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The Right Time to Start Spelling Instruction

Child writing on whiteboard

Children have such a variety of needs—especially when it comes to spelling. You want to get it right, so naturally you have questions about the right time to start spelling instruction.

When is the right time to start spelling?
My 12-year-old is struggling … where do I start?
My child is five, but he’s reading … is it too soon to start?

Since everyone’s situation is unique, you may have guessed that there are no “one size fits all” answers.

But these are all great questions that deserve a response. I’ll do my best to answer them here, but if you ever have questions about timing and placement, please pick up the phone and call us, or shoot us an email.

What’s the Right Time to Start Spelling Instruction?

My general recommendation is to begin spelling instruction after your child has a strong start in reading.

Here are recommendations concerning some more specific situations:

  • Generally speaking, I recommend that a child complete All About Reading Level 1 (or the equivalent), and then start All About Spelling Level 1 along with All About Reading Level 2. For most children, this means starting spelling around the end of first grade.
  • For a child who is reading above AAR Level 1, start with AAS Level 1 and the appropriate level of AAR. See our reading placement guides here.
  • Older children who are reading above AAR Level 1—and have previous experience with a phonogram-based spelling program—may be able to jump directly into AAS Level 2.
  • Struggling spellers of any age should begin in AAS Level 1. This ensures that there will be no gaps in your child’s learning.
Mother helping young girl with All About Spelling letter tiles

Why Wait to Start Spelling?

There are three main reasons to delay spelling instruction until after the child has begun reading. Here’s the rationale:

  1. While learning to read, students pick up basic skills that will enable them to spell more easily.

    For example, in All About Reading Level 1 a number of important reading skills are thoroughly and systematically taught. Students review the first sound for each phonogram and learn how to blend these sounds into words. They hone their reading ability with phonemic awareness skills like rhyming and alliteration. And they gradually add additional phonogram sounds.

    When students are ready for spelling instruction, the first steps in All About Spelling Level 1 quickly review these crucial reading skills, and then build on these concepts. A strong foundation in reading paves the way for an incremental introduction of spelling skills and strategies that help students become successful spellers.

  2. It’s easier to decode words than it is to encode words.

    Reading requires decoding. Once a child learns that the phonogram ay always says /ā/, reading words like stay, display, and mayhem is easy. But spelling requires encoding. Consider the sound of /ā/. It can be written as a, ai, ea, a-consonant-e, eigh, ei, ey, or ay. Can you see why it may be easier for a child to read the word neighbor than it is for him to spell the word neighbor? Acquiring the skills required to decode words provides the foundation students need to learn to encode words.

  3. Learning to read first provides a “scaffolding” approach to learning spelling.

    Reading helps a child establish a visual memory of many words, which acts as one of the first “rungs” in the scaffolding process. But spelling isn’t just visual, and relying on visual strategies alone is overwhelming for most kids. Successful spelling requires a combination of four main spelling strategies—visual, phonetic, rules-based, and morphemic. Building a strong reading foundation strengthens this core strategy and better prepares your child for spelling success.

All About Spelling Review Box, Teacher's Manual, and Word Banks sheet

Why You Don’t Want to Wait Too Long . . .

This is an important point. Some programs recommend that you don’t start spelling instruction until the child is in third grade.
That is too long to wait. Here’s why:

  • You don’t want your child to start guessing at how to spell words. Bad habits are hard to correct. It is easier to learn something correctly the first time.
  • You want to teach spelling before your child needs it for other subjects in school.
  • You don’t want your child to internalize the idea that “I’m just a bad speller.” You want to give him skills and confidence as early in his school career as possible.

Ideally, you want to start teaching spelling by the end of first grade. But if your child is older than that, don’t despair! All About Spelling is perfect for older kids as well.

An Added Benefit

Some kids are actually able to wrap their minds around spelling more easily than reading. I’ve noticed that these kids are usually very analytical, and some of them have tried to learn to read so many times that they are just frustrated with the whole process. Most often, their previous reading programs have let them down and they feel like they’ve hit a wall. But when they start fresh with All About Spelling, it’s like a light bulb goes on.

Instead of trying yet another reading program—and fearing that they’ll never be able to read—they have a fresh start with spelling, and everything begins to make sense. It’s not normally the way it works, but for some kids, learning to spell actually makes reading easier! We’ve heard from many delighted parents and tutors who report that their students’ reading level increased a couple of grade levels as they worked through All About Spelling. That’s what I like to hear!

We just considered a variety of scenarios, but for the vast majority of students, the answer to “When do I start?” is very simple.

If your child can read, it’s the perfect time to begin spelling instruction—just don’t wait too long!

Additional Spelling Resources You May Find Useful:

  • Learn more about using All About Spelling with older students.
  • This article contains more information for people with questions about which level to start with.
  • Download samples of All About Spelling.
  • Find LOTS of help for struggling learners here.
  • Click here to learn more about the logical progression of language arts instruction.

Do you have questions about the right time to start spelling instruction? When did you start teaching spelling in your homeschool? Comment below!

Photo credit: The Unlikely Homeschooler

Free report - '20 Best Tips for Teaching Reading and Spelling'

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Leave a Comment

Amy

says:

I have a son who is 4 but is already a very good reader. We are hoping to start him on a hybrid preschool / kindergarten curriculum this summer. We did not do All About Reading, but he can read the Level 1 and 2 sample stories with ease. I’m wondering if it is too early to start him in AAS? He has already started writing letters, and has shown interest in wanting to spell words so he can write things by himself, but I don’t want to frustrate him or turn him off to spelling if he’s too young to start.

Additionally, it looks like the AAS program uses tiles and magnets for spelling. Does this program include any workbooks or writing practice, or would that be separate?

Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amy,
With young advanced readers like this, we recommend waiting to begin All About Spelling 1 until the child shows an interest in wanting to write and spell. It sounds like your son is ready to begin.

AAS is designed to be used at the student’s unique pace, so if he has any struggles or frustration, you would just slow down or even stop for a while. We typically recommend working on All About Spelling for 20 minutes a day, but with such a young student I would start with just 10 minutes a day and see how he goes.

All About Spelling does not have a workbook but does ask students to start writing words on paper by Step 6 of AAS 1. By Step 11 of AAS 1, it asks students to write two word phrases from dictation (you read the two word phrase such as “red bug” aloud once, the student repeats it, then writes it on paper). As AAS 1 progresses, there will be some three word phrases as well. AAS 2 then introduces short sentences for dictation, and the sentence length and difficulty increases with each level. Many people prefer to have all this writing in a composition book or spiral notebook, although some allow their student to write on a whiteboard or other options.

All About Spelling assumes students already know how to form all the letters and are ready to write simple words shortly after beginning. However, with young advanced students like your son, it is somewhat common that their motor skills and handwriting are not as advanced as their academic schools. If this is the case for your son, we recommend keeping his spelling to the tiles and oral spelling and to work on handwriting practice separately. In time his handwriting will be such that he can then slowly transition to writing on paper.

I hope this helps. Please let us know if you have any further questions.

Maggie

says:

I have two children. A boy age 8 and a girl age 6. Both of them read exceptionally well. Up to this point we have used A beka. My son struggles in spelling and has not made the link between phonics and spelling. My daughter has not started a spelling program yet. I am wanting to start Level 1 spelling without using your reading program. I have given them both the Level 1 spelling placement test and they both had gaps. I also gave my son the Phonetic Zoo placement test and he is definitely not ready to start there. Do you think we can use your spelling program without your reading program and still master spelling?

Maggie

says:

I am sorry I forgot to mention I also let both of my children read Level 1 and Level 2 sample stories and they both did this with ease.
Thank you for time and advice!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Maggie,
Yes! Our All About Spelling program stands alone and will help your children become successful spellers whether you use our reading program or not.

Most students do need to begin All About Spelling with level 1, as placement is based on the student’s knowledge of spelling rules and concepts rather than grade level, reading level, or the words a student has memorized.

For example, we find that many students simply memorize easy words like “cat” and “kid” but have no idea why one uses a C and the other uses a K, or that the same rules that apply to these words also apply to higher level words such as “concentrate.” Other students switch letters or leave out letters entirely. This usually occurs because they don’t know how to hear each sound in the word. Level 1 has specific techniques to solve these problems.

However, All About Spelling is a mastery-based approach so each level will take only as long as your student needs to master the material. It is common for level 1 to take less than a year, especially for older students like your 8-year-old. This blog post explains how you might move faster through the concepts your child knows already and then slower through the things that are new to him.

Please let me know if you have further questions.

N Little

says:

My daughter is 12 years old, and she has some issues with spelling words she does not know. She has basic skills and are reading chapter books now. She loves reading. However, her spelling needs to be worked on. Does she need to start at level 1? How can I access which level she should start at if not at level 1? Your answer would be most appreciated. Thank you.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

We recommend that most students start with level 1 to build a strong foundation in spelling.

All About Spelling is a building block program with each level building upon the previous one. The rules and concepts learned in Level 1 are applied in Level 2, and then those are applied in Level 3, and so on. Placement for spelling is based on the student’s knowledge of spelling rules and concepts rather than grade level, reading level, or the words a student has memorized.

For example, we find that many students simply memorize easy words like “cat” and “kid” but have no idea why one uses a C and the other uses a K, or that the same rules that apply to these words also apply to higher level words such as “concentrate.” Other students switch letters or leave out letters entirely. This usually occurs because they don’t know how to hear each sound in the word. Level 1 has specific techniques to solve these problems.

The article Which Spelling Level Should We Start With? has more information on the concepts taught in All About Spelling 1 and will help you decide if your student can skip level 1 and go into level 2.

Level 2 of AAS focuses on learning the syllable types, when they are used and how they affect spelling. This information is foundational for higher levels of spelling. Three syllable rules are introduced in Level 2, and then more in Level 3 and up. For this reason, we don’t recommend starting higher than level 2.

We encourage parents and teachers to “fast track” if the student knows how to spell most of the words but does not understand the underlying basic spelling concepts. In this case, very quickly skim the parts that he already knows and slow down on the parts that he needs to learn. Pull out several words as examples. Make sure he understands the concept being taught, and then move on. This blog article has a good example of how you might fast track.

I hope this helps. Please let us know if you have further questions.

Stephani Speers

says:

Hello! We just pulled our 13 year old daughter (7th grade) from public school. She reads exceptionally well, high school level, but her spelling is considerably lacking. Is the end of 7th grade too old to start at AAS 1? Should I try a placement test or just start from the beginning?

Thank you!

Stephani

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Stephani,
I’m sorry to hear your daughter is struggling with spelling.

We recommend that struggling spellers start with level 1 to fill in gaps and build a strong foundation in spelling. 7th-grade is not too old to begin with All About Spelling 1. Many teens and even adults have used AAS 1 to start to become successful spellers.

All About Spelling is a building block program with each level building upon the previous one. The rules and concepts learned in Level 1 are applied in Level 2, and then those are applied in Level 3, and so on. Placement for spelling is based on the student’s knowledge of spelling rules and concepts rather than grade level, reading level, or the words a student has memorized.

For example, we find that many students simply memorize easy words like “cat” and “kid” but have no idea why one uses a C and the other uses a K, or that the same rules that apply to these words also apply to higher level words such as “concentrate.” Other students switch letters or leave out letters entirely. This usually occurs because they don’t know how to hear each sound in the word. Level 1 has specific techniques to solve these problems.

We encourage you to “fast track” if your daughter knows how to spell most of the words but does not understand the underlying basic spelling concepts. In this case, very quickly skim the parts that she already knows and slow down on the parts that she needs to learn. Pull out several words as examples. Make sure she understands the concept being taught, and then move on. This blog article has a good example of how you might fast track.

I hope this helps. Please let us know if you have further questions.

Stephani

says:

Thank you so much! I recently purchased AAS 1 to begin with my twin 5 year olds who are in the last few lesson of AAR 1. Looks like I will be doing a test run on my 14 year old before beginning with my 5 year olds. :) Thank you, your advice is invaluable!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Stephani,
I am happy to help. Please let us know how it goes!

nikki Mattison

says:

Hello, I have an almost 9 year old (3rd grade) who struggles with spelling simple 4 letter words. However his reading is at grade level and he comprehends what he’s reading well. We homeschool and I’m willing to give up all our Language Arts curriculum to focus on his phonics and spelling because it’s preventing him from excelling in his writing and he lacks confidence completely. My question is if I should start him at level 1 AAS even though he may be above that level? Our current lanaguge arts program was phonic based but not in depth at all, so he knows basic rules but defiantly not grade 3 level. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Nikki,
I can confidently say you should start your son on level 1 of All About Spelling.

All About Spelling is a building block program with each level building upon the previous one. The rules and concepts learned in Level 1 are applied in Level 2, and then those are applied in Level 3, and so on. Placement for spelling is based on the student’s knowledge of spelling rules and concepts rather than grade level, reading level, or the words a student has memorized.

For example, we find that many students simply memorize easy words like “cat” and “kid” but have no idea why one uses a C and the other uses a K, or that the same rules that apply to these words also apply to higher level words such as “concentrate.” Other students switch letters or leave out letters entirely. This usually occurs because they don’t know how to hear each sound in the word. Level 1 has specific techniques to solve these problems.

Level 1 starts with two and three letter words but then moves onto words with four and five letters. Students need to master these before they are ready for two syllable words and trickier spellings covered in level 2.

However, we encourage you to “fast track” if your student knows how to spell most of the words but does not understand the underlying basic spelling concepts. In this case, very quickly skim the parts that he already knows and slow down on the parts that he needs to learn. Pull out several words as examples. Make sure he understands the concept being taught, and then move on. This blog article has a good example of how you might fast track.

My daughter was 10 when we found All About Spelling, and despite reading well ahead of grade level she was still struggling to reliably spell very simple words like back and bake. We started with level 1, and even though it only took her a month to complete it, her spelling improved noticeably with level 1.

I hope this helps give you the confidence to start at level 1. I am sure it will help your son. However, we do have a one-year “Go Ahead and Use It” money back guarantee, if you buy directly from us.

nikki Mattison

says:

Thank you so much Robin! This is so helpful! I ordered level 1 and I’m very excited to start!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

This is great, Nikki! Let us know how it goes or if you ever have concerns or questions. We are committed to helping parents, tutors, and teachers help their students succeed!

Kathrin Hunter

says:

My 2nd grader is reading, but has no motivation to sound out new words – and she sounds most of those new words back to front (dyslexic?). Also as she is learning how to read in German (she is bilingual), she confuses some letter sounds as they are similar but not ;) (we stopped working on the German curriculum to not confuse her more, but it is already that way) My Kindergarden child loves to try to figure out any new/hard word. Though my older one reads with more ease, they are pretty close in their abilities, I think. We have not done any reading program, just reading books they like (Often we read Magic Tree House and I help with some unfamiliar words). We are working with Saxon Phonics 1, and are half way through it. So they know the rules for a lot of the spelling (c/k, final /k/, floss, final ve,….), but still need to be reminded. I did not realize that reading should have been done before spelling. :(

I did the placement test (AAR2) and they both can read the words. I am not sure if they know ALL of the phonemes (eg the i in radio) though. Everything else looks good I think. I will have them read that sample story that you posted about. I would like to start AAR2 and AAS1. Does that sound right? Or should I start AAR1 first?

My older one is not very confident and feels she has it so much harder to learn than the second child. We only homeschooled the first one for a while to not have the “comparison” but couldn’t keep the other one in school ;) how is your experience with children doing the same program though they are 2 years apart?

Thank you,

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Kathrin,
We do recommend having children learn to read in their native language first, before learning to read in a second language for just the issues you described. So stopping German reading instruction for the time being was a good idea.

As for starting with AAR 2 and AAS 1, that sounds great. It is not necessary to start with AAR 1 unless AAR 1 is the level the child needs. In addition to the placement tests, have your children read the sample stories from the previous level as a further confirmation. You want your children to be reading fluently with good comprehension before going to a higher level.

Level 1 sample story
Level 2 sample story

Evaluate (without correcting your students) for the following…

Their ability to decode the words in the story.
Their ability to comprehend the story.
Could they fluently read the story with expression?
Did they understand the words from a vocabulary standpoint?

As for teaching your two children together in the same level, we have a blog post that discusses the issues. Can I Teach My Kids Together?

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any further questions!

Kathrin

says:

Thank you for your response. German is her first language, and she went to 1st grade in Germany. So there was a different start ;). I will look at that link for teaching both children at the same time. Thanks again,

Kathrin

says:

Hi again,
both links do not work for me. Where can I find those sample stories?
Thanks

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kathrin,
I’m sorry about that!

Here are the direct links, please tell me if they aren’t working too.
Level 1 sample story – http://downloads.allaboutlearningpress.com/samples/CobwebTheCat_Sample.pdf
Level 2 sample story – http://downloads.allaboutlearningpress.com/samples/AAR-L2-QueenBee-2ndEd-Sample.pdf

Amanda P

says:

Hi!
My son is almost 8 and we are wrapping up our first year of homeschooling (2nd grade). He is on the high functioning end of the Autistic Spectrum and does have some problems with sequencing, fine motor skills (writing), and occasional language delays such as mixing up words or descriptive language.
He taught himself to read at age 3 (we didn’t even know he had done it at first) and full letter recognition by age 2 1/2. When I evaluated him a year ago, he had a word recognition level of 6th-7th grade, phonetic decoding maxed out at 4th grade level, reading comprehension was at high 3rd grade level.
BUT… he can’t spell. Anything. At all. Well… his name. And occasionally something like cat. He just doesn’t get it. He can usually guess the beginning letter of a word, if it is a non-blended consonant.
The school he was in for K and 1st Grade used Orton-Gillingham, and I absolutely loved it. So when I ordered curriculum for our first year of homeschooling, I ordered AAS because it made sense to continue with what he had been doing; I knew he was behind in spelling but didn’t realize yet how much. When I got AAS and saw his anxiety over not being able to recall certain phonetic sounds- I thought, “Well, if phonics / this method has NOT worked for him for 2-3 years… why would it now?” So I sent it back. I wanted to give him a little breather. Then I fumbled through this year trying to narrow down exactly where the problem is.
I have recently figured out there is some sort of disconnect- he can read anything in front of him and he does beautiful copywork. But to recall the letters of the alphabet on his own- he will sometimes have to ask what certain letters look like. He has a hard time distinguishing if letters are upper or lower case without lines there to as a reference. He also simply cannot get the letters together to form a word.
In many ways- I am absolutely sold on this curriculum. The local dyslexia center uses OG as well. But I still go back to my original question- if he didn’t learn by grilling phonics for 2 years, why continue down this road? I want to try it with him but I don’t see him being able to remember all these rules.
He absolutely LOVES to read and there is no such thing as having too many books around! He has also recently taken an interest in Creative Writing and does wonderfully dictating stories for me to write down for him. It breaks my heart to see that spelling causes him so much trouble and I don’t ever want his creative writing interest to be hindered by that.
So, have you seen by experience that kiddos just eventually get it? That by continuing to push the phonics memorization, there is finally a breakthrough? I don’t understand… I want to though. I want to see my son stop crying and getting worked up over this and for him to feel successful. And at what point do you finally say, this isn’t working? How long do you pursue it before finding another route? And what other options is there if this doesn’t work?

I know this got lengthy and I thank you for your time and any input.
Amanda

(Please know that I don’t over pressure him- I don’t push him to tears or discourage him in any way. It is just what naturally happens when he is asked about the sounds letters make. I do encourage him to not give up on things and push his comfort level a bit- but all within healthy limits.)

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Amanda,
First, I can see your caring, your frustration, and your discouragement all throughout this post. I’ve been in a similar place, although my child couldn’t spell and could barely read at almost 8 years old. He is 13 now, and reads and spells well at grade level.

Orton Gillingham programs work, but they aren’t magic. For some kids it takes an OG program and years of work in order to have success. 7, almost 8, years old is still very young; he has a lot of time to learn to spell.

Since he struggles to even recall the shape of letters or what sounds they make, I don’t see memorizing how to spell words as a workable option for him. There are thousands of words in English, and less than one hundred phonograms (including all the advanced ones like rh). Mastering phonograms seems to be the most reasonable expectation for him.

All About Spelling 1 is not the place for you to start with your son, as he does not yet know the alphabet sounds well. AAS 1 starts with all 26 letters in the first Step, and that would be overwhelming to your son. Rather, it may be best to work on one letter at a time until he has mastered them. Our Pre-reading level does this, and includes crafty type work and phonological awareness activities too, but you will have to decide if he would enjoy it or find it babyish. You can see samples here. Some 7 to 8 year olds would enjoy it, but some would not.

If you opt to not use the Pre-reading level, we can help you with ideas. You could purchase the AAS 1 Student Packet to get the set of phonogram cards. We have a long list of ways to work on letters that we can share with you if you are interested. Since it also seems he struggles with writing of letters as well, you could work with a handwriting curriculum focusing on the letter he is learning. You would want to focus on just one letter at at time, taking as many days as necessary until he has it down. Then introduce a new letter, but review the previous ones every day. Children that struggle with memory in this way need overteaching and constant review.

Then once he has letters, their sounds, and how to write them down well, he would be ready to begin All About Spelling 1. I think you will find that once he has the alphabet mastered that spelling will be less of a struggle. Right now he is trying to build words without having all the tools; of course it is much more difficult than it needs to be.

Here are a few links you might find helpful:
Our Memory Report, that focuses on the research of memory and how to help your child to remember better.
Our article on dysgraphia.
Our recent blog post on Teaching Reading and Spelling to Autistic Children.

I want you to feel encouraged that even though this will not be easy, it is possible. If you haven’t had a chance to watch Marie’s story about her son’s struggles, you may want to check that out. Quite amazing!

Please let us know how things go, and how we can help you further. We want you and your son to have a success story too!

Bee

says:

Hi, I started my daughter on AAS 1 this past September, at the beginning of her kindergarten year, because she was already reading. So far we really like the program and she has been doing very well with it. AAS has also replaced the phonics program I was using which is great. So far it looks like we will cover lessons 1-10 with no problem. I plan to stop instruction for the summer at the end of June and pick it up again sometime in late August. I am wondering if it will hurt to completely stop AAS instruction for two months. Also I would like to know if lesson 10 would be a good place to stop. I figured this is an appropriate place to stop since we would have covered all of the short vowels but I would like your input. Thanks so much!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Bee,
All About Spelling is a building block program, with each Step building upon the next. Regardless of what Step you stop on, you will need to review before moving onto the next Step when you start again 2 months later. It would be normal to need to spend your spelling time each day for 2 or 3 days reviewing, but some children will need less review and some more. Start with reviewing all the cards your daughter had previously mastered to get an idea of which phonograms and words she may need to focus on.

I hope this helps. Let us know if you have any further questions.

Abbie

says:

I have twin 5 year olds who will be beginning homeschool kindergarten in the fall. They are just about to complete AAR2 and have done wonderfully. I was planning to teach them AAR levels 3 and 4 next year, but hold off on AAS until the beginning of 1st grade (or until they have completed AAR4). Does that make sense or should I start them earlier? One of them is a reluctant writer/learner and I hesitate to add too much to his daily load of sitting-down schoolwork, which is why we spent this year focused on learning to read and reading aloud – nothing else!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Abbie,
You could go either way, starting AAS with the new year, or holding off for a while since they are so young.

AAS has a gradual progression for increasing the student’s stamina and fluency in writing, from words and short phrases in Level 1, to phrases and short sentences in Level 2, to 12 dictation sentences per step in Level 3. Partway through this level, the Writing Station is introduced. In this exercise, students write sentences of their own that they make up using some of their spelling words.

In this way, AAS could slowly progress your student’s writing. Also, like AAR, AAS makes use of the letter tiles, and with a young child that doesn’t write well you could use the tiles for a lot of the spelling.

However, if you haven’t already you should consider adding handwriting instruction this coming year. Writing is easier if children have received direct instruction into how letters should be formed. We like Handwriting Without Tears because it was developed by an occupational therapist and is designed to be developmentally appropriate for young learners. Also, we love it’s focus on short daily practice, quitting before little hands get tired.

I hope this helps. Let us know if you have further questions.

Abbie

says:

Thank you for this explanation of the writing involved. That is very helpful in my considering when to start AAS. Handwriting without Tears was on our list for this upcoming year!

Can you tell me what to do to help my 2nd grade son who reads to read better and eaisier we believe he has dyslexia

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jennifer,
All About Reading is Orton-Gillingham based, which is a proven method for helping students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities. It’s also the approach that the International Dyslexia Association recommends. The author of AAR and AAS, Marie Rippel, is a member of the International Dyslexia Association, and has instructed graduate level courses in Orton-Gillingham Literacy Training offered through Nicolet College in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. She is also a member of Pro Literacy, has previously served on the Board of Directors of the Literary Task Force in Wisconsin, and tutored students for more than 20 years. If you haven’t had a chance to watch their story about her son’s struggles, you may want to check that out (they were told he would never read). Quite amazing!

You might like to visit our Dyslexia Resources Page.

Here are some ways that All About Reading can help kids with learning difficulties:

– Each lesson time is simple and explicit, and will include 3 simple steps: review of what was learned the day before, a simple new teaching, and a short practice of that new teaching.

– Incremental lessons. AAR breaks every teaching down into its most basic steps and then teaches the lessons in a logical order, carrying the students from one concept or skill to the next. Each step builds on the one the student has already mastered.

– AAR is multisensory. Research has shown that when a child is taught through all three pathways at the same time, a method known as simultaneous multisensory instruction, he will learn significantly more than when taught only through his strongest pathway.

– AAR uses specially color-coded letter tiles. Working with the All About Reading letter tiles can make the difference between understanding or not understanding a concept.

– AAR is scripted, so you can concentrate on your child. The script is very clear, without excess verbiage.

– AAR has built-in review in every lesson. Children with learning difficulties generally need lots of review in order to retain concepts. With AAR, your child will have a Reading Review Box so you can customize the review. This way, you can concentrate on just the things that your child needs help with, with no time wasted on reviewing things that your child already knows.

– AAR has lots of fluency practice. One of the things that Marie noticed when she was researching reading programs is that few programs have enough review built in for kids who struggle to gain fluency. AAR has fluency sheets or a story to be read with every lesson, so children can practice reading smoothly with expression and confidence.

All About Reading has a one-year guarantee. You can try it, and if for any reason you feel that it isn’t the right match for your child, return it for a full refund.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Marla

says:

My son just finished AAR 1 and we plan to start AAR 2. I know that it is the recommend time to start AAS 1 however I am not sure what is best? He is in the first grade at his school and they are not focused on spelling at this time. He struggles with reading and he has done great with AAR 1. His confidence has increased. I want to focus on the reading and his confidence however I don’t want to hold him back in spelling and create another thing for him to struggle with and be behind in. What do you recommend?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Marla,
We do recommend starting AAS 1 with AAR 2, but you don’t necessarily have to start the two right at the same time. You could hold off on AAS 1 until he gets a good start in AAR 2, or maybe until this summer.

As this article states, you don’t want to wait too long before starting spelling, but you can wait until the time seems more appropriate. Also, keep in mind that AAS 1 covers similar topics to AAR 1, so it will serve as review with more depth.

I hope this helps.

