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Automaticity in Reading and Spelling

Helping Kids Achieve Automaticity in Reading and Spelling - from All About Learning Press

Automaticity is the ability to do something without conscious thought.

For example, as you read this post, you probably aren’t consciously thinking about how to decode every word. You’ve reached automaticity in reading, which helps you pay attention to the content.

It’s similar to when you fry eggs for breakfast. You don’t have to think about each step, like how to crack the egg or flip it with a spatula. You can carry on a conversation with your kids as you turn on the stove and start cooking the eggs. Your mind is freed up for other tasks because you’ve reached the point of automaticity. And that’s what you want for your child.

In reading, you want your child to be able to decode words effortlessly and rapidly, to make the shift from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” Automaticity makes that shift possible.

And in spelling, you want your child to be able to write words correctly in various situations, not just on a dictated spelling list. Ideally, spelling becomes easy and doesn’t require much conscious thought. This allows your child to communicate in writing without difficulty.

Automaticity is one of the main goals in All About Reading and All About Spelling, and every lesson brings your child closer to that goal. Since a child may need to encounter a word thirty times or more before achieving instant recall, we provide lots of practice. The word banks, decodable stories, spelling dictations, and hands-on activities all provide engaging practice in a vast variety of ways.

4 Tips for Developing Automaticity

You know that automaticity is the goal, but it can be difficult to maintain patience and understanding as your child works to develop automaticity! The tips below can help you and your child get through this stage.

1. What’s Easy for You May Be Challenging for Your Child

Sometimes just changing your expectations can take the frustration out of a situation. When things are difficult for your child, take a step back and consider what information might help him. Be patient.

Think about taking a teenager out driving for the first time. If you neglect to tell him that the car will move without the accelerator being pressed or that the brake pedal needs only a light touch, you might have a bit of an uncomfortable ride—or worse!

Giving explicit, step-by-step instruction doesn’t always come naturally, but little tidbits of information help set up a student for success. An activity or subject can seem scary when those tidbits are missing!

Helping Kids Achieve Automaticity in Reading and Spelling - from All About Learning Press

2. Understand that Mastery Comes in Stages

Don’t expect perfection. Instead, begin to teach your child to recognize and correct his own mistakes. For example, during spelling dictation exercises or reading fluency practice, you might say, “You made one mistake. Can you find it?” Children can often find their mistakes upon re-reading a phrase or sentence. Praise your child for any mistakes found or corrected.

3. Additional Work May Be Needed on a Concept

Achieving automaticity is not automatic; it requires regular practice and review. That’s why we’ve built review into every All About Reading and All About Spelling lesson. But if more review is needed, there are lots of ways to provide additional practice without discouraging your child. Remember that learning to read and spell is hard work, so keep review time short and sweet!

Here are a few ideas:

  • Reread the short stories in the lessons to provide extra practice.
  • Don’t be afraid to jump back a few lessons if needed. Do reading activity sheets or reading games again, or practice spelling the words with letter tiles.
  • Make review fun! Try some of the ideas in these blog posts to incorporate practice and review sessions that your child will love.
  • Take advantage of the simultaneous multisensory instruction used in the All About Reading and All About Spelling lessons. The SMI method—which teaches through all three pathways to the brain—really helps learning “stick.”

4. Don’t Overload Your Child’s Funnel

As tempting as it may be, don’t try to teach too many things at once. When you pour too much information into your child’s “funnel,” it becomes difficult for him to retain what he has learned. If your child is struggling with reading, hold off on spelling lessons for a time. And don’t spend too long on reading and spelling lessons. Keep lesson time short—twenty minutes tops!

It’s really no wonder that many children make mistakes as they are learning to read and spell. They are novices who need lots of encouragement, patience, and practice. Remember, you didn’t always know how to fry eggs or drive a car! With time and practice, your child will achieve automaticity in reading and spelling, too.

Do you ever get frustrated while you wait for your child to achieve automaticity in a skill? Leave a comment below and download our free report for more tips!

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Katherine

says:

Just a month ago, my daughter (7) was so frustrated by spelling and, though I coach my kids to remember that it’s okay to make mistakes, she was afraid to even try. Though she can read really well and she spells well *when she does jumping jacks*, she struggles with letter-reversal and switching letters when she writes. And she refused (flat.out.refused! I mean, picture sit-down-strike, arms crossed, brows pinched, teeth clenched, teary refusal.) to simply sound out a word, which I felt could be the key to helping her relax and not worry so much about spelling incorrectly.

