!

Lyzel

says:

Appreciate these practical tips 😊

Sandra. Calloo

says:

The pointers and content look interesting . I will explore these concepts this year in my class

Zaphina Hosein Chin

says:

Great tips. Just what I needed. Thanks.

Jessica

says:

One thing that made AAR level one super fun for my son was giving him a dart gun during word card review time. He loved pretending he was the sheriff, looking for “rule breaker” words, and shooting them with a dart. It was a little thing but it made him look forward to the lessons!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I can just picture your little sheriff, Jessica! What a fun and cute way to approach the lessons. Thank you for sharing this idea.

Lydia R.

says:

#9 is a good reminder.

With my young 4 y.o., I do read aloud time + 6-minute reading lesson with him almost everyday. He would usually sit on my lap or cuddle up next to me. When he’s being wriggly/distracted/uncooperative, I would ask him calmly (or try to, anyway!), “Are you done?” Surprisingly enough, 70% of the time, his answer is “No.” We would then continue the lesson.

Sometimes I’d give him a choice: “Do you want to learn reading first, or should your older brother practice piano first?” Sometimes he would answer, “J does piano.” (It’s Suzuki method so I have to coach my 8 y.o. during daily practice.) Other than that, reading lessons haven’t had anywhere as much struggle as I was dreading it to be. (My 4 y.o. is a lot more stubborn than my 8 y.o., which is why I was anticipating more struggles.)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lydia,
Allowing a determined (nice way of saying stubborn) child to decide between two choices you have picked is often the best way to get them to be cooperative. My youngest is also a determined child, and we do lots of choice giving.

Rose

says:

I have a metal filing cabinet in the school area, on the side are magnetic letters that I use to make words on the front of the cabinet. The words are in front of the kids each day all day long doing this. We say the words, make a sentence with each word orally usually then sometimes we have to write the words and sentences. I just got a bucket of letters so now to mix things up we play scramble up words, some will be spelling words some will not.

I have put sight words on recipe cards cut in half then on a ring, they go with us every where we go.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Rose,
Thank you for sharing this!

Nurjehan

says:

The system is so helpful, the child improved so much that the child went from -C to B+, and is reading and spelling well. The teachers were so amazed.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Nurjehan,
This is an amazing improvement! Thank you for sharing it with us.

AARmom

says:

My kids work so hard with fluency sheets that when they finish one I let them get a piece of candy from our candy jar. So they now don’t complain when they see a fluency sheet!
I also sometimes let them chew gum at the table while we do a lesson…another treat.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Great motivation ideas, AARmom! Thanks for sharing them.

roslyn harris

says:

Write the words and sentences from the fluency sheets on the white board and student gets to erase them after he reads them…reading is fun now he says…no sheets. Even though he knows he is reading the same words and sentences.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Roslyn,
This is a great idea! I can imagine the feeling of completion when erasing the read words and sentences.

Jennifer Huffman

says:

Thanks for all of your helpful tips! We are enjoying our first year of AAR and looking forward to AAS.

Holly

says:

My children have days when they need more immediate positive reinforcement than the progress chart. On those days they might create a zoo on a blank piece of paper and have a sticker animal to add to their zoo after each word they spell correctly, which motivates them to want to fill their zoo. For my younger daughter, she gets a sticker next to each sentence or section of words on the fluency pages, and we might try to pick one that she feels relates to the sentence (a dog if the sentence has a dog in it). My children also love being the one to read the other’s spelling words for them to spell, which helps reinforce the concepts that the other student is learning and is extra reading practice.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Holly,
Your idea for a “sticker zoo” is awesome! I can see how that would be highly motivating to a young child, and lots of fun too. Thanks for sharing this.

