230

All About Spelling in Action!

All About Spelling in Action

Today’s guest post comes from Merry Marinello, a homeschool mom who uses All About Spelling with her own kids and is part of our Customer Care team.

Here’s Merry…

As a Customer Care rep for All About Learning Press, I think I have one of the best jobs in the world – talking to other moms about teaching their kids how to read and spell.

Moms often ask me what a typical day with All About Spelling is like. I thought it might be helpful to show what happens in our homeschool and give you a peek inside our lessons.

Right now we’re in Level 6, and a step (lesson) usually takes us a week to complete. (In the early days, a step often took only 1-3 days. We went through Level 1 in about three weeks because my kids were older and already had all the words memorized – they just needed to learn the concepts.)

Here’s how we divide up our week:

Day 1: Review and New Teaching

I actually set a timer for the lessons: 15 minutes for my seventh grader and 20 minutes for my ninth grader. Each day starts with 2-5 minutes of review. Here I am trying to review the Phonogram Cards with my jokester.

A Day with AAS -1

After the review, we begin the New Teaching section. This section is scripted, so I know immediately how to demonstrate new concepts with the letter tiles on the magnet board.

A Day with AAS -3

When my kids were younger, we set the magnet board against the wall or couch because I didn’t have room to hang it in our school area. After the first year, I realized I could reorient the tiles vertically, so now the magnet board hangs on a nearby closet door.

Day 2: New Spelling Words

I make sure that the new material we covered yesterday is totally understood, and we do our 2-5 minutes of review. Then it’s time to meet the ten new spelling words.

I dictate the new spelling words and several sentences that contain the spelling words. After the dictation, I put the new Word Cards behind the Daily Review tab in the Spelling Review Box so we can review them tomorrow.

Word Cards

All About Spelling has a philosophy of “we don’t just teach it and forget it,” which I totally appreciate. I mean, after I put in the time to teach my kids something, I want to make sure that they remember it later, and that’s where the built-in review really helps.

Day 3: Reinforcement

We review older flashcards with just a couple of the new ones mixed in, because I like to spread the new ones out over a few days. Then we quickly review the new concept we’ve been studying, followed by reinforcement words from the More Words section and more of the dictation exercises. If my kids miss any of the reinforcement words, I make Word Cards for them and put them behind the Daily Review tab.

Day 4: Writing Station

Here’s where we fit in the Writing Station activity (which starts in Level 3 of the program.)

In the Writing Station, students make up their own sentences with words that are dictated to them. Sometimes my kids like to make a little story using the words, sometimes they try to be funny, and sometimes they try to squeeze all the words into just one sentence! Here’s one that my daughter wrote:

This exercise makes a nice bridge between dictation and longer writing assignments that kids will do outside of spelling. I love how AAS gradually prepares kids for writing.

Day 5: Wrapping Things Up

Whatever we don’t get done on Days 1-4, we complete on Day 5.

If my children misspelled words in the dictation exercises during the week, I tucked those Word Cards behind the Review divider. If any concept needs to be re-taught, now’s the time to do it before we move on to the next step of the program. All About Spelling is mastery-based, so if my kids are confused about something, we fix it before moving ahead to the next lesson.

So that’s our typical week with All About Spelling. You may go faster or slower depending on your child’s needs and ability…and that’s the beauty of using a fully customizable program!

What about you? Are your days with AAS similar to mine?

< Previous Post  Next Post >

Leave a Comment

[…] meet their needs, with specific customizations determined by a child’s prior spelling knowledge. Merry Marinello, one of our customer service reps, encountered this situation with her own children. When Merry […]

Kortnei

says:

My 9 year old son has been struggling with reading/writing/spelling while his 6 year old brother has been thriving! (Very frustrating) Come to find out he is dyslexic and All About Reading has helped him dramatically! I definitely would love to give All About Spelling a try! Thank you so much for such an affordable program (compared to others) We just wish you had EVERY subject ;)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kortnei,
It’s good to hear that All About Reading is working so well with your older son.

Mary Lou Hom

says:

This is SOOOOO helpful!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you! I know that we have talked many times on the FB page. But this blog post Merry is EXACTLY what I needed today.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Glad to hear that, Mary Lou! I’ll let Merry know you found this exactly what you needed to day.

Ashley

says:

Just bought this curriculum today after a friend raved about it! What is the purpose of the jail on the board?? So excited to put this together!!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Ashley,
The jail is used starting in All About Spelling Level 2 for “rule breakers”. Rule breakers are words that have sounds spelled in ways we don’t expect them to be spelled. An example is the word of, where the f says /v/. Another example is the word been, where ee says short i (this is in the US, and parts of Canadian, other English speakers say been with the long e sound).

Shelia

says:

I’ve found that review is very crucial and helpful.

Stefani M.

says:

Ah, a sigh of relief. It’s good to know that lessons can be stretched over more than one day. We are in AAR level 1, and a lesson takes anywhere from 1-5 days, depending on how many words are on the fluency sheet. At first I felt bad for taking more than one day, but I realized that’s what my son needed, and this post just reaffirms that. Thanks!

Merry

says:

Yes, some of those steps in AAR would be quite a lot to accomplish in one day! Usually working for about 20 minutes on reading is plenty. Plus, it takes time to develop fluency, and that means reading and reviewing over many days. I think you’re on the right track, Stefani.

Merry :-)

Christie

says:

LOVE LOVE LOVE AAS! I currently use it for my 4th grade son. Can’t wait to start off my youngest with AAR!

Jennifer

says:

Thank you so much for sharing! We have been using AAS for a year now and are extremely pleased with the results. It has been a great “refresher” for me to see how other moms do AAS. I just ordered Level 3 and am excited to begin using it during the coming school year! :)

This is a great post! I copied it to show to clients when I show AAL products! :-) Kay

Dawn Kilgore

says:

thank you for sharing your day on this blog. I am just starting AAS and you have given me hope that Haylee will be able to read and spell. Haylee is suffering from her dyslexia, she loves to books but no matter what program I have used in the past it hasn’t worked for her. Thanks for sharing it shows this program may be the answer to my prayers for Haylee is finally be able to crack the reading and spelling. Oh and your Jail Idea is very cute. Be blessed.

Melody

says:

Thanks so much for posting about this topic. I’ve been curious about All About Spelling for my seventh grader and your post was a helpful insight into how it works.

Michelle

says:

I really want to try this!

Jen

says:

Thank you so much for posting this! it is very helpful to see how using AAS looks at different levels and ages. thank you, jen

Thanks for the how to tips! I can’t wait to start this program with my 3rd grader in the Fall.

Aimee D

says:

Thank you for sharing, Merry! This has given me some ideas for working with my 3rd grader. So glad that AAS has so many great people willing to share with all of us!

Sonja

says:

I really want to try this program! It’s great to read about how someone actually uses AAS everyday. Thanks for posting!

Laina

says:

Great post! Thank you for sharing your typical lesson! We just finished level 1, so it’s nice to have a little peek into what is to come!

Cassie

says:

It’s wonderful to see the program in action with an older student. My son has completed three years of the program, and it looks like we approach it in much the same way. Thanks for sharing the fun photos!

Anne

says:

AAS and AAR are next up on my list of curricula to try out!

Kristi

says:

This looks like it would be the perfect fit for our family. I love how it’s laid out step by step so there’s no way we would miss anything.

