283

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 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.

Share This:

< Previous Post  Next Post >

Leave a Reply

Nikki Mathers

says:

My family is so excited to try AAS and AAR. My son is dyslexic and we are hoping this program will be the key to unlocking his potential.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

If you haven’t seen it already, you may find our Dyslexia Resources page very helpful, Nikki. Let me know if you have any questions or need help with placement or anything else.

Tiffiny

says:

I am trying to teach 7 students all in different levels how to read and trying to individualize to each student. What do you think would be the most helpful to encourage a thinker reader or exercises to do that would boost confidence in a student who was reading better and has regressed a little when seeing others excel?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Tiffiny,
When dealing with a student that seems to be disappointed in their own reading, it is very helpful to pull out things that he or she read a few months or a year ago. When a book they previously found challenging is now super easy, it’s very encouraging! When we teach reading, we continue to add more difficulty so that students are always learning. However, for some children this can feel like reading is always hard and they are never getting better. Rereading a book from long ago can help them to see their own progress.

I hope this helps some. Let me know if you have additional questions or need ideas for your other students.

Kelly

says:

Hello, Is it possible to use this program effectively online with a student virtually?

Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kelly,
There are those successfully using All About Reading and All About Spelling to tutor online. Here are some considerations:

All About Reading and All About Spelling must be taught through live, interactive lessons. They can’t be pre-recorded lessons.

For reading, students who work with online tutors need to have their own copy of the Activity Book and Readers, and their tutors need to have a complete copy of all materials. This way students can read and the tutor can follow along and help with their reading or instruct as needed.

For spelling, students who work with online tutors need to have their own Student Packet and a set of Letter Tiles or the Letter Tiles App, and their tutors need to have a complete copy of all materials. This way students can practice spelling concepts as needed, and teachers can oversee the student to ensure that they are pronouncing the phonograms correctly, segmenting correctly, and pulling down the corresponding tiles.

Short, frequent lessons are generally best for the student’s long-term retention, so if you plan to meet with the student less than 3 times per week, we recommend that the parent also has the Teacher’s Manual in order to provide support and instruction on non-teaching days.

Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Julie Bolin

says:

Great to know this works with Dyslexia!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Julie,
Yes. Both All About Reading and All About Spelling are Orton-Gillingham based. This is a proven approach for helping students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities.

Marie Rippel, author and creator of the programs, 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. Marie’s son is severely dyslexic, and being told by experts that he would never learn to read led directly to her creating All About Reading and All About Spelling. You can see a short video about her son’s story, Failure is Not an Option.

Loreen G

says:

Have I told you how much I love you guys? ?. You saved us, you really did, and I will be forever grateful for your spelling and reading curriculums. Thank you ?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Awww, thank you, Loreen! Thank you for being such a great fan of All About Reading and All About Spelling!

Jennifer

says:

Thank you so much for sharing your story, I am researching options for spelling and every story is like a stone on a path.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad this was helpful for you, Jennifer. If you have any questions or need more information, just let me know.

Melanie

says:

Thank-you so much for your story. We are just starting AAR 1 with my dyslexic son. I’m so excited to start this journey. Your story gives me hope!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad to hear this was encouraging for you, Melanie!

Rachel A Bennett

says:

I understand every aspect of your story, it has been the same for me and my daughter. Thank you so much for sharing

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Rachel. I hope this story is an encouragement to the many families that struggle with dyslexia.

Kristi

says:

We had tried a few different programs for reading with our dyslexic son and nothing was really working. I got the AAS to help with spelling since it was so bad. It worked to improve his reading and spelling.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m so pleased to hear that All About Spelling has worked to help your son in both spelling and reading, Kristi!

Erin Pasco (Canada)

says:

I love this program so far. We have been using the spelling and reading program for 2 weeks now. My daughter and son both seem to be liking it and I’m noticing a difference with them. Thank you.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m so excited to hear that you are already noticing a difference, Erin! Thank you for letting us know.

Karen

says:

Thanks for assisting in ideas for learning challenges. Even children that are not diagnosed with this challenge can benefit.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Karen.

Destiny H Vanderslice

says:

This article gives me so much more insight to help my six year old!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad you found this helpful, Destiny! If you have any questions or need anything, please let me know.