Alene Vienneau

says:

Spelling is very challenging for my 9yo. Every word is new to her each day. And hearing loss that she experienced when she was younger makes different vowel sounds hard to distinguish. (She no longer has hearing issues). To keep her motivated, I do a few different things. If she can’t remember how to spell a word, we find it in a book that she has read or that I have read to her to give the word some context rather than just floating on a list. We vary the way that we review words over a 5-6 day period: tiles, letter blocks that snap together, writing on whiteboard, oral spelling while jumping rope. If she comes up with an idea on what to do that day, I will often use her idea and make that the lesson. Our lessons are very short: flashcards; 5-word quiz on older words; either scripted lesson or review the 10 new words; then dictate a phrase and a sentence. Then we’re done. 15 minutes, like the lady said! After SWR (which I use with my older two girls), it seems too short, but I’m sticking to it with this kid.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Alene,
It sounds like your are doing very well with your daughter. Some students need much more ongoing review than others in order to master spelling.

Good for you for reviewing 5 older word cards each day, in addition to reviewing the 10 cards from the step you are working on. I would have recommended you do that, if you weren’t already.

Mahmoud Sultan

says:

Very useful and constructiv

Patti

says:

We started AAR just as suggested in the manual…white board, tiles etc. Yet, as we progressed through the lessons I found that one of my boys did not enjoy the tiles so much. So, we began working right from the Teachers Manual together, and he has since gone through the lesson more rapidly, yet, thoroughly. Oftentimes the review pages are too long for one sitting, so we stop and pick it up the next day. Thanks for a great tool!!!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Patti,
Some kids absolutely need the letter tiles, but some are like your son and find they slow them down. However, keep the tiles in mind if he ever struggles with a concept. They are great for demonstrating things that students have trouble mastering.

Stephanie

says:

We really love the charts that come with AAS. My kids LOVE being able to track their progress and see how attainable their goals truly are! ;)

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Stephanie,
Yes! Some kids find putting stickers on a chart to be wildly motivating. Others couldn’t care less about the charts, and find the bookmark being moved in the Teacher’s Manual or the growing stack of Word Cards behind the Mastered Tab motivating. You just have to find what works for your unique student.

Karen Craft

says:

I would love to try this spelling program. I enjoyed this article on motivation. I have a very difficult time motivating my last two children to study.

Andrea

says:

I would love to try all about spelling, but can’t unless I’m blessed to win it! Thanks for your giveaways. I have heard wonderful things about the program!

Anna

says:

Thank you for this and other encouraging posts. I have often felt defeated by my children’s lack of motivation and my own doubts of whether I am doing enough. Yet I have seen huge progress since we started the AAR/AAS program.

Juliann

says:

My kids are too goofy sometimes and it really draws the lessons out to where I get frustrated. I need to make sure I am not tired or hungry along with the kids or else it is negative. I also find that I love finishing a lesson because it feels like an accomplishment for me too. Something to check off the list. I hope to focus on watching them grow and enjoying that. Along with some goofy times.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Excellent points here, Juliann! A tired or hungry (or coffee-lacking) teacher is not the best teacher.

Sometimes you can bargain with your kids on the goofiness. “Okay, you have been goofy for a while, so now it’s time to work serious for a while. Then we can will have a snack.” Or you can call a goofy break, and everyone (mom too) dances around or does silly things. Then the goofy break is over and you get serious for a short lesson before having your next goofy break.

Lastly, mom can desire that feeling of accomplishment in finishing a lesson too, and we can find ourselves trying to push “just a bit longer” to finish a lesson. I find it easier to avoid this feeling if I predetermine how many lessons I think is appropriate to finish in the upcoming week based on how things went with my student last week. At times I knew that just one lesson a week was the most reasonable plan for my daughter. Now two to two and a half lessons a week is right for her.

Anyway, I hope this helps.

Steph

says:

Great tips. I have made a concerted effort to give positive reinforcement-and to make sure my corrections are gentle. I also make it a point to show daddy our school work so the can hear me compliment their work and he can encourage them too.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thanks for the tip to show someone else a child’s work, so you have the opportunity to praise them in front of another adult! Great idea, Steph.

Melissa

says:

Thank you for these great tips. We really love AAR and AAS. This past semester we have noticed such positive changes in our homeschool environment and learning. THANK YOU!

Ashley

says:

Thanks for the tips!

