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What Happens after All About Spelling?

What To Do After All About Spelling

Whether your child has finished formal spelling instruction or you are just looking forward to that glorious day, this post will give you plenty of ideas of “what to do next.”

The first thing to do is to send me a note. Seriously! I love to hear from students who have completed the All About Spelling series (like our friend Josiah here).

Then after the high-fives and celebrating are over, you’re bound to ask the question,

Is that it? Does my child need to learn how to
spell any more words? Or are we completely done
?

Pretend that the graphic below represents all the words in the English language. “Known Words,” represented by the inner circle, are those that your child can spell.

circle graphic - known words

“Familiar Words” are those that are in his vocabulary, either his speaking vocabulary or his reading vocabulary. He knows what the words mean, but he’s never spelled them.

circle graphic - familiar words

And then there are “Completely Unknown Words”—words that your child has never heard before or has never encountered in his reading.

circle graphic - completely unknown words

After completing the spelling program, your student will be able to spell at the high school level. But, obviously, there are many more words in the world! So I recommend that your child continue a self-directed, informal study of “Familiar Words.” These are the words that are found in the middle zone of the graphic. They are words that your child is more likely to see in print or to use in his own writing—which means that the words will be easier to learn and your child will be more motivated to learn them.

How to Find New Words to Learn

For years I kept a stash of index cards wherever I was likely to run across new words—next to a favorite reading chair, next to the computer, on the nightstand, or in a backpack—and I encourage students to do the same. When they come across a word that would be helpful to know how to spell, they can jot it down on an index card. If there isn’t a written example of the word, they should just spell the word as best they can and then verify the spelling later.

Here are some places your student can look for those new-yet-familiar words to learn:

  • Books, newspapers, magazines: Encourage your student to be aware of words he reads that he isn’t sure he knows how to spell.
  • Hobbies and interests: Many of the terms related to hobbies could present opportunities to explore the spelling of new words.
  • Personal writing: We all run into words while we’re writing that we aren’t sure how to spell.
  • Vocabulary words: If your child is studying vocabulary, those words can be added to the list.

After discovering new words to learn to spell, it’s time to analyse those words.

How and Why We Analyze New Spelling Words

After discovering new words to learn to spell, it’s time to analyze those words.

Students who have completed All About Spelling Level 7 are generally amazing at analyzing new words. After all, they’ve repeated the procedure for many lessons, gradually increasing the scope of the word analysis. But if you are new to the program, you may be wondering how to analyze spelling words.

Your child should begin the word analysis by dividing the word into syllables, then circling any part of the word that doesn’t say what he expects it to say. Then he should evaluate the word. Does the word end with a doubled consonant? He should ask himself why. Does the word end in Silent E? He should consider the jobs of Silent E and ask himself which job Silent E is performing in this word. Consider the syllable types that make up the word. By analyzing the new words, your child will be able to keep previously learned concepts fresh in his mind for future reference.

Also, by this point, graduates of the program know how to treat words like building blocks. What does that mean? Well, it is very likely that over half of the new words your child encounters will have prefixes, suffixes, and Latin and Greek roots. Students have learned that they can learn how to spell many words at once—and increase their vocabulary at the same time—by learning the most common word parts.

Word analysis helps the spelling “stick” in the student’s mind. The word becomes linked to other words with similar meanings or word patterns.

After discovering new spelling words and analyzing them, it is time for just a touch of review.

A System for Reviewing the New Spelling Words

The best way to continue to improve spelling is to keep reviewing. The review needn’t take long—just a few minutes a week goes a long way at this stage. And a Spelling Review Box or simple index card file box is the perfect tool for this.

The Level 7 Student Packet comes with three purple divider cards, especially designed for this stage, but feel free to substitute your own handwritten dividers. Label the dividers New Words, Review, and Mastered, and place the divider cards in the Spelling Review Box, along with some index cards and a small pen or pencil.

organizing spelling review box with cards

Now, any time there is a new word to learn, it goes behind the New Words divider. Once a week or so, your student can pull out the new words and conduct his own Word Analysis of them.