Ellen

says:

I hope we will be able to try out this program very soon. Thanks for all the pictures!

Scott

says:

Thanks for sharing how you implement your program. It is laid out so well but I really appreciate seeing it in action!

Katie

says:

Wow, what a great program!

P

says:

Thanks for the post. We love AAS!

Vanessa S

says:

I so appreciate you taking the time to show a glimpse of your day. Isn’t that the pleasure of home educating, it doesn’t have to all look the same, yet the same wonderful concepts are taught.

Stephanie Dobbins

says:

Thanks for sharing your day, and tips. I will be starting AAS this coming school year with my daughter, and now thanks to you I can finally see how a day works :) Your photos were very helpful, Thanks again for sharing!!

Emily

says:

Great tips…we are just starting this journey!

Christina

says:

Thanks so much for this peek at your use of AAS–one of the reasons I’ve been hesitant to go ahead and take the plunge with this curriculum is because I’ve been having trouble wrapping my head around the way it works. Your descriptions and photos were very helpful!

Cory

says:

Thank you for showing us what your day looks like. I am thinking about using it with my two boys. I like the quick review and short lessons. Looks like it will work well in our family!

Amy

says:

Thank you for laying out how this works for your family. I am considering the program for my 1,2 and 5th grader (who is a struggling speller). It is nice to see how others implement a program, so thank you for sharing.

Lesley C.

says:

Thank you so much for sharing that you can use the board sideways!!! I have been wondering where the heck we are going to fit it. We are starting aar pre-1, aar 1, and aas 1 this year. It is our first year using this program. We are so excited!!!

Kristi

says:

Thank you for sharing your week with us and all the great tips.

Sabrina Lagace

says:

It’s great to see this in action with the older kids. Thinking about getting this program for my preK kids and great to know it’s a program that they can grow with their entire school career.

LaceyL

says:

This looks like a great program, I would love to try it with my kids.

Allison S.

says:

My daughter just finished level 1 AAS, I asked her what color she would like her certificate in. She responded, “red and blue”.
I asked, “Would you like ever other letter or one word each color.”
She said,”No Mom, the vowels red the constants blue!”

She is 7 I adore her!!!

Merry

says:

Allison, that’s adorable!!

Annie

says:

Thanks for sharing!! Looking to use this program very soon!

Julie

says:

Thank you for showing us how you use the program. It really is helpful! Hoping to purchase this program soon!

Tracey M.

says:

Hi! I recommended this program to a friend of mine because we absolutely LOVE it and it is effective. She has three daughters ages 5-9 that would use it (all obviously starting on level 1). I tried to win this program for her several times without luck. LOL! I only have one daughter so it is easy for us to implement this program but we were both wondering how she could use it with all three children at the same time. Would each child come up to the board one at a time as she dictates the words to spell??? Would they take turns? Would they have their own set of letter tiles? Funds are limited, so what would she need to purchase at a minimum to get started. Please contact me at tlmswt2000(at)msn(dot)com if you have used this program with multiple children at the same level. We are in dire need of more information.
Thank you, Tracey

Merry

says:

Hi Tracey,

If the students are all working at the same level, you could teach them together as a group. I started out teaching my 2 at the same time, but after a month I realized that my oldest was ready to move through the program at a faster rate than my youngest (2 years difference, makes sense), and I split them. I work about 20 minutes with my oldest and 15 with my youngest (or as long as I get good, solid attention from each one–shorter time periods with focused attention are better than longer sessions when their minds wander). When I did mine together, I had them take turns working with the tiles while the other watched or worked the word out on paper or a hand-held whiteboard. You don’t need tiles for each child unless you really want them, but you do usually need separate materials packets. These allow you to customize the review for each one. This is especially important if you have students who struggle with spelling, or with any kind of learning disability (dyslexia, vision processing issues, etc…). When I worked with my kids together, I had both review every card until both had mastered each one. When I separated them, I did try to keep up using just one packet for both of them, but it became confusing when I had cards she mastered but he didn’t, he did but she didn’t, he was reviewing but it was new for her, mastered for him but new or review for her, and so on. It wasn’t bad at first but after 10-20 steps it became pretty confusing and I decided they each needed their own packet!

To get started–that’s going to depend a bit on the ages and stages of her students. Most students need to begin with Level 1, so I would recommend getting the Level 1 set, a Basic Interactive Set, and then an extra packet for each additional student (or each group if any of them can work together). She may also want to get Level 2 at the same time, if she has an older one who will go through Level 1 quickly. HTH! Merry :-)

Melissa

says:

Thank you for sharing! It’s nice to see how easy it is to implement AAS! I like that everything is planned and it only takes a short amount of time each day :)

Christi

says:

Thanks for sharing. It was nice to see a post on using this with older kids.

Nicole Douglas

says:

This post is perfect! So helpful for me to see how others do things. I always feel like I need validation as a homeschool mom. Thanks for taking the time to share pictures too.

Amy

says:

Thanks for sharing! We just learned about All About Spelling, and I am anxiously awaiting our order! It’s nice to see how someone else does it!

Kristi

says:

It helps me so much when I’m researching a product to see it like this, how it’s really truly going to be used daily. Thank you for taking the time to put this together!

Emily

says:

I loved seeing the program in action. My kids are much younger, but I would love to have spelling be an enjoyable subject.

Robin

says:

Thanks so much for sharing! It’s great to see how others are using AAS. Love your ideas/tips, will definitely be using some of these!

Michelle

says:

LOVE it Merry! Thank you for sharing! I’ve always had my boys use ALL the words for the writing station in ONE sentence. The boys think it is fun to come up with crazy sentences! I’m not sure I want to tell them that they don’t have to! :)

Michelle

says:

I liked reading this post because it is confirming on how we do things. Everyday we spend at least 15-20 minutes which includes 5 min. of review and the rest going over the new concept. We usually take a week to finish a lesson as well. After I go thru the spelling list I will proceed to the reinforcement words and then end with the dictation. But I like the idea of adding some of the dictation in while giving the new spelling words. I am also planning on adding more pictures to the words for added reinforcement. Sometimes we make up silly sentences to help remember how to spell a word. For example if we are working on the word “went” and want to remember the correct vowel, we might say “‘E’ went with us to the store.” I have also found that using the dictation sentences can work well for copy work.

Merry

says:

Hi Michelle,

Sounds like you’re doing well! You mentioned wanting to remember the short E in went–if by chance your child struggles with e/i confusion, check out this video that Marie made: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/short-e-short-i-confusion/

Bethany

says:

Wow, thanks for the great demonstration! I’m looking forward to starting two of my sons in AAS this year!

Breann

says:

Thank you for sharing. I am starting my kids next year and the older one seems reluctant. Your post was encouraging. Thanks!

Miranda H

says:

This looks like a great curriculum for my visual/hands on learner! Adding to my wishlist! :)

Kristin

says:

This is awesome! I love to see how people actually implement curriculum!

Sarah

says:

Thank you for sharing. I am looking forward to starting soon with my children.

Chris

says:

Thanks for sharing this! It is very similar to how AAS has gone for us this year. We have gone through levels 1-3 this year. It is the first thing that has worked for us. I was worried that just starting with my 3rd grader this year had put us behind. I was glad to hear how it has even worked for older students as well.

I just saw that there is a level 7 being written now. Are there more levels to come? Is there a grade correlation with certain levels? My daughter was just tested and spelling was only at a 2nd grade level. I know she has dramatically improved this year so I’m not worried. I know with this program we will catch up to the “national average.” About what AAS level corresponds to PS grade level?

