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Is All About Spelling Right for My Child?

All About Spelling Right for my child?

Spelling can be a challenge for some kids. But whether you’re a homeschool veteran or just starting out, you’re probably here because you want to do whatever it takes to help your child master this critical subject.

In an ideal world, you could teach spelling and it would just “click” for your child. But alas, that often isn’t the case.

Maybe you started with a spelling program that just didn’t teach in the way your child could understand. Or maybe your child says he “hates spelling” or is having trouble progressing beyond a certain level.

So it’s time to enter problem-solving mode. Maybe you’re curious about All About Spelling, but you have one important question: is AAS right for my child?

You’ve read the product descriptions and reviews, but what you’d really like to know is if the program will be a good match for your child’s unique situation and skills. And that’s why I’ve compiled seven common spelling-related scenarios that are based on situations that parents and educators face every day.

Do any of these situations remind you of your child? Click on a heading to see more!

My child is a natural speller but doesn’t know WHY words are spelled the way they are.
It is such a joy to teach children who are natural spellers! They intuitively pick up spelling patterns, and if you explain a rule, they “get it” right away. Very little review is required, and spelling lessons seem effortless. My daughter was one of these natural spellers.

All About Spelling is perfect for the natural speller. You can move as quickly as your child is able to, while being assured that nothing is skipped.

If your intuition tells you that your child is ready for spelling, you are probably right! If you want more information—or want to confirm your suspicions—check out this post.

Reading comes easy for my child, but spelling is a struggle.
First, please know that this is perfectly normal. Reading is easier for most kids, but good reading doesn’t always translate into good spelling.

This article explains in detail why reading is easier than spelling.

By focusing on spelling separately than reading, you can give special attention to those things that will improve your child’s spelling—and make spelling easier. She’ll learn spelling rules she can rely on. She’ll practice what she’s learned so it becomes ingrained in her long-term memory. She’ll gain confidence as she learns why words are spelled the way they are. Then one wonderful day, you’ll both realize that spelling is no longer a struggle!

Simply put, my child is a “horrible speller.”
Give your kid a hug for me! It isn’t his fault that he is a horrible speller. Most likely, his current spelling program has failed him.

Maybe his previous spelling program wasn’t logical. Maybe it had big gaps that he couldn’t fill in on his own. Maybe it taught too many concepts at one time, or maybe it didn’t teach the spelling strategies that he needed. Most likely, his old spelling program taught a list once and then moved on, never to review it again.

So now’s the time to fill in those gaps! All About Spelling makes that really easy to do, even for older students.

Spelling is a daily battle that we both dread.
My heart goes out to you and your child! When a child hates spelling, it is often because he feels stupid, frustrated, and embarrassed. I’ve seen it over and over: kids who fight against spelling just aren’t being taught in a way that they can understand.

I originally created All About Spelling for my son, who was a struggling learner. We had tried everything, but nothing was working. It was a long road—as I explain in this video—but I was finally able to turn the situation around. And what made the difference? Logical, multisensory lessons that teach one concept at a time, plus carefully sequenced lessons that are mastery-based so children can progress at their own pace.

With All About Spelling, children finish their lessons feeling successful and confident. So instead of being a dreaded subject, spelling can become a favorite subject—or at least a tolerable one!

(You might also be interested in the article “Ideas for Handling Tears and Frustration.”)

My child misspells the same words over and over again.
This is so frustrating for both you and your child! But we can solve it. Several things may be at the heart of your child’s “forgetfulness.”

First, if your child often misspells certain words, it is likely that he has not learned to segment words and hear each sound in a word. And if he can’t hear each sound in the word, he can’t represent the sounds with the correct letter combinations, or phonograms. That is why segmenting and teaching phonograms play such a major part in the All About Spelling program.

But there’s another factor at play. It can be hard for children to remember material that has not been reviewed. The All About Spelling program helps children remember concepts through continual review of previously learned rules and words, even basic ones. Continual review permanently ingrains instruction into children’s brains and, with the All About Spelling program, it only takes two minutes of review per day to make that happen!

If you think your child has memory issues, be sure to download my free report called Help Your Child’s Memory for practical tips.

My child is “stuck” at the third grade level of spelling and now she avoids writing.
Believe it or not, there is a term for this phenomenon: your child has “hit the wall.” This often happens at the third or fourth grade level. Up until this point, many students are able to memorize spelling lists through rote memorization. But there are only so many words that a person can memorize this way, and at higher grades, the words naturally get harder. Your child just can’t jump the hurdle, so she hits the wall instead. At this point, spelling struggles begin to affect a child’s writing ability, and she begins to try to bluff her way through by guessing at how unfamiliar words are spelled, which leads to many mistakes.