Susan

says:

My son has is 9 in 3rd grade and I homeschool. He has been going to speech which led to some testing and they say he is moderate to severe dyslexic. He struggles greatly with being able to hear and word and then spell it on his own. He can read, prefers to be read to struggles sounding out new words. Speech is supposedly going to use the Barton program however we are not yet on the schedule. How would I know what level to start him at with the All about Spelling program?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Susan,
We recommend that all struggling spellers start with level 1 to build a strong foundation in spelling.

All About Spelling is a building block program with each level building upon the previous one. The rules and concepts learned in Level 1 are applied in Level 2, and then those are applied in Level 3, and so on. Placement for spelling is based on the student’s knowledge of spelling rules and concepts rather than grade level, reading level, or the words a student has memorized.

For example, we find that many students simply memorize easy words like “cat” and “kid” but have no idea why one uses a C and the other uses a K, or that the same rules that apply to these words also apply to higher level words such as “concentrate.” Other students switch letters or leave out letters entirely. This usually occurs because they don’t know how to hear each sound in the word. Level 1 has specific techniques to solve these problems.

Please let me know if you have further questions or if we can help in anyway.

Lauren Pinion

says:

My 5 year old will finish Abeka K5 in 2 months and I am looking for a Phonics/Spelling program. I tested her for AAR and she tested to level 3. She’s a very confident reader and is already able to spell most 4 letter words I ask her. I’m torn between AAS 1 and AAS 2. What do you recommend?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Lauren,
Have you seen this article, Which Spelling Level Should We Start With? It has a checklist of skills and concepts a student should have down before starting All About Spelling level 2.

Note, some young advance students are more typical in their fine motor skills. If she is not up to writing full sentences from dictation, as asked on the page I linked to, but can spell all the words orally, I do think you could go ahead with AAS 2. In this case, you would need to work through the program mostly with the letter tiles and orally, while she works on a more beginning level of handwriting. Of course, she may be able to write as well as she can spell orally, so it may not be an issue. It’s just one I’ve seen fairly often with these young advanced students.

Lauren Pinion

says:

Thank you! In searching the website I didn’t see that link. I will look now. I am not sure about her fine motor stamina but I will test that before starting. I appreciate it!!

If a child has finished AAS 1 and AAR 1, would you go next to AAR 2, or would you do it simultaneously with AAS 2? Nine year old child

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Nancy,
Since he or she has already done AAR 1 and AAS 1, go ahead with AAR 2 and AAS 2. Just allow him or her to progress at their own pace in each, which typically means he will move faster in reading.

Staci Hubert

says:

My son is 6.5 and has had some issues with reading. He is getting better, we have been using Hooked on Phonics for about 3 months now. He also has ADHD which is keeping his working memory from retaining all it should. Is it the right time for him to start AAS level 1? We were doing a different spelling program but it just didn’t fit him. It was very dry and boring, even for me and I like worksheets.

Thank you for your help.
Staci

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Staci,
We recommend starting All About Spelling when a child has completed All About Reading 1, or the equivalent reading level. This blog post, The Right Time to Start, has further information about this.

So, for your son I recommend looking over our placement tests, and seeing if he would be ready to start All About Reading 2. If he would be ready for AAR 2, then it is the right time to start All About Spelling 1. If he isn’t ready for AAR 2, then hold off on AAS 1 for a bit. Note, you do not have to switch to All About Reading if you don’t want to; it’s just a guideline for determining if a child is ready to start All About Spelling 1.

Danielle Thompson

says:

I am very interested in this program for my 2nd grade daughter. She is struggling a bit. Sometimes it is difficult to know where to begin. My son went to public school through 3rd grade and won the Whole School Spelling Bee in 2nd grade. They are very different. I think this program will be good for her.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Danielle,
We recommend starting struggling spellers of any age with Level 1, as we have found that struggling spellers are often missing foundational concepts. For example, we find that many students simply memorize easy words like “cat” and “kid” but have no idea why one uses a C and the other uses a K, or that the same rules that apply to these words also apply to higher level words such as “concentrate.” Other students switch letters or leave out letters entirely. This usually occurs because they don’t know how to hear each sound in the word. Level 1 has specific techniques to solve these problems.

Let us know if we can help further or answer any questions.

Mary Cota

says:

Thanks so much for an amazing product! I have started All About Spelling Level 1 with my kids ages 9 and 11. Even though they are a little older we followed your advice and we are starting from the beginning. I am glad we did! I am finding that even I am filling in missed gaps that I have.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Mary,
Thank you for sharing how your older kids are doing with All About Spelling Level 1.

Amy-Hope Guisleman

says:

My younger son is 5 1/2 but has been reading for a year and a half and reads longer chapter books such as The Bobsey Twins. We are working slowly through AAS 1. He is a fine speller and seems to be getting the concepts. My biggest trouble with spelling (and all subjects really) is that if you introduce anything ‘fun’ (e.g. tiles) he takes it and runs with it… turning everything into silliness. For example, I am trying to get him to spell ‘pig’ while he is spelling ‘pogo stick’ and rolling in the floor laughing. I know it is his age, but it is a struggle because I know he is capable of a lot and needs the challenge, but it is exhausting when every subject is turned into a game that he is in charge of.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Amy-Hope,
Oh, so many of us have been there. I’ve heard of silly spelling, using the tiles to make pictures, making explosions after spelling the word, and other fun. Try to have patience with a little silliness, however. It’s makes everything more fun, and he’ll get to the challenging material soon enough.

However, it does sound that maybe you could move faster through the easiest Steps of AAS 1. If the child is finding it easy to spell pogo stick, he may be ready to move well beyond pig. Make sure he has the concepts, but maybe just give him only a few words to spell in each concept and move on if they are all very easy for him.

Amy-Hope Guisleman

says:

That is encouraging. I was afraid to move faster due to his age, but maybe I should pick it up a bit. He doesn’t do well with ‘busywork’ that he feels he already knows, so maybe I will move him along a bit faster.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Amy-Hope,
One way you could test his knowledge of the concepts, to be sure he can move on, would be to have him teach the concepts back to you using the tiles. If he can do it easily (and he doesn’t have to use the exact words, he just needs to make it clear to you he understands), then you know he knows it. If he seems challenged to explain it, or really has to stop and think it through, then you know he would benefit some more time on that Step.

With each concept, before moving on, pick a sampling of the words using a variety of sounds for him to spell. It’s important to pick a wide range of sounds to spell in this early level because it’s hard to tell which sounds a child may have trouble with. Some students do well with all sounds, but many have one or two that trip them up more than others.

Because he is so young, I would be inclined to do new teaching just 3 or 4 days each week, and spend at least 1 to 2 days each week doing just review. However, since he is such a vibrant little guy, I would make those review days as fun as possible. Here are some ideas:

This Reading Kaboom game can be adapted for spelling. One person draws the card and the other spells it. Speller keeps the cards they spell correctly.

Some of the reading downloads can be adapted for spelling as well.
– The “Reading Activity Bundle” activities can be adapted. For example: In “Over Easy” you would say the word, put the egg in his pan, he spells it out loud, and then flips it with his spatula to check himself.

In “Feed the Anteater” you can dictate the words for him to write on the blank slips of paper, and he can have the anteater swallow them after he writes each one. If he isn’t up to much writing (many young students aren’t), he could spell it with tiles and then feed the tiles to the anteater.

– most of the games and activities include blank cards where a student can practice writing words.

Your son might enjoy Swatting Phonograms as a fun way of reviewing spelling. You can set out a selection of phonogram cards or tiles, say a word, and have him swat phonograms as he spells it.

An idea for very active kids is the snowball game. Use the phonogram cards for spelling practice instead of letter recognition. Some like to have the student shoot the cards with Nerf darts instead of throwing snowballs.

For more games, consider getting the Ziggy supplement for some folder game options you can use for review. These were designed to go with level 1 of All About Reading, but can be used with spelling review cards or really any cards at all. I have used these games to review AAS 3, 4, and 5, and even with math flashcards.

Let me know if you need further ideas.

Amy-Hope Guisleman

says:

Wow, thanks so much for all those ideas and resources! Some of those sound great and like just what I need to keep my son’s interest. I’m so glad I asked!

Amy-Hope Guisleman

says:

These games have really revolutionized our school week. I have really been able to get a clear sense of what he knows since he is ‘distracted’ (in the best possible way) by the game aspect and really reveals what he knows instead of trying to come up with something clever or funny to say. We are able to move on at a much better pace with greater confidence. We have been able to incorporate the games into math as well. Thanks again so much!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Amy-Hope,
This is GREAT! I’m very glad I was able to help in this way. Sounds like you may have found the way to teach and review that makes things the easiest for both you and your son. I knew a mom that used games constantly for homeschooling (past tense because her kids are older teens now).

Our Social Media person, Jenny, posts game and other fun review ideas at least a couple times a week. You may want to follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter.

Shanna Z

says:

Hi –
I have a 12 yo daughter who has never used a spelling curriculum. She’s a good speller but not an excellent speller. I’m using AAR & AAS with my 9yo struggling reader/speller. I’m starting to wonder if AAS would be good for my 12yo to make her an even better speller or if I should just let her keep learning “naturally” as she has been? If so, where would I start her? Lastly, she has a heavy middle school workload with our co-op so I want to be sensitive in not creating an overload for her. Thanks!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Shanna,
Since All About Spelling is a building block, Level 2 would be the highest level that she could start with. This page will help you decide if she can start with Level 2 or if starting with Level 1 would be better.

The good news is that older students that don’t struggle will fly through the lower levels and move steadily through the higher levels as well. At just 20 minutes a day, she would likely complete all 7 Levels in 2 to 3 years.

Damaris

says:

Hi! My 8y son is an excellent reader. We are from PR and spanish is the main language in the country but this little guy prefers english, so We are considering AAR and AAS to our homeschool.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Damaris,
Let us know if we can help you with your decision in any way. We have had great reports from bilingual families using AAR and AAS.

Sarah

says:

My son struggles with Dyslexia and All About Spelling has helped a great deal . By using the tiles it helps with his letter identification for spelling . And now I am using it to help my daughter now too.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Sarah,
It’s great to hear that All About Spelling has been so helpful for your son.

Oana

says:

Hello,
Our son will be 7 in December, he’s in Grade 1 at a French Immersion School. This year they have all the subjects in French, they will start English in Grade 2 second semester.
Now he reads in English books at 500L. When he sees unknown words he doesn’t seem to see all the letters, just makes an invented word with some of the letters. He says he knows how to write some words because he remembers how they look like when reading but for other words, has no idea what to do after writing the first letter which he usually knows. I’s sure he needs a spelling program but first a reading program, for the relation between letters and sounds.
What level of reading and Spelling would you recommend?
Thank you.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Oana,
We don’t use lexile measurements to track our reading program. Typically these are used for literature-based reading programs and general books rather than controlled, phonics-based readers.

Rather, you can use the placement tests for All About Reading to 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 son’s ability to decode the words in the story.
– His ability to comprehend the story.
– Could he fluently read the story with expression?
– Did he understand the words from a vocabulary standpoint?

We recommend starting All About Spelling once your child has completed All About Reading Level 1, or the equivalent reading level. So, if he places in AAR 2 or higher, begin AAS 1 with him as well.

I hope this helps. Please let us know if we can help in any further way.

Andria

says:

Can I start my 2 nd grader who is on a reading level of 1.5-2.0 on the AAS 2 and AAR 2 if he has never done it before ?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Andria,
Yes and no.

The levels actually don’t correlate to specific grades, because the order of the words in AAR and AAS are not “grade-level” order. Rather, All About Reading and All About Spelling group words in a logical manner based on similar rules or patterns regardless of their supposed grade level, which allows students to progress quickly and confidently.

So, if your child places into AAR 2 or higher, it is fine to start there without having done AAR 1. So as to not to repeat myself, here is a link to all the placement information.

However, we do recommend starting with AAS 1 as spelling is more difficult. Most students will do AAS 1 with AAR 2 anyway.

haniraza

says:

it is a nice site of phonograms learn

Andria

says:

I have a 2nd grader who about on a level 1.5-2.0 reading level and I was wondering is that well enough to start the AAS? Do I need to add AAR?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Andria,
We recommend starting All About Spelling once the child has completed All About Reading Level 1, or the equivalent reading level. You do not have to use AAR to use AAS, but you should check the placement tests for AAR. If your child places into AAR 2 or above, then you know he is ready for AAS.

I hope this answers your question. Please let me know if I can help any further.

Kate

says:

I started using AAS last spring before I was even aware of AAR. My then third grader was struggling with spelling and my then kindergartner was spelling 3-4 letter words out loud in the car and while playing. I started of them together on AAS level 1 last spring. The third grader quickly progressed through it, and moved on to level 2, which was completed the first week of the school year and is now quickly progressing through level 3 as well – it is amazing how once a child starts to understand something, how quickly they learn, especially if motivated to do so. I originally thought that I would be repeating some of level 1 with my now 1st grader, but found it was unnecessary. As this child is younger, the progress is not as fast as the older one, as to be expected, but I am very! surprised at how well the 1st grader is doing with level 2. Children learn at different rates, but having a program that gives constant review and solid building blocks upon which to develop future skills has been very helpful for both of them. My first grader is reading at a solid second grade level now, and is so excited about being to independently read books without assistance. I was not expecting to start a child so young with spelling, but yet at the same time, this child was very clearly ready for it and is excited about being able to spell and write sentences without help now! It is also greatly improving my fourth graders confidence level and starting out at level 1, even though we quickly progressed through it, has been well worth it!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Kate,
Thank you for sharing how All About Spelling has worked in your home. Your 4th grader has made great progress too!

Nicole

says:

Thank you so much for this post! I was searching for information on this subject at the beginning of summer, but didn’t find the info I was looking for. This post answers all of my questions!! I’m now really excited to start teaching spelling to my 1st grader!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Nicole,
I’m glad you found this post helpful! Have fun with spelling.

Christine Adams

says:

I’m excited to have found your blog and your products. My daughter is at that stage of “creative” spelling. I think we will both enjoy using All About Spelling.

Christine A

Karen

says:

I started AAR1 with my 5 year-old son this fall. We’re on Step 10 and it’s easy for him. He’s really bored with spelling on the tiles and then spelling on paper. Maybe we started this too late? I imagine sooner or later it will get more challenging for him. For now, is there any harm in letting him just spell the words out loud (which he can do 9/10 on the first try).

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Karen,
Since it is so easy for him, just have him spell the words once, his choice, with tiles or on paper.

You didn’t start it too late, but rather it seems you have a naturally speller on your hands. That’s great! Keep moving forward at his pace, and you will likely find he moves through the early levels rather quickly. Chances are he’ll slow down as he moves into the higher levels, but he will likely finish the entire program earlier than most students.

Julie

says:

Karen,
Check out iew.com, Institute for Excellence in Writing with Andrew Pudewa. He has an excellent Language Arts program for the younger kids that incorporates this spelling program right in and also starts on so many other areas at their level. It may help break up the borden of just spelling.

Amy

says:

Thank you this was good. Looking forward to starting AAS 1!

Sarah

says:

Just started using AAS with my older 2e child. I read through the suggestions and made a last minute order so we could try AAS this year. We are both really hopeful this will make a noticeable difference.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Sarah,
Have you seen this article, Using All About Spelling with Older Children? It might be helpful to you.

Please let us know if we can help in any way.

Daisy

says:

We sure are loving AAS for our family. Our first child struggled so badly with spelling so last year we started from the beginning with both kids. It’s been the best thing since sliced bread!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

I love the saying, “since sliced bread!” It’s great that AAS is working so well for your family, Daisy.

Rachel W.

says:

I have to say I highly recommend starting at Level 1 even if you think your student might be slightly beyond them. My son is 9 and just finished the first Reading Level — I started him on the Spelling Level 1 about Lesson 47 of the Reading Level, and he finds it so easy that he is flying through it – it encourages him to be able to accomplish something right away and feel successful. With his dyslexia so many things are a struggle – I am so glad I didn’t start him on the second level right away . . .

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Great perspective, Rachel. Thank you for sharing it.

Seaneen Hebert

says:

I just started AAS this year with my 6 year old daughter and 11 year old son with several Learning disorders that make reading, writing, difficult and spelling impossible. (I took him out of public school at age 9 and he couldn’t even read or write. ) So far, he’s doing fantastic and his confidence has been boosted because now he’s learning the phonetic rules for the first time (public school doesn’t teach phonics….crazy right?!) and he’s understanding it. Seeing him accomplish something he was told for years by school faculty he would never be able to do is absolutely priceless!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Seaneen,
Your son’s story sounds so much like Marie’s son’s. Marie and her husband were told to prepare their son for a life without being able to read, and they responded by removing him from that school and doing something about it. You can see their story here. I hope you find it encouraging.

We are here to help in any way you need so that you can help your son be successful. Keep up the amazing work, Seaneen.

Brandi Vidrine

says:

I’m looking for resources for a struggling speller. Thank you for you suggestions.

Michelle h

says:

Would love to try this

Nikki

says:

Can wait to try this for my struggling 10 yr old!

Nikki

says:

oops. *Can’t wait.

Jenna

says:

Starting spelling at the end of first grade worked beautify for us.

Michelle

says:

Love this program!

Katie

says:

I found this information helpful. I was encouraged to not wait too long. It can be easy to wait when you are busy working in so many other areas.

Rebecca

says:

This program is so well designed to include REAL multisensory learning. I am a pediatric physical therapist and homeschooling mom. My specialty allows me insight into the words “multisensory” that many parents don’t have and understand. Many programs are NOT really multisensory as they claim, but this one is top notch! My son seriously struggled in reading, spelling, and writing years ago and I don’t want my daughter to do the same. I have thoroughly examined your All About Reading and Spelling programs and feel you are truly offering the best program available. One that incorporates all our senses and learning styles in a fun and engaging mix of activities. Winning the $100 prize will allow me to begin your program with my daughter. I wish I had found this program when my son needed it.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Rebecca,
Thank you for your professional perspective into All About Spelling and All About Reading!

The author of AAR and AAS, Marie Rippel, is a member of the International Dyslexia Association, and was an instructor for the graduate level courses in Orton-Gillingham Literacy Training offered through Nicolet College in Rhinelander, Wisconsin for 3 years. She is also a member of Pro Literacy, has previously served on the Board of Directors of the Literary Task Force in Wisconsin, and tutored students for more than 20 years. She put all of that knowledge and more into All About Reading and All About Spelling.

Tracy

says:

I was surprised at how my boys were ready to start reading and spelling at different ages. Waiting until they were ready has allowed them to have success with less frustration.

Renee Priess

says:

We’ll wrap up AAR Level 1 by winter break, so looking forward to Level 2 and beginning AAS!

Georgia

says:

Looking forward to starting this soon!

Krista

says:

We officially start spelling in 1st grade but we talk about letters and sounding out words earlier.

Ahuffst

says:

I waited too long only because we didn’t know about it! We love it and it makes sense to the kids. It has helped me organize my mind, it has organized spelling in their minds, and helped their reading very much. I love, and they actually ask to do it. Can’t say more about it.

Ahuffst

says:

Wow, got a bit excited and that doesn’t sound right.. It helps me organize what they need to learn in my mind. Before AAS I felt overwhelmed about where to start. I am a firm believer in phonics based learning and was searching for something. Again, I love it and to comment on a post below, we have gone through the first level faster than expected, too.

Jesse

says:

This is interesting. Is it hard to keep up running 2 programs for each student if they are in both AAR and AAS?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jesse,
I don’t find it to be difficult. I am currently have 3 students using AAS at 3 different levels and 1 of those students is also using AAR (the other 2 are above the last level of AAR). I use a Post-It flag to mark where we leave off each day, and the review card boxes are specifically set up to keep the individualized review organized. It is literally open-and-go for each student in each subject each day. Between the card boxes and the bookmark, I never feel confused about what is next.

Lynda

says:

I love this article. We did AAR 1 last year and added AAS 1 this year with AAR 2. It is amazing to see how EASY the spelling is for my son now that he knows the phonics behind the spelling! I know it will probably get harder, but it looks like we will finish spelling about 1/2 way through the year. I think we will work on some basic writing after that (haven’t done much since he is a reluctant writer)…or do you recommend continuing onto AAS 2 even if he isn’t done with AAR 2?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Lynda,
After waiting until AAR 1 is finished, we recommend allowing AAR and AAS to progress each at their own pace. You are likely to find that he naturally slows down in AAS as he nears where he is in reading.

Emily

says:

What a great post. I have two older girls that are struggling. One with spelling and one with reading. The older is a bit upset that she has to start at level 1, but I’d rather her be upset for a time then a bad speller the rest of her life. The other can spell very well but struggles with reading, so hopefully doing this program will help her to read better as the article said!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Emily,
Sometimes with older students it is helpful how you explain why she is starting in level 1. This article has lots of tips for using All About Spelling with Older Students, and I love how the article suggests to explain using level 1 is like starting at the easy levels in a video game. You have to complete the easy levels in a game to learn how to do all the things necessary to conquer the harder levels. It is the same with All About Spelling.

Sandra

says:

We absolutely love All About Spelling. My DD is now 10 and we’re starting level 3 next week. I’m looking forward to using AAS with my little man in a few years.

Andrea O.

says:

This makes so much sense. I was going to try to cover reading and spelling with AAS, all at the same time. That would have been a big mistake! We are so happy to have taken the plunge with both AAR and AAS. They both have made a world of difference in our schooling!

Michelle

says:

Thankyou for this I was actually struggling with the decision of starting or not starting my son on AAS when we start AAR level 1 as I thought spelling was just as important but will wait till we finish the first level before starting.

Robin

says:

I am excited to begin AAS this year with my struggling spellers!

Susanne

says:

Thank you for all the tips and insights that you share! My first was a “natural” speller but most of the rest of the children struggle. I’ve had to go back and start at the beginning with some of my older children. My youngest hasn’t started reading well yet – good to know to wait until he’s reading better before starting spelling.

Sara W

says:

We are starting this year with all about spelling. I am hoping it helps my struggling 7th and 5th graders who have a hard time with spelling.

Jamie

says:

My daughter and I are extremely excited about starting the All About Spelling program. Since I have always had trouble with spelling as I am dyslexic, I am looking forward to learning too.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jamie,
Just let us know if we can ever help you in any way. We are committed to lifelong support of helping parents (and grandparents and tutors and teachers) help their students succeed.

Reed

says:

Thank you for the guidelines. I almost started with Level 1 Reading and Spelling at the same time.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Reed,
I’m glad you saw this in time. It isn’t terrible to use All About Reading Level 1 and All About Spelling Level 1 together, but it is easier for students to spell after they have a good foundation in reading.

Brittany

says:

We started all about reading with my 5 year old for K. Now my 3 year old has joined in and is doing it too at the same time and doing well!! Each child’s readiness is so different.

Lauren

says:

Thanks for your help on this. We have an advanced reader who struggles with spelling so I wasn’t sure where to start.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Lauren,
I’m glad you found this helpful. Let us know if we can answer any questions or help in any way.

Carol

says:

My daughter doesnt think she can read, we really struggled. I tried all about reading and it has done wonders! We’re just about to finish level two. It helps that she understands the “why” to rules. I’ve learned a lot myself. Back in the “old” days we were taught the rule, or that’s just the way it is. This has been a God send. I also use all about spelling for both my daughters. Thanks!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Carol,
It is so great to read about the difference All About Reading has made for your daughter! Thank you so much for sharing. I will be passing this on to the whole team at All About Learning Press.

Samantha

says:

We are really enjoying AAS! It’s working so much better than what I did with my older two. Thanks for a great program!

Caroline

says:

This is great! We’re starting Kindergarten, and I was wondering about the sequence of when to start All About Reading along with All About Spelling, so I’m reading this post at a perfect time. Thank you!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Caroline,
You are welcome. :D

Vera Stalcup

says:

Hoping to start AAR 1 soon with my daughter with Down Syndrome.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Vera,
We have had good reports from parents using All About Reading with Down Syndrome students. Let us know if we can help in any way.

mrspolka

says:

I like what I’m seeing on this site. We are about to start learning to read. Looks like this would be great to incorporate into our schooling.

Donna Y

says:

Thank you for this post! It helped me decide when to start my boys!!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Donna,
You are welcome. :D

Emily

says:

We have never done a formal spelling curriculum. So far it has worked well to just learn by reading. I know lots of kids need the structure of a curriculum though…

Rayleen

says:

I would love if this was more readily available for us over the other side of the world (im in new zealand) as it looks like an awesome addition to my homeschooling my son :)

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Rayleen,
We have two New Zealand distributors, Engaging Minds Ltd and Writing Excellence.

Charley Zirbel

says:

I wish that schools would realize that it is very important to wait until a child is reading to learn how to spell. Imagine how frustrating it is for a beginning or non-reader to attempt to spell! Also, they need to realize that not all children learn to read at the same pace. This new trend with forcing reading is frustrating and appalling. It’s less about learning to read, and more about forcing a child to read the same passage repeatedly and see how fast they can do it.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Charley,
I agree it is frustrating, especially the push to get children reading before the end of Kindergarten. It is one of the reasons why I have homeschooled my children.

Angie

says:

Hope we win so I can buy more curriculum!

Lisa

says:

Thanks for the information! I would love to try it out.

Cassandra S

says:

Thank you for this information. I think this would be a great program for my oldest son.

Angela

says:

Thank you for such great articles. They are extremely helpful to this homeschool mom.

Lori A.

says:

My older kids have been tutoring with the Barton system, which is a great system, but I was looking for something a little more fun for daily use. I ordered the pre-reading program for my 5 year old and level 1 for my 7 year old. My 7 year old would probably be more in level 2, but wanted to insure there were no missing gaps in her reading instruction.

Erica K

says:

Look forward to trying out

Mary

says:

I have a disabled child that has a hard time reading. I look forward to trying this program to help him.

Brittany

says:

I need to learn more about these programs. I have many friends that have been successful with it .

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Brittany,
Let us know if there are any specific questions we can answer for you.

Melissa

says:

We love AAS! It has turned my daughter from a frustrated speller to one that loves to spell words for fun! Thank you!!!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Melissa,
Wow! Spelling words for fun! That is a huge turn around. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Melissa

says:

The AAS and AAR programs seem to be exactly what my little guy needs. Can’t wait to try them.

Penny

says:

I love how organized your program is. That seems that much more important for a child that is struggling.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Penny,
Yes, a logical, explicit program is essential for success for struggling learners. Here is a blog post detailing how Spelling Can Be Easy When It’s Logical.

Mandy

says:

Thanks for answering these specific questions!!!

Cathy Head

says:

Very interesting. my grandson is having a hard time with spelling and I was doing a little research when I saw this.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Cathy,
Let us know if we can answer any questions for you.

S Meyer

says:

Very interesting. Thank you

Sarah J

says:

I was just wondering about this exact thing! Thank you!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Sarah,
You’re welcome. I always find it cool when we’re timely like this.

Niki

says:

We are loving AAR 1 right now and will definitely be checking out AAS 1 when it is time for AAR 2!

Charity

says:

This program would make life so much easier in my house with my 4 that I homeschool!

This post is so helpful. I re-read it often!

Sherry

says:

My 5 year old daughter was already a good reader when we started AAS. She flew through the first level and I’m so glad we started on level 1, even though she already “knew” all of it. Now she knows the why behind her spelling. It also gave her a good foundation for the next levels.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Sherry,
Thank you for sharing your experiences with your daughter. It sounds like she is doing GREAT!