At a loss, I Googled “top 10 homeschool spelling curriculum” and “top 10 spelling curricula for dyslexia”: All About Spelling was the ONLY curriculum on both lists, with wonderful reviews.

Now, just two weeks after beginning level 1, she’s excited to learn about “segmenting,” one of those little sounding-out things that I do automatically. As she pulls down a chip for each sound in the word (definitely a kinesthetic learner), I’m seeing big smiles and big success. She is so excited!

The biggest problem is, my 4-year-old keeps jumping into the middle of our lessons. She wants to do All About Spelling, too!
Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Katherine,
Thank you for letting us know how helpful segmenting has been for your daughter! It is a great skill that really opens spelling up for students.

As she moves out of level 1, she may be able to segment by pulling down imaginary chips or tiles. Sometimes it is the movement, not the object, that makes the difference. Be willing to bring the objects back if you think she needs them, however.

Leah Johnson

says:

I would really love to try All About Spelling with my son. I hear wonderful things about it and it seems very thorough.

Alicia

says:

There are phonics and grammar rules explained in a way I’ve never heard. It makes so much sense and helps teaching the littles, a little easier. I’m incredibly grateful for AAS and AAR!

Misti

says:

Enjoying this curriculum with my 2nd grader

Tanya Montgomery

says:

Great tips! I had a reluctant reader and she still struggles but is definitely getting there.

[…] A child may need to encounter a word thirty times or more before achieving instant recall, so All About Reading provides lots of practice. Here’s a post on how to help develop automaticity. […]

Sherry

says:

When my daughter isn’t getting a concept in spelling, when she is actually struggling with it, sometimes we invent spelling games to review what we already know. In a week or so we come back to the new concept that is causing anguish. Usually she is ready for it by then since she was introduced to it earlier. If not, more review of what we already know to gain confidence and then back to trying it again. Eventually it does come.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sherry,
This is a great way to approach difficulties! Thank you for sharing this.

Nicole Young

says:

Great reminders to give them time and space when learning! Thank you for this article!

Susan

says:

My 5 yr old struggles with automaticity. We started in AAR1 with her. It took her a couple of weeks to blend her letters to make words. We are on lesson 22 now and she still sounds out most words. She understands the sounds of each letter and the blends with no problem. We have stopped and reviewed, we do the cards and fluency sheets and she still sounds everything out. Is this normal? Will in click? Do I need to stop the lessons and just review until she stops sounding most words out even though she’s sounding it all out correctly?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Susan,
Reaching the goal of fluent reading will be a gradual process over many lessons. Students may need to read a word thirty times before they can read it fluently without having to sound it out.

The Word Cards allow you to track what has been mastered and what still needs work. Keep word cards in daily review until she can read them easily, without needing to sound them out. Here are some fun review ideas for word cards. The Word cards will stack up as you go–just rotate through a portion for 2-3 minutes each day and then pick up in the book wherever you left off previously.

The fluency pages can be re-used as well. You might enjoy our “Top Tips” for using the Fluency practice pages. (And check out the comments as well–lots of fun suggestions in there!)

How does she doe with the stories? Consider having her read the same story two or even three days in a row, to help her build fluency in her reading. Often children that must sound out almost every word the first day can read the story fluently on the second or third day. This is not memorizing the story, as some assume, but is becoming familiar with the words to the point that they come easily and fluently.

I hope this helps give you some ideas. She will get there!

Julie

says:

Thank you for the driving comparison, I’m currently experiencing that with my 15 year old. I’m guilty of forgetting that a new skill isn’t automatic and that needs to be learned and becoming frustrated too quickly. My 7 year old is moving slowly through AAR level 1, some days he does great and the next he can’t read ‘cat’, without sounding it out. Thanks for the reminder that it will come.

Christine H

says:

This is interesting information. My son can read when we are practicing words and even with his readers but when it comes time for him to read books, he says he can’t enjoy the books if he is reading it. I guess this means that he has not achieved automaticity yet.

Rachel Armock

says:

Great article, it’s good to know that repetition is key and 20 minutes is a good amount of time to spend on a lesson!

Paula B

says:

We recently started All About Reading Level 2 with my child and we are working on reading more fluently. He reread a story from a lesson as suggested above and the 2nd reading was very successful. We love all aspects of All About Reading. Thank you for a wonderful article and suggestions!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Paula,
Thanks for letting us know that rereading a story helped your son be more successful!

AN

says:

Great article! Ty for the information .

Lorna Seadore

says:

We have used All About Spelling for the last three years and it has made a huge difference for my daughter who really struggled with spelling.

Sharon

says:

I love this. You are a mom’s mom. I can teach my child to read easily and I enjoy it!