Suzy

says:

Thank you! Is there any way to tell if your child just isn’t developmentally ready yet or if they just need to keep working at it? My son is almost 4 and he’s just not ready (he doesn’t hear individual sounds in words so doesn’t pronounce individual sounds, particularly consonants so he doesn’t pronounce any consonants, this also makes reading a ways off for him), but I’d love to have something to help him start to hear sounds and give him the exposure to pre-reading skills. He knows the letters & their sounds but in words he’s completely lost & just guesses. Would AAR help this or should we stick with just speech therapy?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Suzy,
It sounds like your son might benefit a lot from our Pre-Reading program. Our Pre-Reading program works on the Big 5 Skills: Print Awareness, Letter Knowledge, Phonological Awareness, Listening Comprehension, and Motivation to Read. Through games and fun activities, the Pre-Reading program will help your son learn to hear and manipulate the sounds of language, giving him a solid foundation he needs in order to be ready for reading success. Besides, it’s plain old fun too!

There is a large correlation between being in speech therapy before Kindergarten and struggling to learn to read later. My middle child was in speech therapy before his third birthday and right through Kindergarten, and none of the three speech therapists he saw in that time mentioned this to me, although they all knew I homeschooled. I wish I had known so I could have been better prepared.

My son’s phonological awareness skills (being able to hear and manipulate the sounds in language) were weak and had to be explicitly and incrementally built up before he could have success in reading. However, unlike you, I didn’t learn this until my son was 7 and had already been doing a reading program for two years with no success (this was before All About Reading was published). After working on phonological awareness skills for months, his reading finally began to take off. He is now 13, reading well when assigned and even occasionally for pleasure.

Anyway, all that to say working on phonological awareness and the other Big 5 Skills now will really help your son down the line.

Renae B

says:

thank you for the reminder of how easy negative comments can slip into teaching. Also, the tip to end on a positive note.

Stacy

says:

Thank you for all of your tips. I plan on using the information that you have provided. My son is having a hard time learning how to read at school and I think that this information will make it possible for him to learn.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Stacy,
I’m sorry your son is having a hard time. Let us know if we can help.

Alison

says:

Great tips!

Carriesue

says:

A timely reminder that patience travels a lot further than frustration, thank you! Would so love to receive this fabulous giveaway!

Leah Hein

says:

This is exactly correct! I learned very quickly that my frustration only feeds hers and makes it worse for both of us.

Awesome giveaway…. Could use for my son with dyslexia

Oona

says:

Great tips! Especially love the emphasis on making positive comments & not making negative ones. Both can make such a difference in our homeschool day!

Erica

says:

One thing I have not done is using charts to show progress. I think I will have to start implementing that for sure!

Teresa

says:

These are great reminders to help me out. Thanks!

Elisa

says:

Thank you for the wonderful tips!

Mary

says:

Hi Marie,
I’m a Reading Tutor and have the privilege of helping struggling readers learn to read. I have
used your suggestions and downloads to help me tutor these little ones. Thank you so much
for your easy-to-read instruction and encouragement along the way!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Mary,
You are welcome, and thank you for what you do to help struggling readers. I’ll pass along your thanks as well.

Jeannine

says:

Great tips! Thank you!

Emily Main

says:

My son loves the chart!

Carrie

says:

When we first started AAR 1 we rushed through the lessons and it became very frustrating for my daughter and myself. Now we take our time and try to master each lesson before moving on. We love AAR.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Carrie,
The mastery approach is a different mindset for many people. We as a society too often think in terms of “get it done” instead of “master the material”. Good for you for changing the mindset!

Joede

says:

I like the chart idea, thanks for the tips

Debbie Clauer

says:

I always loved to read and spell. In school it was presented in boring ways.

Brook Batzel

says:

I like the chart idea to track progress. My 8 year is very visual like me.

Lorie Ferguson

says:

#3 is a great one!

Amanda

says:

Great information! Would really like to try the All About Reading program with my son next year!

Jessica

says:

Thanks!

Holli

says:

Great tip! I really need to work on the negative comments.

Melissa Huddlestun

says:

Good tips. Thank you for the ideas.

Brittani

says:

I am a kindergarten teacher that wil soon be homeschooling my son. I love everything that you share with us!

Jessica

says:

I love all these tips. Thanks you for putting this together.

TP

says:

I’ve heard such great things about this program! This post has great tips too!!