After the word analysis, the spelling words can be stored behind the Review divider. Then, several times a week, your child should set aside some time to practice spelling these words.

When he is sure that he won’t forget how to spell the words, your child can move reviewed words behind the Mastered divider. And he can watch that stack get thicker and thicker over the years!

Remember: This Is a Self-Guided Process

After you’ve explained the system, turn the responsibility over to your child. Ideally, he should choose the words that are important to him and schedule his own review time.

Our young friend Josiah just completed AAS Level 7 and is ready for lifelong spelling success! Josiah’s mom Carol recently sent us this wonderful note along with the photo of Josiah at the top of the page:

Just wanted to share that my son (age 10) finished AAS Level 7 today! This has been a wonderful journey with your spelling program. My son has learned so much, and to be honest, so have I! It’s very important to my son to know the “why” behind things like math, spelling, the English language, science, etc. Your system introduced spelling in a way that kept it interesting and made sense. I recommend AAS to all my homeschool friends because I think it has got to be the best spelling program out there! Thank you so much for all you’ve done to create such a great learning tool!”

Is your student an AAS graduate? Or are you still looking forward to the day?

Six Ways We Make Spelling Easy Report

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Ali

says:

Is it okay to correspond the level book to my child’s grade level? For example, cover Level 1 for 1st grade, cover Level 2 for 2nd grade, and so on? If Level 7 covers high school reading, I just see no need right now to rush through any of it or even cover it every single school day. Thanks for your help!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Ali,
You definitely have a point. If you are starting All About Spelling in 1st or 2nd grade, there is no reason to rush through the levels. You have plenty of time to cover all the material.

Just understand that the levels and word lists in the All About Spelling program are arranged by concepts and spelling patterns rather than by grade levels. Though many of the words presented in Level 1 are found on typical first-grade lists, other words in the same book can be found on typical fifth-grade lists. The method we use defies normal grade level classification, so our levels aren’t really grade levels.

As for not covering spelling every school day, many children do fine with doing spelling just three days a week or so. However, some children tend to forget too much between spelling lessons if they aren’t more consistent. Another option is to keep to a slow pace if your child needs more daily review is simply to do less time on some days. For example, you could just review some word cards or do a couple of dictation phrases on some days instead of a full 20 minutes.

I hope this helps, but please let me know if you have more questions.

Amy

says:

Thanks, Robin! That does help!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Glad to help, Amy! Let me know if you need anything else.

Amy

says:

I’m not sure where to post this question, but I am curious if it is normal to slow down as we move through the All About Spelling levels. Maybe it is just my girls. They were early and excellent readers, and so by the time we started All About Spelling, they moved through the first two levels quickly and easily. But then one of mine (who naturally struggles with spelling, but not reading) needed us to slow down the pace some in level 3 and level 4. Level 5 seems to be taking a long time (it will take at least 15 months before we finish I think). And I have no idea how long the last two levels will take at this rate. Is there more content in these later levels? Or are the concepts typically more difficult to grasp? Or is it just us? :) I know we are fine, no matter how long it takes us. I think I am wondering mostly because I am a big planner by nature and I am wondering how long it will take us to finish. :) What would you say is typical for length of time to finish the last few books?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amy,
Most (probably all) students need more time for the higher levels than they need for the lower ones. The concepts are more difficult with more complex patterns and often no set rules for when to use one spelling over another. Knowing which syllable is accented and the Doubling Rule are especially difficult for my children!

It may encourage you to know that, at least for my kids although I know others that have experienced this too, level 5 is the longest. Level 6 and 7 pull everything together and move at least somewhat more quickly. But, as you said, it is fine no matter how long it takes as long as your students are mastering the content. Level 7 covers through 9th to 12th grade spelling, so there is plenty of time!

I hope this helps a bit. It is difficult to plan with All About Spelling, as you cannot know ahead of time how quickly or slowly individual children may progress. I would say to loosely plan a year per level for the higher levels, but as you have seen with level 5, it can go longer.

Let me know if you have further questions or need anything.

Katie O

says:

This is a great post. It answered a question I didn’t even know I had yet! I love the application to learning new words.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Katie,
We’re glad you found this helpful!