Lacy

says:

I have 7 children, 6 weeks to 14 years old. I would love to use this program to make spelling easier for the younger ones than it was for the older ones.

Lori H

says:

Thanks for your recommendations. I have 6 children and they’ve all learned in a variety of ways ;)

Caroline Frahm

says:

Thanks for all the great information. I look forward to trying this program.

Jacky

says:

I love how your program combines strategies! It just makes sense. We are loving Level 1 right now!

Angie Repman

says:

Great information…thank you for sharing!

Amy

says:

Thank you for your advice and helpful products! We are a bilingual family living in Eastern Europe. Our family’s other language has complete one-to-one grapheme-phoneme correspondence making it much easier to master reading and spelling. My daughter struggles with motivation to learn all the rules for English spelling when the other language is so much easier in this respect.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Amy,
Sometimes I find myself wishing my family spoke a language like your described. At least All About Reading and All About Spelling make English as easy and straight forward as it can be.

Emily

says:

THanks so much for the tips! I’m still in the beginning years (my oldest is in 1st grade), so I’m soaking in all the info I can. :-)

Nina

says:

My older girls were having problems understanding why they should spell some words one way and others differently, learning the rules as to why we do that has helped them tremendously. Now our 3rd daughter is getting read to read and we are hoping to invest in All About Reading.

Maya

says:

I was hesitant about your recommendation to start AAS right after we finish AAR1. I thought it would be too repetitive and may make spelling boring for my child. I was wrong. It worked great. I’d like to think that teaching AAS this way, we also review and solidify the concepts for reading, which we have recently covered with AAR.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Maya,
I appreciate your sharing your hesitancy and what you experienced with using AAS 1 after finishing AAR 1. Thank you.

Samantha

says:

Great article! I plan to start with AAS 2 for my daughter.

Heather

says:

This was a very informative article! Thanks

Allison

says:

I just started All About Spelling last week. My 9 year old always struggled with spelling, but he is very bright and we couldn’t figure out why he struggle so much. Now that we have started your program, we now know that he never mastered the basic sounds. Now, not only do we understand why he was struggling, but we finally know how to help him. Thank you!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Allison,
Yes. This sort of thing is an excellent example of why we recommend older students start at the beginning of All About Spelling. We have long found that those that struggle with spelling are missing something (or somethings) foundational to all spelling.

It’s great to hear that you both now understand why he is struggling, and now know exactly what to do to remedy it.

Nina

says:

All about Spelling helped my child solidify the sounding out process and thus dramatically improve with her reading. I guess she’s one of the ‘different’ ones!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Nina,
My youngest is that way too. Her fluency jumped up after we started All About Spelling Level 1. However, her previous reading instruction with All About Reading Level 1 helped make All About Spelling Level 1 easier for her.

nicole

says:

I’m looking forward to trying your program with my dyslexic child.

Yuniva

says:

I hope to use this with my kindergartener

Dena Laxson

says:

We checked out level one through our home school resource library. My 6 year old has always been reluctant to read and was recently diagnosed as dyslexic. Now she looks forward to reading and spelling.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Dena,
This is great. First, that you have access to such a great resource library, and second (and more importantly) that your daughter now looks forward to reading and spelling. Thank you for sharing.

Tauna

says:

we started our son in 2nd grade and our daughter will start in 1st. Love AAS!

J. Chalmers

says:

My girls are 9 and 11, and I think this would be a great program for them!

We love AAS! Spelling used to be a major source of frustration (and tears!) for my son before we switched over. So much better now!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Autumn,
We love this! Thank you for sharing.

J. Chavez

says:

This looks like an excellent program. I appreciate how thorough the information is. Thank you!

Kelly

says:

We love this program. It has helped my struggling speller so much.

Jeanna

says:

My 6 year old loves to read and we are working on sight words. He understands the flow of a sentence well but doesn’t take each word piece by piece. So when asked to write the word, he’s stumped. We will begin incorporating spelling into our homeschool lesson piece by piece.

Ann

says:

I’m just about to start AAS and AAr with 3 of my children. This article helped me know what levels to get for them. I’m starting at the beginning, even with my 12 year old who struggles with writing and spelling. I think this will really help him. I have high hopes!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Ann,
I’m glad you found this post helpful. Even though we do recommend starting at Level 1 of All About Spelling for older students, we also recommend moving through the lower levels as quickly as they can. This article will show you how to do that.

Alta Mahan

says:

We started teaching spelling when our daughter was 5. We started with both AAR and AAS level one, and even though she never really struggled with it, she didn’t really enjoy it until the end of the school year. When all of a sudden things clicked and all came together! Today we start level 2 – very happy with this program!!!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Alta,
It sounds like your daughter is doing well.

While AAR 1 and AAS 1 line up pretty well together, AAR 2 and AAS 2 start to deviate, and by the time you get to AAR 3 it takes AAS 3 and AAS 4 to cover the same material. At the end of AAR 4, students have the phonics and word attack skills necessary to sound out high school level words, though they may not yet know the meaning of all higher level words. Students won’t be spelling words on that level until AAS 7.

Because of this, we recommend allowing students to move at their own pace in each program. The majority of students will move faster in reading, and that is great. The spelling will serve both as a review, and a deeper level of learning.

Kate

says:

We started AAS for the first time last spring. My third grader was really struggling with the ‘traditional’ method of learning to spell through memorizing word lists and becoming very frustrated with it. My kindergartener at that time was just learning to read and was starting to spontaneously spell 3-5 letter words outloud. I started both of them on level 1 together, though the third grader quickly progressed to level 2 within a month and a half. My kindergarten, who will be starting first grade this month, completed level 1 within two and a half months, with about 98% accuracy, though I am planning on reviewing the last ten lessons for reinforcement, before starting level 2 this fall. My now 4th grader is finally understanding how to spell, and the rules behind it, which has also helped with reading skills as well. I am also learning a lot about the English language from this program!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Kate,
It sounds like your kids are doing great with All About Spelling! Thank you for sharing (and I agree, I have learned lots about English while teaching my kids with AAS!).

Dominica

says:

Your advice on when to start spelling instruction has taken some the stress out of homeschooling. My daughter is about to complete AAR Level 1, and instead of biting my nails about what to do next, I know it’s time to purchase AAR Level 2 and AAS Level 1.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Dominica,
I’m glad this article has helped you feel less stress in your homeschooling!

Kelly

says:

We did not wait with my first….and he despises reading. :( That is why we are homeschooling and we are slowly trying to change his attitude and allow him to see the value in reading. We are just starting level 2 with him this year and are hoping it will help him build his confidence. My youngest is already doing the pre-reading level. She loves “Zeeby” (sorry she renamed him) the Zebra!!
Thanks for a wonderful program and so much helpful information!!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Kelly,
I’m sure Ziggy doesn’t mind the name change at all!

For your son that despises reading, keep the reading lessons short and frustration free and read aloud to him daily. With time, both his confidence and her perceptions of books will change.

RR

says:

I’m so glad I found your site! Thank you for all the great information!

Cindy

says:

I have a 10 year old that loves to read which I find awesome! I would love to do whatever I can to help her with her spelling so that her learning will be enjoyable.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Cindy,
My daughter was in much the same position (10, advanced reader, poor speller) when I started All About Spelling. It seemed odd to start back at Level 1 with a 10 year old, but she had improvements in her spelling right from the start.

Let us know if we can help you in any way.

Heather

says:

I can’t wait to start AAS 1 with my 7 year old this year!

Amy Williams

says:

I am really enjoying your website and books. It has helped us in so many ways with John. Thank you for the books you sent us. He wrote you a Thank you so you will be getting it soon.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Amy, for sharing John’s success with us!

sara beyda

says:

this looks sooo good many beautiful ideas I want to try!

Angel

says:

I am very intrigued by your materials. Hoping to work it into the budget for my first grader.

Tiffany S.

says:

Great info, very helpful as I have multiples that will be starting the curriculum. I didn’t know where to start!

Magela Gonzalez

says:

Thank you. This post is filled with great information.

Kimberly

says:

These are great tips! We discovered AAS when my oldest was in 3rd grade. She was a strong reader and struggling a lot with spelling. Starting at AAS level 1 and going through the whole program helped her tremendously. We started out going through lessons really fast and followed her cues by slowing down when things got harder. She just started 6th grade, is finishing up AAS level 5 and just in the last month, it has all suddenly clicked! Every paper she’s handing me has few or no spelling errors now and she’s not having to struggle to do it! My second child started with AAR 1 and started AAS 1 when she was ready for AAR 2, which was perfect timing.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Kimberly,
Thank you for sharing. I had a similar experience with my oldest daughter. Now she is 16, finished AAS 7 a couple years ago, and sometimes I ask her how to spell a word!

T

says:

Thanks for all the info. for starting older students :)

Niki Powers

says:

This was great information. Looking forward to starting AAS 1 with my son soon!

jennifer mathesz

says:

thanks for the great tips

Katie Bishop

says:

This is so helpful! Thanks for addressing the question of where to start with older students!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Katie,
I’m glad you found this helpful. We have another article specific to Using All About Spelling with Older Students that you may also find helpful.

Janet

says:

I am looking forward to starting the All About Spelling with my son next week!

Valerie Lannie

says:

Thank you AAS, this site has helped me understand what to do next!

Ashley Perry

says:

My son is Dyslexic and we just started using the All About Reading and Spelling program. I had watched videos and researched the program before I made a decision, and now I couldn’t be happier with choosing this program for him! It amazed me the first time we used the letter tiles and cards at how well he did. It was a huge difference in the way he was reading words, and he told me it was so much easier for him to spell words with the letter tiles than writing them on paper. This program is truly AMAZING!!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Ashley,
How wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing. I will be passing your comment onto the entire All About Learning Press team, as I know we all love to hear how we are helping families like yours. Keep up the great work!

Isabelle L.

says:

When we started AAS I decided to start at the beginning…. Even though my 2nd and 3rd child were in grade 5 and 4. To be honest, it seems easy to do at first but I have seen the difference it made in my 2nd child. Though today he says it’s too easy, I remind him that there is no point in jumping ahead if he doesn’t know the rules. Enjoy it while it is easy buddy….

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Isabelle,
Exactly! The concepts used in easy words like cat and kid apply to much harder words as well, such as concentrate and kinetics. You are laying a solid foundation.

However, feel free to move faster through the parts that are easy for your students. This article, Using All About Spelling with Older Students, gives tips on how to move more quickly through the easier stuff.

Andrea Rubio

says:

This program looks amazing!

BJ

says:

My child gets easily distracted. I worry that all of the tiles would overwhelm him. What is your experience with kids that have ADD?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

BJ,
All About Spelling starts with just 26 tiles, 1 tile each of the letters of the alphabet. Over time more tiles are added. The photo in this blog post shows late Level 5 or early Level 6, so it will be quite a while before your board would look like that. Also, this photo shows a smaller white board than we recommend. We recommend a 2 foot by 3 foot board, so that there is plenty of empty room in the middle to work with the tiles.

Another option if a student finds the tiles not in use to be very distracting is to use two cookie sheets or oil pans. One holes the tiles not in use, and one is just for making words. This method also works well when you don’t have the wall space for a large white board.

However, most parents of ADD/ADHD students find the tiles to be a help. The distinct colors between vowels and consonants, the ability to physically divide multisyllable words, and many other things help focus the student’s attention much better than words on a page. This article further explains the uses of the letter tiles.

I hope this answers your question. Please let us know if we can help in any further way.

Carla Jo Duke

says:

I have been homeschooling for 20 years and have never really formally taught spelling. I actually have heard that spelling is one of the few areas that homeschoolers do not test as high in. I am hoping to change that with my last two students. And am looking forward to your curriculum.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Carla,
What a great goal. Let us know if we can help with placement, or anything else.

Brenda

says:

We would LOVE to win!!! ;)

Sandra

says:

Every week I look forward to your email. Answers and suggestions just seem to come before I even ask a question. Thank you again!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Sandra,
Thank you for taking the time to let us know this! It’s great to hear that our emails are appreciated and helpful.

Ali

says:

We are just starting 1st grade with my daughter and this looks like a wonderful tool to help her with her confidence. H

Hilary Veguilla

says:

I’m considering this for my 2nd grader. He is a great reader, but I’ve noticed he gets tripped up on spelling at times. This may be just what we need.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Hilary,
My oldest daughter was much like this; she was an advanced reader but struggled with even easy spelling words. All About Spelling made a huge difference for her.

Let us know if we can help you with placement or with anything else.

Krista

says:

Looking so forward to starting AAS with our daughter tomorrow for the firs time! Wondering if my little guy wouldn’t be ready for the AAR pre-school aged curriculum!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Krista,
The Pre-Reading program is designed for preschool and kindergarten children. However, if you are willing to take slowly, and maybe even repeat portions of it as needed, a younger child could do well with it too. Is there any specific questions about readiness you had?

Lyn Wattie

says:

So glad I came across this post! I was thinking of starting spelling halfway through the reading program. Now I realize that it may be too early and I shouldn’t rush it. :)

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Thanks for commenting, Lyn! If you wait until your child has completed AAR L1 (or the equivalent), it will be so much easier for both of you! :)

Jennifer

says:

So wonderful to hear I can wait on starting my middle child until he’s reading better. Too many subjects would stress him out.

Renae

says:

thank you for sharing your expertise in this subject

Amber Adams

says:

Hi – I’m a homeschool mom to two kids ages 9 & 10 – grades 4 & 5. I’m trying to find a new curriculum for reading and spelling and found you guys. Where would you recommend we start? They both can read and sound out words, but are a little behind their grade levels. So I’m not sure if you would still recommend starting them on lesson 2 or doing more advanced or what…I need help! ;)

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Amber,

You can use the placement tests for AAR to decide which level would be best. http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

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 http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/content/samples/CobwebTheCat_Sample.pdf
Level 2 sample story http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/content/samples/AAR-L2-QueenBee-2ndEd-Sample.pdf

For spelling, as long as they are beyond AAR 1, go ahead and start them. I’d start in Level 1 of All About Spelling to fill in any gaps. The words might be easy for them, but you can fast-track through. Here’s an example of how I did that when I started my kids at 11 and 9: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

It’s important to fill in those concept-gaps for spelling so that they have the foundation for spelling longer words.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Amy C

says:

I am trying to decide when to start spelling with my girls. I have twin 6 year olds who are great verbally and would be a lot farther ahead in reading if I had the time to do more with them. (They are in public Kindergarten this year as well as homeschooling). I plan to pick up the pace in the AAR level 1 we are doing quite a bit as soon as they break for Summer from their public school. Next year and following, we will be exclusively homeschooling. Due to Common Core standards, their public school has them writing 6 sentences already with whatever created spellings they produce (even though they are even more slowly progressing through reading there than I am at home with only half an hour per week). So I am trying to decide if I need to wait until the end of AAR level 1 or if I can just start AAS midway through AAR1 as soon as we break for the summer. You said above that we shouldn’t let them get into bad habits with spelling, but I don’t want to stop them from writing just because they haven’t had any formal spelling yet. Any recommendations for us?

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Amy,

Since they are already writing, you could start spelling with them if you wanted to. The first step in AAS 1 reviews the multiple sounds for the alphabet (O has 4 sounds, C and S each have 2, and so on). AAR teaches these more gradually, but you could introduce them a few at a time as you work through the beginning steps. Work on reading and spelling both, but just take each one at your twins’ pace. If you can do about 20 minutes per day in reading, and 15-20 on spelling, you’ll make a lot of headway. I wouldn’t worry about it too much since they are just going into first grade, but it is a good idea to help them with some basic spelling since they are writing.

I hope this helps!

Amy C

says:

Yes, thank you! They do know all their single sound consonants and have for years, but not all the combinations (blends, dipthongs, etc.) yet. I will start them slow in AAS this Summer then. I’m fine either way but want to do it the best way for their learning according to what you would recommend. Thanks!

Amy C

says:

I just reread your comment and noticed the multiple sounds for each letter. Yes, this too they don’t know well yet (only short vowels and whatever sounds we’ve come across more naturally as we read/write). So yes, we will move slow so as not to overwhelm them (and maybe just pick up the reading pace at the same time since they are clearly ready to go faster in that). Thanks again!

Merry at AALP

says:

You’re welcome!

Nikki Welch

says:

With my little guy, he started spelling on his own before he started reading. So last year (he was 4!) when he started spelling basic words on the board, I got him the level 1 AAS, and he took to it and has done very well with it. About half way through the AAS book, I got the AAR level 1 books, and he did amazing! This year, he’s doing extremely well with AAS & AAR level 2. Learning to spell definitely made it easier for him to read because reading was just a flat out no go before then. He showed no interest or desire, but when he could spell words, he wanted to read what he spelled later on in the day, which finally prompted the desire to read.

With my oldest, she still struggles with reading and spelling. We’re actually going to back track a few levels to see if we can pinpoint where she is having issues again. I really wish AAR was around when she was first learning to read (or if it was, I wish I had known about it since we tried literally everything else!) She is slowly but surely getting better at reading, but she is definitely not at grade level. We started AAS with her in 3rd grade but only because that was when I stopped trying to make my own stuff and was really searching for specific criteria in the curriculum I would be purchasing. I’m so glad I found this program :)

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Nikki,

Sorry your oldest is struggling with reading and spelling. The reading course goes up to high school level word-attack skills, so you can always check the placement tests and see if a higher level would help her: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

You want to make sure she can easily and fluently read the words from previous levels before starting a higher one.

Level 3 covers prefixes and suffixes; syllable division rules for reading multisyllable words (these start in AAR 2 and are continued in Level 3); many literary terms like alliteration, similes, personification; words containing the new phonograms, such as paint, play, boat, third, purple, soon, mean, light, match, budge, flew, wrong, know, sleigh, toe, and action; words with the “pickle” syllable such as bubble and table; and 2-5 syllable words such as armadillo, auction, banquet, celebration, butterscotch, chimpanzee, contraption, examination, education, government, hibernation, instruments, objection, mildew, migration, safekeeping, paperweight, semicircle, uneventful, wristwatch, spectacles, thermometer, and so on. You can see samples of the Level 3 materials here.

Examples of some of the harder words covered in Level 4 include: acquaintance, aphid, beneficial, boutique, bronchial, campaign, chameleon, chauffeur, consignment, crochet, cuisine, cylinder, deficient, delectable, distraught, entree, epilogue, etiquette, facial, ferocious, glisten, gnashed, gourmet, graduation, guinea, Herculean, heroism, horticulture, hygiene, incompatible, isle, lariat, lasagna, limousine, magnificence, mayonnaise, malicious, meringue, mustache, neighborhood, nuisance, ocelot, onslaught, oregano, pendulum, perceptible, picturesque, plausible, premiere, prioritize, questionnaire, reassign, routine, sanitize, saute, situation, solstice, souvenir, specimen, spectacular, teleportation, temperament, tortilla, unveiled, vogue, warthog, zucchini.

Hopefully this will give you a feel for what’s covered and whether it would be beneficial for your daughter. Please let me know if you have additional questions!

Nikki

says:

Thank you. (And sorry for a very delayed response). The hard thing- she can read all those words fine, it is the fluency when reading aloud she struggles with, and the comprehension. That is really where the struggle lies. We have been waiting to get her in to be tested for a visual memory or visual processing (I can’t remember which it is anymore we’ve been waiting so long now…) disorder. More than anything I think I have to approach things different with her and make it as hands on as possible, which is not easily done for comprehension. She is awesome at spelling when we work on spelling, just not when it needs to be applied to other subjects. For instance she always spells book “booke” and find as “fined or finde”. She loves adding in them “e’s!!” She has her silent e book from I think level 3 and has it with her whenever she writes too… After she reads, even a few pages of something, and so.etimes even if it is a paragraph, and I have her pause so I can ask questions to see if she understands, she will come up blank. I ay as well read to a wall if I read it to her….it goes in one ear and out the other…and that is for anything audio. The only time she really has any comprehension is when she is learning her lines (and no the rest of the casts…) for a play. I can’t turn every book/story into a one person performance though :/

Merry at AALP

says:

I had a student who liked to “decorate with vowels” as well! When she misspells words in her outside writing, you might try giving her a separate editing time. See if she can find and correct some of these–praise for all that she can find and correct. If she can correct them easily, ask her how she knew to correct that word. For example, she might say, “book doesn’t have a long vowel, so it doesn’t need a silent e.”

If she can’t remember, ask a question such as, “Can you remember any rules that might apply to this word?” For “find” she should remember that an i followed by two consonants may be long–so she doesn’t need a silent e.

Help her to see that “find” and “fined” are homophones–two words that sound the same but are spelled differently. One of these words would have a root word–does she know which one? (fined.) Right! What’s the root word of “fined?” (fine). “Good. What does it mean to fine someone?”

The more you can help her to think about the words, the closer she will get to being able to apply what she knows.

For the comprehension issues–when you have a comprehension issue, it’s especially important to place the student not according to what words they can sound out, but what words and stories they can read fluently. I would back her up to easier readers until you reach a point where she can read fairly fluently and comprehend what she’s reading, and build from there. Even if you decide not to try AAR with her, you might look through the online samples in the story lessons to see how comprehension is handled. Here’s a link to all of the AAR samples–check especially the Teacher’s Manuals for levels 3 & 4 for examples of comprehension techniques: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-lesson-samples/

Priming the pump so to speak is one important strategy–get her thinking about the subject matter and relating to it before you start the story.

Using specific prompts versus narration is also helpful for many students who are overwhelmed by the idea of narration. Marie uses this example: Find out something that the she is really interested in, such as “raising turtles.” Get a book and read a section aloud to her, such as the section on “what kinds of food should you feed your turtle.” Then start a discussion with the child, and incorporate some of the new info that you just read in the book. “I never knew that you could feed lettuce to turtles! What else can you feed turtles?” Then read the part on habitats of box turtles. Start a discussion on that. “If you were to set up a tank for a box turtle, what kinds of things should you include in it?”

These types of conversations will show the child’s level of listening comprehension much better than the traditional way for a couple of reasons: 1. The child is more likely to be engaged in the topic. (Oftentimes, kids’ attention wanders during typical reading comprehension passages or books that they aren’t interested in.) 2. The child doesn’t “freeze up” and therefore can relay more info (just being asked to repeat what was read can be a scary or uncomfortable moment for a child).

Here’s a basic overview of how comprehension is taught in AAR: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-comprehension

It does seem worthwhile to check for a vision processing issue. I hope you can get in soon! Since she struggles with comprehension when you read aloud as well, I would also look into things like attention deficit and auditory processing, to see if something might be going on there. Here’s an article on auditory processing–many of the strategies here are helpful even if your child is struggling for other reasons: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/auditory-processing-disorder/

April Anderson

says:

My 7 year old son has finished Pre-Reading and just started AAR Level 1. We have also started AAS Level 1. This was such a timely read for me. I know we will be much better off to put off AAS until he has finished AAR Level 1. He is dyslexic and reading is such a struggle, yet he is very motivated. Focusing on just reading will help to keep that motivation going and not stifle it! You would think I could have sensed that on my own, but I think I always have the drive to keep up in the back of my mind. Thanks for permission to focus on quality not quantity!

Rachel

says:

Thanks for adding this post to the 2014 Best of Blogs. It really helped me to decide where to go next with my dyslexic daughter’s reading and spelling program. Thanks for everything you do with this curriculum!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

You’re so welcome, Rachel!

Stephanie

says:

I got this program for my older daughter who is not very strong in spelling but I think we’ll use it for both of our girls (our youngest is showing signs of being a very strong speller at 5!) thanks

kelly grundhofer

says:

We are looking forward to starting all about reading with our two oldest this fall. Is it better to teach them independently or to work with then together. They are a year apart but the oldest is a bit behind.

Merry

says:

Hi Kelly,

Whether to teach them together or separately can vary depending on the family. If they work well together, I’d try it and see how it goes! You can always separate them later if needed. If your oldest struggles more with spelling, you could also do the lessons together but the review separately–that’s the part that you really cater to each student’s needs.

With the demonstrations, let them take turns with the letter tiles while the other watches or tries the word on a hand-held white-board or on a notebook. Make sure each one is mastering the concept. Make spelling a joy!

Margarita

says:

I would love to win this for my son. Such wonderful programs!

Deanna

says:

Can it be started without a formal reading program when your child taught themselves to read and is above grade level?

Merry

says:

Hi Deanna,

Yes, as long as your child has basic reading skills down, you can start the spelling program. Enjoy!

Paige

says:

I have heard wonderful things about this program and would love to try it with our kids.

Jennifer

says:

Would love to have this for my 4,6 and 10 year old for this year. What age would you start using this?

Merry

says:

Hi Jennifer,

Hopefully the article above on the Right Time to Start answered your question, but please let me know if you have additional ones!

Susan W

says:

My son is 6 and in 2nd grade with a 3rd grade reading level (along with the comprehension). Is it too early to start him on spelling?

Merry

says:

Hi Susan,

It sounds like he could start. Go at his pace and have fun with it!

We haven’t started spelling yet, but one of my boys has a terrible time with reading. He’ll memorize books, but can’t decode them on his own. Maybe trying All About Spelling might help him out of his frustration!

Diana Carrillo

says:

I am on my second year of homeschooling. I have three this year. This would be awesome.

Hannah

says:

I’m planning on using All About Spelling with a 1st grader and 4th grader. Is it possible to use level one for both? Or will it be too easy for the older kid? Thanks!

Merry

says:

Hi Hannah,

Likely your older one would go through very quickly. Many 4th graders can spell the words in level 1, so they just need to focus on learning the skills and concepts taught at that level, and then they can move on. Beginning readers usually need more time.

Heather

says:

I’m planning to use All About Reading and All About Spelling for my girls, ages 4 and 6. I am looking forward to learning more about how the programs work independently and together.

Samantha

says:

Do you recommend doing spelling 5 days a week?

Merry

says:

Hi Samantha,

Yes, if at all possible. 3 days per week would be the minimum. We find that short, daily lessons (about 20 minutes) result in better long-term retention than longer but fewer sessions. I hope this helps!

Kara

says:

This will be my first year homeschooling (2nd grade, K and pre-k). I am just looking for any insights from the homeschooling veterans around me. Thank you!

Mary

says:

Wow! Looks awesome.

Lauren

says:

I would like to low how AAR and AAS work in conjunction with each other with a struggling reader. Any blog posts or articles that you could refer me to? Thank you. -L

Merry

says:

Hi Lauren,

Both our reading and spelling programs are explicit and tell students exactly what they need to know in order to spell or read. We don’t make them guess. The lessons are laid out in an orderly form for the teacher too, so that each day you can simply open and go. The programs are easy to do at home without prior training.

Here are some ways that AAR and AAS can help kids who struggle with reading and spelling:

-The programs are incremental and mastery based. Our sequence was very carefully tested to reduce confusion for the child. A student will master one concept at a time before adding in others.

– AAR and AAS are multisensory. They approach learning through sight, sound, and touch. This helps kids who struggle with memory issues, because they take in information in various ways and also interact with it in various ways. The kinesthetic approach can be very helpful to a child who has expressive language struggles

– They use specially color-coded letter tiles. Working with the letter tiles can make the difference between understanding or not understanding a concept.

