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Real Moms, Real Kids: How AAS Saved My Son with Dyslexia

teen boy spelling words with letter crackers

When you have a child with dyslexia, does it sometimes feel like you need a miracle?

You’ve exhausted all avenues, but you can’t give up—because it’s your child.

Your child can’t read or spell. The school system has let him down and it feels like the world has let him down—but you won’t let him down. Even so, a miracle would be nice because you don’t know what to do next.

If you have ever felt the desperation that comes from watching your child fail in such a critical subject area, and if you have ever feared for your child’s future, then you will relate to this story. I know I did.

Hannah’s* story shows the strength of a mother’s love for her child. Whether your child has dyslexia or not, there are powerful lessons to be learned and poignant reminders that you can’t give up on your kids, no matter what others may say.

Here’s Hannah…

My son is the kindest and most honest and selfless child I know. He has taught me more about this world than I could have ever taught him. Yet with all these amazing qualities, he never excelled in school. From the very first day, school was a nightmare. He absolutely dreaded going and would cry and beg not to go. He struggled in all his subjects, but mainly reading and spelling.

His learning diminished. He lost all motivation for learning and doubted his abilities to do anything. Any time spelling or reading was presented to him, it became a battle of wills. He would instantly shut down, and it would become a power struggle even to get him to write his spelling words, let alone try to read them. Of course, all of this left my son with low self-esteem.

Our road to finding All About Spelling was a hard one. From reading and spelling intervention classes, special needs class, misdiagnoses, and even being told that my child had reached his learning potential at the age of 10—we faced so many trials. As his parent, I was angry, confused, and heartbroken. I didn’t understand why his teachers couldn’t see the child I saw. I knew he had more in him. I knew he could learn, but at the same time, I also knew something was wrong. He didn’t read like other kids his age. That’s when I decided to homeschool.

teen boy working with letter tiles

I tried a few spelling programs and found that most shared the same approach—repetitively writing the words or building word pyramids. These approaches did not work for us and I was not impressed. After my son was diagnosed with dyslexia, I began to learn more about dyslexia and how the brain of a dyslexic person interprets information. All the horrible years at school began to make perfect sense. I started searching for curriculum that worked for dyslexic children. That’s when I found All About Spelling. When I opened the teacher’s manual, there were no repetitive lists, no pyramids. The layout was easy. It was structured but flexible. All I had to do was follow the steps.

Now we have been avid AAS users for three years and the progress my son has made is indescribable. For him, spelling is a complex process. But AAS gives him the tools he needs to succeed.

The AAS phonograms app taught him to recognize the correct sounds of letters. Letter tiles gave him physical letters to refer to. He didn’t have to rely on straight memory, and he could focus on one letter and one sound at a time. The Key Cards are like a “safe base” for him. They make the spelling rules simple and easy to remember.

All About Spelling curriculum

I don’t know that I can truly convey all the things AAS has done for our family. But I can convey the joy I feel when I see my son learning—when he spells a word on the board, jumbles up the letters, and then stops himself and says, “Wait, Mom.” I can hear him whispering and repeating one of the memorized key cards to himself. Then he self-corrects the misspelled word. No frustration, no overwhelmed feeling, just confidence. That feeling is priceless.

All About Spelling not only helped my son learn to spell, it gave him confidence in himself again—confidence that he had lost so many years before. It gave him the reassurance that with the right approach he could spell and read. To have witnessed the change in him leaves me in awe.

Here’s What I Love about Hannah’s Story

Hannah and her son’s story is almost overwhelming to me, and not just because of the similarities to my own story. What if she hadn’t taken matters into her own hands and intervened? Where would her son be in five years? Ten years?

Without literacy, the chances of achieving a positive outcome—a happy, well-adjusted man—are not very good. But instead of accepting what others believed was inevitable, Hannah turned the tide, and now she sees her son’s growing confidence, his increasing skills, and his handsome smile.

THIS is the reason I continue to write and teach every day. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Hannah!

Products Hannah Used with Her Son

These recent blog posts were especially helpful to Hannah in teaching her son:

Did you enjoy Hannah’s story? Read more stories in our Real Moms, Real Kids series.