Can’t say how much we love AAS! My 3rd grader loves doing spelling now – amazing!
Chris

Merry

says:

Hi Chris,

It sounds like your daughter is doing well! Level 7 will be the final level and that takes kids up to high school level spelling (between 9th-12th grade depending on which scale you use. AAS includes all of the Ayers words which go up to 12th grade).

Before that time…

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 One 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.

For example, another spelling program lists the words cross, off, and plant on their fourth grade list, but these words can easily be spelled by a child completing the Level One book. That same program includes the words school and yellow on its first grade list — but expecting kids to spell words like those before mastering more basic syllable types undermines their future spelling ability.

Standardized tests can be tricky. Often there are several choices that look correct, and some students who might spell the word correctly in spelling or in their writing will get them incorrect on a test. So, sometimes you have to take tests with a grain of salt. The main thing to watch for is improvement in her spelling and writing, and it sounds like she’s doing well there and enjoying spelling (which is always a bonus in my book!). HTH! Merry :-)

Tracey M.

says:

May I please have a copy of your visuals for Alyssa’s Spelling Notebook? What level are you using?
Thank you and God bless,
Tracey M.
tlmswt2000(at)msn(dot)com

Tracey M.

says:

Wow Merry! Thank you for sharing such an informative post about how you use All About Spelling in a typical day. My daughter, Alyssa, is 4 1/2 years old and about to complete Level 1. She is zipping through the lessons without difficulty. Every spelling word is spelled correctly the first time and when we review she gets them right too. We play a lot of games when reviewing to make it a bit more hands-on and to incorporate movement activities. was sent here from Granola Mom 4 God and I hope to win the giveaway so that we can purchase and begin Level 2. I may slow things down a bit and try a few of your ideas with her. She actually used to write her own sentences using 1-2 of the spelling words in each sentence but then I started just doing the dictated phrases with her and following the manual. I am wondering if I should have continued doing the “write your own sentences” activity. I do find that the review takes up a lot of time but I think it is because I forget to put them behind the mastered tab and the cards gets mixed up. LOL!
God bless,
Tracey M.
Blogging at A Learning Journey http://totplay.blogspot.com/

KT – I would love a copy of your visuals for Alyssa’s Spelling Notebook. Please e-mail them to me if you are willing to share and if you see this at tlmswt2000(at)msn(dot)com

Merry

says:

Hi Tracey,

Your daughter is doing great! She’ll have plenty of time to work on writing her own sentences later on in the program, so either way is fine for now. I’ll email you.

KT

says:

Thanks for sharing! We use a 5 day a week model as well. I also add to the AAS lessons by making my own visuals to remember the rules by. I think that area of AAS is weak. Not all kids can learn the rules with just oral review. Having the visual handouts for a “Spelling Notebook” has made the rules stick a lot better for us.

Shelly

says:

commenting again to try to win from Granola mom!::) i love this program and would LOVE to win!:) and yes, I really did read this post:) it was great!!

Julie

says:

We move very fast through AAS. My daughter is a natural speller and is able to memorize rules and words quickly. We do review halfway through a book and at the beginning of a new level, unless she is having a hard time and I am seeing a lot of mistakes crop up. We work through one step every two days. We just got to level 3 and I’m wondering if she will slow down in this level.

Merry

says:

Hi Julie,

It may slow her down just a bit with the longer dictations, some more involved rules, and the addition of the Writing Station. It sounds like she’s doing great, have fun!

Anne

says:

This looks great. I have young ones and we have not yet started spelling but will be in a year. I am excited to get and use this curriculum!

Stacy

says:

I am planning on starting with AAS Level 1 next year and loved seeing it in action. Thanks for the post.

Marcia L

says:

Merry – I appreciated seeing how you split up AAS during your week. It has encouraged me to think about how I’m doing our lessons and see if I should change things up a bit. I also liked the vertical board. I might give that a try! :)

Julie

says:

Thanks for sharing. Now I am doubly excited to start AAS next year!!!

Anne D

says:

We follow a similar routine, but I like a few of your ideas. I think we’ll tweak what we’re doing a bit and see how everyone likes it!

Renatta Welsh

says:

Love to see this program in action…and I love to see it being used with bigger kids! My daughter is doing well on level 1, about to move to level 2, and I love to see her progress. Looking forward to using the rest of the program!

Thanks for this post, it is always helpful for me to see how others incorporate the curriculum into their days. Especially with the older students.

Alison

says:

Thanks for sharing. It is very helpful to see how others are using AAS/AAR!

Yolanda

says:

Right now we are at the one lesson per day rate as my daughter is 10 and we started on level 1 just a month ago and are now on level 2. it will be interesting when we parcel out one lesson for the whole week!

Amy

says:

Dear Merry,

I seem to be having so much trouble moving along with AAS. I think I might be doing too much review. We do a lesson in 1-2 days depending on the length of it but then I take another 8-10 days reviewing and doing the reinforcement. I’m wondering it is overkill. Somehow I find myself pulling out all of the cards that go with a concept missed in his sentence dictation because I find he does have trouble with those too. Also if there are a lot of reinforcement words then I feel I have to spend extra days so that I can do them and review older cards too. We do 20 words a day plus sentences for dictation except on lesson days. Every now and again we stop and review all phonograms and rules for a day or two. It is averaging 2 to 3 weeks for every step and I’m getting discouraged. My son is already finishing 6th grade and we are only halfway through level 3. Even though the concepts are so nicely and clearly presented and we do tons of review, I’m not seeing the retention I hoped for with this program. It seems that the rules are very helpful but ultimately he’s just going to have to memorize a set of the most used words. (I also seem to find myself going at this slow pace with his younger brother and sister, although they are not as behind since they are at lower grade levels.)

Merry

says:

Hi Amy,

I think you’re correct, that does seem like a long time for review–and a short time for the step itself. I would recommend this:

Let each step (including daily review) take 3-5 days, rather than 1-2 for the step plus 8 for review. The amount of time you are spending on the new concept (1-2 days) doesn’t sound like it is long enough for him to retain it–you are doing a lot of work going back over things he didn’t get the first time (from lessons being short). And the review of 20 words per day is too many words for him to master those he missed the first time around. So–a lot of work both ways but not effective work that will lead to long term retention. By spreading the step out over 3-5 days, you will give him more time to master the concept, and cut your review time by a lot. I wouldn’t do any days of just review unless you are either doing a mastered review, or you are trying to assess whether you need to re-do some steps to firm up his foundation.

Start your day with 2-5 minutes of review–just what is in his daily review tab. If he doesn’t understand the concepts behind how some words are spelled, keep a record of those. You may need to go back and reteach those steps more slowly before you move on. Laying a strong foundation the first time will actually help you to move ahead more quickly in the long run though, because he will retain what he has learned. You won’t be constantly going back over those words.

When I go into the book, if we are in a step that my kids have worked on previously, I ask a question like, “Do you remember what we’ve been working on?” or, “We’ve been learning about AI. Do you remember when AI is used?” or something along those lines. You want him actively engaged and thinking about that new concept each of the days you work on the step. By the 3rd-5th day of a step, my kids can usually tell me what we’ve been working on and what the rule or concept is.

5 minutes of review and 10-15 minutes in the book can carry you a long way.