Jennifer C.

says:

This is an excellent post with tips to encourage my children!

Gabrielle

says:

Great reminders, especially in the beginning stage when repeating lesson after lesson can get so frustrating.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Gabrielle,
The earliest stages of reading can be an exhausting exercise in frustration; I very much understand. It is during those early lessons that I appreciate All About Reading’s short lessons the most. Keep up the good work. Progress will come.

Rita

says:

Thanks for the tips! We’ll try them with spelling this week.

Sherry

says:

Thanks for the tips! I am using AAS with several kids, and this is the first time any of them have said they LIKE spelling!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Sherry,
Isn’t it great to hear a kid say that?!

Miranda West

says:

This program looks like fun.

Sara B

says:

These are great tips! My son loves adding stickers to his progress chart.

Kim

says:

These are awesome tools to help! Thanks for the giveaway!

Krista

says:

I am using All About Spelling and All About Reading with my 8 year old son. We are finally seeing some progress and I thank you so much.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Krista,
You are welcome. We are happy to be a part of your son’s progress!

Rachel B.

says:

These are great points to keep in mind as I begin homeschooling my four-year-old. Thanks for helping me to be a better teacher!

Hallie

says:

My 6 yr old struggles with the fact that he doesn’t read as well as his 8yr old sis. Positive thoughts …. i throw throw them at him every time I see him reading. It’s caught on and his sis does as well. It’s amazing what a confidence boost will do.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Hallie,
Poor guy. But how wonderful big sis is helping you to encourage him!

Jess

says:

These reminders came at a perfect time for me, thank you!

Brenda Damon

says:

Love all about spelling!! Really helped support reading growth in my severe dyslexic!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Brenda,
Yay! Thanks for letting us know.

Marjorie

says:

Really great points, never realized “just concentrate” was negative, I’ve never used those exact words but probably something similar. Something to watch out for.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Marjorie,
I had the exact same response when I first read this blog post this week. Definitely something to watch out for.

Ashley

says:

Great reminders! We love the multi sensory activities.

Sandra

says:

Thank you for this great reminder to use encouraging words to motivate our children as they take on the sometimes difficult task of reading. I can see so much more enthusiasm from my boys when I use a positive approach.

Mikaela

says:

Great Ideas!

Amanda

says:

Thank you for this article! It came up on “one of those days”. It was very helpful and encouraging!

Charis

says:

Great point about ending on a good note

Rachel Thomas

says:

Also video taping your session is a great opportunity to reiterate positive feedback. Kids love to see themselves on video. Plus mom gets a chance to critique herself;)

Bobbie Dake

says:

I have used All About Spelling with my son and am looking forward to trying All About Reading with my daughter.

Jenny Acosta

says:

We are doing level 1 with my 5 year old son, who has speech/hearing issues. He is doing very well with this program. Thank you!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jenny,
It’s great to hear that your 5 year old is doing very well. Just let us know if you ever need help.

Lynda Hernandez

says:

We are on our second volume of All About Reading and my son is reading so well. He is only in Kindergarten and is on lesson 31 in the Level 2! This program has worked well for him. He is also doing the Spelling and doing very well in that too!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Lynda,
Your son is doing very well indeed! Thank you for sharing his reading success with us!

j

says:

I have a homeschooling parent using this program with a 3 and a 6 yr old. The materials and packaging are great. I do have a couple of misgivings. A chance to hands on time with a book would help me, the parent and maybe you. Over all though I AM PLEASED with what I have seen.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

I would love to pass on your suggestion and misgivings, but I’m not sure what you are asking for or what misgivings you have. Could you explain further, please?

Candee

says:

Thanks so much for these wonderful tips!

Misty

says:

Great advice! Thank you for this amazing program! I have been homeschooling my son for 3 years now and found your program this year and for the first time I feel like we are making progress!:)

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Misty,
It’s great that you feel like your are making progress this year. Let us know if we can help with that!

Katie

says:

Hi! I just found your page, and we are new to the world of homeschooling! I look forward to looking around this website!

Sara R

says:

Great tips!

Marsena

says:

Thanks for the encouraging words!