– AAS and AAR are scripted, so you can concentrate on your child. The script is very clear, without excess verbiage. Marie also spent a lot of time researching how to word the rules. Our rules are worded so they are as easy for children to remember as possible.

– Both have built-in review in every lesson. Children with reading and spelling struggles generally need lots of review in order to retain concepts. After a concept has been taught, don’t assume that the child knows it. Quickly revisit that concept again in the next lesson. With AAR and AAS, your child will have a Review Box so you can customize the review. This way, you can concentrate on just the things that your child needs help with, with no time wasted on reviewing things that your child already knows. Customized review is important for kids with short attention spans because you want every minute of your lesson to count.

Another benefit of the review is that you can practice with your child what to say–you can rehearse as many or as few times as your child needs to help him remember the concepts. One of the things that Marie noticed when she was researching reading programs is that few programs have enough review built in for kids who struggle to gain fluency, which is why AAR includes lots of reading practice.

– AAR and AAS are logical and incremental. They provide the structure, organization and clear guidance that kids who struggle need in order to learn.

-AAS includes dictation that starts out very short–Level 1 starts out with just words and then progresses to 2-word phrases. Level 2 includes phrases and shorter sentences, while Level 3 moves up to slightly longer sentences. With dictation you will say the phrase or sentence and have your child repeat it. If possible, you want to encourage your child to really focus so that you only say the phrase or sentence once, and they can repeat it and then write it. You are training them to expand their working memory a little at a time. You can always break things down more to meet your child’s needs, too. The dictation is meant to be spread over several days, so you can take as much or as little time on that part as your student needs.

Both All About Reading and All About Spelling are Orton-Gillingham based. Marie is a member of the International Dyslexia Association, and is an instructor for the graduate level courses in Orton-Gillingham Literacy Training offered through Nicolet College in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. If you haven’t had a chance to watch their story about her son’s struggles, you may want to check that out. Quite amazing!

http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/about

If you have a student who is still working on beginning skills, Marie recommends completing All About Reading Level 1 first, and then adding in the All About Spelling program. This way students get a solid start in reading first, and have a strong basis for spelling as well.

AAS and AAR both use a similar sequence and the same phonograms. Both are complete phonics programs, so they are interrelated in that way. AAS teaches words from the spelling angle, and AAR teaches words from the reading angle.

All About Reading includes research-based instruction in decoding skills, fluency, automaticity, comprehension, vocabulary and lots and lots of reading practice. AAS focuses instead on encoding skills, spelling rules and other strategies that help children become good spellers.

For this reason, the programs are independent of each other so students can move as quickly or as slowly as they need to with each skill. Kids generally move ahead more quickly in reading, and we don’t want to hold them back with the spelling. For more information, check out this article on Why We Teach Reading and Spelling Separately: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/why-we-teach-reading-and-spelling-separately/

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Merry

says:

You asked about blog articles–not sure if you meant by others, but here is one you might check, from a mom whose daughter has many reading struggles: http://www.underthegoldenappletree.com/2013/02/all-about-reading-level-2-review.html

We also have reviews on the product pages on the site–after you click on a level in the “categories” sidebar, scroll down to the bottom for the link to the set’s product page, and the reviews are on those pages–here’s a link to the level 1 page that has reviews: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-reading-level-1-materials/

Jennifer

says:

How many levels of AAS should we try to get through each school year?

Merry

says:

Hi Jennifer,

The answer varies widely from child to child, depending upon the amount of time spent on spelling each day and what the student’s previous experience is. All About Spelling is completely customizable for the individual student.

We recommend working on spelling for about 20 minutes per day for elementary-school-aged students (or up to 30 minutes if you are working remedially with a junior-high or high-school student). Each day you’ll start by reviewing the cards behind the daily review tab for 3-5 minutes, and then pick up in the book wherever you left off previously.

Beginning spellers generally do a level per year, though some might go through two levels the first year.

Older remedial students generally go through two-three levels the first year, and one-two levels per year after that. A very motivated older student could finish the program in two years, but most will take three-five years.

The important thing is to work at your student’s pace and master the material as you go. I hope this helps!

Karen

says:

I think this could be a great program, but how can I get him ‘interested’ in it? He has just decided he hates spelling and will never be good at it and so won’t put effort into anything we’ve tried.

Merry

says:

Hi Karen,

How old is your son? (That could make a big difference in how to interest him!)

Alison

says:

I love your advice about starting level 1 spelling after completing reading level 1.

heather fisher

says:

Sounds great!

Laura

says:

I have heard some great things about this curriculum

Maria Morris

says:

Were so excited, We don’t just want the Spelling we need it . This program is perfect. It is just what we have been looking for after lots of research searching for the right program. We hope to win. Thanks again for a chance at this awesome offer.

Anne

says:

I’ve got an advanced speller going into 5th grade, but want to keep her moving, so not sure how to start?

Merry

says:

Hi Anne,

It sounds like your 5th grader is doing well in spelling! Hopefully this information will help you decide if AAS will be a fit for you.

All About Spelling is specifically designed to help these groups of kids:
– Kids who need remedial spelling help, whether they are behind or struggle to keep up in spelling
– Those who never learned the spelling rules
– New beginning spellers, to prevent spelling problems

Upper elementary students who spell at grade level, or children who are advanced for their age, can also benefit from AAS, if you don’t mind making some adjustments. Students who are curious about why words are spelled the way they are often enjoy AAS.

The levels and word lists in the All About Spelling program are arranged by concepts and spelling patterns rather than by grade levels. Each level builds upon the previous one. Your advanced child would need to start no higher than Level 2 in order to get all of the rules and concepts taught in the program.

Level 2 of AAS focuses on learning the syllable types, when they are used and how they affect spelling. This information is foundational for higher levels of spelling. Three syllable rules are introduced in Level 2, and then more in Level 3 and up. For this reason, we generally don’t recommend starting higher than level 2.

If you decide to go this route, you can work as quickly as possible through Level 2. Your daughter doesn’t need to spell every word — just choose a small sampling of words and make sure that she understands *why* the words are spelled the way they are. You may be able to go through Level 2 quickly, but it will lay the foundation for more advanced spelling. Here’s a blog post that we did recently, showing how to fast-track through Level 1; you can apply the same principles for working quickly through Level 2.

http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

In order to get the phonogram cards that were taught in Level 1, you would need the student material packet for Level 1. If your daughter already knows all of the multiple sounds for each of the first 32 phonograms (a – z, plus th, ch, sh, nk, ng, ck), you can skip this purchase. As an example, the letter A has three common sounds: /a/ – /A/ – /ah/, O has 4 sounds, CH has 3, S has 2, etc…. Your child will be drawing upon this knowledge throughout the series.

If you think your student might be able to start at a higher level, please take a look through the scope and sequence links to determine where she might have gaps in concept knowledge. Just know that the student has to know all of the earlier rules and strategies (not just how to spell those particular words) to start in a higher level.

Here are samples and scope and sequence links for All About Spelling Levels 1-7: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-lesson-samples

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Denise Smith

says:

Is a fiifth grader too old to switch to this spelling program?

Merry

says:

Hi Denise

Not necessarily, we’ve had teens and even adults use the program. All About Spelling is specifically designed to help these groups of kids:

– Kids who need remedial spelling help, whether they are behind or struggle to keep up in spelling
– Those who never learned the spelling rules
– New beginning spellers, to prevent spelling problems

I actually started my kids when they were 11 and 9, and it worked out well here. If you have questions about your specific situation, feel free to email me at support@allaboutlearningpress.com.

April Croissant

says:

I was wondering if this is a good program to use while a child is learning to read or if a child should already be able to read. Also, can it be used for 2 children at different levels (they are twins, but at different levels with reading and writing).

Merry

says:

Hi April,

Marie recommends completing All About Reading Level 1 first (or the equivalent), and then adding in the All About Spelling program. This way students get a solid start in reading first, and have a strong basis for spelling as well. The programs are independent of each other so students can move as quickly or as slowly as they need to with each skill. Kids generally move ahead more quickly in reading, and we don’t want to hold them back with the spelling. For more information, check out this article on Why We Teach Reading and Spelling Separately: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/why-we-teach-reading-and-spelling-separately/

For children working at different levels, yes, you can do that. You’ll likely need separate lesson times with each. All About Spelling is a building block program–each level builds upon the previous level. The rules and concepts learned in Level 1 are applied in Level 2, and then those are applied in Level 3, and so on. Placement for spelling is based on the student’s knowledge of spelling rules and concepts rather than grade level, reading level, or the words a student has memorized.

So, each child would start in Level 1, but the twin who is more advanced could potentially move through the program faster.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Lisa

says:

How to keep in fun, not overwhelming.

Christine

says:

Do each of my students need a separate student book?

Merry

says:

Hi Christine,

The Student materials Packets for spelling are actually not books, but sets of cards and other materials that are used for the current and future levels. There are 4 types of cards that review material taught in the manual: Phonogram, Sound, Key (or rule) and Word cards. The materials packets allow you to customize the review for each child. Many people do find it easier to have a packet for each child. To get by without getting a materials packet for each child you could try one of these options:

1-teach children together as a group. All children in a “group” would review everything until it’s mastered.

2-teach students separately, at least 1 full level apart if your oldest memorizes quickly, otherwise at least 2 levels apart. The first step in each level will review all previously learned phonogram, sound, and key cards (plus any words you are still working on or want to review), so know that you will need to “borrow” the cards back for that step. There is also a mastered review during each level that reviews all of these mastered cards.

3-come up with an alternate method of tracking what they need to review.

If any child has dyslexia, vision processing issues, any kind of learning disability, or just plain struggles with spelling, that student should have their own materials packet and it shouldn’t be passed on to a sibling or shared until he or she has completed the program. These students tend to need lots of review, and may need to review cards weekly or monthly to retain concepts.

If you still aren’t sure, start with one–you can always order more later. HTH! Merry :-)

lisa

says:

really need this !!!!

Lisa Baumann

says:

Where would I start an 8th grader who has always struggled with spelling? We have tried every spelling program known to man. Thanks

Merry

says:

Hi Lisa,

Most older students who struggle (even teens and adults) have some gaps and need to start with Level 1. Here’s an article that explains why:

Which Level Should My Older Student Start With? http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-level-should-my-older-student-start-with

Marie encourages parents and teachers to “fast track” through the beginning level or two if the student knows how to spell most of the words but does not understand the underlying basic spelling concepts. Work VERY quickly through lessons where the student knows the words. Pull out several words as examples. Demonstrate the concept and have him teach it back to you. Make sure your student understands the concept being taught, and then move on. Whatever cards have already been mastered, move behind the Mastered divider. Older students who do need the content in Level 1 typically only need a few weeks to fill in those gaps, and then they are ready to move on.

Bottom line: with older students, work quickly through the areas the student already knows, and slow down in the areas that need extra attention. There is absolutely no need to spend time on things that have already been mastered. “Fast track” until your eighth grader hits words he doesn’t already know. Here is an example of how you might do that: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

You also don’t have to use the letter tiles if your teen would find these too childish (though some older students do still enjoy them). You can use underlining while writing on paper or a white board, or colored markers, to show when letters are working together as one phonogram.

It helps some kids understand if you compare to something like a video game or swimming lessons. Even though level 1 of a game or of lessons is easy to do, that doesn’t mean you should jump ahead to level 10. But it does mean that you can go quickly through the earlier levels, learning what you need to know so that when you DO get to the higher levels, you aren’t overwhelmed by having to learn too much at once.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Michelle Downing

says:

This sounds wonderful. I think it would help my son with his spelling a lot.

Becky lynn

says:

I started in 1st grade when they started to get a good handle on reading and as they were learning.

Jennifer Fagan

says:

Are placement tests available prior to purchasing this program?

Merry

says:

Hi Jennifer,

Most students start with Level 1. Here’s more information that can help you decide:

All About Spelling is a building block program–each level builds upon the previous level. The rules and concepts learned in Level 1 are applied in Level 2, and then those are applied in Level 3, and so on. Placement for spelling is based on the student’s knowledge of spelling rules and concepts rather than grade level, reading level, or the words a student has memorized.

For example, we find that many students simply memorize easy words like cat and kid but have no idea why one uses a C and the other uses a K, or that the same rules that apply to these words also apply to higher level words such as concentrate.

Level 1 teaches very important concepts, such as segmenting, the multiple sounds of the first 32 phonograms (o has 4 sounds, ch has 3, s has 2, etc.), and basic spelling rules: when to use C or K at the beginning of a word, when to use K or CK at the end, when to double F, L, and S at the end of a word, when to use S or ES to make a word plural, and so on. It is important that kids know why words are spelled the way they are. This information applies to more difficult words later in the series.

Level 2 of AAS focuses on learning the syllable types, when they are used and how they affect spelling. This information is foundational for higher levels of spelling. Three syllable rules are introduced in Level 2, and then more in Level 3 and up. For this reason, we generally don’t recommend starting higher than level 2.

The article Should We Start in Level 1 or Level 2? will help you decide the appropriate starting level: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-spelling-level-should-we-start-with

You may have to be willing to adjust the first level or two to your student’s needs because the words are very easy to start, but many students have not learned the concepts behind them, and these are crucial for success throughout the program.

Marie encourages parents and teachers to “fast track” through the beginning levels if the student knows how to spell most of the words but does not understand the underlying basic spelling concepts. Work VERY quickly through lessons where your child knows the words. Pull out several words as examples. Make sure he understands the concept being taught, and then move on. “Fast track” until your student hits words or concepts he doesn’t already know. Here is an example of how you might do that: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

Becki

says:

How do I get my kiddos, who have speech issues, to be able to accurately spell when they can’t hear the right sounds when they talk. They do great when I say the words, but when they try later in the day, they have difficulty.

Merry

says:

Hi Becki,

The answer to this is…it depends.

You didn’t mention their ages, whether they are in speech therapy, if you are dealing with apraxia of speech, if they are yet able to make the sounds but just don’t consistently…there’s a huge variance here and I’d be happy to discuss it more in depth if you want to share some details about where they are in their speech development, examples of the types of words they struggle with, which level of AAS you are using (if you are using it yet), and so on.

Hopefully one of these thoughts will hit on the range of issues your kids are struggling with–but let me know if I missed on this one!

It’s a positive sign that they can spell the words correctly when you are saying the words. Things you can work on (accept their best effort on sounds they are struggling to pronounce):

1) Practice individual sounds with the phonogram cards. For sounds that are hard: Have them watch your mouth as you make them, and to watch themselves in a mirror as they try to imitate. For example: some students confuse /th/ and /f/. The /th/ sound is made with the tongue between the teeth, while the /f/ sound is made with the teeth on the lower lip. So there is a visual difference in the sounds. They can also put a hand on their throats (or gently on yours while you demonstrate) to feel the vibration for the “voiced” /th/ sound (as in then) and the voiced /v/ sound. There is no vibrarion when they do the unvoiced /th/ (as in with) or the /f/ sound–have them feel that difference. Then have them put a hand in front of their mouths to feel the puff of air with the unvoiced /th/ and /f/ versus no puff of air with the voiced sounds.

There are other visual and auditory differences they can see and hear with other sounds as they practice them, and different kinesthetic experiences as they learn to pay attention to what their mouths are doing. Find things that will help them with their struggle sounds (or email for ideas if you need some).

2) Have them repeat the word after you say it. Have them try to use the correct sounds when they say it so they can see, feel, and hear what the word is like. Having them say the word is an important step–and even if they can’t quite say it correctly yet, it will help them pay attention to the correct sounds.

3) if the words they are struggling with have schwa sounds (muffled vowel sounds) , teach them to pronounce for spelling. Let them know that sometimes when we say a word quickly, the vowel sound gets muffled or changed a bit, so we have to pay extra careful attention to how we say the word. Drag out the pronunciation just a bit to help them hear it. You may need to really enunciate them, and have them practice “pronouncing for spelling,” in order for them to get the word.

I used to say the word normally, then say I was going to pronounce for spelling, do that, and have them repeat the pronunciation. When we would review the words on subsequent days, I’d say, “I’m going to say the word normally. I want you to pronounce for spelling, and then spell the word.” If they struggle with the pronunciation, give them that, and then have them spell the word. Keep it in review until they can both pronounce for spelling AND spell the word correctly.

You mentioned that they can spell the word correctly when you say it, but not later–do you mean that they are not spelling the word correctly in outside writing? If that’s the case:

Many children have trouble spelling in the context of their writing, especially if they don’t have a separate editing time. Often they are not ready to put all of the skills they have learned together in outside writing until closer to junior high. With spelling, there are layers of mastery:

-Spelling in the context of the list with tiles is easiest–words all follow the same pattern

-Spelling the list in writing can challenge some students who have to work hard at handwriting.

-Spelling from word cards (shuffled to mix the patterns) is slightly harder, but students still only have to focus on spelling

-Spelling in dictation is another step harder–many words using differing patterns are used, and the student has to hold the sentence in memory, and also think about capitalization and punctuation.

-Writing Station exercises (introduced in Level 3) focus on words the student has learned, but ask the student to come up with original content, which requires additional skills to be used. These serve as a bridge between dictation and spelling in the context of outside writing.

-Outside writing–this is the hardest level for the student. It requires them to think about all writing skills at once-grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, usage rules, syntax, handwriting and neatness, paragraph rules–plus content, organization of their thoughts, getting answers correct or being creative, and so on.

The word analysis exercises in AAS help you teach your student to begin analyzing his or her spelling. Use the dictations and Writing Station exercises to teach basic editing skills–how to look for errors and how to think through how to correct them. Even professional writers need proofreaders, so elementary students definitely need ongoing training in this area. This article on Helping Kids Achieve Automaticity in Spelling has some tips that I think you’ll find helpful: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/helping-kids-achieve-automaticity-in-spelling/

Please let me know if you have additional questions; I’d be glad to help!

laureen anderson

says:

My 5 year old is only starting to read, maybe I should hold off on spelling for a bit?

Merry

says:

Hi Laureen,

Yes, I would. Marie recommends completing All About Reading Level 1 first, and then adding in the All About Spelling program. This way students get a solid start in reading first, and have a strong basis for spelling as well.

AAS and AAR both use a similar sequence and the same phonograms. Both are complete phonics programs, so they are interrelated in that way. AAS teaches words from the spelling angle, and AAR teaches words from the reading angle.

All About Reading includes research-based instruction in decoding skills, fluency, automaticity, comprehension, vocabulary and lots and lots of reading practice. AAS focuses instead on encoding skills, spelling rules and other strategies that help children become good spellers.

For this reason, the programs are independent of each other so students can move as quickly or as slowly as they need to with each skill. Kids generally move ahead more quickly in reading, and we don’t want to hold them back with the spelling. For more information, check out this article on Why We Teach Reading and Spelling Separately:

I hope this helps!

JAG

says:

Looking forward to using levels 1&2 thus Fall.

Tasha R.

says:

Is there a placement test or some other way to know if level 1 is the correct place to start?

Merry

says:

Hi Tasha,

Most students start with level 1. All About Spelling is a building block program–each level builds upon the previous level. The rules and concepts learned in Level 1 are applied in Level 2, and then those are applied in Level 3, and so on. Placement for spelling is based on the student’s knowledge of spelling rules and concepts rather than grade level, reading level, or the words a student has memorized.

Very often, the reason older students struggle with spelling is that they are missing some basic yet important information. For example, most struggling students switch letters or leave out letters entirely. This usually occurs because they don’t know how to hear each sound in the word. Level 1 has specific techniques to solve this problem.

We also find that many students simply memorize easy words like cat and kid but have no idea why one uses a C and the other uses a K, or that the same rules that apply to these words also apply to higher level words such as concentrate.

Level 1 teaches very important concepts, such as segmenting, the multiple sounds of the first 32 phonograms (o has 4 sounds, ch has 3, s has 2, etc.), and basic spelling rules: when to use C or K at the beginning of a word, when to use K or CK at the end, when to double F, L, and S at the end of a word, when to use S or ES to make a word plural, and so on. It is important that kids know why words are spelled the way they are. This information applies to more difficult words later in the series.

Level 2 of AAS focuses on learning the syllable types, when they are used and how they affect spelling. This information is foundational for higher levels of spelling. Three syllable rules are introduced in Level 2, and then more in Level 3 and up. For this reason, we generally don’t recommend starting higher than level 2.

The article Should We Start in Level 1 or Level 2? will help you decide the appropriate starting level: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-spelling-level-should-we-start-with

You may have to be willing to adjust the first level or two to your child’s needs because the words are very easy to start, but many students have not learned the concepts behind them, and these are crucial for success throughout the program.

Marie encourages parents and teachers to “fast track” through the beginning levels if the student knows how to spell most of the words but does not understand the underlying basic spelling concepts. Work VERY quickly through lessons where your student knows the words. Pull out several words as examples. Make sure he understands the concept being taught, and then move on. “Fast track” until your child hits words or concepts he doesn’t already know. Here is an example of how you might do that: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Kristina Best

says:

We are starting spelling this year. How should I start?

Merry

says:

Hi Kristina,

Plan to work about 15-20 minutes per day on spelling. The first five steps in AAS Level 1 are Pre-spelling skills. Some of these may be review, and some may be new; it’s important that these are in place before going on.

You can work on the first 3 steps simultaneously. The first day, I would run through all of the phonograms with your child to see which ones he knows and which ones he may need to review or learn. Put the ones he knows easily in the “mastered” tab, and work on up to 4 per day of the others. (Simply show the card, say the sounds, and have him repeat. I like to do that quickly at the beginning and ending of a lesson time).

Phonogram practice doesn’t take long, so go ahead and work through step 2, and then through step 3, while you work on these.

After the first 5 steps, each lesson is pretty similar: start each day by reviewing any cards in the daily review tabs, and then pick up in the book wherever you left off previously.

The lessons are designed to be open and go, so I think if you read the few pages up front ahead of time and then look through some of the lessons, you’ll see that the layout is pretty easy to follow. If you ever have questions are aren’t sure about something, please call or email. We provide lifetime support for all of our programs and are always glad to help!

Maribeth

says:

We are really just starting spelling with my daughter in earnest, as she enters 2nd grade this year, but I’m not completely sold on the program we have selected. I just ordered AAR pre-reading for my son, so I’m checking Spelling out for my daughter now too! She reads on a nearly 5th grade level, but I have never been consistent with spelling.

Stacey

says:

My son will be in 2nd grade. My son began to struggle in spelling and reading the last half of the year. I’m new to homeschooling and I’m wondering if I should start him on Level 1 with reading and spelling? I think it would best to start him in the 1st grade again. Math was a struggle for him as well. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Merry

says:

Hi Stacey,

For reading: Here is a link to all of our placement tests for AAR: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

Check the placement for Level 2 and see if that’s easy for him, or if he would be better off in Level 1 for reading.

For spelling: Marie recommends completing All About Reading Level 1 first, and then adding in the All About Spelling program. This way students get a solid start in reading first, and have a strong basis for spelling as well.

So, if he does need to start with AAR 1, you may want to wait awhile on spelling unless he’s really anxious to write and spell now. Marie recommends completing All About Reading Level 1 first, and then adding in the All About Spelling program. This way students get a solid start in reading first, and have a strong basis for spelling as well. The programs are independent of each other so students can move as quickly or as slowly as they need to with each skill. Kids generally move ahead more quickly in reading, and we don’t want to hold them back with the spelling. For more information, check out this article on Why We Teach Reading and Spelling Separately.

http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/why-we-teach-reading-and-spelling-separately/

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Mary

says:

My daughter is entering 3rd grade. Should I start with All About Spelling level 1? My son is entering 1st grade. Can I teach them level 1 together?

Merry

says:

Hi Mary,

Yes, start your daughter with level 1. All About Spelling is a building block program–each level builds upon the previous level. The rules and concepts learned in Level 1 are applied in Level 2, and then those are applied in Level 3, and so on. Placement for spelling is based on the student’s knowledge of spelling rules and concepts rather than grade level, reading level, or the words a student has memorized.

She may be able to go through this level quickly, focusing on just filling in some gaps. Here is an example of how you might do that: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

Is your first grade son reading yet? If not, Marie recommends completing All About Reading Level 1 first, and then adding in the All About Spelling program. This way students get a solid start in reading first, and have a strong basis for spelling as well. The programs are independent of each other so students can move as quickly or as slowly as they need to with each skill. Kids generally move ahead more quickly in reading, and we don’t want to hold them back with the spelling. For more information, check out this article on Why We Teach Reading and Spelling Separately: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/why-we-teach-reading-and-spelling-separately/

If he is reading and you think he and his sister would work well together, you can try teaching them together and see how it goes.

I hope this helps!

Lisa Allen

says:

I started homeschooling my 9 year old daughter this spring and I am very eager to help her with the AAS materials! I see now how the public schools use “balanced literacy” and they say that they teach phonics, but, they really don’t. This program looks great!

Linda

says:

Is this appropriate for working with an older student/adult?

Merry

says:

Hi Linda,

Yes, we have had high schoolers and adults who have used the program. This blog entry demonstrates how I used the program with my 15-year-old son: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-spelling-in-action-2/

Marie used these same methods for tutoring teens and adults as well. You have to be willing to adjust the first few levels to their needs because the words are very easy to start, but many students have not learned the concepts behind them, and these are crucial for success throughout the program.

Lisa Flowney

says:

We have been using AAS for the past school year. It has been wonderful. I can see progress being made! A real answer to prayer!

Amber

says:

Do you have a placement test to know where to start? Or just start with level one no matter what?

Merry

says:

Hi Amber,

Most students start with 1, but occasionally one will start with 2. All About Spelling is a building block program–each level builds upon the previous level. The rules and concepts learned in Level 1 are applied in Level 2, and then those are applied in Level 3, and so on. Placement for spelling is based on the student’s knowledge of spelling rules and concepts rather than grade level, reading level, or the words a student has memorized.

Very often, the reason older students struggle with spelling is that they are missing some basic yet important information. For example, most struggling students switch letters or leave out letters entirely. This usually occurs because they don’t know how to hear each sound in the word. Level 1 has specific techniques to solve this problem.

We also find that many students simply memorize easy words like cat and kid but have no idea why one uses a C and the other uses a K, or that the same rules that apply to these words also apply to higher level words such as concentrate.

Level 1 teaches very important concepts, such as segmenting, the multiple sounds of the first 32 phonograms (o has 4 sounds, ch has 3, s has 2, etc.), and basic spelling rules: when to use C or K at the beginning of a word, when to use K or CK at the end, when to double F, L, and S at the end of a word, when to use S or ES to make a word plural, and so on. It is important that kids know why words are spelled the way they are. This information applies to more difficult words later in the series.

Level 2 of AAS focuses on learning the syllable types, when they are used and how they affect spelling. This information is foundational for higher levels of spelling. Three syllable rules are introduced in Level 2, and then more in Level 3 and up. For this reason, we generally don’t recommend starting higher than level 2.

The article Should We Start in Level 1 or Level 2? will help you decide the appropriate starting level: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-spelling-level-should-we-start-with

You may have to be willing to adjust the first level or two to your child’s needs because the words are very easy to start, but many students have not learned the concepts behind them, and these are crucial for success throughout the program.

Marie encourages parents and teachers to “fast track” through the beginning levels if the student knows how to spell most of the words but does not understand the underlying basic spelling concepts. Work VERY quickly through lessons where your student knows the words. Pull out several words as examples. Make sure your child understands the concept being taught, and then move on.