Yes, in the end we do just have to memorize some words, but how do we memorize them? What is the best approach? If we try to learn them all visually, the way we might have to memorize a phone number–can you imagine memorizing thousands of phone numbers? That would be a lot of work! AAS is breaking down for you the strategies that are most helpful with each part of a word. (The 4 main strategies are phonetic, rules-based, visual, and morphemic). By using additional methods whenever possible, we are linking two or more ideas together that makes it easier for the brain to remember. But again, you need to give your son more time spent on those concepts each day in the lesson, so that he masters it before moving on. He’ll still have cards that need to stay in daily review for awhile, but fewer.

And when a card is in daily review–don’t move it to mastered until he can spell it easily–without having to stop and think a lot, without having to self-correct, and so on.

My son was in level 3 in 6th grade. I think you and your son can make a lot of progress if you change up your approach just a bit. He’ll get it, hang in there! Merry :-)

Shelly

says:

thank you SO much for this detailed post, with pictures!~!! Even though this is for older children than mine, it is so helpful to see and read a real life experience. Great pics by the way!!! I’ve been entering every giveaway possibly for AAR in hopes that one day I will win and be able to purchase for my first homeschooling experience next year with my twin Kindergarten daughters!! thank you!!!!

Debbie Stanton

says:

thanks for sharing… it really helps to see it laid out!

Crystal

says:

Thanks for sharing Merry!

Ticia

says:

Our days aren’t like that yet. I need to work on the review sections still. But, my guys are young so I’ve got lots of time.

Jenny l.

says:

Great idea to turn the white board – already did it and it makes a huge difference! We started AAS when my first grader was struggling with spelling – now she’s doing great and I am so grateful! Some of our lessons go faster than others, now that we enjoy spelling!

Jeanine

says:

This was very helpful. I guess I need to slow down my instruction and ease up the pressure a bit. We’ve been trying to complete the lesson in a day and then review as needed. Thanks.

Jeanine

Kelly

says:

Very timely piece!! I appreciate the opportunity to get a glimpse into how you use AAS on a daily basis as I was beginning to reconsider how I was approaching it with my daughter. I will be trying to break it down into smaller pieces like you did in order to help sustain her interest and help her not to feel overwhelmed with longer lessons. I can see her responding better to this approach! Thanks!

Sarah

says:

I love seeing the board with so much on it! We just finished book 1 and are moving on to book 2. Can’t wait to see it that full.

Paula Jolly

says:

Thanks for sharing! It’s helpful to see it in action.

Lisa

says:

Thanks for sharing. This is helpful to see what a typical lesson looks like. I have been recommending this curriculum repeatedly this week for the stuggling learners that I work with. Hoping to gather some extra funds to purchase some of it soon so I can have it on hand for demonstrations and to help families get started working with it on their own.

erica

says:

Thank you for taking the time to help this visual learner see how the daily lessons proceed.

Charis

says:

We are just starting level 2 and haven’t spent much time reviewing because the concepts have seemed pretty easy so far, but I appreciate the reminder to get review time into the daily routine so it will be there as the material gets more difficult.

Patti

says:

Merry, thanks for sharing your week with AAS. Currently, we are slowly working in the AAR pre-level one, with my four year old. Plan to use the AAR Level one next, then onto the AAS Level one. It’s been helpful to see how it can look in an average day. Great stuff, thanks again!

Heather Brandt

says:

Interesting way of explaining how the program works!

Tammy

says:

Thank you so much for sharing your day!!! Lots of great pointers. :)

rhianna

says:

We are getting ready to start our first year. I really like what I see.

Happy to find your blog. What a great post to peek into how it is done!

Thanks so much for sharing your week! I loved to see a peek into how a week of the All About Spelling programs works.

Diane

says:

Thanks Merry,
I always appreciate what you have to share. I appreciated that you mentioned you were able to get through level 1 in a few weeks with your older kids. I will try to do this as well. thanks.

Tricia Parker

says:

I just pulled out my 3rd grade son from the public school system because he had regressed so much in his writing, reading, and spelling. His spelling is back at the K or 1st grade level for some reason, misspelling simple words like kid, spelled “cid.” I am frustrated because he is still spelling “phonetically” the way he hears the words….like “kikd” for the words kicked. We just started AAS Level 1 this week, but having the opportunity to look ahead at the future lessons, I have faith that this program WILL WORK. As a certified special education teacher, I am VERY impressed by the curriculum and I LOVE that the pace can be adapted to their individual needs. I look forward to seeing the improvement that I know will happen with this program. It is a breath of fresh air!

Merry

says:

Hi Tricia–AAS will walk him step by step through all the examples you mentioned. I hope you have a great year, let us know if you have any questions!

Lori

says:

I’m using Level 1 with my first-grader, and it never really occurred to me that AAS will grow with her! Love seeing the program used with a “big kid”!

Christina R

says:

Thank you for sharing this. It is helpful to see how a family uses AAS! I have never used this but I am contemplating adding this to our homeschool. Thanks again for the visual!

Jacqui

says:

This program sounds like it would work well for my son. I think I would really like the mastery based concept. He does so much better on curriculum that allows for some repetition and making sure that he actually retains what he has learned. Would love to win the $100 gift certificate! Great post Merry, thank you!

Amy

says:

I am about to begin level one with my son who has just finished second grade. He is a below average speller and I’m using this to see if we can help give him the fundamentals to get him up to grade level. How many levels of this program will he need to complete to have mastered second grade spelling? Thanks.

Merry

says:

Hi Amy,

That’s a difficult question to answer actually! 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 One 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.

For example, another spelling program lists the words cross, off, and plant on their fourth grade list, but these words can easily be spelled by a child completing the Level One book. That same program includes the words school and yellow on its first grade list — but expecting kids to spell words like those before mastering more basic syllable types undermines their future spelling ability.

All About Spelling groups words in a logical manner based on similar rules or spelling patterns regardless of their supposed grade level, which allows students to progress quickly and confidently. By the end of Level 7, students are spelling at the high school level. Just go through the levels at his pace and you’ll be fine!

Tracy

says:

Thanks for sharing how you do AAS in your home. I always like to see how others use it.
We’re only on Level 1 but my daughter is 5 so we spend maybe 3-4 days on a lesson now that we’re getting closer to the end of the level. In the beginning we were doing a lesson 1-2 days.

This is how we’ve been using it:
Day 1: Review cards, then introduce new words with tiles. Some days we might just get the review in. Depends on how motivated my daughter is.

Day 2: practice with the dictation words

Day 3: work with the more words and finish dictation words

Day 4: Write our spelling words on paper

We’ve stopped at step 20 because right now we’re preparing for our daughter’s surgery next week and are far from home. But we’ll pick up right where we left off and then get right into level 2.

Merry

says:

Robin E., Dawn, and Tracy, thanks for sharing how your days work! Tracy, I hope your daughter’s surgery goes well. Merry

Dawn

says:

Thank you – always interesting to read what other people do. We actually do spelling three days a week, currently working in levels 2, 5, & 6. Sometimes we get a full lesson done in one week, sometimes, we don’t. I actually use the sentences from the previous lesson each week as part of the review rather than using them in the current week for new teaching. Any words missed get written in the margin and I work them into a sentence the next time . . . and the next . . . until they get it. My two quick spellers often study the lessons on their own while I only dictate their sentences, listen to the word banks to make sure they’re pronouncing correctly, and review the cards.