Dawn

says:

Great tips! My son is in 2nd grade and has been struggling with reading and spelling. We just pulled him out to homeschool him hoping that going at his own pace will help him learn better and build his confidence back up. I look forward to trying All About Spelling with him!

Carla

says:

OH HOW I NEEDED THIS!

so very grateful for your programs.

Kelli

says:

Thank you for this helpful blog post! I especially appreciate the advice to “always end a lesson on a positive note.” It seems obvious, but not something I regularly think about! It makes good sense and it works!

Marie,

This is such great advice, thank you for the reminders! I just wanted to send a note to tell you how we are loving both the all about spelling and all about reading programs. They have been exactly what we need in our homeschool! My 4th grader was in public school for K-3rd grade and had some gaps in her spelling methodology. I have watched as these gaps have been filled. My 6 year old is almost through with level 2 of All About Reading and I have been amazed at how quickly she has grown in her de-coding skills. Thank you, thank you!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Kristin,
I’ll be sure to pass this on. Thank you for letting us know how well your children are doing!

Melissa

says:

Thank you for this much needed advice now that it is mid-January!

Holly

says:

This is such a great reminder! especially when my child is struggling in something and I feel my patience getting shorter. I find that when I switch over to speaking encouraging words, not only does my child respond in kindness and better attitude, but I feel more encouraged because I feel as though I just spent quality time with him.

Alexis

says:

Great reminders. We use both AAS and AAR my kids enjoy them both.

Julie

says:

Great insights! I’m excited to try these with my kids. I Purchased All About Spelling kit for them and they love it! Thank you for all these suggestions.

Carly

says:

Thank you so much for the reminders! Simple things like satisfied tummies and kind words can make the world of difference. I need to remember to always end our program on a high note and not to go overboard with how long we sit.

Annie Bleuer

says:

Thanks so much for these suggestions! I really need to keep my words encouraging!

Jennifer

says:

My 6 year old is doing so well with the all about reading she loves it!

Julie

says:

I’m excited to try some of these!

Oksana

says:

Thank you for the reminders. I also printed your page of encouraging words to use and posted it where both my kids and I can always see them. My kids now like to pick out the encouragement words they can use on a sibling.

Kristi

says:

Thank you so much for these tips! They are a great reminder especially this time of year when we tend to get the blahs anyway.

Bonnie

says:

Thanks, these ideas are so helpful!

mia

says:

Thanks for these ideas.

Rebecca

says:

Thank you. After trying several reading programs without success, this is the one that works for my struggling reader. Now he has confidence in his reading. It’s a lovely thing for a mama to see.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Rebecca,
Thank you for letting us know that your struggling reader is now a confident reader! Keep up the great work!

Lisa

says:

Love this program!

Jenifer

says:

I cannot say enough about your program. Both my 5 & 6 year old love their reading. My daughter just started level 4 and my son is in level 3. That is their favorite part of homeschool. The spelling flows so easily with the reading program. We all love AAR & AAS. Look forward to using it with my younger 2!!!!!!
Highly recommend

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jenifer,
Wow, it sounds like your kids are doing very well indeed!

Julie

says:

This is my first year using AAS with my first grader. We are half way through and really enjoy it. We haven’t had a day yet where I say it’s time for spelling and he complains. Even my little one joins and likes doing the sounds. My older ones wonder why they never got to do fun spelling.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Julie,
No complaints is huge! Thanks for sharing that.

Katrina Chastain

says:

My daughter absolutely loves the AAS and AAR! It is so easy for me to teach also. We can go as fast or as slow as she needs which is a huge plus.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Katrina,
Yes, being able to teach student’s at their own unique pace is very important.

Nancy

says:

AAS allows for short lessons as well as letting students to be up out of their seats and moving while we work – letter tiles on the board, writing at the table. Love that AAS and AAR coordinate.

Hannah

says:

Thank you! Really needed this right now, teaching a 5 year old who needs constant supervision to stay on task with her work, and needs directions repeated multiple times to successfully complete activities.

Claudia

says:

I have seen such great progress with this program for my reluctant reader. Reading is no longer a chore and she looks forward to her AAR lessons. Thank you for a fantastic program!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Claudia,
You are welcome! And thank you for sharing your daughter’s success in reading with us!