It’s a scary time for kids who never learned “why” words are spelled the way they are. After all, more composition is being required of them, but they can’t spell the words with confidence. A downward spiral starts: lack of ability leads to lack of confidence, which in turn leads to stress and avoidance. Without intervention, poor spelling and a lack of confidence in writing will plague students their entire lives.

But All About Spelling is exactly what a discouraged and uncertain student needs. Our lessons are step by step and mastery-based so your child will gain confidence in spelling every step of the way. In our program, once your child has mastered spelling words using letter tiles, we make spelling dictation a part of every lesson. This continual reinforcement of what has been learned builds confidence in writing and spelling.

My child has special needs.
All About Spelling was originally created for kids who struggle with spelling (including my own child), so you can be confident that we keep special needs in mind every step of the way.

In addition, the following articles address specific learning difficulties:

These are just seven possible scenarios. They represent the most common issues, but definitely not all! So if you ever run into a problemor just want someone to brainstorm withcontact us. Our lifetime support policy means you’re never on your own!

Which of the above scenarios describes your child best?

Photo credit: Rachel Neumann

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Angela

says:

I have one using pre-reading and one using AAR level 1. I’ve been curious about the AAS. We may start that next year

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Let me know if you have any questions or need more information about All About Spelling, Angela.

Allison Mobley

says:

Before we started using All About Spelling my children and I dreaded spelling. We’ve been using AAS for three years now and look forward to the spelling lessons every day. AAS is not only fun, but it has taught both my children and me how to become better spellers.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Wonderful, Allison! Thank you for sharing just how well All About Spelling has worked for your family and how much you are enjoying it. 😊

Jennifer

says:

I am using AAS for my 11 and 8 year old daughters. We started at Level 1 like recommended. My girls have improved their spelling so much already and we are still in Level 1. Spelling has become their favorite subject.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Great to hear, Jennifer! Sometimes people are unsure that starting with level 1 is the right thing for their older student, but it really makes a difference. Thank you for sharing this!

Sarah

says:

This program has been wonderful for three of my children. Highly recommend! Open and go takes the stress out of it.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Sarah! I’m pleased to hear the program has been working so well for you.

Maria Clayton

says:

My 4th grade son has almost finished AAS 1. it has made such a huge difference. He really likes knowing and understanding the rules. He was in speech therapy until recently, which I think impacted his spelling. (Is there an article on that?) Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Marie,
No, we don’t have an article or blog post on how speech difficulties might impact spelling. Interesting idea. I’ll pass it along.

Will G

says:

I always loved spelling bees.

Melanie Shea

says:

Excited to begin this fall!

Molly

says:

We aren’t ready for spelling yet but I look forward using AAS when we are ready.

Floriana

says:

My child has severe dyslexia and doesn’t like reading at all, would this program help her enjoy reading? She is 6.5 years old.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

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

You might like to visit our Dyslexia Resources Page.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Miranda

says:

would love to use this program with my kids!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Great, Miranda! Do you have any questions, need help with placement, or anything else? Just let me know.

Julie

says:

I look forward to trying the program when it becomes available again! The website explains everything so clearly, and I was able to get a good understanding of the program. In this post, I was really happy to read the “questions” above, as it really helped me to connect why the program might work for us. Thank you for taking the time to set this up in such a helpful way! :-)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Julie,
I am very helpful to hear that our website and this blog post specifically has been helpful for you in determining whether our program will be a good fit!

Julie

says:

Thank you Robin! 🙂

Keri

says:

I think this would work well for my child

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Do you have any questions or need more information, Keri? Just let me know!

holly wells

says:

We LOVE all about!!

Tara

says:

Seems like a good option

Christina Corona

says:

I hope to start with my kindergartener this month!

Margaret

says:

AAS is awesome!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Margaret! 😊

Stacey

says:

We love all about spelling! It’s really helped my daughter have a grasp on how to spell right from the start.

