Why All About Reading and All About Spelling Are Great for ESL Students

AAR and AAS can be used as effective reading and spelling programs for ESL students. Discover why they are perfect for English language learners from all backgrounds and levels.

Learning to read and spell are two of the first challenges that ELLs (English language learners) face when they begin their English journey, and simplifying these subjects helps students build confidence and start off on the right foot. The same qualities that make All About Reading and All About Spelling so effective for native English speakers actually make them perfect for ESL (English as a second language) students as well.

A mother using an All About Reading reader with her two young ESL children

Common Challenges for ESL Students

By the time most native English speakers start learning how to read, they have already been speaking for a few years. This means that they are familiar with the sounds that the letters represent, and learning the alphabet and all the letter combinations simply means matching them to the sounds they already know. On top of that, native English speakers usually grow up in an environment where they see written English all around them, so the letters are often less intimidating for them to learn.

ESL students are in a much more challenging situation. Not only are the letters completely foreign to them in some cases, but the sounds themselves can be difficult for them to make, depending on the student’s native language. This means that they need to learn the letters, the sounds they make individually, and the new sounds they make when combined with one another.

All About Reading and All About Spelling are designed to systematically break down these challenges by translating sounds into basic phonograms and reinforcing them through a multisensory approach. These methods are so effective that AAR and AAS are celebrated as two of the best programs for children with dyslexia and other learning challenges.

A young boy independently reads from an open book from All About Reading Level 3.

What Are AAR and AAS?

All About Reading and All About Spelling are comprehensive programs that are designed for all types of learners—not just those who struggle. The programs start with the basic foundations of reading and spelling and continue all the way up to fluency. The curriculums are mastery-based, meaning that students take as much or as little time as they need to master a concept before moving on to the next one, and the levels follow a logical sequence that leaves no gaps in the learning process. In addition to being effective, the lessons, activities, and games are fun and engaging, helping students build confidence and develop a love of English.

AAR and AAS product line, which are great reading and spelling programs for ESL students

What Is the Orton-Gillingham Approach?

All About Reading and All About Spelling use the Orton-Gillingham approach, a powerful approach to teaching reading and spelling that uses instruction that is multisensory, sequential, incremental, cumulative, individualized, phonics-based, and explicit. Through multisensory activities, students learn skills in an order that builds on previous knowledge and instills confidence while guiding them toward fluency.

The approach is based on the teaching methods of Dr. Samuel T. Orton, who was a pioneer in the study and understanding of dyslexia. He developed teaching principles that were designed to be more effective with dyslexic children, who usually struggle with identifying sounds in speech and connecting them with letters and words. Orton’s methods were built upon by one of his students, Anna Gillingham, who combined their ideas in the Orton-Gillingham manual.

A fundamental principle of the Orton-Gillingham approach is multisensory learning, which means using multiple senses while learning and reviewing. If students see a word while hearing it and writing it at the same time, they’re more likely to understand and remember how the letters come together to create the sounds. All About Reading and All About Spelling are full of fun activities that combine the visual (sight), auditory (hearing), and kinesthetic (touch) pathways to the brain, leading to learning on a deeper level.

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Learn more about the Orton-Gillingham Approach by checking out our blog post or through our free download!

Give It a Try!

Do you know any ESL instructors or students who would benefit from All About Reading and All About Spelling? Both AAR and AAS offer a one-year guarantee and can be returned for a full refund anytime within a year of purchase, even after use. That makes trying these popular teaching solutions as easy as A-B-C! Try them for yourself and see why they are two of the best reading and spelling programs for ESL students.

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Romy Diaz


This program has been a blessing for my child. English is not my first language, so I was afraid I would not be able to teach my child how to read until I found All About Reading and Spelling. The programs have been easy to implement and very effective. My child (7 years old) is an excellent reader and speller! Even I have learned a lot about Phonemic sound and spelling rules. WE also use the Tiles App, which helps a lot with the sounds of vowels and consonants. Again, these programs are amazing!


says: Customer Service

It’s so great to hear that All About Reading and All About Spelling are working well for you and your child! Thank you!