Krista

says:

Thanks for the great tips!

Sarah

says:

Great tips and reminders. Thanks!

Heather R

says:

Thanks Marie! So encouraged by your posts. I’m in my first year of homeschooling and using both the pre-k resting and level 1 with my boys. I love the program and am so encouraged by the progress my boys are making!

Lynsie

says:

Thanks so much for sharing great tips! I will be homeschooling my daughter in a few months and have found this blog very helpful!

Pat

says:

Thank you so much for reminding us that encouraging words are key to every child’s learning experience…expressing one’s frustration and impatience only makes things worse! Your list of encouraging words is greatly appreciated.

Sara

says:

I love this program. It has been amazing for my son. He loves the hands on approach and I love how easy it is to use. My favorite part is the emails filled with great tips and encouragement like this. Thank you so much for this program!

Jill

says:

This is so true (especially 7 and 8)! I need to remember to be positive. My son loves the AAS progress charts, but I never thought to give other rewards as well.

Karen R

says:

Thanks for these reminders. I tend to try to rush to get everything in.

Marietta

says:

We often end lessons with word games. All short games involve reading words we have mastered.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Marietta,
This is a great way to end the day’s lesson on a successful and fun note! Thanks for sharing it.

Sarah S.

says:

Today I had the kids sit down for their “lesson”. When we finished I told them they had just gotten 100% on their first spelling test. They had no idea it was a test and were SO very excited to have gotten all their words correct. In fact, they asked if we could laminate their “test” so they could remember their hard work forever.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thank you for sharing this, Sarah. It gave me a lovely smile this morning.

Pam

says:

Thanks for the generous giveaways each month. Thanks too for the blog about encouraging words. What a timely reminder given the cold weather and winter blues that can coincide with January.

Anita Harkness

says:

These are great tips. My youngest and I are struggling with reading. The things that worked with my older 2 are not working with him. I’ll keep these tips in mind as we preserve

Tracey McNeely

says:

I love reading articles about motivation. It’s adding tools to my toolbox!

Julie

says:

Keeping them short! I found that if I tried to cover all the material,I could end up being frustrated because we would move too slowly. Keeping the lesson short and breaking it up over a couple days is sometimes very helpful. We set the timer and that is motivating! :-)

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Julie,
Yes! Short, but day-in-day-out consistent lessons make huge impacts into learning success! Thanks for the reminder.

Crystal

says:

My two kids and I are loving the programs !

Kim

says:

Thanks☺

Elly

says:

Good article!!

Julie

says:

Great reminders! Thank you!!

Melanie

says:

AAR has been a huge benefit for my struggling reader. We take it slow but are immensely excited that this time when she finished a level she was actually ready to move on to the next!

Esther

says:

Thanks for the reminders. My daughter is already a perfectionist (at 6!) and often won’t try if she thinks she won’t be successful at the first attempt. We’re working on taking risks and being ok with mistakes as part of the process of learning. But I struggle with my own frustration levels because of her balking. I needed to read this to keep my patience and keep the fun.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Esther,
Awww, I know this one. My oldest child had perfectionist tendencies too.

First, I would recommend getting this book from the library, Beautiful Oops. Or, if she is is the type that will find more comfort in real world examples, summarize this article for her, 9 Brilliant Inventions Made by Mistake. Basically, get her thinking about how mistakes can lead to wonderful things.

Then, discuss with her that you expect her to make mistakes. Why? Because if she got everything right the first time, then you would have nothing to teach her. When she makes mistakes, both you and her then know what it is she needs to learn better. You can help with this by when she does make a mistake saying things like, “Oh, I’m glad you made that mistake so I can show you this,” before going over the rule or pattern.

Encouraging her to be more moderate in her disappointment with mistakes and being willing to take risks is going to be a work spanning a long period of time. Try to react without disappointment as each mistake is made. Instead of “You spelled that wrong,” try “Can you find your own error and fix it? Great! I make errors all the time too, but being able to find and fix them is what’s important.” Pretty much the same thing, but it can impact a perfectionist child quite differently.