Kristy

says:

Thanks for a glimpse into how you make this work! We will be starting AAS for my oldest who will be a 1st grader this fall. Can’t wait!

AdenaF

says:

Thanks so much for sharing your day. It’s always helpful to see how someone uses it daily.

Natasha

says:

I love seeing how a “professional” (!) does it!

Kori Ireland

says:

I love this post. I do have a question – if it’s in the comments above I am not seeing it! I want to begin AAS with my son next year when he is in 3rd grade. But I will also have one learning to read. I know I can do it with both of them but they will definitely move at different speeds. If they get to points where they are on different levels – do I need two magnetic boards set up differently for different levels? Once I have the materials in hand it will probably be easier to figure this out but I’m stumped for now.
THanks

Amy J

says:

I started with my 3rd grader and went through levels 1 and 2. Now in 4th grade we sailed through Level 3. Level 4 required slowing down as we found more of her gaps. I like the way Merry did it. The Review process is definitely key. Even if something interrupts our day, we still do the review cards. She is applying learned concepts to spelling words while writing — even in an email!!

Great program to start at any age!

Merry

says:

Hi Kori,

Some people do use different boards, but you can use the same magnet board with both of them. Put the phonograms that only the older one has learned on a different end of the board. If you mount your board, you may want the phonograms both use near the bottom and the extra ones for your oldest near the top. If your board is not mounted, then visually you might want to put the ones both use at the top, and the ones for the oldest only at the bottom.

For your younger child learning to read, you may want to check out All About Reading: https://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-reading/ Marie recommends completing All About Reading Level 1 first, and then adding in the Spelling program. This way students get a solid start in reading first, and have a strong basis for spelling as well. HTH! Merry :-)

Dawn

says:

I love how you turned your white board vertically. Great use of space!

Cheryl

says:

Thanks for sharing. We are just starting level 3 (with my 4th grader) and have been doing a lesson almost every day. Maybe we need to slow down! He seems to be getting it though.

Bethany

says:

Thanks for sharing! We have just started using All About Spelling and All About Reading and we love how user friendly it is! :)

silver

says:

I’m going to be starting AAS level 1 with my son in a few weeks, so it was nice to see how another family uses it. Thanks for the post!

Alycia

says:

I really enjoyed this post and it shed a whole new light on AAS for me. I purchased AAS for my younger children, ages 7 and 8, so Level 1 was the only Level I have looked into up to this point. I never realized that my 10 year old could benefit from the program as well….I didn’t realize it went further than Level 2! duh…..I guess I have tunnel vision sometimes! We are definitely switching him over to AAS now.

Pamela

says:

Thanks for the insight into how this program works in daily life. Would love to see an article like this for the the All About Reading Pre 1 Level!!

Brooke

says:

What a great post! I pulled my second grader out of P.S. in March and we started with AAS1, we will finish up level 2 this week. Most of it has been a review, so we have been able to go at a much quicker pace than what I imagine the next levels will entail. Thanks for sharing what AAS looks like in your house. I plan to keep some of these ideas in mind once she moves into a more difficult level.

Hi there, I do think your website could be having browser compatibility issues.
Whenever I look at your site in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in I.
E., it’s got some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Aside from that, excellent site!

This is great to see and read about! I’m excited about this program, but I’m years away with a preschooler. One day, we’ll get there and I already know this is where I want to go. Being able to really see it visually like this helps. I love to see that you made your white board go vertically, that’s a great idea!!

Robin E.

says:

I do things kind of differently. We do do short lessons, aiming for 15 minutes or so. However, I’m not so regular from week to week. I just “do the next thing”, sometimes it’s review, sometimes it’s new teaching, sometimes it’s a step in a day, sometimes it’s a step in two weeks.

Beth

says:

Thanks for sharing your week with AAS! I will just be starting the program with my daughter during this next school year, and this description was very helpful.

Fe

says:

Thanks for this!
I’m currently using level 3 with my 8 yo… we started last year, and went through levels one and two relatively briskly. Level 3 though, is obviously the ‘right’ level, because he’s now learning with every lesson (and actually, I think I missed _precisely_ the spot where we should have slowed down:-( )
I found this post really valuable for showing how to split up a lesson over a block of time—until quite recently, we were doing a new step each day… But that’s no longer an appropriate pace, so this is very timely:-)

mary foreman

says:

Thanks for sharing your week! This year, we switched from Spell to Write and Read, so most of the concepts were more review and reinforcement, and we flew through 4 levels. Next year, though, I think we will be slowing down more with levels 5 and 6 AND I will be starting my 5 year old on level 1, so it is very helpful to see how to break it up into more than one day per lesson. I’m bookmarking this page for future reference!

Jennifer Brunsvold

says:

Merry,
Thank you for taking the time to show us (in pics! also!!) :) how you use AAS in your home. I always find it helpful to see how others utilize the program. My second and first grader are currently in the program but I’ll be adding another one next year as well. I was wondering – do you add any other vocabulary words for them to do or just focus on the words listed in each lesson?
Thanks so much!! :) We are enjoying the program and I also love your idea to place the tiles vertically!! How creative!

Merry

says:

Hi Jennifer,

I don’t add on vocabulary. My favorite way to teach vocabulary is through read-alouds and conversation. We’ve always used our normal vocabulary with our children, and I give a definition as I speak with a simple restatement. We read-aloud every night (they still enjoy this at 15 & 13!), and I sometimes stop to see if they know a word or phrase, or sometimes they will stop me and ask about a word. If I don’t feel I can give an adequate definition, we pull out the dictionary and look it up together. I’ll probably do some Greek and Latin roots (which Level 7 will also include!) for a semester course in high school at some point, but I haven’t chosen a program for that yet. Marie had some articles on vocabulary in her newsletter last fall: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/newsletter-october-25-2011/ HTH! Merry :-)

Jennifer Brunsvold

says:

Yes, thank you Merry! We too love read alouds and I’m so glad to hear how your family learns. Thank you again for sharing!

Mary

says:

Thank you so much for sharing your day. The pictures helped and it was so fun to see your kid’s silliness. I plan to use AAS next year with my 3rd grader and I can’t wait to get started.

Kellie

says:

Oh, how I wish this blog post was around when we were first starting. I had a hard time getting my groove when we started the program and ended up shelving it for a few months. But then I gave it another try after reading some comments on The Well-Trained Mind forums, and it finally clicked. Now we’re in Level 4, and our day is similar to yours — we even have our white board turned vertically as well.

Excellent post!

Deb Robertson

says:

I see that you have the “jail” on your board. Did you just put a magnet on the back? I haven’t really figured out a good way to use this visual. Do you just have it there as a visual reminder or do you attach rule breaker words to it? Just curious.

Merry

says:

Hi Deb,

We’re kind of jail fanatics here, so yes, I *had* to put the jail on my board! I put several of the little letter-tile magnets on the back. I wish now that I had laminated the jail first, as it has gotten a lot of use! I took the time to cut out between the bars with an exacto-knife. The idea of little miscreant words having to peek through the bars totally appealed to me, LOL! (and to my daughter–she loves to put words in jail!). We make the word with tiles first, and then put the jail over top of the tile word. But you can use it with the word cards as well.

I have friends who didn’t bother to cut out the jail, but put it on the wall like a poster. One tapes word cards below it, while another simply lists the rule-breakers below. HTH! Merry :-)

Deb Robertson

says:

Merry – Thank you for the ideas. My kids will LOVE this use of the jail. I can’t wait to make the change.