Bottom line: with older children, work quickly through the areas the child already knows, and slow down in the areas that need extra attention. “Fast track” until your student hits words or concepts he doesn’t already know. Here is an example of how you might do that: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

Wendy

says:

I am trying out All About Reading level 1 this year and would love to try All About Spelling as well.

Jenny Aschenbrand

says:

Very interested in this curriculum, especially because it uses the Orton Gillingham method. I think my 3rd grader and my 8th grader could benefit!

Jennifer Peterson

says:

This is where our family is headed…had my eye on it for about a year–especially with all the recommendations for dyslexic children, of which we have a few! Can’t wait to start.

Allyson Voller

says:

I love AAR! We are in level 2 right now, and it is perfect for us. Spelling has been a success as well.

Lisa Martinez

says:

Does all about spelling leave room for adding in your own spelling words (say to go with something else you are learning)?

Merry

says:

Hi Lisa,

The review box is completely customizable, so you can always add in extra words. We recommend limiting the number of words which would not follow patterns your student has already learned (so they don’t become overwhelmed or start to think that English doesn’t have logical constructs). Certainly add in additional words they need to work on that do follow patterns they have learned. I used to keep a stack of white index cards in the back of my box, and when I would see a word in their writing that they had trouble correcting (but should know how to spell at that point), I would put it in their review box.

Wendy Thelen

says:

Are there consumables that I would have to purchase for my younger children when they start AAS.

Merry

says:

Hi Wendy,

Most of the items are non-consumable. Each level does have progress charts and completion certificates, and you can get extras of these by emailing us. Levels 3, 5, 6, and 7 have consumable booklets or handouts, and you can get extras of these for a nominal price by calling our office. I hope this helps!

Nancy

says:

I have wanted to get my hands on this and try it out! Our first of 6 (so far) is just about ready ;-)

nayeli deluna

says:

I’ve heard great things about All about spelling would love try it

Elizabeth Parker

says:

I have been thinking of do this curriculum for my son!
I have heard so many great things about all about!!

Heidi

says:

I have heard great things about this program.

Cassandra

says:

I’m excited to use All About Spelling with my boys. But I am nervous that they won’t be as interested as I am. What do you recommend for keeping their attention in the event they lose focus?

Merry

says:

Hi Cassandra,

1, keep lessons short–15-20 minutes per day. Short, daily lessons accomplishes better long-term retention than longer but fewer sessions.

2, don’t be afraid to let them play with the letter tiles. Yes, it takes up a bit of your time, but it keeps things fun for them. My son used to make every word “explode” (complete with sound effects!) when he broke apart the tiles to put them back. If it got excessive, I asked him to make 3 words and then just 1 explosion for all, and I helped to put the tiles back. (Doing something they find tedious together helps too!) My daughter used to draw animals or other pictures around her tile words. Sometimes I limited her to a certain number of pictures if it got to be too much–have fun with it!

3, integrate some tactile and kinesthetic ideas for making words: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/kinesthetic-learning/

4, Here are some games that you can use to review the cards: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/categories/Supplemental-Products/Games/

The Phonogram File-Folder game can be adapted for use with any type of card. Or use a favorite board game like Sorry or Candy-Land. Each player spells a word or answers a card before taking his or her turn. If you have a Trivial Pursuit game, you can substitute the various spelling cards for the types of categories in the game.

So, if you find that the word cards are starting to stack up, take some days off of your regular lessons, play games to review them until you have that stack whittled back down, and then continue on in the book.

5, check our blog from time to time–Marie is always posting fun or interesting things that you might like to try with them.

And as always–email any time with questions or concerns, we’re always glad to help.

Ashleigh S

says:

I had a question about when to start AAS 1 with my daughter who is just finishing AAR 1. I emailed AAL and got a response right away! The advise I got was to start it simultaneously to AAR2. Thank you for your fast response!

Merry

says:

You’re welcome!

Samantha C.

says:

I’ve been thinking about supplementing with AAR/AAR to introduce my Kindergardener to reading and spelling. We’ve been working through easy readers, but he gets discouraged quickly. I think he may be one that learning to spell will help further his reading. Would it be wise to try and see if he’s more receptive to Spelling activities than continue to push reading?

Merry

says:

Hi Samantha,

Since he’s young yet, I would use our checklist to make sure he’s ready to begin a reading program. Many kindergarten-aged students start with Pre-reading rather than go right into our reading program, because they need to work on phonological awareness or other pre-reading skills first.

http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/is-your-child-ready-to-learn-to-read

If he’s struggling with the phonological awareness skills, then even though some of Pre-reading program will be review for him, it would be a better place to start than either the reading or spelling program. Skills like being able to blend words orally and being able to identify first and last sounds in a word are very important to reading. Blending written words is dependent on these skills. You might want to read through the articles on Phonological Awareness and Teaching Phonological Awareness for more help in understanding these skills and whether he would be ready to begin a reading program. (You can find these and other articles in our Reading Resource Center: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-resource-center)

If he is ready, take a look through the online samples for AAR 1. You may find that it’s a more direct, step-by-step approach than what you’ve been using and he might find it less frustrating. Given his age, my leaning would be to try the reading program rather than spelling, but you know him best. If you do try spelling, make sure to go slow and take it at his pace. For young children like this, you really want to keep things light and fun.

I hope this helps! Let me know if you have additional questions.

Rob

says:

With so many homeschool stuff out there how do I know this one is right for my kids?

Merry

says:

Great question! There are several features that help AAS be a successful spelling program for students:

1, The All About Spelling program includes a variety of activities that reach kids through sight, sound, and touch. When students are taught using all three pathways to the brain — the visual, the auditory, and the kinesthetic — they learn even *more* than when they are taught only through their strongest pathway. [R.D. Farkus, “Effects of Traditional Versus Learning-Styles Instructional Methods on Middle School Students,” The Journal of Educational Research 97, no 1 (2003)]

2, Concepts and rules are taught incrementally. Students master one rule and learn to apply it before learning another one.

3, the program has the students teach the concept back through demonstrations with the letter tiles. When a student can explain a concept back to you, he or she is more likely to remember it.

4, AAS has a customizable review system. Words and concepts are not dropped but are reviewed periodically after they have been mastered. If at any time the student is struggling to remember a concept, you can put that card back into daily review. The card should not be moved to the “mastered” section until a student can say it quickly and easily, without having to stop and think or self-correct.

Also, the program is designed to be used by parents and teachers with no prior training. Lessons are lightly scripted and designed to be open and go.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions. Merry :-)

Danielle Hudson

says:

I have just ordered AAR Level 1 today for our first year of homeschooling!!! I am so excited to get started! I am a former kindergarten teacher, and I love everything I have read about your program. I have searched homeschool mom blogs for honest reviews on curriculum. AAR by far was the most loved reading curriculum. I hope that I am soon able to purchase the AAS also.

How can this help a child with dyslexia? This is our first year homeschooling and there is a lot out there but haven’t found one that works with dyslexia. Looks fun and easy to use and would make a great addition!

Emily

says:

I’m new to the AALP world as my oldest just turned 4. I have many questions! For starters, what is the basic approach to teaching reading: word families, blends, something else? I need to start reading through your website. Thanks for offering the giveaway!

Merry

says:

Hi Emily,

AAR teaches the phonograms (letters and letter teams that stand for a sound) and how to blend them into words. It’s a multi-sensory, step-by-step program with lots of fluency practice and customizable review built in. And, it’s designed to be open and go, so you don’t need prior training or a lot of prep work to be able to use the program.

Here are a few articles you might find helpful:

What’s the Difference Between AAR & AAS? http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/whats-the-difference-aar-aas/
This one has a basic overview of each program and shows the different approach each takes to the same sound.

The Big Five Skills: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/the-big-five-skills
Preschool students usually start in our Pre-reading program, and learn the Big Five Skills of Print Awareness, Phonological Awareness, Letter Knowledge, Listening Comprehension, and Motivation to Read.

Phonics and Decoding: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/phonics-and-decoding

Let me know if you have additional questions.

Julie

says:

If a child is having difficulty learning to read, would you then recommend attempting the spelling? How would you tell the difference between a child who is just taking longer to learn and a child who might have dyslexia?

Merry

says:

Hi Julie,

Our Symptoms of Dyslexia Checklist would be a helpful resource to consult: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/dyslexia/

I wouldn’t automatically jump to trying spelling with a struggling reader–most often I would still try All About Reading. But if you have a child who is very frustrated with learning to read, has tried several programs previously, and seems more analytical (perhaps excels in math), he might be one of those kids who would benefit from starting spelling. So, you could start AAS with the child and see if it clicks. Marie always thinks of this as the “back door” approach. After the student learns how to spell basic words, he may be able to look at words in print and think to himself, “What would this word say if I had written it?”

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Olaru Anca Irina

says:

this gift it is for a mom who does homeschooling?

Merry

says:

Hi Olaru,

AAS has been used by homeschoolers, public school parents who want to supplement their child’s education, tutors, special education teachers, English as a second language teachers, and in co-ops and classrooms (both public and private schools).

Maria Morris

says:

What a awesome opportunity for this giveaway. We would love getting the spelling, because it fits just right for our family. Thanks

April jones

says:

Heard about this program and I can’t wait to start using it if I win!!

Melody

says:

Super excited to start and learn to spell better myself.

Karen

says:

I am planning on doing all about reading 1 with my son, do I start all about reading 1 alongside or do I wait a year? He is 7 years old.

Merry

says:

Hi Karen,

Wait until he has finished with AAR 1, and then start him in AAS 1 while continuing on with AAR 2. I hope this helps!

Maria Morris

says:

I have 2 pre k age and a first grader. All boys. Your kit is perfect to involve all my little boys in teaching them together. I have to say this kit is just what we need. I do have a daughter who is going into 6th grade and she is a pretty good speller, but I think this would make her a awesome speller as well. Thanks again for this opportunity.

Wendy

says:

I started the AAS with my 4 year old. It is just going to take a LONNNNGGGGG time to get through step 1. We just do 2 phonogram cards a week,

Amanda D

says:

Wondering if my sixth grade daughter will be ok starting at level 1 or if will be too elementary for her…

Merry

says:

Hi Amanda,

You might like to read the article: Which Level Should My Older Student Start With?
http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-level-should-my-older-student-start-with

Usually, even teens and adults who struggle with spelling will have some gaps from level 1. But you can work through it quickly–here’s an article on how to “fast track” for an older student: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

It helps some kids understand if you compare to something like a video game or swimming lessons. Even though level 1 of a game or of lessons is easy to do, that doesn’t mean you should jump ahead to level 10. But it does mean that you can go quickly through the earlier levels, learning what you need to know so that when you DO get to the higher levels, you aren’t overwhelmed by having to learn too much at once.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

BMeservy

says:

I think this could even help me with my the gaps in my own spelling knowledge as I help my daughter learn. Looks way cool.

Yollanda W.

says:

Looking forward to helping my children become great spellers!

Delores

says:

Looking for a spelling course for my daughter. Checking out what you have.

In addition to tutoring privately, I am a volunteer at Literacy Volunteers (Pro Literacy). My students have been 2 older gentlemen in their 60’s who have always “covered up” their inability to read and a 20 year old mother who quit school to have her baby and is now trying to earn a certificate in nursing…. but she has to pass a test. Generally, we use books that will accommodate the adult reader. For example, the content of the story may pertain to parenting or world events. The material is written with fewer words per line, fewer lines on a page, and a simple font to help build fluency. You have written articles about teaching adults, but do you offer books with adult content that would appeal to the adult readers?

Merry

says:

Hi JulieBeth,

We don’t have different readers, but when content bothers a teen, sometimes they will focus on the fluency pages (especially in Level 1) until they get to a higher level.

We’ve talked to tutors of adults, and the adult students are so happy to be able to read a story that they are thrilled to read even the Level 1 readers. They don’t mind the content.

Here’s what Marie recommends when tutoring older students:

– Follow the new-concept lessons in the TM, which include flashcard review, “Change the Word,” Activity Sheets, Fluency Practice, and reading aloud to her student. Approximately every other lesson is a “new concept” lesson, and every other lesson is a “read a story” lesson.

– As she states in the Teacher’s Manual, the activity sheets aren’t necessary for older learners. Focus on the fluency pages.

Level 3 covers prefixes and suffixes; syllable division rules for reading multisyllable words (these start in AAR 2 and are continued in Level 3); many literary terms like alliteration, similes, personification; words containing the new phonograms, such as paint, play, boat, third, purple, soon, mean, light, match, budge, flew, wrong, know, sleigh, toe, and action; words with the “pickle” syllable such as bubble and table; and 2-5 syllable words such as armadillo, auction, banquet, celebration, butterscotch, chimpanzee, contraption, examination, education, government, hibernation, instruments, objection, mildew, migration, safekeeping, paperweight, semicircle, uneventful, wristwatch, spectacles, thermometer, and so on.

And Level 4 has many high school level words, words borrowed from other languages, work on Greek and Latin roots and so on.

Oksana

says:

Don’t have a question, but would love to give this a try with my children.

Lesley R

says:

My son is using level 1 spelling and he loves it. Thanks for making spelling fun!

Annmarie Fagot

says:

I have a 16 year old male that I taught phonics to with Ramona Spaulding’s Writing Road to Reading yet he still struggles with spelling and has auditory processing issues. He reads aloud relatively well but auditory comprehension is below average, espeically with details. Any suggestions would be helpful.

Merry

says:

Hi Annmarie,

With regard to the comprehension issue you are seeing: it’s possible he might still have to work a bit at reading so he doesn’t have as much energy and working memory left for comprehension. Things like flashcards to work on fluency, and syllable chunking skills might be helpful.

With regard to spelling, we’ve had lots of teens and even adults use our program. Sometimes with a teen, their willingness and motivation plays a role, but if he’s willing to work on spelling, you may find that AAS helps him. Here’s a blog entry that demonstrates how I used the program with my 15-year-old son: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-spelling-in-action-2/

One of the biggest differences between our programs and Spalding is that we separate the teaching of spelling and reading. Many students learn to read at a faster pace than they learn how to spell and separating these skills helps students progress at the right pace for them in each area. Teaching them together sometimes results in gaps with regard to spelling. Here’s more information on Why We Teach Reading and Spelling Separately: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/why-we-teach-reading-and-spelling-separately/

Also, the words in AAS are grouped according to spelling concepts and rules, not word frequency. For example, when the student learns the generalization about when to use K or CK at the end of a word, the spelling list contains words such as “black, clock, duck, ask.” This allows the child to see the patterns in the English language. After the student learns these words, they are mixed in with previously-learned words for mixed practice.

Here are some ways that AAS can help students with auditory processing issues:

– AAS is multisensory. It approaches learning through sight, sound, and touch. Since the auditory part is very difficult for children with CAPD, the visual and kinesthetic components are extremely important. This helps the weaker pathway to be strengthened while still allowing learning to occur.

– AAS uses specially color-coded letter tiles. Working with the All About Spelling letter tiles can make the difference between understanding or not understanding a concept. When a child has CAPD, you don’t want to get too “wordy” with your explanations because that will just frustrate the child (and you!). It is much more effective to demonstrate a spelling rule using the letter tiles.

You don’t have to use the letter tiles if your teen would find these too childish (though some older students do still enjoy them). You can use underlining while writing on paper or a white board, or colored markers, to show when letters are working together as one phonogram.

– AAS is scripted, so you can concentrate on your student. The script is very clear, without excess verbiage.

– AAS has built-in review in every lesson. Students with auditory processing struggles generally need lots of review in order to retain spelling concepts. After a concept has been taught, don’t assume that the child knows it. Quickly revisit that concept again in the next lesson. With AAS, your child will have a Spelling Review Box so you can customize the review. This way, you can concentrate on just the things that your child needs help with, with no time wasted on reviewing things that your child already knows. Customized review is important for kids with short attention spans because you want every minute of your lesson to count.

– AAS is logical and incremental. Children with CAPD need structure and clear guidance, and AAS provides the organization that they need in order to learn.

Some tips for using AAS with children with auditory processing struggles:

– Work in a quiet room with as few distractions as possible. Your child needs to be able to hear the sounds of the words without distraction.

– Turn toward your child so he can watch your mouth as you pronounce the words and phonograms. This is especially important if your child confuses similar-sounding words. In people with auditory processing issues, their ears and brain don’t work together 100% of the time, so watching your mouth helps get everything in sync. From what Marie has observed, the sounds get “crisper” when they have the visual cue to go with the auditory.

– If your child misspells a word because he isn’t applying a spelling rule or pattern, go back to the letter tiles to demonstrate. Don’t attempt to explain it all orally.

– Allow for “lag time” while your child processes what you just said. After you explain something, allow a few seconds for the explanation to sink in.

– Hold spelling lessons during your child’s best time of day, when he is best able to concentrate and least likely to be disruptive or shut down.

– In order to keep making progress, it is important to work on spelling every weekday. Make spelling a priority and don’t skip lesson time.

– Students with CAPD can become disruptive or argumentative if they are feeling insecure or if they don’t understand something. If you sense this, back up in the lesson to a point where your student is more comfortable and demonstrate the new material again in a few minutes.

I hope this helps as you consider how to proceed. Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Andrea

says:

Can I start my first and third grader on level one? Or should I get a higher level for the third grader? Both children read well.

Merry

says:

Most likely, yes. All About Spelling is a building block program–each level builds upon the previous level. The rules and concepts learned in Level 1 are applied in Level 2, and then those are applied in Level 3, and so on. Placement for spelling is based on the student’s knowledge of spelling rules and concepts rather than grade level, reading level, or the words a student has memorized.

For example, we find that many students simply memorize easy words like cat and kid but have no idea why one uses a C and the other uses a K, or that the same rules that apply to these words also apply to higher level words such as concentrate.

Level 1 teaches very important concepts, such as segmenting, the multiple sounds of the first 32 phonograms (o has 4 sounds, ch has 3, s has 2, etc.), and basic spelling rules: when to use C or K at the beginning of a word, when to use K or CK at the end, when to double F, L, and S at the end of a word, when to use S or ES to make a word plural, and so on. It is important that kids know why words are spelled the way they are. This information applies to more difficult words later in the series.

Level 2 of AAS focuses on learning the syllable types, when they are used and how they affect spelling. This information is foundational for higher levels of spelling. Three syllable rules are introduced in Level 2, and then more in Level 3 and up. For this reason, we generally don’t recommend starting higher than level 2.

The article Should We Start in Level 1 or Level 2? will help you decide the appropriate starting level: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-spelling-level-should-we-start-with

You may have to be willing to adjust the first level or two to your older one’s needs because the words are very easy to start, but many students have not learned the concepts behind them, and these are crucial for success throughout the program.

Marie encourages parents and teachers to “fast track” through the beginning levels if the student knows how to spell most of the words but does not understand the underlying basic spelling concepts. Work VERY quickly through lessons where your 3rd grader knows the words. Pull out several words as examples. Make sure he or she understands the concept being taught, and then move on. “Fast track” until you hit words or concepts your child doesn’t already know. Here is an example of how you might do that: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

If your kids enjoy working together and are at about the same level, you may be able to teach them together.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Shannon

says:

I about to order the spelling curriculum for my 11 year old daughter who has been official diagnosised with moderate dyslexia. She loves hands on activities and color coded. This looks to be the perfect fit to help her master word attack skills that she is still struggling with

Lahryn

says:

This looks like a great spelling curriculum! Would love to try it out!

Kathy

says:

How much set up time would you say is necessary on a daily basis as well as just to understand the program in the beginning?

Merry

says:

Hi Kathy,

The program is designed for parents and teachers with no prior training, so that you can just open and go each day.

When you first get the program, you will probably spend 1-2 hours getting your materials set up, and perhaps another hour reading the few pages of front matter and then looking through the lessons to see how the program works.

The first 5 lessons in AAS contain pre-spelling activities, but then lessons 6 and up will be structured very similarly each day. Typically you will start each day by spending 3-5 minutes going over any cards in the daily review tab, and then pick up in the book wherever you left off previously.

If you’d like to see what a “typical week” might look like, here’s a blog entry where I show what a week in level 6 was like with my son: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-spelling-in-action-2/

The first levels obviously have easier words, dictation with simple phrases doesn’t start until halfway through Level 1, and the Writing Station activity doesn’t start until Level 3. But the basic structure is similar otherwise.

You can also check out the online samples and scope and sequence links for All About Spelling Levels 1-7:
http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-lesson-samples

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Stacy

says:

Wish I would have used this curriculum earlier!

Maria Morris

says:

This is by far the best Spelling out there that I can see and it would be perfect for my boys. It would be great to win the program because we are on a very tight budget for school this year so it would help us out a lot. Thank you so much for this opportunity.

Robin W

says:

We love AAR & AAS. These programs have been great for my daughter.

Lynn

says:

How many lessons do you do each day? 1 or more?

Merry

says:

Hi Lynn,

For spelling, we recommend working for about 20 minutes per day. Each day you’ll start with 3-5 minutes going over any cards in the daily review tabs, and then pick up in the book wherever you left off previously. The program is designed so that you can go at your child’s pace. So, you can spend as many or as few days on each “Step” as your child needs. Each level has 25-30 steps. Beginning spellers tend to go through a level per year, though some move along a bit faster. Older, remedial spellers can often do 2-3 levels the first year, and 1-2 levels per year after that.

Here’s a “typical week” using Level 6 with my then 15 year-old son, that might give you a picture of how things work: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-spelling-in-action-2/

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Edana Record

says:

My child is 4 and we are doing pre-k at home this year. Is she too young for this program? She is showing most of the reading readiness signs and is excited to learn! I think you have a great resource. Thanks

Merry

says:

Hi Edana,

Is she already reading? If not, I would look at Pre-reading or All About Reading Level 1. Here’s a placement test you can use to see if she would be ready for Level 1: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

Marie recommends completing All About Reading Level 1 first, and then adding in the All About Spelling program. This way students get a solid start in reading first, and have a strong basis for spelling as well. The programs are independent of each other so students can move as quickly or as slowly as they need to with each skill. Kids generally move ahead more quickly in reading, and we don’t want to hold them back with the spelling. For more information, check out this article on Why We Teach Reading and Spelling Separately: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/why-we-teach-reading-and-spelling-separately/

If she’s very interested in spelling and writing, I always like to capitalize on an interest like that! In that case, I would consider spelling even if she isn’t reading yet. But for most kids, start reading first. I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

B

says:

Interested in seeing how this may help my children learn a solid foundation. I know everyone is different, but what is the average amount of time needed per week to complete Level 1?

Merry

says:

Hi B,

What we recommend is to work for about 15-20 minutes per day on spelling. Each day you’ll start with reviewing the cards behind the daily review tab for 3-5 minutes, and then pick up in the book wherever you left off previously. The program is designed so that you can take things at your child’s pace–so you can move as slowly or as quickly through the series as you need to.

Beginning spellers will typically spend a year on each level. Some are able to go through Level 1 a bit more quickly, depending on their background.

Older, remedial spellers will often go through 2-3 levels the first year, and 1-2 levels per year after that, again, depending on their needs and background.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Robin

says:

This would be a great program to have for our daughter. It looks great!

Gretta

says:

Our 9 year old has severe dyslexia and I am looking at this program to possibly use with him. Is it wise to go ahead & start a spelling program even though he is not reading well?

Merry

says:

Hi Gretta,

That might depend on what “not reading well” means.

Marie recommends completing All About Reading Level 1 first, and then adding in the All About Spelling program. This way students get a solid start in reading first, and have a strong basis for spelling as well. If you are using a different reading program, take a look at the placement test for AAR 2 to see what AAR 1 covers. That will help you to know if he has enough of a foundation in reading to start our spelling program.

http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/content/downloads/AAR-L2-Placement-Test.pdf

AAS and AAR both use a similar sequence and the same phonograms. Both are complete phonics programs, so they are interrelated in that way. AAS teaches words from the spelling angle, and AAR teaches words from the reading angle.

All About Reading includes research-based instruction in decoding skills, fluency, automaticity, comprehension, vocabulary and lots and lots of reading practice. AAS focuses instead on encoding skills, spelling rules and other strategies that help children become good spellers.

Here are some ways that AAR and AAS can help kids with dyslexia and other learning disabilities:

-The programs are incremental and mastery based. Our sequence was very carefully tested to reduce confusion for the child. A student will master one concept at a time before adding in others.

– AAR and AAS are multisensory. They approach learning through sight, sound, and touch. This helps kids who struggle with memory issues, because they take in information in various ways and also interact with it in various ways. The kinesthetic approach can be very helpful to a child who has expressive language struggles

– They use specially color-coded letter tiles. Working with the letter tiles can make the difference between understanding or not understanding a concept.

– AAS and AAR are scripted, so you can concentrate on your child. The script is very clear, without excess verbiage. Marie also spent a lot of time researching how to word the rules. Our rules are worded so they are as easy for children to remember as possible.

– Both have built-in review in every lesson. Children with learning disabilities generally need lots of review in order to retain concepts. After a concept has been taught, don’t assume that the child knows it. Quickly revisit that concept again in the next lesson. With AAR and AAS, your child will have a Review Box so you can customize the review. This way, you can concentrate on just the things that your child needs help with, with no time wasted on reviewing things that your child already knows. Customized review is important for kids with short attention spans because you want every minute of your lesson to count.

Another benefit of the review is that you can practice with your child what to say–you can rehearse as many or as few times as your child needs to help him remember the concepts. One of the things that Marie noticed when she was researching reading programs is that few programs have enough review built in for kids who struggle to gain fluency, which is why AAR includes lots of reading practice.

– AAR and AAS are logical and incremental. They provide the structure, organization and clear guidance that kids who struggle need in order to learn.

-AAS includes dictation that starts out very short–Level 1 starts out with just words and then progresses to 2-word phrases. Level 2 includes phrases and shorter sentences, while Level 3 moves up to slightly longer sentences. With dictation you will say the phrase or sentence and have your child repeat it. If possible, you want to encourage your child to really focus so that you only say the phrase or sentence once, and they can repeat it and then write it. You are training them to expand their working memory a little at a time. You can always break things down more to meet your son’s needs, too. The dictation is meant to be spread over several days, so you can take as much or as little time on that part as your son needs.

Both All About Reading and All About Spelling are Orton-Gillingham based. Marie is a member of the International Dyslexia Association, and is an instructor for the graduate level courses in Orton-Gillingham Literacy Training offered through Nicolet College in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. If you haven’t had a chance to watch their story about her son’s struggles, you may want to check that out. Quite amazing!

http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/about

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Kristan

says:

I would really love to try this program. Should I use this and AAR together?

Merry

says:

Hi Kristan,

You are free to use one or the other, or both, depending on what skills you want to work on (reading, spelling, or both).

AAS and AAR both use a similar sequence and the same phonograms. Both are complete phonics programs, so they are interrelated in that way. AAS teaches words from the spelling angle, and AAR teaches words from the reading angle.

All About Reading includes research-based instruction in decoding skills, fluency, automaticity, comprehension, vocabulary and lots and lots of reading practice. AAS focuses instead on encoding skills, spelling rules and other strategies that help children become good spellers.