I hope this helps. I do know it’s frustrating.

Esther

says:

Thank you for such a helpful reply, Robin! I will look into both those links and mull over your pointers. You’re absolutely right – mistakes are often the strongest teachers, as well as being great character-shapers. :)

Sarika

says:

Thanks Madam!
I love to read your blog and trying to learn from it. My nine year old is slow in writing, and i get frustrated. Kindly give tips to make him move. I like your nine ways on motivation. Like that please show us the way to understand our child better.

With regards

Anne

says:

#9 is a great point!! My 2nd grader is in level 3 and does fabulously well with the lessons and his school spelling tests (they jump around more and combine phonograms without explaining the rules), but sometimes doesn’t apply what he has learned when he’s writing. Whenever I draw his attention to it, it’s suddenly obvious to him – for example, spelling “have” without a silent E. Now I’m just waiting for him to connect the dots but trying not to push it – better if he figures it out. Meanwhile, we turned EIY into a chant…”what three vowels make c say /s/ ? E-I-Y! E-I-Y!” It’s cute and works for both my smart-cookie son and struggling reading students (3rd graders).

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Anne,
When students are writing outside of spelling time, they have many more things to focus on: content, creativity, organization, punctuation, spelling, grammar, capitalization, what kind of audience they are addressing… It’s a lot to think about at once! This misspelling words they have mastered in context of their writing actually is somewhat common for students. We even have a blog post on this topic Helping Kids Achieve Automaticity in Spelling

Erin W

says:

These are so simple, but great reminders. I’ve got to remember to make this fun to keep my girls motivated!

Margaret G

says:

My daughter loves All About Spelling. We are working on Level 3. I tried other curriculums, but they just didn’t work. My daughter likes to know and apply the rules. It makes sense to her. I have always been a pretty good speller, but now I am learning when to apply the rules. One of our favorites is the FLOSS rule. We put it to the tune of “What Does the Fox Say” to make it a bit more fun.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Margaret,
My kids would love putting the rule to tunes, but I struggle to remember tunes. I’ll have to think about how to make this work. Thanks for the suggestion.

Bridgett

says:

Making spelling active has worked best for us. Jumping from card to card, bouncing a ball at words written on the glass door, shooting nerf bullets at words to read…my 8 year old begs to do extra words when we do those things! All About Reading and All About Spelling have been great for us and we have easily incorporated those types of activities.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Bridgett,
These are great active ideas, thank you!

Jennifer J

says:

Thanks this information is helpful

Amy DelaTerre

says:

Thank you, this is really helpful!

Kristie

says:

Would love to win!

Jessica waters

says:

What a great list!

Jennifer

says:

I am excited to give this program a try! Hope to win the chance to try for free!! I think it will be very valuable for my kindergartener to start from the beginning.

Corrie K

says:

Thanks so much for the reminders. It really applies to every subject or lesson taught and.not just with our children! Our kids have really thrived in your programs, and we will be forever grateful!

Faye Yarbrough

says:

I am very interested in trying this out. Would love to win to be able to.

Lea Cummins

says:

Great article! Thank you for the reminders!

Mindy scheffrahn

says:

Such a good reminder to not sit down to do challenging work when you know they are not in a place to be successful. Sometimes I just want to get going and just taking a few minutes for a break or getting a snack or a piece of gum works wonders!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Mindy,
Great suggestion! Thank you.

Katy

says:

Great article, thank you!!

Alessia Coleman

says:

These are all very good points. I think my biggest struggle is #7 and #8. I try to be encouraging and positive. But, every once in awhile, when i’m tired or just not having a good day…I tend to be less encouraging. Going to keep working on it!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Alessia,
I think we are all like that. I know I was about as unencouraging as possible last Friday, when I was tired and not feeling well, so I sent myself to bed. We didn’t finish a full day of school that day, but it was better for everyone.