_________________________
*To preserve the privacy of the child featured in this story, we did not use the family’s real names.

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Leave a Comment

Sarah Hackelton

says:

We are eager to try out this program for my child’s third grade year. After a really difficult 2nd we have enough information to believe he has been struggling with dyslexia. Finding answers and the possibility of working with a curriculum he can handle has given him a major confidence boost. And hope for this mom!

Sarah,
I’m glad you two are finding hope and confidence. Let us know if we can help with placement or anything else.

I hope you have a GREAT year!

Alice Ross

says:

This is so encouraging. I have a child who struggles with reading & writing. We are benefiting from these products & are glad we are not alone.

Kathy

says:

Indeed! You are NOT alone! Welcome to our community:)

Rene Rutherford

says:

This past year I worked with two students who could not spell. One has reading difficulty as well. This program looks to offer real hope for progress.

Rene,
Our goal is to help all students have success in reading and spelling. Let us know if we can answer any questions for you.

Heather Coffman

says:

I worked very hard for 2 years, along with a reading specialist from our local university, to learn how to teach my dyslexic daughter to read and spell at home. During that time I learned what goes into a quality Orton Gillingham based program. That coupled with my own experience as a homeschooling mother of 5 has lead me to choose AAS for my family.

Kathy

says:

Hi Heather,

You’ve been a BUSY Mom! Thanks for your vote of confidence for AAS! We hope you continue to enjoy the benefits of being able to teach your children at home. We look forward to helping you if you ever require assistance!

Kathy
Customer Care Representative

Paul Fread

says:

I am trained in The Writing Road to Reading which seems to be very similar to Orton-Gillingham. I plan on looking into what you have to offer. thank you so much for what you are doing.

Kathy

says:

The Writing Road to Reading could be called the “Orton-Spalding” method as Spalding worked closely with Dr Orton in developing it.

Although I have only my two boys as guinea pigs (therefore much more limited experience than the teachers commenting here), I am very familiar with both programs. What AAS brings to the method is classified word lists (ie a group of at least 10 words following the one spelling rule/pattern being taught in the lesson) which is the very thing I thought that WWTR lacked when I was using it. AAS is also much more user friendly for the untrained mum (sorry, mom, I’m an Aussie) to use.

I have tried one other Orton-Gillingham style program (Australian-based) and have looked at one or two others, but I think that AAS is probably the most user friendly and logically organised of all.

Kathy G

says:

I just realised that there’s more than one Kathy on this list (should have known it seems to be the flavour of the month in my age group). I’m not the one from AAS, just so everyone knows :^)

Kathy

says:

Glad you joined the discussion and added such valuable insight, Kathy! We have a common name, but unique experiences:)

We’re glad you’re finding AAS easy to teach. That was a huge mission for Marie when undertaking this project! Keep up the good work with your sons and let us know if we can ever be of assistance along the way!

Kathy
Customer Care Representative

Lavonia Hardman

says:

I am new to your blog and your products, but I am very impressed. I teach third grade and want to use your ideas and products in my reading class. Thanks so much!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Lavonia! I’m glad you are able to use the ideas in your reading class! Thanks for being a teacher!!!

Dara Pernell

says:

I am looking forward to starting All About Spelling this fall!!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Yay! I sincerely hope you and your kids enjoy it!

Nancy Barth

says:

Congratulations to Hannah and her son!

I have a question. Has anyone used AAS with a kid who is enrolled in public school? How has that worked out? My grandson is moving away (boohoo) and I won’t be able to work with him very easily. I’m hoping to make good progress with AAR 1 this summer, but I was so looking forward to using AAS 1 with him after that. I think his mom and her fiance would work with him on AAS 1, but I don’t know how it would work with his public school spelling program. He’ll be repeating first grade. His teacher this year (after we moved schools) didn’t have spelling lists or tests, which I appreciated.