Deanna

says:

Thank you for this information! I’d loved to use AAS with my children!

Kim

says:

A friend told me about your program and we started using it this year and it has helped my 5th grader so much. Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kim,
I started All About Spelling during the second half of my daughter’s 4th grade year, so I know about starting it with an older student. Have you seen our blog post on Using All About Spelling with Older Students?

Let us know if you ever have questions or need anything.

L Sell

says:

Thanks for the info. My 5 and I have a chalkboard for the “word of the week” which usually comes from a new lit. book we are reading for the week. We post it so he can read it daily and learn it’s spelling. Thanks for the ideas, anything and everything helps!

Adriana Hook

says:

Our school has used a different series that has bored the children for years now. After some research and lots of positive comments on a variety of websites and independent blogs I suggested it to our Curriculum Director. We’ve just ordered the Reading and Spelling sets for review and we are thoroughly excited about trying them out, especially with our struggling readers who are tired of “baby” books and want chapter books. From what I can see on-line, I have a feeling our parents will be thrilled to hear their children ask if they can read before bed time!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Adriana,
I hope your students and teaches enjoy our books as much as so many parents and their children have! Please let us know if you have any questions.

Sonja Rea

says:

Thank you for this post. I’m really hoping to start AAS with my kiddos!

Julie

says:

I am so excited to get started with All About Spelling. Now that my son is reading, I can see an excitement in him as he sounds out words or I sound them out and he will try to spell them.

Carrie

says:

We love all about reading!

Morgan

says:

Looking forward to getting to this point with my student.

Mildred Chalmers

says:

I am so grateful I stumbled unto this site. I am hoping to use your material with my son who struggles with spelling. Thank you in advance. I have been learning so much from your site.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Mildred,
Please let us know if you have any questions. We love to help!

Laura

says:

Reading didn’t “click” with my daughter till we started All About Spelling when she was in 2nd grade. It was the most successful part of our year.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Laura,
We’re happy to hear that All About Spelling was such a successful part of your daughter school year. Thank you.

Tracey

says:

Great program!

Nancy

says:

Hoping to try this curriculum soon! I’ve enjoyed using the All About Reading with my daughter.

Sarah

says:

Thanks for this post. Such a great idea to teach kids…and maybe use myself as I’ve never been a very good speller.

Kelli Swanner

says:

Thank you for this post. it is exactly what I needed right now.

Nicole

says:

Thank you for this information! This will be so helpful as my kids get older and to help them continue to work on their spelling skills.

Karen

says:

Looking forward to using this curriculum.

Emily

says:

This is so helpful! My kids are on AAR Level 3, so I’m just starting AAS with them, but it’s good to know where I’m heading. The AAR/AAS programs have been awesome for us.

Jen

says:

Great tools to continue being a life-long learner! Thanks!

Lisa

says:

Always interesting to learn new strategies for continued learning.

Oksana

says:

This is a great post! I have both my children in aas. One is level 4 and the other started level 5. I was actually wondering what we would be doing after aas was done. Now i have plenty of ideas. Thanks

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Oksana! The transition to being responsible for their own spelling words is an exciting time.

Andrea

says:

Great suggestions!!! I have a few years before I get there though.

Katie

says:

Interesting! Thanks for the ideas.

Lacey

says:

I love AAR and how I open and go it is

Beth Lucadamo

says:

My five year loves All About Reading and Spelling!!! He is doing great work spelling words and phrases:). I am really enjoying watching him learn and grasp concepts along the way! I am grateful to this program and Marie Rippel!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Beth,
Thank you for letting us know just how well your young learner is doing with AAR and AAS! It sounds like he is off to a amazing start!

Cereese

says:

Excellent ideas! I’m going to tell my husband. He’s always frustrated by his own lack of spelling skills. I’ll bet he’s going to jump on this one!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Cereese,
I do think this method would help anyone of any age become a better speller!

Debbie B

says:

Thank you for these tips. You continue to support even after they’ve completed the program! It is clear that you truly care about the kids!!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

We do, Debbie. I hope you find these ideas for what to do after AAS helpful.

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