For this reason, the programs are independent of each other so students can move as quickly or as slowly as they need to with each skill. Kids generally move ahead more quickly in reading, and we don’t want to hold them back with the spelling. For more information, check out this article on Why We Teach Reading and Spelling Separately: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/why-we-teach-reading-and-spelling-separately/

Marie recommends completing All About Reading Level 1 first, and then adding in the All About Spelling program. This way students get a solid start in reading first, and have a strong basis for spelling as well.

You might also like this article: What’s the difference between All About Reading and All About Spelling: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/whats-the-difference-aar-aas/

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

JC

says:

Thanks so much. We are just finishing AAR1 with my 7 year old. I was planning to add spelling half way through AAR2 but now I think I will start them both together. My older kids started the AAS program after coming home to school and they did great. We would finish several levels in a year and finished the whole program in about 2 1/2 years. I recommend both to anyone who asks!!

Kristen G

says:

I am a middle school special education teacher and many of my students struggle with spelling. The only problem is that they resist any programs that look too “babyish”. Will this program fall into this category?

Merry

says:

Hi Kristen,

Actually we’ve had teens and even adults use the program. The author took great care to not include “babyish” looking pictures so that older, remedial learners could also use the program. This blog entry demonstrates how I used the program with my 15-year-old son: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-spelling-in-action-2/

However, most older students do need to start with Level 1–here’s an article that explains why: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-level-should-my-older-student-start-with

You may have to be willing to adjust the first level or two to their needs because the words are very easy to start, but many students have not learned the concepts behind them, and these are crucial for success throughout the program.

Marie encourages teachers to “fast track” through the beginning levels if the student knows how to spell most of the words but does not understand the underlying basic spelling concepts. Work VERY quickly through lessons where your students know the words. Pull out several words as examples. Make sure they understand the concept being taught, and then move on. “Fast track” until they hit words or concepts they don’t already know. Here is an example of how you might do that: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

When you present the idea to your students, you’ll want to communicate that:

1, you want spelling and writing to be easier for them.

2, you know that they know how to spell the easy words at the beginning, so that’s not going to be the focus. The focus is seeing if there are any concepts they don’t know, that will help make spelling of longer words easier. When you fill in those gaps, then you’ll be able to get to those harder words. You want the longer words to be as easy for them as the shorter ones.

It helps some kids understand if you compare to something like a video game or swimming lessons. Even though level 1 of a game or of lessons is easy to do, that doesn’t mean you should jump ahead to level 10. But it does mean that you can go quickly through the earlier levels, learning what you need to know so that when you DO get to the higher levels, you aren’t overwhelmed by having to learn too much at once.

You also don’t have to use the letter tiles if your middle-schoolers would find these too childish (though some older students do still enjoy them). You can use underlining while writing on a chalkboard or white board, or colored markers, to show when letters are working together as one phonogram. Or, use tiles for demonstrations only.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Christina

says:

We do the All About Reading Program and I love it! My son is about to start grade two and is not highly motivated to read. If we start the All About Spelling Program this year, will the overlap in the two programs be boring for him, or will it really aid in his growth in reading? Thanks!

Merry

says:

Hi Christina,

Marie recently did a blog article on What’s the difference between All About Reading and All About Spelling, which I think you’ll find helpful: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/whats-the-difference-aar-aas/

AAS and AAR both use a similar sequence and the same phonograms. Both are complete phonics programs, so they are interrelated in that way. AAS teaches words from the spelling angle, and AAR teaches words from the reading angle.

All About Reading includes research-based instruction in decoding skills, fluency, automaticity, comprehension, vocabulary and lots and lots of reading practice. AAS focuses instead on encoding skills, spelling rules and other strategies that help children become good spellers. So, there are quite a few differences. We have separate programs because children usually progress at different rates in each skill area. I hope this helps!

Sarah Cooper

says:

My son is at a 3rd grade reading level & is spelling very well. He is entering 2nd grade. I think he may need to review a few vowel sounds you present that most curriculums don’t. Should I hold back on spelling because of this?

Merry

says:

Hi Sarah,

Level 1 will teach these sounds–I would start there and fill in any gaps with concept knowledge, but fast-track through. There will also be basic spelling rules and other concepts such as segmenting that are helpful for spelling to learn. All About Spelling is a building block program–each level builds upon the previous level. The rules and concepts learned in Level 1 are applied in Level 2, and then those are applied in Level 3, and so on. So, placement for spelling is based on the student’s knowledge of spelling rules and concepts rather than grade level, reading level, or the words a student has memorized.

Marie encourages parents and teachers to “fast track” through the beginning levels if the student knows how to spell most of the words but does not understand the underlying basic spelling concepts. Work VERY quickly through lessons where your son knows the words. Pull out several words as examples. Make sure he understands the concept being taught, and then move on. “Fast track” until your son hits words or concepts he doesn’t already know. Here is an example of how you might do that: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Diane

says:

I know a lot of words in the English language are “rule breakers.” How does AAS account for those words and balance the teaching of rules with the understanding that many words break those rules? I want to be able to teach my kids helpful rules without having them feel like the rules I have taught them are broken so much that the rule seems to be broken almost as much as it is followed.

Merry

says:

Here is an article about Effective Spelling Strategies that you might find helpful: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/effective-spelling-strategies

Actually, 97% of words actually do follow regular rules and patterns. Even about 90% of the words on the Dolch Sight Words list are fully decodable. Check out the Dolch Sight Words blog article and video here: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/dolch-sight-words/?utm_source=iContact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=All%20About%20Learning%20Press&utm_content=Teach+Dolch+Sight+Words

The problem comes in when programs try to make everything into a rule. Some programs teach things like, “when two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking,” which only holds true about 40% of the time. That means it’s false more often than it’s true! Children often logically decide such “rules” are not reliable and conclude that “rules” don’t help them. By contrast, All About Spelling teaches rules that hold true 95% of the time or more.

AAS teaches the basic phonograms and the variety of sounds they make (for example, the letter O can stand for 4 different sounds, ch for 3, S for 2, etc…), and the strategies to use when deciding between one of several possibilities for spelling a sound.

Teaching with the phonograms and spelling rules allows you to approach English spelling in a very logical manner:

– Teach short vowel words first (”pan, stop, flat, stick”). The child quickly learns how to spell hundreds of words, and learns that there are reliable spelling patterns. He gains confidence in his ability to master English spelling.
– Teach about open vowels (”me, he, I, go, baby, open”)
– Teach the VCE pattern (vowel-consonant-e: “name, home, time”)
– Teach generalizations for choosing between OI/OY, AU/AW, and other vowel teams
– etc.

One skill builds upon the other, and the learner can be successful at every stage. This method is successful with young children, with gifted children, children working at grade level, and with older learners who need remedial work.

After the students has mastered these basic skills, then Sound Cards (where the student lists the most common ways to spell the sound of long E, for instance) and sound sorting is introduced. Sound sorting gives students another very useful tool for spelling, but it is not the only tool used in AAS.

In reality, there are very few words that don’t follow any phonics rules and that must be learned by sight. The word “said” is one example. All About Spelling teaches these words (they are called “rule-breakers,” and they get put in “jail,” a part of the program which most children enjoy!). But the majority of words actually do follow the rules and can be sounded out.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Stefan

says:

How easy is this to implement in the classroom?

Merry

says:

Hi Stefan,

A number of schools and co-ops use our program, so it’s not too difficult to adapt. I’ll send an FAQ file with tips that might answer some of your questions.

Jodi

says:

My daughter is currently working on AAR level 1. Do we wait until she is finished with level 1 AAR before we begin level 1aas?

Merry

says:

Hi Jodi,

Yes, that’s correct.

Rachel

says:

We just started spelling with your program this year. She was struggling with writing and spelling in school. My daughter is eight. We love this program! It is helping so much. Thank you.

Rachel

says:

We just started spelling with your program this year. My daughter is eight. We love this program! Thank you so much.

Cassandra S.

says:

I cannot think of any questions about the program at the moment, but would love to try it an older (struggling) elementary student I work with on literacy skills.

Rupe

says:

I am honestly scared to try All About Spelling because my daughter and I did Spell to Write and Read for a few years and it was awful for us. How similar is this to Spell to Write and Read? It seems a lot alike.

Merry

says:

Hi Rupe,

I think you’ll find that the All About Spelling method is very easy to implement. It is designed to enable parents and teachers to teach their children without specialized training. Everything you need is right in front of you. You don’t have to figure out what you need to teach next—it is all planned out for you. Helpful notes are included along the way to maximize your effectiveness as a teacher.

All About Spelling and Spalding both draw from the same research base: Orton-Gillingham. That’s why there are lots of similarities with phonograms and rules.

One of the biggest differences between our programs and SWR is that we separate the teaching of spelling and reading. Many students learn to read at a faster pace than they learn how to spell and separating these skills helps students progress at the right pace for them in each area. Here’s more information on Why We Teach Reading and Spelling Separately: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/why-we-teach-reading-and-spelling-separately/

The words in AAS are grouped according to spelling concepts and rules, not word frequency. For example, when the child learns the generalization about when to use K or CK at the end of a word, the spelling list contains words such as “black, clock, duck, ask.” This allows the child to see the patterns in the English language. After the child learns these words, they are mixed in with previously-learned words for mixed practice.

Letter tiles are used to demonstrate the spelling rules. Letter tiles make abstract concepts concrete — children can *see* what is being explained and can test out the rules for themselves.

The lessons also have built in review, and the card system makes it easy to keep track of what needs review and what is mastered.

There are a few differences in the phonograms in level 1 of AAS and how SWR teaches them. I and Y include the long E sound, and O includes the short U sound, plus AAS includes NK.

Later on, AAS also has OUR, for /er/ as in journey. SWR counts it as an advanced phonogram. We include it so children can learn all of the most common /er/ phonograms in Levels 1-6

We don’t use WOR, but SWR does. WOR is actually a combination of W + OR. OR says /er/ when it comes after a W, and in unaccented syllables.

Some people comment that AAS does more work with teaching syllable rules than SWR.

For other differences, you might like to check out this article in our FAQ file: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/spell-to-write-and-read

I hope this helps! If you have additional questions, please let me know.

Noe

says:

I hear so much about this program. I’m hoping it will help my children, especially the two that I think might be dyslexic.

Amber

says:

My son just finished AAR level 1 and finished 1st grade, so we are at the prefect time to start! We both loved AAR and I’m confident that AAS will be just as good. It was so easy for me to teach, didn’t take much time, and kept him learning and having fun!

Christy

says:

My daughter has recently begun showing interest in learning to spell. We are excited to give your program a whirl! :)

No questions. Your website is very thorough. Learned a lot and appreciate all the free info you provide as well. Look forward to trying out this curriculum for my 1st grader who I still need to teach to read and spell!

Rene

says:

We homeschool, and have heard a lot of great reviews about your products. I am excited to try it. Also, the website is very informative and helpful.

Crystal

says:

Homeschooling a kindergartener and 2nd grader this year and I am NOT thrilled with the spelling curriculum I chose! This one looks very complete reaching all learning and teaching styles. Hoping to win the giveaway!

Leslie

says:

It seems a little overwhelming at first. Is It planned out easy?

Merry

says:

Hi Leslie,

Yes, the lessons are all planned out for you so that you can just open and go. The first 5 lessons of Level 1 work on pre-spelling skills and then they start in on spelling. Each day you’ll work for about 20 minutes. Start with 3-5 minutes going over the daily review cards (the program will tell you when to put cards in review), and then pick up in the book wherever you left off previously.

Here’s a blog that shows a sample “week” with AAS. This was with my son as he went through Level 6, but the lessons in the earlier levels are very similar–they just have easier words, shorter dictations (just words in the first part of Level 1, and then some 2-word phrases about halfway through), and the “Writing Station” exercise doesn’t start until Level 3.

http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-spelling-in-action-2/

Hopefully this will give you a feel for the lessons. You can also see sample lessons online:

http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-lesson-samples

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any questions–we provide lifetime support, so you can contact us any time. Merry :-)

Kimberly

says:

I’ve heard lots of great things about this spelling program!

Laurie Vogel

says:

I like the way All About Spelling directly teaches each concept.

Amber Hoover

says:

I hope we win!

Janna

says:

How do I know what levels to start my previously public schooled children?

Merry

says:

Hi Janna,

Most students start with Level 1 regardless of age or grade level, but some will start with 2. All About Spelling is a building block program–each level builds upon the previous level. The rules and concepts learned in Level 1 are applied in Level 2, and then those are applied in Level 3, and so on. Placement for spelling is based on the student’s knowledge of spelling rules and concepts rather than grade level, reading level, or the words a student has memorized.

For example, we find that many students simply memorize easy words like cat and kid but have no idea why one uses a C and the other uses a K, or that the same rules that apply to these words also apply to higher level words such as concentrate.

Level 1 teaches very important concepts, such as segmenting, the multiple sounds of the first 32 phonograms (o has 4 sounds, ch has 3, s has 2, etc.), and basic spelling rules: when to use C or K at the beginning of a word, when to use K or CK at the end, when to double F, L, and S at the end of a word, when to use S or ES to make a word plural, and so on. It is important that kids know why words are spelled the way they are. This information applies to more difficult words later in the series.

Level 2 of AAS focuses on learning the syllable types, when they are used and how they affect spelling. This information is foundational for higher levels of spelling. Three syllable rules are introduced in Level 2, and then more in Level 3 and up. For this reason, we generally don’t recommend starting higher than level 2.

The article Should We Start in Level 1 or Level 2? will help you decide the appropriate starting level: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-spelling-level-should-we-start-with

You may have to be willing to adjust the first level or two to their needs because the words are very easy to start, but many students have not learned the concepts behind them, and these are crucial for success throughout the program.

Marie encourages parents and teachers to “fast track” through the beginning levels if the student knows how to spell most of the words but does not understand the underlying basic spelling concepts. Work VERY quickly through lessons where your students know the words. Pull out several words as examples. Make sure each understands the concept being taught, and then move on. “Fast track” until your kids hit words or concepts they don’t already know. Here is an example of how you might do that: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Janna

says:

Your response was very helpful. I found the fast track information to be very encouraging, and the user comments helpful as well. I look forward to starting as soon as we can. Thank you very much for your time, and all you do.

Merry

says:

You’re welcome!

Maegan O'Loughlin

says:

Is your program very “teacher-intensive” starting at level 1, or are the lessons planned out for you?

Merry

says:

Hi Maegan,

The lessons are all planned out for you. Marie designed the program so that it would be easy to use with no prior training. The lessons are lightly scripted so that you can focus on your child. You can check out the samples online to get a better feel for the program: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-lesson-samples

I hope this helps!

Jennifer

says:

How would I best incorporate your program with an excellent 6th grader who reads extremely well, but her spelling is slipping quickly?

Thanks.

Merry

says:

Hi Jennifer,

This is fairly common–good spellers are typically also good readers, but the opposite is often not the case. With more than 250 ways to spell the 45 sounds in our language–spelling is much harder than reading! (For more information, see our article on Why We Teach Reading and Spelling Separately: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/why-we-teach-reading-and-spelling-separately/)

All About Spelling is a building block program–each level builds upon the previous level. The rules and concepts learned in Level 1 are applied in Level 2, and then those are applied in Level 3, and so on. Placement for spelling is based on the student’s knowledge of spelling rules and concepts rather than grade level, reading level, or the words a student has memorized.

Very often, the reason older students struggle with spelling is that they are missing some basic yet important information. For example, most struggling students switch letters or leave out letters entirely. This usually occurs because they don’t know how to hear each sound in the word. Level 1 has specific techniques to solve this problem.

We also find that many students simply memorize easy words like cat and kid but have no idea why one uses a C and the other uses a K, or that the same rules that apply to these words also apply to higher level words such as concentrate.

Level 1 teaches very important concepts, such as segmenting, the multiple sounds of the first 32 phonograms (o has 4 sounds, ch has 3, s has 2, etc.), and basic spelling rules: when to use C or K at the beginning of a word, when to use K or CK at the end, when to double F, L, and S at the end of a word, when to use S or ES to make a word plural, and so on. It is important that kids know why words are spelled the way they are. This information applies to more difficult words later in the series.

Level 2 of AAS focuses on learning the syllable types, when they are used and how they affect spelling. This information is foundational for higher levels of spelling. Three syllable rules are introduced in Level 2, and then more in Level 3 and up. For this reason, we generally don’t recommend starting higher than level 2.

The article Should We Start in Level 1 or Level 2? will help you decide the appropriate starting level: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-spelling-level-should-we-start-with

You may have to be willing to adjust the first level or two to his needs because the words are very easy to start, but many students have not learned the concepts behind them, and these are crucial for success throughout the program.

Marie encourages parents and teachers to “fast track” through the beginning levels if the student knows how to spell most of the words but does not understand the underlying basic spelling concepts. Work VERY quickly through lessons where your daughter knows the words. Pull out several words as examples. Make sure she understands the concept being taught, and then move on. “Fast track” until your daughter hits words or concepts she doesn’t already know. Here is an example of how you might do that: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Valerie

says:

Where would I start in your program with a 8 year old who reads very well, but has trouble in the area of spelling. She looks up a lot of words in her own dictionary to help her write, and ask for my help with certain words. It can be frustrating when she has the words to write, but can’t spell them. I also have a beginning reader who is still learning the sounds and reads three short letter words, he is 6 years old. When should I begin a spelling program for him at when he is just learning to read.

Merry

says:

Hi Valerie,

For your 8 year-old, start with All About Spelling Level 1. All About Spelling is a building block program–each level builds upon the previous level. The rules and concepts learned in Level 1 are applied in Level 2, and then those are applied in Level 3, and so on. Placement for spelling is based on the student’s knowledge of spelling rules and concepts rather than grade level, reading level, or the words a student has memorized.

Very often, the reason older students struggle with spelling is that they are missing some basic yet important information. For example, most struggling students switch letters or leave out letters entirely. This usually occurs because they don’t know how to hear each sound in the word. Level 1 has specific techniques to solve this problem.

We also find that many students simply memorize easy words like cat and kid but have no idea why one uses a C and the other uses a K, or that the same rules that apply to these words also apply to higher level words such as concentrate.

Level 1 teaches very important concepts, such as segmenting, the multiple sounds of the first 32 phonograms (o has 4 sounds, ch has 3, s has 2, etc.), and basic spelling rules: when to use C or K at the beginning of a word, when to use K or CK at the end, when to double F, L, and S at the end of a word, when to use S or ES to make a word plural, and so on. It is important that kids know why words are spelled the way they are. This information applies to more difficult words later in the series.

You may have to be willing to adjust the first level or two to her needs because the words are very easy to start, but many students have not learned the concepts behind them, and these are crucial for success throughout the program.

Marie encourages parents and teachers to “fast track” through the beginning levels if the student knows how to spell most of the words but does not understand the underlying basic spelling concepts. Work VERY quickly through lessons where your daughter knows the words. Pull out several words as examples. Make sure she understands the concept being taught, and then move on. “Fast track” until your daughter hits words or concepts she doesn’t already know. Here is an example of how you might do that: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

For your son who is just starting to learn to read: Marie recommends completing All About Reading Level 1 first, and then adding in the All About Spelling program. This way students get a solid start in reading first, and have a strong basis for spelling as well.

For this reason, the programs are also independent of each other so students can move as quickly or as slowly as they need to with each skill. Kids generally move ahead more quickly in reading, and we don’t want to hold them back with the spelling. For more information, check out this article on Why We Teach Reading and Spelling Separately: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/why-we-teach-reading-and-spelling-separately/

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Alisha

says:

My daughter just completed AAR level one but we have taken a break during the summer. She has continued to read everyday, we just haven’t started level two. Should we wait to introduce AAS until she gets going with level 2 or does it make more sense to start them at the same time?

Merry

says:

Hi Alisha,

Either way that you want to do it will work out fine. The programs are independent of each other, so you don’t need to line up the lessons in any way. I always used to ease into the school year with some partial-days to start, so if you want to start with just one program, that will be fine, and then add in the other one when you are ready. I hope this helps!

bonnie

says:

Need help just knowing where to begin!

Merry

says:

Hi Bonnie,

Did the above blog post answer your questions? If not, tell me more about your situation and specific questions. In general, most students start with Level 1 of AAS.

Amber

says:

My son is 11, going on 12. He can read just fine and is well above his grade level for reading. But lately I’ve noticed that he is spelling some things wrong. I don’t know if it’s just him being lazy and not putting thought into it, or if he really just has no clue. I’d like to start AAS with him. I figured I would just start at level 1 and work up (although I know he’ll think I’m crazy for starting so basic). I want to make sure he will have a strong foundation in it though. Do you think level 1 is too basic for him and I should just jump into level 2? I am going to get level 1 anyway for my daughter, she is 3 and knows all of her letters and the sounds they make. She can even read some words. So I know it won’t be long before we can start using AAS with her.

Merry

says:

Hi Amber,

Your idea is right on target. Here’s an article that explains why older students usually need to start with Level 1: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-level-should-my-older-student-start-with

A little preparation can help your son understand this. When you present the idea to your son, you’ll want to communicate that:

1, you want spelling and writing to be easier for him.

2, you know that he knows how to spell the easy words at the beginning, so that’s not going to be the focus. The focus is seeing if there are any concepts he doesn’t know, that will help make spelling of longer words easier. When you fill in those gaps, then you’ll be able to get to those harder words. You want the longer words to be as easy for him as the shorter ones, would he like that too?

It helps some kids understand if you compare to something like a video game or swimming lessons. Even though level 1 of a game or of lessons is easy to do, that doesn’t mean you should jump ahead to level 10. But it does mean that you can go quickly through the earlier levels, learning what you need to know so that when you DO get to the higher levels, you aren’t overwhelmed by having to learn too much at once.

Older students can fast-track through the first level, or even the first few levels. Here’s an example showing how to do that with Level 1: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Sandra Tipton

says:

Spring, my youngest is 9 years old and just completed the 3rd grade. He’s had so much trouble with spelling and reading certain words and everything they were “not” doing at his school this year got me to thinking that I needed to do something else. I ordered AAS Level 1 because I wanted to start at the beginning. The program is very easy to use and walks you step by step with what to do. I think we needed level 1 when it came to the letter sounds but I will say that most of the words are basic for him and he has not trouble with them. But again, he is 9 and these are words that a first grader would probably be learning (or younger). I am glad that I ordered level one though. I don’t homeschool as in traditional homeschooling. He goes to public school and I decided that we would work on this during the summer to keep his brain from turning to cartoon, video mush. We are more than 1/2 through with level 1 and I will order level 2 soon. I would definitely recommend this.

Susan Greynolds

says:

I was wondering if AAS level 1 would be appropriate for my 6 year old. Thanks!

Spring

says:

I hear such great things about All About Spelling, but I have no idea how it all lays out/works. My oldest is 7 years old, can you give me a simplified description of how your program works?

Merry

says:

Hi Spring,

Sure! This blog post shows what a “typical week” looked like for my son when he was working through Level 6. The early levels have a very similar layout but obviously they have easier words, shorter dictations, and the “Writing Station” exercise isn’t introduced until Level 3.

http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-spelling-in-action-2/

Also, Here are samples and scope and sequence links for All About Spelling Levels 1-7: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-lesson-samples

AAS is multisensory. It approaches learning through sight, sound, and touch. This helps kids remember what they learn because they take in information in various ways and also interact with it in various ways.

The lessons are laid out in an orderly form for the teacher, so that each day you can simply open and go. The programs are easy to do at home without prior training.

Each lesson time is simple and explicit, and will include 3 simple steps: review of what was learned the day before, a simple new teaching, and a short practice of that new teaching. The program is designed for you to move at your child’s pace, so you can go as quickly or as slowly as your child needs through each step.

Lessons are logical and incremental. They provide the structure, organization and clear guidance that kids who struggle need in order to learn. AAS breaks every teaching down into its most basic steps and then teaches the lessons in a logical order, carrying the students from one concept or skill to the next. Each step builds on the one the student has already mastered. Our sequence was very carefully tested to reduce confusion for the child.

AAS uses specially color-coded letter tiles. Working with the letter tiles can make the difference between understanding or not understanding a concept.

AAS is scripted, so you can concentrate on your child. The script is very clear, without excess verbiage. Marie also spent a lot of time researching how to word the rules. Our rules are worded so they are as easy for children to remember as possible.

The program has built-in review in every lesson. Some children need lots of review in order to retain concepts, while others don’t need as much–so you are free to adjust this to your child’s need. After a concept has been taught, don’t assume that the child knows it. Quickly revisit that concept again in the next lesson. With AAS, your child will have a Review Box so you can customize the review. This way, you can concentrate on just the things that your child needs help with, with no time wasted on reviewing things that your child already knows. Customized review is important for kids with short attention spans because you want every minute of your lesson to count.

Another benefit of the review is that you can practice with your child what to say–you can rehearse as many or as few times as your child needs to help her become fluent in spelling the words.

AAS includes dictation that starts out very short–Level 1 starts out with just words and then progresses to 2-word phrases. Level 2 includes phrases and shorter sentences, while Level 3 moves up to slightly longer sentences. With dictation you will say the phrase or sentence and have your child repeat it. If possible, you want to encourage your child to really focus so that you only say the phrase or sentence once, and they can repeat it and then write it. You are training your student to expand his or her working memory a little at a time. You can always break things down more to meet your student’s needs, too. The dictation is meant to be spread over several days, so you can take as much or as little time on that part as your child needs.

The reading and spelling programs are independent of each other so students can move as quickly or as slowly as they need to with each skill. Kids generally move ahead more quickly in reading, and we don’t want to hold them back with the spelling. For more information, check out this article on Why We Teach Reading and Spelling Separately: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/why-we-teach-reading-and-spelling-separately/

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Sherry Strange Mattox

says:

I am going to start with my daughters ages 8, 10, 14, and 16. I think the two older ones will fly through the beginning. I am hoping they can do a lot on their own. Do older children need the guidance of the mother/teacher after the first initial lessons? Thanks

Merry

says:

Hi Sherry,

Yes, they will likely go through the first levels quickly. Here’s an example of how you can “fast track” with them: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

The AAS program is not independent and does require teacher interaction throughout. You might be able to group the older two and younger two into two groups, and have just two teaching times. We recommend working for about 20 minutes per day on spelling, or up to 30 with high school students.

However, if time is an issue, some families with multiple students have found that they can teach the older ones and have the older ones take the younger ones through, so that might be a possibility for you. (Some families even use that as part of a high school credit subject in early childhood education). And as a side bonus, when a student teaches a topic, they learn it more thoroughly themselves.

Sabrina

says:

This post was very helpful. Am I right to assume that I should go ahead and begin with All About Spelling with my just turned 5 year olds if they are reading solidly? They can pick up any age appropriate picture book and read it.

Merry

says:

Hi Sabrina,

Sounds like they are doing great with reading! Are they showing an interest in writing and spelling, and do they know basic letter formation? If so, you could start AAS any time.

If they are not showing much interest or are still working on handwriting skills, you could choose to wait awhile. Most students start AAS near the end of first grade, so do what seems to fit your children’s needs.

Here’s a blog post on planning language arts that can help you decide when to introduce various LA topics: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/language-arts-in-my-household/

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Cheryl Kline

says:

I’m a first grade teacher and looking at different phonics/spelling items online. I’m always looking for programs that can help my students better grasp the complexities of spelling. How can this program help me?