Lydia R.

says:

Hi Nancy–

My 7 y.o. goes to public school; we’ve been doing AAS since kindergarten and are currently on level 3. His school does alot of science and math, but as far as I know they hardly teach any spelling. Different schools probablyhave different programs, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t teach much spelling beyond sounding out words, sight words and word sorts.When they teach vowels in first grade, my son was the only one other than his teacher

Lydia R.

says:

(Accidentally posted before I finished typing, whoops)

My son was the only one* who knew “and sometimes y.” All the other kids only knew “aeiou.”He didn’t win the spelling bee, but he’s the best writer and one of the best spellers in his class.

I think AAS will teach/cover the massive gaps in public school spelling instead of contradicting their spelling program. My two cents =)

Nancy Barth

says:

Good to hear. I think I will ask my daughter if she would do this with her son. I think it would really help him.

Tammy

says:

I’m not sure how to feel about this for myself. I am so glad that this has been a success story for her and her son. My son is 13 and taking things back to this level, as much as he needs it, leaves him feeling ashamed and angry. So many things that are easier for him to read, he calls baby stuff. I feel the frustration in more ways than one.?

Tammy,

I’m so sorry your son is struggling with this. Those late tween/early teen years are difficult ones for a young person’s confidence even when everything is going right, and it can be so much more difficult when there are struggles.

Acknowledge his feelings. Anger is understandable. As is shame, although it is in no way his fault. But anger, shame, and frustration alone will not fix this problem. Only hard work, going back to where he begins to have struggles, will do so.

I understand your ambiguous feelings about reading about another student’s success while your student still struggles. Just last week a 6 year old got up to read a Psalm at church and everyone praised him, and I sat there knowing that my 8, almost 8-and-a-half, year old has been working on reading diligently since she was 5 and she still cannot read even half as well as that 6-year-old. I don’t want to lessen that boy’s accomplishment, but I also want everyone to understand that my daughter has worked three times as hard for three times as long. Hard work should be worth something too.

Sigh. I guess what I want you to know is that we here at All About Learning Press understand. My 8-year-old daughter is just the youngest of my four students that struggle, and the rest of the Customer Care Team has also had experience with learning difficulties in their own children. We offer lifetime support, as much and as long as needed, through email (support@allaboutlearningpress.com) and phone (715-477-1976).

Kim Tisdale

says:

Im so excited to try these products.

julia

says:

I’m glad we found All About Spelling. Now in 4th grade my son has finally started to learn spelling.

I also have a dyslexic child and she’s doing great with AAS. I started one of my other kids on it as well who is not dyslexic but struggles with spelling SO MUCH. It’s definitely more time consuming than a regular spelling program, but every minute is time well spent.

Georgia,
While All About Spelling might be more time consuming for a child that is a natural speller, I found it less time consuming for my daughter when we started it in the 4th grade. We were spending so much time on weekly spelling lists, and she was still struggling. The 15 to 20 minutes a day with All About Spelling that lead to finally having spelling success was a breath of fresh air for the both of us.

Thank you for sharing your experiences with AAS, and how well it is working with your children.

Julia Daniels

says:

Would love to try this with my daughter. I am still her walking dictionary!

Wendy jones

says:

I just order all about spelling can’t wait to get started!!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Hi Wendy! Let us know if you have any questions when you get your package (support@allaboutlearningpress.com or 715-477-1976). Enjoy!

Anne

says:

Love this program!

Mallory

says:

I hear nothing but good things about these programs. The stories from parents are so encouraging. I am looking forward to using both with my children and further students I hope to homeschool.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Thank you so much for the kind words, Mallory. Our customers’ satisfaction means the world to us. I wish you all the best in your homeschooling endeavors.

Emily

says:

This is so encouraging. I haven’t tried All About Spelling, but we’re really loving All About Reading, and it has tremendously helped my son who was having reading difficulties.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

I’m happy to hear that your son has been helped by AAR, Emily! Thanks for sharing!

Amanda Duke

says:

What an inspiring story! Parents truly do know their children best and are the best people out there to educate their child. What an amazing mom for realizing what her child needed and doing it herself.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

I’m glad that you were as inspired by Hannah’s story as much as we were. That’s why we wanted to share her story with everyone. Her perseverance in helping her son when others didn’t know how to help him was incredible.