Jennifer S.

says:

I never thought about it that way. It will certainly help me to be more understanding, especially when my children don’t”get it” as fast as I think they should. Great comparison with driving, as I am teaching that, too!

Angela

says:

I cannot tell you how thankful I am for this All About Spelling program! It has been such a blessing to my children. I have a daughter who was diagnosed with severe Dyslexia in 6th grade. She has struggled all her life in school and was often made fun of. Last year(her 7th grade year), I homeschooled her and started using the AAS program with her. Immediately, her confidence was boosted, she began to feel like she was smart, and she actually wanted to do school! She has made tremendous progress in just one year of using this curriculum! Thank you!!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Angela,
Thank you so much for letting us know how well your daughter has progressed in such a short time! This is touching, and we are so happy to have been a part of it. I’ll be sharing this with the whole AALP team!

Rachel

says:

This is SO helpful! Thank you!!

Pamela Heaberlin

says:

My child is just starting 1st grade and these techniques will help tremendously.

Sherri

says:

I’ll use some of these tips with my son this year! I do get easily frustrated waiting for my kids to master a skill so I hope to work on changing that this year.

Alicia Mitchell

says:

Great article!

Jennifer H

says:

We are just getting started on the journey to reading and it can be very tempting to try to teach a lot at once. A reminder to not overload a child’s funnel is always helpful!

Rosanne

says:

This looks great. Thanks

Margo Aston

says:

The guide cards really helped me facilitate my students readiness for the next concept. This program has great sequencing.

Elizabeth

says:

Do you have any suggestions for someone who has a 6th grader who is still having a tremendously hard time at spelling? I wouldn’t even know where to start in the program to help him. I would love for him to be able to just get it and move forward.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Elizabeth,
We recommend that struggling spellers start with level 1 to build a strong foundation in spelling.

All About Spelling is a building block program with each level building upon the previous one. The rules and concepts learned in Level 1 are applied in Level 2, and then those are applied in Level 3, and so on. Placement for spelling is based on the student’s knowledge of spelling rules and concepts rather than grade level, reading level, or the words a student has memorized.

For 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.” Other students switch letters or leave out letters entirely. This usually occurs because they don’t know how to hear each sound in the word. Level 1 has specific techniques to solve these problems.

The article Should We Start in Level 1 or Level 2? has more information on the concepts taught in level 1 and will help you decide the appropriate starting level.

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 don’t recommend starting higher than level 2.

We do encourage you to “fast track” if the student knows how to spell most of the words but does not understand the underlying basic spelling concepts. In this case, very quickly skim the parts that he already knows and slow down on the parts that he needs to learn. Pull out several words as examples. Make sure he understands the concept being taught, and then move on. This blog article has a good example of how you might fast track.

Christine

says:

Such good recommendations and reminders…. meeting a child where they are with encouragement fosters such a better experience for all and brings forth the best growth!! Appreciate where they are and grow together! Needed to remember these today in my planning time!! Thank you!

Krystil

says:

I needed to hear this today- I’ve been half convinced my oldest is pretending she can’t do things. I guess we’ll see how she does when I let her set the pace!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Krystil,
It is difficult to know sometimes when something is a problem or just a child not wanting to comply. One good test I have found is if the child has a similar problem with non-academic things, like chores. If a child is normally compliant but balks at school, it’s time to take notice. Also, it is best to have the most grace and patience with children in academic things.

Mary S.

says:

All great points to remember! We are taking it much slower this year :)

Andrea M.

says:

Sometimes it is hard not to be in a hurry to get to the next stage. It is good to be reminded to have realistic expectations and to be patient!

Barb S

says:

This is very similar to the SPIRE program many schools use with special education students

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Barb,
Yes, it is. All About Learning Press’s materials and SPIRE are both based upon the Orton-Gillingham methodology.

Kerranne

says:

Thanks, it would appear that you are reading my mail each topic you share often happens to be along the lines of some insight I needed, thanks a lot.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kerranne,
I’m glad our topics can be timely and helpful for you! But we don’t read your mail. ;) It’s just that these topics are ones that worry lots of parents!

Elise

says:

It has finally clicked for ME. Regardless of their age start at the beginning and use the tools. I have skipped things because they are too old for that and then when I use those tools it suddenly clicks.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for sharing this, Elise.

Becky

says:

These are great tips, thanks!

Anna Kauffman

says:

I would love to start with pre- reading.