Merry

says:

Hi Cheryl,

Great question! There are several features that help the AAS to be an effective way to teach spelling:

1, The All About Spelling program includes a variety of activities that reach kids through sight, sound, and touch. When students are taught using all three pathways to the brain — the visual, the auditory, and the kinesthetic — they learn even *more* than when they are taught only through their strongest pathway. [R.D. Farkus, “Effects of Traditional Versus Learning-Styles Instructional Methods on Middle School Students,” The Journal of Educational Research 97, no 1 (2003)]

2, Concepts and rules are taught incrementally. Students master one rule and learn to apply it before learning another one.

3, the program has the students teach the concept back through demonstrations with the letter tiles. When a student can explain a concept back to you, he or she is more likely to remember it.

4, AAS has a customizable review system. Words and concepts are not dropped but are reviewed periodically after they have been mastered. If at any time your students are struggling to remember a concept, you can put that card back into daily review. The card should not be moved to the “mastered” section until students can say it quickly and easily, without having to stop and think or self-correct.

I’ll email a list of common FAQ questions for using our programs in a classroom situation which you might find helpful as well.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions. Merry :-)

Sheryl

says:

I’m interested to see if this could help my 13 year old who really struggles with spelling.

Heather

says:

I’d love to have this for my children! Thank you!

Hopeful

says:

I am hoping that your program will help my 12 year old fill in some gaps with spelling.

Barbara

says:

I have never tried the All about Spelling or All about Reading. I use whatever curriculum I find at books sales with homeschoolers. I have been homeschooling for 24 years, my youngest child graduated this year. I am continuing to to homeschool my 5 grandchildren. preschool to 8th grade. I would like to try your products, but with one income it is not possible to pay full price for any products. If I win i drawing then I could finally try and use your products that everyone talks about

Amber Wright

says:

Thankyou

Kelli B.

says:

Good reading. I am interested in learning more about this curriculum.

Yvonne Cliff

says:

Have any Australians used this and how did they go with the extra sounds various phonograms have here?

Merry

says:

Hi Yvonne,

Yes, a lot of people use our programs in Australia, as well as in New Zealand, the UK, and Canada. The teachers and parents adjust for the few spelling differences as they teach.

We’ve received suggested alterations from a few different customers for those using British spelling/pronunciation. Sometimes Americans need to make slight alterations based on regional pronunciation as well, so make changes that are helpful to you and your child. Very few spelling words actually need to be changed. Some people will just omit them, and others might choose to teach that word with the British spelling.

Here are the suggested alterations that other British and Australian users have made as they use the program. Hopefully this will be helpful to you: https://docs.google.com/a/allaboutlearningpress.com/file/d/0B4s-rH5HlTdSbUdpX2ZnY0tjX2c/edit

Brandy Dominy

says:

Do you recommend starting with the 1st book even if the child is a little a head?

Merry

says:

Hi Brandy,

For a child who is ahead, you may be able to start with Level 2. Here’s some more information that can help you decide:

All About Spelling is a building block program–each level builds upon the previous level. The rules and concepts learned in Level 1 are applied in Level 2, and then those are applied in Level 3, and so on. Placement for spelling is based on the student’s knowledge of spelling rules and concepts rather than grade level, reading level, or the words a student has memorized.

For example, we find that many students simply memorize easy words like cat and kid but have no idea why one uses a C and the other uses a K, or that the same rules that apply to these words also apply to higher level words such as concentrate.

Level 1 teaches very important concepts, such as segmenting, the multiple sounds of the first 32 phonograms (o has 4 sounds, ch has 3, s has 2, etc.), and basic spelling rules: when to use C or K at the beginning of a word, when to use K or CK at the end, when to double F, L, and S at the end of a word, when to use S or ES to make a word plural, and so on. It is important that kids know why words are spelled the way they are. This information applies to more difficult words later in the series.

Level 2 of AAS focuses on learning the syllable types, when they are used and how they affect spelling. This information is foundational for higher levels of spelling. Three syllable rules are introduced in Level 2, and then more in Level 3 and up. For this reason, we generally don’t recommend starting higher than level 2.

The article Should We Start in Level 1 or Level 2? will help you decide the appropriate starting level: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-spelling-level-should-we-start-with

You may have to be willing to adjust the first level or two to your child’s needs because the words are very easy to start, but many students have not learned the concepts behind them, and these are crucial for success throughout the program.

Marie encourages parents and teachers to “fast track” through the beginning levels if the student knows how to spell most of the words but does not understand the underlying basic spelling concepts. Work VERY quickly through lessons where your student knows the words. Pull out several words as examples. Make sure he understands the concept being taught, and then move on. “Fast track” until your student hits words or concepts he doesn’t already know. Here is an example of how you might do that: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Sonia Jones

says:

I would love to win this for my students with learning problems who struggle with spelling and reading.

Debra McEathron

says:

this looks like a program I could really use with my students!!!

Whitney Walters

says:

What a great give a way!! I really don’t have a question to add.

Elisabeth

says:

Thanks for the information!

Jane Hunter

says:

AAS is program that I can see my sped students “grasping”, using, and understanding the concepts introduced in the Level 1 scope and sequence. It will make sense.

cheryl brouwer

says:

After researching this product I must say I am impressed! As a teacher I can see these lessons and manipulatives helping in a major way!

Julie Bruner

says:

We have enjoyed AAS very much in the past. Great stuff!

Brooke M

says:

Would you recommend only using AAS along with AAR or could it be used with another reading program?

Merry

says:

Hi Brooke,

The programs work independently of each other, so you are free to use either one or both of them.

Jaime

says:

I’ve heard great things about this program, and recently bought AAS levels1 & 2. Looking forward to getting started with my kids! Now I’m wondering if I need AAR too.

Maritza

says:

This will be our first year that we do AAS with my oldest. She will be doing “first grade”, and has completed her first level of Language Arts (phonetics). I do think that Spelling should be introduced soon, but not so soon as to when the child is not reading. My daughter is reading and is continually progressing, but as she immerses more in writing and copywork, I believe adding spelling will be of most importance for her as she begins to learn the spelling rules and learns to apply them.

E Hofer

says:

would love to have more info on this to see if it would work for our kids! :-)

Melody

says:

We are working through level 1 of AAR and Spelling with 2 children. Would love to continue on.

Lisa

says:

This program looks remarkable. I can’t wait to start it with my 8th grader so he will be more than proficient in high school!

Dawn

says:

My daughter is 8yrs old going in 3rd grade but still struggles with reading & spelling. I would love to win this so I can start all over with her I just don’t know where to begin myself or how to teach the concepts. With this program is there step by step directions?

Merry

says:

Hi Dawn,

Absolutely. Both our reading and spelling programs are explicit and tell students exactly what they need to know in order to spell or read. We don’t make them guess. The lessons are laid out in an orderly form for the teacher too, so that each day you can simply open and go. The programs are easy to do at home without prior training.

Also, AAS and AAR are scripted, so you can concentrate on your child. You won’t have to guess at what to say or the order to introduce topics. The script is very clear, without excess verbiage. Marie also spent a lot of time researching how to word the rules. Our rules are worded so they are as easy for children to remember as possible.

And, we provide lifetime support–so if you ever have any questions, just let us know and we’d be glad to help.

Here are some other ways that AAR and AAS can help kids with reading and spelling struggles:

-The programs are incremental and mastery based. Our sequence was very carefully tested to reduce confusion for the child. A student will master one concept at a time before adding in others.

– AAR and AAS are multisensory. They approach learning through sight, sound, and touch. This helps kids who struggle with memory issues, because they take in information in various ways and also interact with it in various ways. The kinesthetic approach can be very helpful to a child who has expressive language struggles

– They use specially color-coded letter tiles. Working with the letter tiles can make the difference between understanding or not understanding a concept.

– Both have built-in review in every lesson. Children with learning disabilities generally need lots of review in order to retain concepts. After a concept has been taught, don’t assume that the child knows it. Quickly revisit that concept again in the next lesson. With AAR and AAS, your child will have a Review Box so you can customize the review. This way, you can concentrate on just the things that your child needs help with, with no time wasted on reviewing things that your child already knows. Customized review is important for kids with short attention spans because you want every minute of your lesson to count.

Another benefit of the review is that you can practice with your child what to say–you can rehearse as many or as few times as your child needs to help him remember the concepts. One of the things that Marie noticed when she was researching reading programs is that few programs have enough review built in for kids who struggle to gain fluency, which is why AAR includes lots of reading practice.

– AAR and AAS are logical and incremental. They provide the structure, organization and clear guidance that kids who struggle need in order to learn.

-AAS includes dictation that starts out very short–Level 1 starts out with just words and then progresses to 2-word phrases. Level 2 includes phrases and shorter sentences, while Level 3 moves up to slightly longer sentences. With dictation you will say the phrase or sentence and have your child repeat it. If possible, you want to encourage your child to really focus so that you only say the phrase or sentence once, and they can repeat it and then write it. You are training them to expand their working memory a little at a time. You can always break things down more to meet your daughter’s needs, too. The dictation is meant to be spread over several days, so you can take as much or as little time on that part as your daughter needs.

Both All About Reading and All About Spelling are Orton-Gillingham based. Marie is a member of the International Dyslexia Association, and is an instructor for the graduate level courses in Orton-Gillingham Literacy Training offered through Nicolet College in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. If you haven’t had a chance to watch their story about her son’s struggles, you may want to check that out. Quite amazing!

http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/about

Murni Rovinsky

says:

My son is six and he reads proficiently. I think we will start him on learning to spell in this coming school year. All about spelling seems like a good program for him.

Natalie Adams

says:

I am starting all about reading this coming September and I was wondering if the info for all about spelling is repetitive?

Merry

says:

Hi Natalie,

Great question! Marie recently did a blog article on What’s the difference between All About Reading and All About Spelling, which I think you’ll find helpful: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/whats-the-difference-aar-aas/

AAS and AAR both use a similar sequence and the same phonograms. Both are complete phonics programs, so they are interrelated in that way. AAS teaches words from the spelling angle, and AAR teaches words from the reading angle.

All About Reading includes research-based instruction in decoding skills, fluency, automaticity, comprehension, vocabulary and lots and lots of reading practice. AAS focuses instead on encoding skills, spelling rules and other strategies that help children become good spellers.

The article I linked will show you in more detail how the programs differ. I hope this helps!

Melanie Borst

says:

I can’t wait to try this with my Kindergartener next year. Sounds like a great program!

cassy

says:

I’m so glad you posted this! We used just AAR 1 this year for Kindergarten L.A. and it’s been very effective for reading, but I was hoping I hadn’t made a mistake in not starting spelling instruction at the same time. Good to know we’re not “behind”! We’re looking forward to starting AAR 2 next year and AAS 1. Thanks for creating such a solid program!!

Pennie

says:

Would love to try it!

Thank you for the article! My oldest is only 5 so we have a little while before AAS, but love AAR!

Amy

says:

I agree that having a solid start in reading works well. Excited to try AAS this year with my son.

Tanya

says:

Great program! We are on level 3.

Erin

says:

Looks like we’ll be ready to start AAS when our fall semester starts this year. We love AAR 1 so I’m looking forward to AAS.

Jodi

says:

My friend loves using all about spelling. She has given it great reviews!! We would love to try it!!!

Dorinda Burrell

says:

I’m looking for help for my 15 year old son who still has not caught on to spelling though I have used several programs over the years.

Kimberly

says:

Can’t wait to use this.

Kimberly

says:

This is great! Thanks.

Michelle

says:

My daughter if four and loves to learn. I am just starting to homeschool and am looking into materials for her.

Wendy

says:

I just created my curriculum wish list for this year, and AAS is at the top of the list for my 7 year old. I have used various other programs for my older children, but I need something hands-on and phonetic for this one. We are already suspecting dyslexia, and I want to be able to provide him with all the tools that he needs to be successful in his learning.

Tanya De Lange

says:

Both my children ages 12 and 7 have spelling and reading problems. We are homeschooling them due to the problems they have had at school. We need all the help we can get because we have had to start teaching them to read and spell all over from the beginning.

Kim

says:

We are very excited to try out All About Spelling this fall. :)

Amy

says:

Love, love love! I hope we win!

Nichole

says:

Do you ever “update” your material and if so is there a charge to receive the update once you’ve purchased?

Merry

says:

Hi Nichole,

Very few changes have been made, other than minor corrections (unless you happen to be the original owner of a very old, white-covered Level 1 or level 2!)

For those who also use the reading program: if you happen to own the first edition of our Level 2 readers, these don’t match the AAR 2 program, and we do have a special return policy for those here: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/return-policy-for-all-about-reading-level-2-readers/

kim

says:

i have some really good spellers and some horrible spellers. Hoping this will help the last kid in line!

dana

says:

We are using All About Spelling for older child and All About Reading for younger child. Second year for my younger one. She has made so much progress!!

Jami C

says:

This post answered my questions. Looks like a great program!

Amanda Whitehead

says:

I really want to start this with my kids!

Hannah

says:

I agree with this article. Very helpful and informative! Thank you.

Erin

says:

Will you be adding additional levels?

Merry

says:

Hi Erin,

Level 7 is the last regular level that will be produced.

AAS Level 7 takes students up to high school level spelling. AAS teaches all of the words on the Ayres list (except a few which aren’t in common use anymore), which ranks words up to 12th grade. After level 7 we encourage students to focus on vocabulary, additional Greek and Latin Roots (some are taught in Level 7), and work on spelling in the context of their writing. The last step in AAS 7 includes a plan for life-long spelling.

Thanks for your interest!

regina terherst

says:

Marie:
I adopted a girl who is struggling with spelling and doesn’t do good with reading. She is currently in the 6th grade but she doesn’t know a lot of her phonetic sounds for learning to read. Should I start her out with the all about reading before tackling the all about spelling or what?

Thanks,
Regina

Merry

says:

Hi Regina,

First, congratulations on your adoption!

For reading, take a look at our placement tests and see where she would start: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

If she places in AAR 1, I would work through that before adding in spelling. If she places in level 2 or higher, you can do both reading and spelling.

For spelling, you would start with Level 1, because AAS is a building-block type of program–each level builds upon the previous level. The rules and concepts learned in Level 1 are applied in Level 2, and then those are applied in Level 3, and so on. Placement for spelling is based on the student’s knowledge of spelling rules and concepts rather than grade level, reading level, or the words a student has memorized.

Does this give you an idea of how to proceed? Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Elizabeth Jones

says:

So where do you start that 12 year old? What if her spelling isn’t all that bad? Maybe we don’t need this kind of program?

Merry

says:

Hi Elizabeth,

Hopefully this information will help you decide if AAS will be a fit for you. First a general overview:

All About Spelling is specifically designed to help these groups of kids:
– Kids who need remedial spelling help, whether they are behind or struggle to keep up in spelling
– Those who never learned the spelling rules
– New beginning spellers, to prevent spelling problems

For a junior high student, how you proceed depends on whether she’s spelling at or above grade level, or if she needs some remedial spelling help. I’ll walk through each scenario:

First Scenario: If she needs remedial spelling help or is not spelling at grade level, you would likely need to start at level 1 or 2; Even teens and adults who struggle with spelling tend to have gaps from the early levels and need to start with Level 1. Here’s an article that explains why: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-level-should-my-older-student-start-with

Marie encourages parents and teachers of older students to “fast track” through the beginning levels if the student knows how to spell most of the words but does not understand the underlying basic spelling concepts. Work VERY quickly through lessons where your daughter knows the words. Pull out several words as examples. Make sure she understands the concept being taught, and then move on. “Fast track” until she hits words or concepts she doesn’t already know. Here is an example of how you might do that: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

Second Scenario: For a junior high student who doesn’t struggle with spelling and is spelling at or above grade level, you could possibly choose to do just Level 7.

AAS includes words ranked up to 12th grade. Level 7 has mostly junior high and high school level words. You could use this level if you mainly want to work on spelling higher level words along with Greek and Latin Roots.

Level 7 is unique in that it can be used by students who have not previously used the All About Spelling program, if they are spelling at a junior high level, to increase their spelling skills. In this case, students would not learn all of the spelling rules and concepts that are taught in earlier levels (such as when to use C versus when to use K for the /k/ sound in a word), but they would have a sufficient base of knowledge to use and benefit from Level 7.

Here are two main determiners of whether Level 7 would help someone:

1. “Can the student hear the individual sounds in words?” In the first half of Level 7, we wrap up the study of letter-sound correspondences, and in order to benefit from those lessons, the student needs to be able to hear the sounds in words. Many times, we say things like “Listen for the sound of /e/ in this word: deplete.”

2. “Can the student accurately add suffixes to base words?” For example, does the student know that “funny + est = funniest” and we change the Y to an I? And that “swim + er = swimmer” and we double the m before adding a vowel suffix? Level 7 assumes that the student already knows how to add suffixes.

In the second part of Level 7, the focus changes from learning letter-sound correspondences to learning morphemic (“word meaning”) strategies. In Level 7, the student concentrates on Latin and Greek word parts, as well as loan words from Spanish, French, and Italian. And in the final lesson, the student sets up a plan for lifetime learning.

Take a look at the online samples and scope & sequence charts for Level 7, and see what you think: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-lesson-samples

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Peggy Smithson

says:

Is there an age that is considered to be too young to start?

Merry

says:

Hi Peggy,

If your child is already reading, knows basic letter formation, and has an interest in writing and spelling, it’s probably not too early! We’ve had children as young as 3 enjoy the program, but most will start sometime in first grade.

Children who are not yet reading would start with the reading program instead. Pre-reading teaches the Big Five Skills of Print Awareness, Phonological Awareness, Letter Knowledge, Listening Comprehension, and Motivation to Read, and AAR Level 1 starts right off with blending 3-sound words.

Marie recommends completing All About Reading Level 1 first, and then adding in the All About Spelling program. This way students get a solid start in reading first, and have a strong basis for spelling as well.

AAS and AAR both use a similar sequence and the same phonograms. Both are complete phonics programs, so they are interrelated in that way. AAS teaches words from the spelling angle, and AAR teaches words from the reading angle.

All About Reading includes research-based instruction in decoding skills, fluency, automaticity, comprehension, vocabulary and lots and lots of reading practice. AAS focuses instead on encoding skills, spelling rules and other strategies that help children become good spellers.

For this reason, the programs are also independent of each other so students can move as quickly or as slowly as they need to with each skill. Kids generally move ahead more quickly in reading, and we don’t want to hold them back with the spelling. For more information, check out this article on Why We Teach Reading and Spelling Separately: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/why-we-teach-reading-and-spelling-separately/

I hope this helps!

savannah hutchinson

says:

Thank you for this great giveaway.

Jennifer Allen

says:

Does this work well for children with learning disorders?

Merry

says:

Hi Jennifer,

Yes it does. Both All About Reading and All About Spelling are Orton-Gillingham based. Marie is a member of the International Dyslexia Association, and is an instructor for the graduate level courses in Orton-Gillingham Literacy Training offered through Nicolet College in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. If you haven’t had a chance to watch their story about her son’s struggles, you may want to check that out. Quite amazing!

http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/about

Both our reading and spelling programs are explicit and tell students exactly what they need to know in order to spell or read. We don’t make them guess. The lessons are laid out in an orderly form for the teacher too, so that each day you can simply open and go. The programs are easy to do at home without prior training.

Here are some ways that AAR and AAS can help kids with learning disabilities:

-The programs are incremental and mastery based. Our sequence was very carefully tested to reduce confusion for the child. A student will master one concept at a time before adding in others.

– AAR and AAS are multisensory. They approach learning through sight, sound, and touch. This helps kids who struggle with memory issues, because they take in information in various ways and also interact with it in various ways. The kinesthetic approach can be very helpful to a child who has expressive language struggles

– They use specially color-coded letter tiles. Working with the letter tiles can make the difference between understanding or not understanding a concept.

– AAS and AAR are scripted, so you can concentrate on your child. The script is very clear, without excess verbiage. Marie also spent a lot of time researching how to word the rules. Our rules are worded so they are as easy for children to remember as possible.

– Both have built-in review in every lesson. Children with learning disabilities generally need lots of review in order to retain concepts. After a concept has been taught, don’t assume that the child knows it. Quickly revisit that concept again in the next lesson. With AAR and AAS, your child will have a Review Box so you can customize the review. This way, you can concentrate on just the things that your child needs help with, with no time wasted on reviewing things that your child already knows. Customized review is important for kids with short attention spans because you want every minute of your lesson to count.

Another benefit of the review is that you can practice with your child what to say–you can rehearse as many or as few times as your child needs to help him remember the concepts. One of the things that Marie noticed when she was researching reading programs is that few programs have enough review built in for kids who struggle to gain fluency, which is why AAR includes lots of reading practice.

– AAR and AAS are logical and incremental. They provide the structure, organization and clear guidance that kids who struggle need in order to learn.

-AAS includes dictation that starts out very short–Level 1 starts out with just words and then progresses to 2-word phrases. Level 2 includes phrases and shorter sentences, while Level 3 moves up to slightly longer sentences. With dictation you will say the phrase or sentence and have your child repeat it. If possible, you want to encourage your child to really focus so that you only say the phrase or sentence once, and they can repeat it and then write it. You are training them to expand their working memory a little at a time. You can always break things down more to meet your child’s needs, too. The dictation is meant to be spread over several days, so you can take as much or as little time on that part as your child needs.

Karesa

says:

Can I use All About Spelling with other curriculums?

Merry

says:

Hi Karesa,

Yes you can! You can choose any other language arts or other materials that you would like. Our programs work independently of each other so you can use just one or both.

Tatia Wooten

says:

We love AAR and AAS for our third/fourth grader and our K/1st grader. Our youngest is almost finished with AAR 1 and had started AAS 1 and she’s not quite five!! I can’t wait to try some of the wsys to make the fluency sheets more fun.

Susan

says:

This would be my 4th attempt at finding a spelling curriculum that works. I’ve got 2 that make me pull my hair out!

Artela J.

says:

I have two boys – Josiah, age 4, and Joshua, age 8, who would greatly benefit from this kit. Thanks for the opportunity.

I an starting my ten year old daughter completely over this year. I really hope AaS works for her!

Amy

says:

We started learning spelling when my son was 5 years.

Jaclyn H

says:

We would love to win this.

Stacy Wiley

says:

We are starting AAS in first grade this year! Excited!

April

says:

My daughter is almost 8 and from the time she started learning how to read she stated spelling everything she can. I think she will love this program.

Crystal

says:

Looking forward to starting this curriculum with my son!

Sherri Carlson

says:

Sounds like a great program. I’m looking forward to using it!

Christina Hale

says:

It looks like this is very similar to the Barton reading system. How is it different?

Merry

says:

Hi Christina,

Barton, All About Reading and All About Spelling are all Orton-Gillingham based, which has been found to be successful for students with dyslexia and other reading struggles. Marie is a member of the International Dyslexia Association, and is an instructor for the graduate level courses in Orton-Gillingham Literacy Training offered through Nicolet College in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. If you haven’t had a chance to watch their story about her son’s struggles, you may want to check out their story. Quite amazing!

So, the programs do have similarities in that the teaching is based on learning phonograms.

A few differences: With AAR and AAS, parents don’t have to go through a seminar to learn how to teach the programs. Everything you need is right there in the book as you go through the lesson, so it’s very open and go.

Another difference is that reading and spelling are independent of each other so students can move as quickly or as slowly as they need to with each skill. Kids generally move ahead more quickly in reading, and we don’t want to hold them back with the spelling. They will still get all the reinforcement of learning the spelling rules, but they don’t have to wait for mastery in spelling before moving on in reading. For more information, check out this article on Why We Teach Reading and Spelling Separately: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/why-we-teach-reading-and-spelling-separately/

The rules are worded so they are as easy for children to remember as possible, and we include fully illustrated kid-friendly readers. We took care to make sure that the illustrations don’t give away the words though, so students still have to sound out what they are reading.

AAR and AAS both include customizable review as well. This way, parents and teachers can easily track what students have mastered and what needs ongoing review.

I hope this helps as you decide what’s best for your family!

Lis

says:

What components are absolutely necessary? Iis there any way to make this program more economical?

Merry

says:

Hi Lis,

Go with the basic rather than the deluxe interactive kit. The Basic has the letter tiles, magnets, and divider cards. You can pick a box up locally to save money (check the sterilite box sizes at a place like Walmart–I used a flip-top box that cost only $1 when I started). The box, tote, and stickers that come with the deluxe are just extras that some people want, but aren’t integral. We’ve even made the Phonogram Sounds into a free download, so there’s no more CD-ROM to purchase, saving a bit there.

Then just get the level materials for each level and you’re set. You can even re-use the materials for younger children if they are a couple of years or more apart, making it more economical. We have PDF files of the progress charts and completion certificates so that you can get extras of those–just email us.

The author has tried to keep the materials priced as inexpensively as she can.

Thanks for your interest!

Laura L

says:

Your post, as well as some of the comments, answered any of my questions. This looks like an awesome program. Thanks!

Kayla

says:

I think this will work well for my daughter!

Shandy

says:

this post answered quite a few of my questions – so thank you!

Ellen

says:

Thank you for this opportunity! Our family is so excited to learn more.

Lisa Kilcrease

says:

I think this would be the perfect program for my son who struggles with spelling. He can memorize spelling words for a test but they don’t “stay” with him. I would love to try different approach.

Julie Hall

says:

We use All About Reading with both our kids (4 and 5) and hope to start All About Spelling when my daughter finishes AAR Level 2 sometime this year! Would LOVE to win it!

Jennifer Ortiz

says:

This and the reading program looks so great. Hope I can finally try it this year.

Gina

says:

We haven’t started formal spelling lessons and my kids are 6 and 8. Hoping there is benefit to using a spelling curriculum versus winging it. :)

Stacie

says:

I have an 8 year old son with dyslexia and dysgraphia along with other learning challenges including ADHD. He is struggling with reading, spelling and writing. He has no interest in reading…only wants to be read to. Reading and writing feels like punishment to him. What would you suggest? Should I start with both the reading and spelling programs? He is currently reading at about 1.8 grade level…

Merry

says:

Hi Stacie,

I’m sorry your son is struggling. Bless his heart, it IS really hard work for a student with dyslexia and dysgraphia and ADHD, and I can see how it would feel like punishment. Hopefully you can do some things to turn that feeling around.

Kids generally don’t hate all learning, but they do hate it when it just seems out of reach for them. With that in mind, take some time to find out what excites him. Do crafts. Do science experiments. Make models or clay projects. Find that excitement in learning again. And all the time, read to him. Reading to him is one of the best things you can do for giving him a motivation to read and also for helping to expand his vocabulary and knowledge base for when he IS ready to read.

Does he struggle with rhyming or other phonological awareness types of activities? If so, you can do things like playing matching games with pictures that rhyme (ring and king), read books that emphasize rhyme and alliteration (same first sound), play “I’m going to the zoo” where you talk about animals that begin with a certain sound (you can also do this with the grocery store and food items), play games where you say 3 sounds and see if he can guess the word (oral blending types of games), and so on. Phonological awareness skills are really important to reading.

Rhyming songs and clapping games like “Miss Mary Mack” are other ways to focus on some of these phonological awareness skills.