Becki

says:

I would love to see some info about teaching reading and spelling to kiddos with apraxia. My older kids are doing well with AAR and AAS, but I am wondering about the process with my two younger boys, both with apraxia. The older one is almost 5 and we will be starting pre-reading. He struggles with dropping initial sounds to words, such as pider (spider) or switching sounds, such as pantake (pancake). It takes a lot of repetition to fix one word. He does have a lot of words though. I don’t know all of his younger brother’s struggles as he is just barely 3 and has very few words. I know there are a lot of parents in the apraxia community that are curious about this too.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Becki,
When we had an inquiry a few years ago about using our pre-reading program with a child who has apraxia, this is what Marie (the author) had to say:

“I tutored one child who had childhood verbal apraxia, and here are some observations and ideas:
The child I tutored had regular sessions with an SLP (speech-language pathologist). His daily homework consisted of building vocal motor skills, with much repetition on specific sound combinations (including rhyming words) and mouth motor skills. AAR Pre-reading includes rhyming skills (recognizing rhyme, repeating rhyme, and producing rhyme), so that may be beneficial for your son. If your son is not yet able to produce rhyme, the work on recognizing rhyme is still very beneficial.

For young children with any disability, teaching time woven into playful activities is very motivational. One of my main goals with our pre-reading program is to motivate children to want to learn to read, and playful activities are a big part of that. When I observed the SLP work with the child with apraxia, she incorporated playful activities into therapy time.

Apraxic children have to work harder than other children to communicate, and perhaps Ziggy (the puppet) would provide a reason for your son to make the extra effort.

It is generally easier for people with apraxia to imitate speech than to come up with words to say. In other words, if you ask the child to repeat after you, it is easier for him to produce the words. With a bit of tweaking to the lessons, I think that Ziggy could be a good model for the child to imitate.”

We have had reports since then that All About Reading has been helpful for their students with apraxia. Because All About Reading is a mastery-based program, there is no predetermined speed to move through the program. This allows the freedom to take as much time as needed for each child to succeed.

I am going to speak with our team about considering a blog post about apraxia and All About Reading and All About Spelling. Thank you for the suggestion. If you have any other questions, please let us know.

Graeme

says:

I have taught the Word Study course for UVA and I love how AAS fits perfectly with the developmental approach to spelling instruction. This easy to follow program has been a wonderful tool for teaching students with dyslexia and my own son who struggles with spelling. This program teaches spelling in a systematic and sequential format.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Graeme,
Thank you for this review of All About Spelling.

Amanda

says:

Hi Marie, my son is in 1st and we are in the 2nd year of AAS and he’s struggling! The letter tiles/whiteboard seem to be a distraction more than anything (but love the concept ans am sure it works well for many!). The main issue: blends. He can’t seem to hear them or spell them. Also drops letters. In a word like ‘stamp’ he will spell it ‘samp’ or especially now that we are doing phrases, he will miss some letters/words. Often reverses ‘is’ to be ‘si’ and spells ‘magnet’ like ‘magit.’ I am a little overwhelemed bc he has a spelling test every Mon at school (part-time homeschool) and is making 50’s. How can I work with him to improve? We’ve tried re-writing the misspelled words/phrases right after the test, but then Inwill immediately re-test him and he misses the same words again. My gut is that he is better at seeing a word and ‘remembering’ what it is spelled like rather than sounding it out, but that probably won’t scale??? Thoughts? And btw – we love your AAR and AAS over all!!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amanda,
It sounds like your son is in AAS 2 now, is that correct? How did he do with the blends and compound words in AAS 1 (Steps 13-15, and Step 22)? Did he master those words (to the point where they are easy for him and he doesn’t have to stop and think or self-correct when he spells them), or are they still a challenge? The words in those level 1 Steps work on the same concepts that he is struggling with now, but at an easier level. So if they are challenging, I recommend backing up before moving on again.

The types of errors you describe suggest that he has not mastered how to hear each sound in a word in order. He knows that the word “is” has an i and an s, but he seems to not be sure which order the two letters should go. If he was spelling by sound, he would hear that the i has to come first and the s has to come last.

This skill is introduced near the beginning of All About Spelling 1 and is called segmenting. It is an essential skill for being able to hear each sound in a word in order. This blog post discusses the importance of segmenting and breaks down how to do it, complete with a video example.

For the words he misses, here is what I would do:

You said, “In a word like ‘stamp’ he will spell it ‘samp’.”

Have him re-read *exactly* what he wrote. Many kids will see their error right away when they do this, and then correct the word. However, if he reads it as “stamp,” then say, “Actually, this says ‘/s/-/a/-/m/-/p/, samp,’ but we want ‘stamp.’ Do you know what to add to make this say stamp?”

You can do the same when he spells is as si. Have him sound it out exactly as he wrote it. Model the segmenting as he spells every day with him until it becomes natural for him.

You wrote that he “spells ‘magnet’ like ‘magit’.”

I would work through this one in two steps. The missing n is the easiest part; it’s easy to hear that sound is missing when the word is read exactly as written. Segmenting will help with that.