I’m always needing that reminder to be patient! My kids are still so young and yet sometimes I find myself expecting way too much from them. Learning is so much more fun (and productive!) when I remember to slow down and let them learn at their pace. Thank you for the tips and reminders!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lindsay,
It is difficult to take the long view of learning when you are in the day by day, moment by moment trenches of teaching. I find reminding myself that homeschooling is a marathon, not a sprint is helpful.

Colleen

says:

My son is entering high school and can not spell some basic words. He had several head surgeries as a toddler and continuous ear infections as a young child which I believe is why he hears sounds differently than most. Do you have a recommendation as to what level to start him. He doesn’t want “baby words” like what is in your lower level readers but needs that reinforcement. Do you have more difficult word list that go with the practice of spelling rules? I have tried the first 3 levels of the workbooks with much resistance due to the simplicity of the words. Any suggestions?

Sandra

says:

I would consider taking him to a speech language pathologist. I he cannot hear he words right, it’s not physically feasible for him to spell what he can’t hear. Many insurances cover it an they can help him work those ear muscles to where he can hear and eventually spell. Sounds like your kiddo is on a different learning path but he can get to where he wants to be.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Colleen,
Struggling spellers need to start with All About Spelling 1 to build a strong foundation in spelling.

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.” Other students switch letters or leave out letters entirely. This usually occurs because they don’t know how to hear each sound in the word. Level 1 has specific techniques to solve these problems.

The way to approach starting with these baby words is to compare All About Spelling to a video game. You have to start at level 1, even though it’s easy, because there are some subtle tricks and such you learn there that are essential to know for the higher levels. If you start a new video game at level 15, you crash and burn immediately and cannot figure out where you went wrong. Starting at the lowest levels, you easily and quickly move through them and then when you reach level 15 you have all the skills and knowledge in place to succeed without too much trouble. All About Spelling functions the same way.

However, we do encourage you to “fast track” if the student knows how to spell most of the words but does not understand the underlying basic spelling concepts. In this case, very quickly skim the parts that he already knows and slow down on the parts that he needs to learn. Pull out several words as examples. Make sure he understands the concept being taught, and then move on. This blog article has a good example of how you might fast track.

We cannot really offer lists of harder words for the beginning concepts, because harder words use multiple concepts and rules, many that will not have been introduced yet. All About Spelling only has the student spelling words that include phonograms, patterns, rules, and concepts that they have already been explicitly taught. It is better to move through the lower levels as quickly as the student can while still mastering the concepts, and get to the higher levels that use harder words.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Colleen

says:

Thanks for the advice from everyone. He is currently in speech classes and we are now on level 3 so hopefully he will end up catching on:)

Brenda Perez

says:

Thanks for the tips. Your blog posts always encourage me, and remind me to have a lot more grace & patience. Thanks for that! I know my daughter appreciates it. ;-)

Kelly

says:

Thanks for the information.

Mélanie

says:

That was what I needed. Thank you very much for your commitment to help.

Melissa

says:

Awesome! Thanks for the article.

Jo

says:

Automaticity – cool word! Thanks!

lisa a kingsbury

says:

The funnel idea makes total sense. Something to consider as we start a new school year.

Michelle Liotsakis

says:

Great article! I love how the SMI method uses three pathways to get learning to stick.

Marie gig

says:

As a former public school teacher and now homeschooling my own children, I am excited to have found this program! I plan on starting All About Spelling and All About Reading this fall! Reading the overview and sample pages on the website, I feel this program would work for my proficient and early reader. It’s systematic sequential phonics approach is developmentally appropriate for any child learning to read and spell. Thank you Marie Rippel for creating this simple, easy to use program that will take the struggle out of reading and spelling for my kids!
God bless,
Marie G.
Ohio

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Marie,
Our programs DO work very well with advanced learners. Check out this blog post about a dad and his gifted son!

Kristy

says:

Great article!

Pam

says:

very interesting

Irina

says:

Such an good article!

Carey

says:

Thanks for the reminder to keep the lessons short!

Kara

says:

Great blog post!

Kelsey

says:

This is a helpful blog post, I can’t wait to read more!

Lourie

says:

Thanks for the great information & reminder about not teaching too much. It can become so tempting since I want my child to know it all!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lourie,
Just remind yourself that homeschooling is a marathon, not a sprint. Your child has a lot of time to learn it all!

Callie

says:

As a new homeschool mom, this article was so helpful!!

Julieta

says:

This is excellent information!
I love that All About Learning Press not only has the best reading program that I have ever seen, but they also have very informative blog posts and an awesome customer service. They send you box art, which students love and answer your questions within hours. I can not recommend their products enough.
Thanks for all you for our students!