As you learn what kinds of things interest him, teach through playful activities as much as possible. You’ve found out what your son likes to do, so incorporate that into the lessons. One boy Marie worked with loved getting mail, so she found a toy mailbox at a garage sale and wrote notes for him to read, using words from his lessons. One girl loved modeling clay, so they made words with clay, and showed them to her teddy bear. (If you have a rolled cookie recipe you like–something that holds it’s shape, you can make cookie words and then eat them.) My son liked rockets, so I used letter cubes to build “word rockets.” He also liked knocking them down. And when we used the letter tiles, he loved to make explosion noises as he broke words apart to put the tiles back. Get inside your son’s head and figure out what would motivate him to read.

As for whether to start both reading and spelling–that might depend on where he places in our reading program. Here’s a link to our placement tests: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

If he needs work in AAR 1, I would start with just reading. If he’s beyond that, you can start both, but work into it very gradually. You could even take him through AAS 1 first to reinforce that foundation of the early phonograms, and then introduce AAR 2.

Although dyslexia does make some aspects of learning more difficult, it’s important to know that many famous, intelligent, creative people have and have had dyslexia. If you google, you’ll find lots of lists out there, including Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, John Irving, Leonardo DaVinci (have you ever seen how he wrote backwards and could illustrate the body from all different angles–amazing!), John Lennon… There are also lists for ADHD out there.

Also, has your student heard the story of Thomas Edison and how much he struggled in school? That’s a great one to share with kids, look for a good biography like Childhood of Famous Americans to read out loud to him.

Dyslexia comes with struggles but also with giftings–the very same thought patterns that make reversals so common are the ones that allow people to think 3-dimensionally and be excellent at architecture and sculpture and design, for example. Sometimes it’s hard to focus on the giftings, but it’s so important. Help your son to see his strengths and incorporate those into his day whenever possible. I’ve seen that strategy really encourage many struggling kids.

Both All About Reading and All About Spelling are Orton-Gillingham based and have lots of built-in strategies for helping kids with learning disabilities. Marie is a member of the International Dyslexia Association, and is an instructor for the graduate level courses in Orton-Gillingham Literacy Training offered through Nicolet College in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. If you haven’t had a chance to watch their story about her son’s struggles, you may want to check that out. (They were told he would never read or write.) Quite amazing!

http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/about

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Windy

says:

I have started using level one and I am SO please with how easy it is for me. I am also please with how much my child is learning! Thanks for making such a great product!

Abby

says:

My grand daughter is very behind in spelling and have heard great things about this program.Plan on trying it to help her.

Katie

says:

My daughter is just finishing AAR level 1. We are getting ready to purchase AAR level 2 and AAS level 1.

Caroline

says:

Love the interactive aspect of this. My boys are very hands on learners.

kristi

says:

For a going into third grade boy with reading and speech problems, should I go ahead and continue with AAS or wait to see what happens with third grade therapies and such?

Merry

says:

Hi Kristi,

If you have already started with AAS, I would continue that with him. The phonogram practice will tie right in with his speech practice and reinforce what he is learning there. If you are looking for extra help with reading, take a look at All About Reading.

Linsey Williams

says:

I have one beginning reader and would love to have this on hand!

Heidi

says:

My little girl is only three but I’m looking into schools and homeschooling. I was thinking of doing a pre-k homeschooling program with her. Is this curriculum something I can start with her at this age or should I wait a year or two?

Merry

says:

Hi Heidi,

Take a look at the Pre-reading program and see if you think she is ready for that: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-reading-pre-reading/

It’s generally used by preschool and kindergarten aged children, but we’ve had 3 year-olds enjoy it as well. Just take it at her pace and have fun with it!

Kim

says:

I’m looking for a new spelling curriculum for the fall and AAS has been highly recommended by friends who have had great success!

Shelly

says:

I used All About Reading level 1 and All About Spelling level 1 with my first grader last school-year and it went very well. However, I can see the logic in waiting on the spelling!

Kelly

says:

Souls love to use this in our home!

Christina hebert

says:

Glad I read this first before purchasing the All About Spelling!

Mrs. B

says:

I have been following your webssite for a while now and I really enjoy all the tidbits I receive. My daughter is struggling with spelling because of some dyslexia. I have been trying on my own for years now but its time to get your help.

Doni Engfer

says:

I have been trying to decide on a spelling curriculum this next school year for my daughter and I have heard great things about All About Spelling.

Brittney Goodey

says:

This is very helpful, thanks! I was wondering, I have an 5 year old boy who started reading on his own and is flying through Reading Level 1. He doesn’t show much interest, if any, in writing. When would you start hand writing? Now with reading? I believe Cursive First suggests teaching the letter when you teach the phonogram, but my boy knows most of the phonograms and I think that would be too much writing to keep up. Or should we start after level one with Level 1 Spelling?

Merry

says:

Hi Brittney,

Young readers like this are often ready to read sooner than they are ready to write, which is one reason why we don’t require any writing in our reading program. Spelling and writing do reinforce reading, but for a young student who is ready to read, there’s no reason to hold him back because of his writing.

Another way to do what Cursive First is suggesting is to have your child air-write the letter, or write it with a finger in sand or cornmeal, or another tactile medium. This article has some ideas that you could use: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/kinesthetic-learning/

In our Pre-reading program, we list play dough and other hands-on activities for making letters or reinforcing the letter’s shape.

I would definitely wait to start spelling until after he finishes AAR 1. At that time, consider his handwriting abilities as you consider whether to start spelling or wait a bit longer. Most students start in first grade sometime.

I hope this helps!

Connie Davis

says:

My question would be when is the best time to begin a disciplined spelling curriculum with your child? I have a 2nd grader who is reading some. He can read well but does not enjoy reading a loud himself. He loves to be read to; however. So…I’ve been stumped as to when to actually begin spelling instruction with him.

Merry

says:

Hi Connie,

He may be ready to start now. For those using our curriculum, we recommend starting spelling after the student completes AAR 1. Here’s a link to our placement test for Level 2, so you can compare what he can do with where he would be in our programs: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/content/downloads/AAR-L2-Placement-Test.pdf

Sheryl Hunter

says:

This would be wonderful for my nephew! He struggles with spelling consistently.

Julia Cosgrove

says:

I was just wondering if you should start spelling along with learning alphabet/reading in pre-k.

Merry

says:

Hi Julia,

We recommend waiting until after AAR 1. Hopefully the article above helped answer your question, but please let me know if you have additional questions.

Karen Sorensen

says:

I waited on all my kids until they were good readers. Most of the “beginner” words they could just pick up by reading. But I will admit, some of my kids had much greater natural spelling skills than others!

Jennie

says:

Does all about spelling work with children with disability like dyslexia? Thanks for giveaway

Merry

says:

Hi Jennie,

Yes it does! Both All About Reading and All About Spelling are Orton-Gillingham based. Marie is a member of the International Dyslexia Association, and is an instructor for the graduate level courses in Orton-Gillingham Literacy Training offered through Nicolet College in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. If you haven’t had a chance to watch their story about her son’s struggles, you may want to check that out. Quite amazing!

http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/about

Here are some ways that AAS can help kids with dyslexia and other learning disabilities:

– AAS is multisensory. It approaches learning through sight, sound, and touch. This helps kids who struggle with memory issues, because they take in information in various ways and also interact with it in various ways. The kinesthetic approach can be very helpful to a child who has expressive language struggles.

– AAS uses specially color-coded letter tiles. Working with the All About Spelling letter tiles can make the difference between understanding or not understanding a concept.

– AAS is scripted, so you can concentrate on your child. The script is very clear, without excess verbiage.

– AAS has built-in review in every lesson. Children with dyslexia generally need lots of review in order to retain spelling concepts. After a concept has been taught, don’t assume that the child knows it. Quickly revisit that concept again in the next lesson, and add in as much additional review as needed. With AAS, your child will have a Spelling Review Box so you can customize the review. This way, you can concentrate on just the things that your child needs help with, with no time wasted on reviewing things that your child already knows. Customized review is important for kids with short attention spans because you want every minute of your lesson to count.

Another benefit of the review is that you can practice with your child what to say–you can rehearse as many or as few times as your child needs to help him remember the concepts.

– AAS is logical and incremental. AAS provides the structure, organization and clear guidance that kids who struggle need in order to learn.

-AAS includes dictation that starts out very short and gradually gets longer. With dictation you will say the phrase or sentence and have your child repeat it. If possible, you want to encourage your child to really focus so that you only say the phrase or sentence once, and they can repeat it and then write it. You are training them to expand their working memory a little at a time, and gradually building up the spelling skills in their writing.

ulanda

says:

This looks like a great program. I have a7 year boy who doesn’t have a lot of interest in spelling/reading. Any suggestions to help him peek this interest?

Merry

says:

A few ideas for you:

1, read aloud to him daily

2, let him see you and others in your family read for pleasure

3, you may need to limit tv/computer/electronics time if these occupy a lot of his time

4, Kids generally don’t hate all learning, but they do hate it when it just seems out of reach for them. With that in mind, take some time to find out what excites him. Do crafts. Do science experiments. Make models or clay projects. Find that excitement in learning again. And all the time, read to him.

Work on phonological awareness skills–you can do things like playing matching games with pictures that rhyme (ring and king), read books that emphasize rhyme and alliteration (same first sound), play “I’m going to the zoo” where you talk about animals that begin with a certain sound (you can also do this with the grocery store and food items), play games where you say 3 sounds and see if he can guess the word (oral blending types of games), and so on. In the Kitchen with the Zigzag Zebra and Safari Stories with the Zigzag Zebra are free e-books that have some of these kinds of games: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/free-reading-downloads

Don’t mention “learning to read” when you do these kinds of activities, just have fun with language. Rhyming songs, and clapping games like “Miss Mary Mack” are other ways to focus on some of these phonological awareness skills.

After a restful break where you and your son have learned to enjoy non-reading activities, work on reading again. Only this time, teach through playful activities as much as possible. You’ve found out what your son likes to do, so incorporate that into the lessons. One boy Marie worked with loved getting mail, so she found a toy mailbox at a garage sale and wrote notes for him to read, using words from his lessons. One girl loved modeling clay, so they made words with clay, and showed them to her teddy bear. (If you have a rolled cookie recipe you like–something that holds it’s shape, you can make cookie words and then eat them.) My son liked rockets, so I used letter cubes to build “word rockets.” He also liked knocking them down. Get inside your son’s head and figure out what would motivate him to read.

5, short lessons with lots of encouragement.

We’ve had many students enjoy and be motivated by AAR and AAS, but not every child enjoys the process of learning to read. It’s work–and reading isn’t much fun until it becomes easy–but it doesn’t become easy until they go through the work, for most kids. With this in mind, understand that even if he doesn’t love learning to read, it’s okay. Keep lesson times short and upbeat, and be sure to encourage him a lot–he’s doing hard work!

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Alice Herren

says:

What kind of grammar program do you recommend to go along with All About Spelling, so that the lessons are not redundant?

Merry

says:

Hi Alice,

You are free to use any grammar program that you like with our programs. AAR and AAS only address grammar topics when they directly affect reading or spelling. For example, when the suffix -ed is taught, students do learn what past tense means and how some words change completely instead of simply taking on the suffix. However, the program does not discuss parts of speech, punctuation, and so on. If you are wondering when to introduce grammar, this blog entry can help: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/language-arts-in-my-household/

There are a number of grammar programs available that have either multi-sensory components or an incremental approach. Some of the programs focus exclusively on grammar, while some include writing as well. Here are a few suggestions you could check out:

Winston Grammar is a hands-on program with cards, and is generally aimed at students in 4th to 7th grades.

Easy Grammar features an incremental approach and includes topics such as usage and punctuation.

Essentials in Writing is described by author Matthew Stephens as a Math-U-See approach to writing. In the elementary levels, this program incorporates grammar with writing. The lessons are presented in short video segments of 3 to 5 minutes and then the student works on the concept that was taught. This is a multi-sensory and incremental program that is very easy to use.

The Sentence Family is a simple and fun program aimed at 3rd through 6th graders. The program uses pictures along with a story line to teach grammar concepts and how they relate to each other.

Hands-On English with Linking Blocks is an intriguing program that uses wooden blocks and flash cards for a truly hands-on approach.

I hope this helps!

Joyce

says:

Love spelling. Want to instill love of it in children!

Bethany W

says:

My daughter finished AAR level 1 last year and we are starting AAR level 2 this fall. Should I start AAS level 1 right away in the school year or wait a few weeks until we have gotten into All About Reading level 2 a bit? Just wondered if its best to start them together or wait a few weeks.

Merry

says:

Hi Bethany,

Either way can work out fine–the lessons don’t need to line up in any way, so if you want to wait a bit, that’s fine. I always like to start my new school years gradually, so that we can ease into things and get used to new curriculum. When my kids were early-elementary ages, we used to ramp up gradually over 2-4 weeks, before we had a good rhythm going with all of our subjects. So, take whatever time you want and need to ease into things. Enjoy!

Rachel C

says:

I just finished AAS 1 with my 8 & 10 year old sons. We discovered after pulling my then 9 yo out of public school, that he really needed help with spelling (even though he was receiving excellent grades in school). He breezed through Level 1, with very little difficulty. However, he doesn’t seem able to apply the principles when we put the book away. He feels ready to move on to Level 2, but I don’t understand why he desn’t seem to grasp the concepts in Level 1.

Merry

says:

Hi Rachel,

There is a difference between understanding the concepts taught in a lesson and applying them regularly in writing outside of spelling time. If he doesn’t understand the concepts taught in a lesson, then he would need to redo that lesson. But if he understands and just isn’t regular with applying what he knows, that’s an issue of automaticity.

Many children have trouble spelling in the context of their writing, especially if they don’t have a separate editing time. Often they are not ready to put all of the skills they have learned together in outside writing until closer to junior high. With spelling, there are layers of mastery:

-Spelling in the context of the list with tiles is easiest–words all follow the same pattern

-Spelling the list in writing can challenge some students who have to work hard at handwriting.

-Spelling from word cards (shuffled to mix the patterns) is slightly harder, but they only have to focus on spelling

-Spelling in dictation is another step harder–many words using differing patterns are used, and the student has to hold the sentence in memory, and also think about capitalization and punctuation.

-Writing Station exercises (introduced in AAS 3) focus on words the student has learned, but ask the student to come up with original content, which requires additional skills to be used. These serve as a bridge between dictation and spelling in the context of outside writing.

-Outside writing–this is the hardest level for the student. It requires them to think about all writing skills at once-grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, usage rules, syntax, handwriting and neatness, paragraph rules–plus content, organization of their thoughts, getting answers correct or being creative, and so on.

The word analysis exercises in AAS (which start a bit later in the series) help you teach your student to begin analyzing his or her spelling. Use the dictations and Writing Station exercises to teach basic editing skills–how to look for errors and how to think through how to correct them. Even professional writers need proofreaders, so elementary students definitely need ongoing training in this area. This article on Helping Kids Achieve Automaticity in Spelling has some tips that I think you’ll find helpful: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/helping-kids-achieve-automaticity-in-spelling/

Please let me know if you have additional questions; I’d be glad to help!

I would love to win All About Spelling for my son.

Avis

says:

Why is it so expensive?

Merry

says:

The author has tried to keep the materials priced as inexpensively as she can. Marie does extensive research with each level she writes. We do our best to provide quality materials, service, and lifetime support.

Carrie

says:

This program looks great. We will definitely keep this on our curriculum list.

Mothering4Him

says:

We’ve worked with Abeka , SSRW, and Sequential spelling. I’ve also just made up spelling lists of frequently misspelled words. So they are familiar with the special sounds like “or”, “igh”, “aw”, and “ch”. However, even though I’m a former school teacher, I have passed down my “bad spelling genes” to some of my children. I have four between the ages of middle elem. to jr. high. I know it’s never too late to improve, but with a LOT going on in our home, if it’s not easy, I know it will sit on my shelf. Is this something I can do with all four at the same time? Do you think this curriculum is for us under these circumstances? Thanks for your feedback! :)

Merry

says:

You might be able to group all 4 together, or you might group them 2 and 2, depending on their ability levels. Some families teach older students and have the older students teach the younger ones, so that might be a possibility for you as well.

As to whether it will sit on your shelf unused–hard to predict! The program is open and go, so the lessons are all set up for you. Perhaps you’ll want to take a look through some of the online samples to try to get a better feel for how it works and whether you would use it. Here are samples and scope and sequence links for All About Spelling Levels 1-7: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-lesson-samples

One thing I do each year is to list out our priority subjects–the things I want to make sure we get to no matter what. Then, I make sure to do those things first each day, so that they don’t get pushed off. Otherwise, I know there are some things that we’ll just say, “oh, we’ve done enough, let’s do that tomorrow.” If we do them first, that won’t happen. So, list out the things your kids need the most work on and where your time is most needed–and if spelling makes that list, then find a way to anchor it into your day.

Another thing that has helped me keep track of my priorities is to use a workbox system: http://www.hopeforhomeschool.blogspot.com/search/label/Workboxes (this post is on my personal blog).

I hope this helps some! Merry :-)

Cristina

says:

Thanks SO much for the great article! Very clarifying!
I started using AAS with my oldest when he was in 2nd grade and we went through the first 2 books very quickly! He’s a great reader and a very good speller. Now going to 6th grade! We are currently in the middle of level 6.
I’m glad I read this article because now I’ll be teaching my youngest child going to 2nd. He reads well but takes his time doing it ;) it makes me sleepy sometimes… So, we’ll be doing All About Reading, which is new for me, and later use the spelling books :)
Thanks again for creating this great program! It has been a blessing to our family.
No questions for now. But I know if/when I have them, I will send you an email or call. Thanks again!

staci

says:

Was curious if this would be effective with multiple grade levels and how much time would normally be spent each week on the lessons?

Merry

says:

Hi Staci,

We recommend spending 15-20 minutes per day on spelling, for each student or group. If you have 2 or more students who are working at the same level, you can group them together. Each day you’ll start by spending 3-5 minutes on the daily review cards, and then pick up in the book wherever you left off previously. This way you can take the lessons at your child or group’s pace–spend as much or as little time as needed on each concept.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Melissa

says:

My Daughter love AAR and can’t wait to try AAS!!

Susie Q

says:

Our son is 10. We completed AAR and AAS level 1. Our son is in vision therapy for eye teaming and other vision issues that are making learning to read fluently a challenge along with being right brained dominant. Should we hold off on more spelling until he is reading fluently? Currently we are in AAR level 2 lesson 10 and AAS level 2 step 8. I just read in “The Right Side of Normal” by C. Gaddis and here that we should possibly not be trying to do spelling. Maybe just focus energy on reading and vision therapy?

Merry

says:

Hi Susie,

This really depends on the student. My oldest went through vision therapy, and it can be very taxing to be sure. If he’s tired out by the work he is doing in therapy, I think I would focus just on reading for awhile, and add spelling back in later in the year.

Erika H.

says:

I have 2 children, 11 & 9 years old. Do I teach them separately?

Merry

says:

Hi Erika,

I started mine at the same ages. We started together for going through Level 1 quickly to fill in the gaps, but when we got to the Level 2 content, I could tell my oldest was ready to move through the material faster, so I separated them. If your kids are working at a similar level and enjoy working together, combining might work. If not, you’ll probably find it easier to separate them. I hope this helps! Let me know if you have additional questions.

Jennifer

says:

My 5 year old daughter started with AAR Level 1 and is doing exceptional. She is finally at the point where she is sounding out and reading without being prompted to. It’s so exciting to see that! Looking forward to starting AAS!

Jamie D

says:

This will be our first time homeschooling and have been looking into this program to see if it is right for our family! I think all four kids would greatly benefit.

Lisa

says:

I’m using the AAR, pre-reading level with my four and five year olds. Not only do they love this program, but I enjoy teaching it as well. I’m looking forward to using the AAS curriculum when the time comes!

Arianna

says:

I have a 2nd grader and was using progressive phonics for reading in first grade. Just by learning to read his spelling has gotten so much better. Would this program help fine tune his spelling?

Merry

says:

Hi Arianna,

Yes it would. Here are some features of AAS that you might like:

1, The All About Spelling program includes a variety of activities that reach kids through sight, sound, and touch. When students are taught using all three pathways to the brain — the visual, the auditory, and the kinesthetic — they learn even *more* than when they are taught only through their strongest pathway. [R.D. Farkus, “Effects of Traditional Versus Learning-Styles Instructional Methods on Middle School Students,” The Journal of Educational Research 97, no 1 (2003)]

2, Concepts and rules are taught incrementally. Students master one rule and learn to apply it before learning another one.

3, the program has the students teach the concept back through demonstrations with the letter tiles. When a student can explain a concept back to you, he or she is more likely to remember it. The rules and concepts that apply to easy words also apply to longer and harder words, so he will not just learn to spell certain words but add to his spelling skills overall.

4, AAS has a customizable review system. This way you can spend as much or as little time on each step as your son needs. Words and concepts are not dropped but are reviewed periodically after they have been mastered.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions. Merry :-)

Sarah Hayes

says:

Is this a good program to use for a child that has a lot of trouble spelling? can this be used to help them?

Merry

says:

Hi Sarah,

Yes it can! Here are some ways that AAS can help kids who struggle with spelling:

– AAS is multisensory. It approaches learning through sight, sound, and touch. This helps kids who struggle with memory issues, because they take in information in various ways and also interact with it in various ways. The kinesthetic approach can be very helpful to a child who has expressive language struggles.

– AAS uses specially color-coded letter tiles. Working with the All About Spelling letter tiles can make the difference between understanding or not understanding a concept.

– AAS is scripted, so you can concentrate on your child. The script is very clear, without excess verbiage.

– AAS has built-in review in every lesson. Children with spelling struggles generally need lots of review in order to retain spelling concepts. After a concept has been taught, don’t assume that the child knows it. Quickly revisit that concept again in the next lesson, and add in as much additional review as needed. With AAS, your child will have a Spelling Review Box so you can customize the review. This way, you can concentrate on just the things that your child needs help with, with no time wasted on reviewing things that your child already knows. Customized review is important for kids with short attention spans because you want every minute of your lesson to count.

Another benefit of the review is that you can practice with your child what to say–you can rehearse as many or as few times as your child needs to help him remember the concepts.

– AAS is logical and incremental. AAS provides the structure, organization and clear guidance that kids who struggle need in order to learn.

-AAS includes dictation that starts out very short and gradually gets longer. With dictation you will say the phrase or sentence and have your child repeat it. If possible, you want to encourage your child to really focus so that you only say the phrase or sentence once, and they can repeat it and then write it. You are training them to expand their working memory a little at a time, and gradually building up the spelling skills in their writing.

Both All About Reading and All About Spelling are Orton-Gillingham based, which helps students with a variety of reading and spelling struggles. If you haven’t had a chance to watch their story about her son’s struggles, you may want to check out their story. Quite amazing!

http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/about

Sheryl

says:

I’m just starting to homeschool my 2nd grader to be, what level should we start her at?

Merry

says:

Hi Sheryl,

Start her with Level 1. This article has more information. Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Jennifer Harwood

says:

This looks great and would love to incorporate this into our day!

Susie B

says:

My daughter is just starting to spell – would love this for the new school year!

Amy Lanham

says:

I am leaning towards this program for my 3rd/4th grade DD who still struggles with reading and spelling. She probably reads at a high first grade level. Though she hasn’t been officially diagnosed, I think she has ADD and dyslexia. Would you recommend starting with this program or with the reading program??

Amy Lanham

says:

Oh another question… I am a single mom, and therefore must work full-time in order to support my family. So I don’t have alot of extra time to devote to school lessons, above what they do during the day at their daycare home. (I have been blessed to have a daycare provider who homeschools and was willing to help my kids with their school.)

That being said, she has six kids to teach, so doesn’t have alot of time to devote either. I have found lots of good programs that are self-directed for their other subjects but DD needs extra work in reading/spelling. So how much time needs to be devoted to this program on a daily/weekly basis?

Merry

says:

We recommend a minimum of 20 minutes per day on reading instruction. If you can manage 30 minutes, or 2 sessions of 20 minutes, that would be better considering her age. Each day starts with a short, 2-3 minute review of some of the cards in the daily review tab, and then pick up in the book wherever she left off previously–a lesson isn’t necessarily completed in one day. The program is designed so that you can take things at your daughter’s pace.

Perhaps her daycare provider would be able to do one session, and then you could have your daughter read to you from the reader at night, or play a game with her to review some of the cards, or have her read part of a fluency page. It could be snuggle on the couch time where she reads something to you, and then you could read a story to her from a favorite story book or chapter book.

For spelling, you would need another 15-20 minutes per day. If your provider doesn’t have time for both, I would focus on reading and get that solid.

I hope this helps!

Merry

says:

Hi Amy,

I’d first see where she would place in our reading program. Here is a link to the placement tests for reading: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

Marie recommends completing All About Reading Level 1 first, and then adding in the All About Spelling program. This way students get a solid start in reading first, and have a strong basis for spelling as well.

If she places above AAR 1, you could start her in both.

AAS and AAR both use a similar sequence and the same phonograms. Both are complete phonics programs, so they are interrelated in that way. AAS teaches words from the spelling angle, and AAR teaches words from the reading angle.

All About Reading includes research-based instruction in decoding skills, fluency, automaticity, comprehension, vocabulary and lots and lots of reading practice. AAS focuses instead on encoding skills, spelling rules and other strategies that help children become good spellers.

For this reason, the programs are also independent of each other so students can move as quickly or as slowly as they need to with each skill. Kids generally move ahead more quickly in reading, and we don’t want to hold them back with the spelling. For more information, check out this article on Why We Teach Reading and Spelling Separately: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/why-we-teach-reading-and-spelling-separately/

Susanne

says:

Spelling is an area that my children have struggled in. Your program looks great! What would you suggest for a 15 year old who still hasn’t really caught on to spelling?
Thanks for the giveaway!

Merry

says:

Hi Susanne,

Most older students need to start with Level 1 to fill in gaps–here’s an article that explains why: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-level-should-my-older-student-start-with

Then they will fast-track through if they have the beginning words memorized, focusing mainly on mastering the rules and concepts until they hit longer and harder words. Here’s an article that explains how to “fast-track:”

http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

It sounds so simple when you write it out, but actually teaching spelling still seems very complicated to me. I was/am a struggling speller who HATED spelling lessons myself, so I’m pretty much lost on how to NOT have my own children hate spelling.

Merry

says:

Hi Desi,

English can be challenging, no doubt about it. Our language has 45 common sounds, and more than 250 ways to spell those sounds–and that can make spelling seem very complicated. However, research has shown that 97% of our words actually follow common patterns and rules, and only 3% are rule-breakers–so when you learn those patterns and how to apply them, it can be less daunting. Marie went to great lengths to simplify spelling and come up with a program that walks students and teachers with no prior training step by step through spelling from easy, 3-sound words, up to high school level words.

Also, we provide lifetime support for all of our programs. If there is ever something that you don’t understand or that your student seems “stuck” on, let us know and we’d be glad to help. I had two struggling learners myself, and both begged me to not switch spelling programs again once we started using AAS (this was back when I first started with the program, before I was working for All About Learning Press). It turned spelling around for us. I wouldn’t say my oldest ever learned to love it! But he did learn not to hate it, to see the logic in many of our words, and that this subject was doable and not the insurmountable drudgery it seemed in the past.

A lot of times, what people hate is the “List on Monday, Test on Friday” approach where students learn a variety of words, without really learning how and why they are spelled the way they are. That can make spelling seem impossible to learn and retain. Take a look at this article where Marie compares a