Jen Henderson

says:

Merry – If you ever need to replace your jail, I have a tip for you. Instead of all that tedious x-acto knife work between the bars (yes, I have done this too…), simply cut out the entire jail window, bars and all. Put clear packing tape over the window on both front and back (so the sticky sides stick to each other). Then simply redraw the bars on the packing tape, using a Sharpie marker. MUCH faster and easier!

Angela Statler Naramore

says:

I loved seeing the pictures of homeschooling in actions with AAS! Thanks! I’m getting ready to start my first year of AAS with my soon-to-be 6 y.o. I think I will definitely keep the timer/limits in mind as she is very young, and I don’t want her to be discouraged because of it being time laborious! She seems to have an easier time with spelling, so I don’t think I WILL STRUGGLE with limiting the time:)

Janell

says:

It’s great to see this product “in action”…I’ve been considering AAS/AAR for my DD, age 8. It looks like I’d want to get a separate white board just for this, instead of having to take all those great magnet tiles on and off for every lesson. Thanks for the food for thought!

Michelle

says:

Thanks! I love to see how others do things to get ideas for changing/improving our lessons.

Heidi

says:

Hi Merry, thanks so much for this. I have 2 quick questions I am wondering if you might have some insight about. First, my dd is #5 of 5, going into 8th grade. I am a ‘natural’ speller and my kids were split 50/50 so far. I used Sanseri’s Spell to Write and Read early on but this dd needed something different. How do you suggest using the program efficiently without boring her? She is a natural speller but she doesn’t think she ‘needs’ the concepts and rules, she just “feels” it out. I would like to cement her knowledge but she is resistant. I have level 2 and we got about a quarter way through so far. Second question, is there a forum or a board for AAS that we may sell/trade/give away our levels we are finished with? I have no other students under this one so would like to pass on the bounty :)
Thanks again!

Merry

says:

Hi Heidi,

If she already knows how to spell the words in a level, then I would simply teach the concept to her and have her teach it back to you, without focusing on all of the easy words and dictations. Fast track until you get to harder words.

Another thing that sometimes works with older or advanced students is to show them a word and ask a question–see if she can teach why the word is spelled that way before you’ve done the lesson. If she can, move on to the next lesson. As an example–in step 3 when they learn that English words don’t end in i, show her the word “why,” and ask if she knows why it doesn’t end in the letter i. If she knows that words don’t end in i, move on. If not, teach that concept and move on after she teaches it back on a few more words. She probably has that list memorized already and doesn’t need to spell them all.

Does she like working with children? If so, another approach might be to have her help out another mom from your homeschool group, by teaching the program to one of her children. You would go over the lesson with her in order to show her how to teach it–she’d be learning it herself as well without realizing it (because we have to learn things in order to teach them). That’s an option that can work well for some families. She could do a once or twice a week lesson teaching the concept, and the mom could handle the review and dictation, as one possible way of breaking things up. This could work into high school credit for her for 9th grade too.

Resale–we do have a message board but not a place for selling materials. Our board is http://community.allaboutlearningpress.com/

But there is a privately run AAS email loop on yahoo groups. You could also try Homeschool Classifieds, The Well-Trained Mind, or other sites that have used boards. HTH some! Merry :-)

Sharon

says:

I have been looking at AAS to use with my dyslexic dd next school year. I really enjoyed your in-depth view of how the program looks on a daily basis.

Tennille

says:

Wow! That was so helpful! This makes AAS seems much more do-able. I’ve always been intimidated by this program, but after seeing your pictures and your schedule, I think I might try it next year.

Rachel

says:

Thank you so much for this post!! I have wondered how much review, and dictation I’m supposed to be doing, my daughter is into the second level, and doing very well remembering new rules, but I haven’t ever included words from the more words section. You said in your post that you mix old words with a few of the new words each day to spread out learning the new words over a few days. Do you have a method for that? Or do you just grab random words? Also, with your 2-5 minutes of review, what exactly are you reviewing? Thanks for all your help!
Rachel

Merry

says:

I think the words end up more mixed in the older levels when some words need a lot more review time than others. But one easy way to mix up your review is to do just a few words from your daily review, and a few words that are in the mastered section.

After introducing the 10 new words, the word cards are to be placed in the daily review tab. I like to spread these out over several days rather than reviewing all 10 the next day. This way they aren’t just depending on the pattern to say them all. Additionally, I don’t move word cards to mastered until a Monday, so that they have to remember them over the weekend. Eventually they end up with some older cards that didn’t get moved to mastered yet, mixed in with newly learned words. Then I shuffle the cards or alternate them (one new, one old). You don’t want a huge stack of words in daily review–if you have more than 20, then it’s probably time to spend some extra time reviewing and see if any of them can be moved to mastered. You don’t want to move through the steps so quickly that these cards stack up. But 10 new plus 5-10 older words is manageable, and you can review several each day.

The 2-5 minutes is mainly for review of any cards behind the daily review tabs–phonogram, sound, key, or word cards. If you don’t have any cards behind the daily review tabs, then you can either skip review for that day or choose to spend a couple of minutes reviewing mastered cards. I have struggling learners, so I add in extra review on the days when we have nothing in daily review. I might choose to review a bunch of phonogram, sound, or key cards for example.

(I actually add in additional weekly and monthly reviews that many kids don’t need but that really seems to help solidify things for my kids. I love that the review system is so easy to modify for our kids’ needs!).

HTH some, Merry :-)

Rachel

says:

Merry,
Yes! That helps quite a bit! I will be figuring out how to begin integrating this review into the kids work this weekend! For the younger children in lessons before the 3rd level, would you recommend doing a review, a selection of words for spelling practice, and the dictated phrases each day? and, do you ever have an official “spelling test” of the 10 words? Or do you jut continue reviewing them each day till they spell it correctly without help and move it to the mastered section?
I really appreciate your time put in to answering so many people’s questions! thank you!
Rachel

Merry

says:

Hi Rachel,

I’ve always started each day with any cards in the daily review tab. Sometimes in the lower levels there weren’t any, so then I went right into the book. I do like to spread the dictations out over a few days. One, because it can be a lot of writing for little ones (or for reluctant writers, kids with dysgraphia, and so on), and two because then they are thinking about the recent words/concepts a bit longer. I always did this by doing the 10 words, then some dictations, then the reinforcement words, then more dictations, and so on, until we were done after a few days. But some people like to use the dictations from the previous step as they do the new step, and that’s fine too.

I’ve never done a “spelling test,” but I do watch for misspelled words in their writing or in later dictations, and put them back in daily review if it’s a problem later. Also, each level schedules a mastered review. For good spellers, you can do just a selection of cards from each step. For kids who struggle, I personally like to shuffle them all and review all of them. Any that they miss would go back in daily review here (and stay a bit longer to try to solidify them–and might be joined by any related phonogram, sound, or key cards). Then after they are mastered, these cards would stay in the review box until the next time a mastered review came up. HTH! Merry :-)

Rachel

says:

Thanks so much! That helps tons!!

Ashley

says:

It’s so fun to see it in action-we JUST started level one last week. I bought it because I really liked how the day-to-day looked on the Confessions of a Homeschooler blog. It’s fun to see even higher levels in this post. I can see this totally fitting my family for many years to come :)

Leslie Dixon

says:

Thank you so much for sharing! I’m starting my first “official” year of homeschooling next year. Your blog helps me feel not so overwhelmed that I’m going to be working on subjects for hours a day! Thank you for breaking it down for me!!