The i instead of an e is a bit trickier. You may have noticed in Step 4 of AAS 2, there’s a note in a gray text box about the schwa sound and the need to pronounce words for spelling. Here’s how you can take it a step further:

First, tell him that when we say words fast in our normal speech, some of the sounds get muffled; we don’t hear them correctly. We need to say them slowly. Then, when you introduce a word, say, “We normally say this word, magnit. I’m going to pronounce this one for spelling. You repeat the pronunciation and then write it. mag-NET.” Make sure he repeats the pronunciation for spelling. When he says the sounds correctly, then have him practice spelling it with the tiles or on paper.

When you get to the point where you are doing the review cards, tell him, “I’m going to say these words how we normally say them. I want you to pronounce them for spelling, and then write them.” If he struggles with the pronunciation, give that to him, have him repeat it, and then write the spelling. Keep the card in review. When he can both pronounce it AND spell it correctly without hesitation, then move the card to mastered.

You can work through his spelling test words the same way, not just rewriting them but helping him to read the misspelled word as it is written and then writing it correctly sound by sound. However, you may need to just focus on All About Spelling for a while and try not to worry about his school spelling tests until he is further along. Once he has a firmer foundation in spelling, his spelling tests will naturally improve.

When he does the dictations, make sure he repeats it back to you correctly before you have him try to write it. That will help him not to miss words. If he still misses a word, have him re-read his dictation to see if he notices the missing word. If not, say the correct dictation for him again, and then see if he can fix his dictation. This blog post explains how to do dictation in detail.

Many kids do try to rely mainly on visual spelling strategies, and this does lead to mixing up letter order or forgetting some letters. These students need help learning how to apply other spelling strategies like segmenting, which is a part of the phonetic strategy. Using two or more strategies together is what will help your son improve in spelling.

How often do you work with him with All About Spelling? Children that struggle with spelling do much better with short daily lessons, and continuous review. We recommend working on spelling 20 minutes a day 5 days a week. If he isn’t up to a full 20 minute lesson on days he attends school (which I completely understand), at least consider a shorter review only lesson. It will help.

I hope this helps. Please let us know if you have any further questions, and please let us know how things progress. We very much want to help you help your son succeed with spelling.

Carrie

says:

I have one son who is a great speller and another who has a lot of trouble spelling. After researching AAS, for what feels like forever, I decided it would be good to try it with both of my sons. We are starting from the ground at level 1, even though my oldest is in fourth grade (the great speller). And I am already finding the strengths and the weaknesses in both of my kids. I feel AAS will strengthen my great speller and turn my not so great speller into a great one. So glad I decided to give AAS a try.

Amanda

says:

AAS has helped my struggling learner build confidence in spelling.

Katie

says:

We use it because my oldest is a great reader but like me a terrible speller. I love it because I a! Learning the rules.

Lori

says:

Looking forward to trying the program.

Maria P.

says:

Would love to try all about spelling. Looking for a good, fun, engaging curriculum for my 5th, 2nd and kindergarten.

Yhessenia

says:

Thank you so much for your efforts into a better education, sharing the blogs and providing helpful tools to help our little ones as I am a true believer of early education.

Erica

says:

Seeing my daughter struggle with reading I was at a loss over how to introduce spelling. I discovered AAS spelling and we are SO happy with how it’s going. This program is so amazing! She loves is and commented during on of the steps “Mom, I love school.” We just received AAR in the mail and cannot wait to start it! I feel it will help her–it’s great to have hope again.

Jo Ann

says:

I have a 16 year old son who has dyslexia and dysgraphia. He has never been able to learn how to spell. Now he’s learning with All About Spelling. I wasn’t sure about using a program where we had to start at level one. I thought he would be embarrassed, however, he’s having such great success that it actually has built his confidence immensely! I was also nervous to teach him with it because I had no experience with the program. It turned out to be SO easy to just follow the instructions and say what I’m told to say. We have more fun with All About Spelling than with any of our other subjects. Thank you so much for this program!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jo Ann,
This is wonderful! I know a lot of parents of older struggling spellers are really unsure about starting at level 1, but it really does work very well! Thank you for taking the time to sharing your son’s story here. I’ll be passing this onto the whole AALP team too!

Kathy Brennan

says:

We love AAS! This program gives confidence to my daughter who has never been a good speller.

Dana

says:

My daughter is in 3rd grade and has just recently been evaluated for ADD. dyslexia and dysgraphia. She is extremely bright and artistically talented . She excels in Math, Reading, History, and Science, but has issues with English and Spelling. She will spell a word correctly in one area of her work, and then will misspell the same word further down the page. It would be great if this program could help reduce her frustration and increase her self-esteem !

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