Monica Lara

says:

Thank you so much for sharing!

Brooke Welch

says:

Amazing resource..Thanks for sharing this story.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Brooke.

Sally Chancellor

says:

We suspect my oldest has dyslexia, and this has really helped her.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad to hear that this has helped your daughter, Sally! ?

Kristen

says:

Thank you for sharing this story ❤️

Jenny

says:

A child’s confidence is SO important when it comes to learning!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I very much agree, Jenny! ?

Jennifer Curley

says:

I’ll definitely be looking into this program. While our daughter isn’t dyslexic, she does have Down syndrome, which presents its own learning challenges.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jennifer,
Yes, Down Syndrome does have its own challenges with learning. Have you seen our Real Moms, Real Kids: All About Reading and Down Syndrome blog post?

Kassi

says:

This is a very encouraging story. Our dyslexic child has gained so much confidence since using your programs. I am so grateful!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m so pleased to hear that your child has gained confidence with All About Reading and All About Spelling, Kassi! That’s wonderful! Keep up the excellent work.

R. Babcock

says:

I have 2 sons who are dyslexic. I am thrilled I found your website.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad you have found this helpful! We also have a Dyslexia Resources page I think you will find helpful too. Let me know if you have any questions or need more information.

Elyse Riech :)

says:

I have a 10 yr old son who is Dyslexic, we tried games, tutors, even that Abc mouse thing,we tried the AAS program and he is a different child now. he is learning and liking it. Our oldest son Chase whose 14 was reading your article and told my husband and I to try it out Now every monday when the kids get the weekly spelling test words. he spends time working with Mark using this program and last week Mark brought home his first 100% on his spelling test and he’s still smiling. thank you your a lifesaver.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Oh, Elyse, this is so wonderful! I am so happy to hear how well your son is doing, but even more excited that he is learning to like learning! That is such a huge thing. And how wonderful that your son Chase is using All About Spelling to help his brother succeed with spelling. They must be so close.

Congratulations, Mark, on that 100%! Keep up the excellent work!

WOW! That is so encouraging and motivating.

LibertyMom

says:

Thank you for sharing this story. My daughter is struggling with reading and we love AAR curriculum. I’m seeing progress, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed because I want us to be farther along than we are. I’m so happy to have found a reading program that works and keeps my daughter moving towards literacy.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

LibertyMom,
I understand that feeling of wanting your child to move faster and not being able to do so. But it does work out. With all the struggles we’ve had through the years, I look around and am sometimes shocked to see all my kids happily reading on grade level or higher. Your daughter will get there too! Slow, steady, and consistent do win the race!

Kylie

says:

I’m so grateful to Hannah for sharing her story. It’s heartening to see other care givers who refuse to lose sight of all their children are capable of even in the face of programs and systems that say otherwise.

Thank you so much Robin for your dedication, belief and hard work. Everything you share has provided so much guidance and reassurance for those who are anxious and overwhelmed by one of the most important gifts they can give their children; love and literacy.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Kylie. I have been through the anxiety and overwhelmed feelings myself, and it is such a blessing for me to be able to help others help their children succeed as I and others like Hannah have done!

Kylie

says:

… and understanding

Brittany

says:

We are finishing up Level 1 in AAR and are excited to start Level 1 in AAS next school year! My daughter hated reading but has fallen in love thanks to this program.

Christine

says:

This is me!

Julie Worden

says:

I purchased AAS for my children, but my spelling has greatly improved as a result of working through the program with my kids. We love AAS!

Beth

says:

? I have a daughter who struggles with spelling, and AAS saved us last year when nothing else was working no amount of school testing was helping answer our questions. But AAS made sure she understood why the words are spelled the way they are. Like I keep telling her, we do this for her, not for me. I want her to have confidence in her work!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Beth,
I am sorry that daughter struggles with spelling, but am very pleased to read that All About Spelling is making a difference for her!

Lisa

says:

I love your story and thank you for sharing it! We had one struggling learner who has also blossomed under this method and now, years later, is a voracious reader.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lisa,
I love that your student struggled but now is a voracious reader! It is oh, so wonderful that he or she not only succeeded with reading but grew to love reading as well! Thank you for sharing this.