Candace

says:

Good things to remember. Last year I homeschooled my firstborn for kindergarten and this year I put him in public school for first grade. I am homeschooling him next year, along with my second child who will be in kindergarten. So since you mentioned grade levels, and forgetting about them, does that mean I need to start my 2nd grader with AAR level 2, since we just finished 1 last year? I don’t want to “rewind” and make him repeat 1st grade, but don’t want gaps in his learning or problems later. And how practical is it for me to teach more than 1 level of AAR since I will have 2 students? I know many of you have done it, so surely it’s possible! Right!? Do I need to try to get the first 2 levels done with my 4.5 year old so I can start level 3 with both of them this fall? Don’t want to push too hard but need to help both of them.

Courtney

says:

When your son completes his year in public school you will have to assess what material he knows. Each level of All About Reading has a section at the beginning (which you can see on the website) that helps you determine if your child is right for that particular level. Use this to help you decide where your child should be.

I school 4 kids in three different AAR levels. Two are close in age, and could do the same work, but one reads better than the other so he’s in level 3 while the other is in level 2. This gives them both individual time with me, keeps them from competing with each other, and keeps the slower reader motivated rather than letting his other brother do the work for him. My third child is four years younger than his closest brother, so I started him in PreK. He is advancing so fast through it that he will be ready for level 1 soon. His younger brother joins in with the lessons more for the fun of coloring pages, etc. But he is learning his letter sounds and practicing right along.

While each of them has their reading lesson I have other independent work for the others to do. I find that I enjoy listening to them read their stories to me and having that one-on-one time with them. This is also one subject where we see real noticible improvement. This is encouraging for each child, and some days for you as their teacher! Best of luck to you.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Candance,
First, we do not recommend trying to speed one child up or slowing the other down in order to have them working in the same level. One of the things that makes All About Reading so very effective for a wide range of learners is that it is designed to be used at the individual child’s unique pace. Speeding a child up or slowing a child down to match with another child would negate that benefit. This is especially so when considering your children are 2 or more years apart in age.

Rather, we recommend working with each child on their own level for 20 minutes a day. While you are working with one, the other can be doing something else like handwriting, math, or even just wandering off to play and move so when they come back they can be refreshed. I do teach my 13, 11, and almost 9 year old children together for some subjects (history, science, Bible, read alouds), but I teach each individually for spelling, reading, and math.

As for where to place your older child after a year in public school, it is really best to use our placement tests. It is impossible for me to know how much he has learned, or not learned, in a year off from All About Reading. I find it very unlikely that he will need to repeat AAR 1, but depending on how this school year goes, he could be ready for AAR 3 or he could need to do AAR 2.

Rather, please wait until a month or so before you plan to start using All About Reading with him again, and then use placement tests for All About Reading to help you decide which level would be best. Also, we recommend having your child read the sample stories from the previous level online as a further confirmation. You want your child to be reading fluently with good comprehension before going to a higher level.

Level 1 sample story
Level 2 sample story
Level 3 sample story
Level 4 sample story

Evaluate (without correcting your student) for the following…

Your student’s ability to decode the words in the story.
Your student’s ability to comprehend the story.
Could your student fluently read the story with expression?
Did your student understand the words from a vocabulary standpoint?

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

VWard

says:

Great article!

Debra

says:

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

Debra,
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.

Hannahlei

says:

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

Julie

says:

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

Michelle R

says:

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

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

Jessica Britto

says:

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

Kristin

says:

These are great reminders. Thank you!

Jen m.

says:

Thanks for the great tips!

Renee Smith

says:

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

says:

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

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

Cheryl Long

says:

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

Crystal

says:

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

Lynn Conroy

says:

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

Laura

says:

Very helpful reminders!

Cristina

says:

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

Jeanna

says:

Love this!

Aimee McDonald

says:

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

Tiffany

says:

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

Caroline

says:

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.

Kristi

says:

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

Melissa Gilman

says:

Thanks for these very encouraging tips!

Sarah Nusz

says:

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

Jessica B.

says:

These are great tips to help me out.

Karen Gabbert Armand

says:

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

Stefanie Summers

says:

Absolutely love All about reading and spelling.

LuisaP

says:

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

Luisa,
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.

Beth

says:

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

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Beth,
I love when our posts are timely for someone!

Giselle

says:

We love all about reading and spelling!

Ashley

says:

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

says:

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.

Desiree

says:

Awesome article!

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