Amanda

says:

Thanks for sharing. It’s always nice to see how something really works in someone’s home.

Joy

says:

I only see one day you mention dictation. Is that right? We end up spending a lot of time with dictation.

Merry

says:

Hi Joy,

I start dictation on day 2 (where it says that I dictate words and several sentences). Usually we do dictatin for 3-4 days. HTH! Merry :-)

Aimee

says:

I like how you break that lesson up into several days. Right now we’re just reviewing concepts (he already knows the words from reading) so we do one lesson a day but I know that will have to change as the lessons become more challenging. Thanks for the post.

Jasmine

says:

Thanks for the visuals and for sharing how you do this. Very helpful!

Rebecca

says:

Thank you for sharing this. It reminded me of how important it is to use the program completely to get the best results. We need to work on making time for review :-)

Samantha

says:

It is really helpful to see it all broken down like this, in a visual way of how it works for another family. The pictures helped a ton, thank you!

Shannon

says:

LOVED the pictures…thanks for the visual. I liked how you set up your board.

Excellent goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too wonderful. I actually like what you’ve
acquired here, certainly like what you are saying and the way in which you say
it. You make it entertaining and you still care for to keep it smart.
I cant wait to read much more from you. This is really a tremendous website.

Ruthie

says:

Thanks for this! Love the vertical idea. It’s nice to see that you’re having success breaking it up too. I’m doing large chunks and they may get it better doing a little every day.

Heather

says:

Thank you so much. I have been struggling to figure out how to make this all work without overwhelming my son or stringing it out too long. This will really help us out.
I really love this program.

Darlene

says:

We absolutely LOVE AAS! My daughter is writing now! She was always so hesitant to write but now is happy to do her sentences and spelling and workbooks etc. Thank you AAS

Merry

says:

Darlene, that’s awesome! Congratulations to your daughter!

Ruby

says:

Merry, thanks for sharing a day in your life with AAS…I think I’ll give your schedule a try with my son. I also turned my board & hung it on a door. Since we school in our dining/living area, I like that I can easily slip it off the door hook & stash it if we have guests. AAS works (as long as I’m consistently doing it!)!
-4them/Ruby

Erica

says:

I like your idea for putting the jail on the board. I will have to add magnets to mine. Thanks for the idea!

Liesl T

says:

Thank Merry,
We just finished level 4 and our week is similar to yours. I am SO very thankful for AAS and recommend it to everyone.

Sandi W

says:

Looks like a really interesting program.

Natalie Y.

says:

Thanks for sharing all your pictures! Love the idea of hanging the board vertically!

Carolyn

says:

Thanks for sharing how you do this Merry. I have been unsure about how to make it work – I am going to be trying how you do this. By the way – thanks for introducing me to AAS over on the SL boards. :)

Jen

says:

I have used All About Spelling this year with my youngest who is dyslexic. She has struggled to learn to read, but this program has helped her retain many phonics rules that went by too quickly in her regular curriculum. Also, the hands on approach in using the letter tiles is exactly what she needed. We went through levels 1-3 this year. I was amazed at how much she already knew, but just needed to cement in her mind. We are looking forward to using level 4 and possibly level 5 for her 6th grade year. :) We have been able to do a lesson on average in one day, but we took 2 days on some that I felt she needed more time with. I expect that this rate will slow down in level 4 and 5, and then I will probably check back here to reread these tips.

Merry

says:

Hi Jen,

Yes, I found as I got into Level 4 and up that our pace slowed down considerably. If you start to notice that she is getting words or patterns mixed up, getting words wrong in dictation, forgetting words that were previously mastered and so on, that’s a sign to really slow down the pace and do more review. I like to not move any of the word cards to mastered until a Monday. That way my kids have to remember it over the weekend, and not just the next day. Students with dyslexia do tend to need lots and lots of review. Hang in there! Email with questions any time, we provide lifetime support for all of our materials.

Hello to every one, as I am genuinely keen of reading this webpage’s post to be updated daily. It consists of nice information.

What’s Going down i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve discovered It positively
useful and it has aided me out loads. I’m hoping to give a contribution & assist different users like its helped me. Good job.

Lori TenHaken

says:

We love AAS and we really enjoyed seeing your day in action with AAS as well.
Thanks for sharing!
Blessings,

Karen

says:

It’s fun to see the higher levels in action! My oldest is nearly finished with Level 3, and it’s been cool to watch the levels get more challenging and add more twists (like the Writing Station). Thanks for sharing what AAS looks like in your home!

Missy L.

says:

Up to this point we’ve been successful spending 2-3 days a week on spelling, but now that we’re half way through level 3 I can see a need to spend more time on the review. Thanks for these suggestions! Very helpful!

Jill

says:

Thanks for that little peek into your school Merry. And thanks for all the help and support. I know you’ve helped me many times and are always so quick to answer my questions!

Diane Y

says:

I was wanting to use this with my older children this next year but wasn’t sure how that would work, now I can see that it will work great. Thanks so much!

Cheryl Baranski

says:

Looking for a spelling program that will improve my sons spelling.
I have one that is 7 going into 2nd grade and one that is 11 going into 6th grade.
Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated.

Cheryl B

Merry

says:

My kids were at the end of 5th and 3rd grades when I started. The beginning level will go pretty fast for your oldest. He’ll likely have the words memorized already, and will just need to learn the concepts because each level builds on the last. So my advice with him would be to not bog him down with the easy words in Level 1, but focus on the concepts and having him teach those back to you on a few words. Fast track through in the beginning until you hit harder words.

But that’s the other thing to watch for–some people get so used to going through the beginning level or two quickly that they miss that time when they need to slow down. If he starts to forget words that he just learned a few steps ago, then you know that you need to slow things down, give him time over more days to learn a new concept, and spend more time in review. If he already struggles with spelling, make sure to do lots and lots of review (perhaps more than you would expect to need).

Older students might also outgrow the letter tiles, and that’s ok. You can use them for demonstrations and let him decide if wants to use them or just write on paper or a white board. Or if using them at all would offend him, you can write on paper or a white board and use underlining or color to show letters that work together as one phonogram.

For your 2nd grader–just take things at his pace. For both–enjoy!

carlyn

says:

love the way your board is set up! i have been looking into us getting a bigger board. thanks!

Donna Kahl

says:

I keep reading the emails you send me. My son is in 9th grade this year. Spelling and writing is a weak area for my son. Would you recommend using this starting in our 10th grade year of homeschooling? IF so, do I start at the beginning?

Merry

says:

Hi Donna,

Great question! For a 10th grader, you have to be willing to adjust the first few levels 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.

As an 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 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? http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-spelling-level-should-we-start-with will help you decide which level your student should 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 son 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 son hits words he doesn’t already know.

You also don’t have to use the letter tiles if your teen would find these offensive. 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.

Sometimes it can be hard to get an older student on board with starting over like 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.

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

ANA

says:

Thank you for sharing I was wondering if this would work for my 7th grader and after reading your blog I’m a believer!! Thank you again!

Carrie

says:

I love seeing your magnetic board! I hadn’t thought of putting the jail on this board—I’m going to do that for ours, also :).

maryl

says:

Thanks….It was good to see it in action when I’m wavering on what spelling curriculum to use. I think I’m going to do it!