I have to say yes yes yes! AAS saved my oldest son too. It was recommended to us by a therapist and from then on I used it with him to improve all his skills and he is just finishing up level 5 as we speak. My daughter has done wonderful with it as well she is in level 4 and then we come to my smallest son. He is a severe dyslexic and has had therapist helping him but our insurance just denied renewal for that so I’ve cried, prayed and been angry a lot the last 2 weeks and I pulled back out AAS 1 and we started it with our smallest son again. I love AAS and I am so glad that years ago I was told to try it.

Kathy

says:

Kayla,

We’re so glad you have AAS materials AND experience enough to know that there is hope for your son! Please let us know how we can be of assistance to you. You’re NOT alone!

Kathy
Customer Care Representative
All About Learning Press, Inc.

Ellie

says:

Beautiful! How encouraging! It’s evident that Hannah’s son will have not just learned to read and spell, but to persevere, work hard, and be empathetic toward others in trying situations! How beneficial will that be when he’s an adult. AAS/AAR is so key in turning defeated kids into conquering kids! I’m looking forward to our dyslexic kids changing the world!

Kathy

says:

A hearty AMEN, Ellie!

Chantel

says:

Great story! Love AAS.

Wendy

says:

What a great story! Would love to try these products…

Laura B.

says:

Thank you for the inspirational story. I can already see how much just the AAR pre reading program has helped one of my sons with his ability to more clearly verbalize. I wasn’t even focusing on teaching him. I was teaching his older brother and trying to make it fun for everyone.

Laura,
Don’t you love it when incidental learning happens? What a great by-product of the Pre-Reading level. Thank you for sharing.

Erin Rodriguez

says:

Amazing :)

marie

says:

these stories are so helpful! it is so good to get advice from someone who has been there too!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Thanks for the positive feedback, Marie. It’s always so encouraging to see how someone else has done it and to see if there’s something to be learned from it.

Jill

says:

My second born has struggled for years. We are finally finding help and giving All About Reading a try!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Hi Jill! I’m glad that you are finding AAR helpful for your struggling reader! If you run into any roadblocks as you are teaching your child, feel free to contact us at support@allaboutlearningpress.com or 715-477-1976. We want to make this as easy as possible for you!

Amanda

says:

My youngest struggles with letter sounds and my oldest breezes through every lesson. I like that we can use AAR and AAS at the same time when needed and both kids are learning so very well. I have learned to be a better reader as well. 😀

Beth

says:

We can’t wait to start using this in September!

Dawn

says:

Finding All About Spelling was a lifesaver. Even though my daughter was much older, we started at level 1. My daughter loved the painless, short lessons and dictation. I loved how easy it was to teach!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

I am so glad to hear that you and your daughter loved the spelling lessons, Dawn!

Melissa

says:

Help! My kids are terrible at spelling. Where do I start? My kids are 7 & 10.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Hi Melissa! Most students–especially if they are struggling–start with Level 1 of All About Spelling. For more information on placement, please see the article “Which Spelling Level Should We Start With?” If you would like additional help, feel free to call us at 715-477-1976 or e-mail us at support@allaboutlearningpress.com. We’ll be happy to help you find the right level for your children!

Leslie

says:

Just as a testimonial… We started my older child on Level 1 too. It was brilliant to see how confident she became finding she did know more than she recognized, but with a new and organized way she was able to categorize in her brain. I don’t know if it’s recommended, but we flew through level one and two (she didn’t struggle as a reader, but somehow it never translated into spelling). Now we are moving on to more challenging levels, but there’s not confusion because of the great AAS foundation!

Kathy

says:

Just want to confirm that we do actually recommend working quickly through early, foundational lessons in our beginning level or two. The confidence your daughter found, Leslie, is part of the key to an older student’s motivation to cooperate with doing so. Firming up that foundation, filling in any gaps and preparing a logical progression from which to spring ahead would be the primary emphasis we encourage.

Thanks, Leslie, for sharing your great experience for those who wonder if it’s worth it! Keep up the great work as you forge ahead!

Kathy
Customer Care Representative

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