Amy

says:

Always helpful to have a visual – thanks for sharing.

Janna Graham

says:

Great info. Would love to see other families post their days too :)

Stacey

says:

Thanks for sharing! I’m currently looking at implementing this next year for my 1st grader and this was helpful in giving a snapshot of one way the program can work!

Your method of telling all in this post is in
fact pleasant, every one be capable of easily understand it,
Thanks a lot.

Leanne Reed

says:

It is helpful to see your white board in action, especially since a door is the only place we will have to put one. I love the jail!

Deb Robertson

says:

Thank you so much for sharing. It was very helpful to read how others are using AAS.

Sabrina

says:

I love the way this program is set up to be “mastery based”. I firmly believe that children should master aspects of literacy before moving on to the next ‘lesson’.

Stephanie

says:

THANK YOU! I am stoked to get started using this program this coming school year. I have Level 1 all prepped and ready to go!

Sarah

says:

It’s definitely cool seeing how it works with older kids! My oldest is just 5 and starting it, so our day looks rather differently just in terms of what she can get through. So it’s neat getting an idea of where we might be going.

Denise B.

says:

Thank you for sharing your day with us. I do not homeschool my kids but I am ALWAYS looking to learn better ways to help them with their spelling and reading. You gave me some good ideas to use in our home!

christine

says:

Loved your post. Your “jail” is awesome!

Greetings from Idaho! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to check out your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I enjoy the info you present here and can’t wait to take a look when
I get home. I’m amazed at how fast your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .
. Anyways, very good blog!

jeanine

says:

thanks for sharing how this looks first hand!

Joelle

says:

Thank you for sharing this. I have started AAS with my youngest 2, but not sure how it would look for my older kids. Now I have an idea of how it could look! Thank you!

Joanna

says:

You do such a great job at doing the program as it was meant to be done. I need to start doing that. My box is not big enough for all the word cards so I just stopped using them and I always forget to review! Then when I remember I am essentially teaching it all again because we have both forgot. My next order I am ordering the box for the cards!

Barbie

says:

Thank you so much for sharing this. I haven’t ordered yet, but it was nice to see a “lesson in life”. I think AAproducts and my family will get along great. :)

Heather Reich

says:

Thanks for the glimpse into your week! I’ve recently started breaking our Level 3 lessons into smaller chunks and it works so well!

Angela

says:

Thanks for your insite. It’s helpful to see a week in the life of AAS!

I love how you divide this up by days. Makes it look so simple.

Angie C.

says:

Thanks for doing this! Now I’m not worried that I can do it too!

Chrystina S

says:

This is what I needed! I’m so visual and love that you took the time to include this! Thank you All About Learning!

Brandi

says:

I love seeing a daily glimpse at how people do things! Thanks!

Jess

says:

I love this! My son just finished level 1. When he saw the photo of the white board with all the tiles on it he got really excited!

No matter if some one searches for his essential thing, thus he/she wants to be available that in detail, therefore
that thing is maintained over here.

Jewel

says:

Thanks for your blog. I am using AAS with my 1st grader this year, but I’ve always wished I’ve used it with my 6th grader, also. Now, thanks to your blog, I’m realizing that I can! I’m excited about trying out your techniques.

Merry

says:

Jewel, my oldest started with only a month left in 5th grade, so you can start with older ones. (We’ve had high schoolers and even adults go through the program). You have to tweak it to meet their needs because the words are easy to start. Your focus at the beginning is on the concepts, which is why I went through level 1 in only 3 weeks with my oldest. He already had words like “cat” and “kept” memorized, so he didn’t need to spend more time practicing those words. But he did need to learn the concepts–why does one use C and the other use K. These same concepts apply to longer words like concentrate. HTH!

Katherine

says:

Jewel and Merry, We started our triplet 13yo boys with AAS after realizing the other spelling program we were using wasn’t teaching them the rules. We also breezed through Level 1 in 3 weeks focusing mostly on the concepts. Level 2 has been equally “breezy” and most days they ask to do spelling. That makes this mama happy! We don’t have room for a bigger board – even vertically – so I have the magnets on two 11×17 boards tucked away neatly in a drawer that we use on the tabletop.

Merry

says:

Great adaptation, Katherine!

Amy S

says:

Thanks, Merry! I appreciate the visuals :)

Brandy Reed

says:

Thanks for these insights! I am anxious to begin this next year of spelling!

Wendy

says:

Love how you turned your dry erase board vertically. Great idea!

Natalie

says:

Thanks for sharing! I like to peer into the subjects of other HS families and see if there’s something that will work for us.

Rebekah

says:

I love this! Thank you for giving me some visuals and tips. My guy loves using All About Spelling.

Jill

says:

Thanks for sharing! It was great to seehow another family sets up theirprogram. I like that it is a little bit daily. We usedto just do one or two 30-40 minute lessons per week. But i really like this style. We are just starting level three so i look forward to learningmore about the writing stations!

Merry

says:

Hi Jill,

Yes, one advantage of the short, daily lessons is that the brain assimilates the information better. Marie had a great article on The Funnel Concept that explains why: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/working-memory-funnel-concept/

Shannon G

says:

I like the funnel concept, but I think the program is built so it applies to a whole lesson, which doesn’t necessarily need to be broken into smaller parts for learning to occur.

Merry

says:

Yes, and in the earlier levels you can sometimes do a whole lesson in the 20 minutes that AAS recommends. A lot depends on what the child already knows and how easy or difficult the concept is for your child. AAS is easy to adjust to each child’s needs. What I found as we got to the higher levels with my struggling spellers is that they needed more than 1-2 days on a concept in order to truly master and retain it, and know when to apply it. Some kids have gone through all 6 levels of AAS in just 2 years, but my kids wouldn’t retain most of it at that pace! I do frequently get emails from people who say that their students are not retaining the information, and with a little investigating I often find that they either are spending only a 1-2 days on lessons, or they aren’t doing the review (or both). The new lessons are pushing out all of the recently learned information and none of it is retained. The takeaway for me is to be in tune with your kids and know what they need to truly master the material, whether that’s a day, a week, or longer. If we build a good, solid foundation to begin with, the going is much easier!

Mrs. Cordova

says:

Hi, I know this is a bit late for me to reply to your information. I actually like what you have post, and I do believe for children of all age it is very importanta for them to master a subject , many children in middle school might soar through the lower levels of the program, but when they start the levels 4, 5, and 6 they might take more time. I am with you spelling should not be something that will be practice once or twice a week it needs daily practice, and repetition. The idea of working on a step for a week is a great concept, I do the same with my children.

Jana

says:

Hi Merry, thanks for post. It was neat to see how you use AAS. We love the program too and have been using it for a while now. I just read the article you mentioned about the funnel concept. Really good information…thanks for sharing that. One thing I love about AAS is the wonderful customer service. We have communicated several times over the course of our usage with the program. Keep up the good work!

Charlene

says:

Thanks for the tips. We just purchased levels 1 and 2 of AAS and are excited to get started. This blog will help keep my days running smoothly.

sudha

says:

Thanks this really gave me an idea as to how to start spelling with children.

Lori

says:

Thanks for sharing your day! It’s great to “see” how others use the program & you gave me some good tips.

Jennifer Madigan

says:

This looks like a great program

Jill

says:

I love the cut out Jail idea. Thanks for sharing!!

Leave a comment