Lee Duncan

says:

A good reminder not to try to teach too much at once. Tempting as it can be to move along

Stephanie

says:

My 7 year old is at this point right now. We’ve finished level 1 of AAR, but she still sounds out most of the words. She’s slowly improving, and I’m trying to be patient!

Brandi

says:

Great ideas, thanks!

Karyn Panchot

says:

Sounds like a fabulous program! Multi sensory is the key to making meaningful learning!

Megan Preedin

says:

Great info! It is so easy to get caught up in trying to finish a section for me, and then sometimes my daughter burns out.

Davelle

says:

My son loves these books.

Karyn

says:

This is such an encouragement; thank you!! I need to remind myself to just SLOW DOWN. Sometimes I get so caught up in worrying that my child is “not where he should be”, or that it seems to be taking SO LONG for him to get the hang of it. It’ll be ok. I know he’ll get there eventually. Thank you for the encouragement to go back & read familiar stories or play familiar games from prior lessons.

Mindy H

says:

AAR and AAS is amazing! I have and will refer it to everyone. Thank you for such a great program.

Kim Slease

says:

I have really learned to keep lessons short with my daughter. A timer helps her know that there will be an end. That girl works hard and runs out of steam! Thank you!

Nicole

says:

I have a struggling reader and I’m interested to see if this will help.

Chantel

says:

Great blog!

Michelle

says:

We love all about reading and spelling!

Michelle

says:

My daughter is finally experiencing this because she reads and rereads the same stories from the books. She is finally gaining confidence in her reading!

Jen

says:

I have a struggling reader, love your blog for learning more to help him!

Lynda

says:

Thanks for this! I learn something new each time I read an article from you.

Diana

says:

I have two boys who struggle with reading. I would love to try this!

Christie

says:

I used AAS with my oldest (AAR wasn’t available back then.) I’m excited to use both with my youngest!

Emily

says:

Thank you for these tips! We are nearing the end of level 3 of AAR, it makes me so sad there is only one left! :/ My daughter has become a great reader thanks to your company!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

We love to hear these successes, Emily! Thank you.

Vanessa

says:

Thank you for this post!!

Yvette

says:

This is so helpful!

Mitzi

says:

My eldest reads well but hated spelling, so I took a step back and just told her to write however the word sounds like to her. I’d like to start her on spelling again. I’ve heard good things about this program. Do I start her on the first level for all about spelling? She’ll be starting grade 2 in September. Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Mitzi,
Yes, we recommend starting her on All About Spelling 1.

First, since we recommend that students complete All About Reading 1, or the equivalent reading level, before starting All About Spelling 1, many students use AAS 1 in 2nd grade. Your daughter will not be behind.

Second, we find many struggling spellers 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.” Other students switch letters or leave out letters entirely. This usually occurs because they don’t know how to hear each sound in the word. AAS 1 has specific techniques to solve these problems.

Victoria

says:

Thanks for the article seriously considering this.

Cynthia

says:

Would you describe your reading & spelling program as a program geared towards teaching children who are right brain dominant learners? Is there a math program also?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Cynthia,
No, we would not describe our program as geared to one particular group of learners.

Rather, All About Reading and All About Spelling programs include a variety of activities that reach kids through sight, sound, and touch. When students are taught using all three pathways to the brain — the visual, the auditory, and the kinesthetic — they learn even *more* than when they are taught only through their strongest pathway. [R.D. Farkus, “Effects of Traditional Versus Learning-Styles Instructional Methods on Middle School Students,” The Journal of Educational Research 97, no 1 (2003)]

Here are some ways that AAR and AAS reach the visual, big picture learner (traits typically associated with the term right brained):

– AAR and AAS use specially color-coded letter tiles. These show the letters that work together as teams and are used to demonstrate reading and spelling rules. Tiles are also used to show syllables, prefixes, and suffixes.

– AAS uses word banks for spelling patterns that don’t have rules and need to be visually discerned. In AAR, the activities use both visual and kinesthetic modalities.

– AAR and AAS use word cards, phonogram cards, and a phonogram app for visual and auditory learning.

We don’t impose pictures on our phonogram cards, except as a “scaffolding technique” when teaching students in our Pre-reading level. One thing that we have found when teaching the sounds of the letters is that while it may initially appear to be beneficial to use pictures to teach the sounds, in the long term the student is better served by making a more direct connection between the letter and the sound. When a picture is used to teach the sound, the child’s brain has to work extra hard later in order to retrieve the sound.

When you are teaching the sounds of the letters using pictures, the flashcards are learned quickly by visual learners. But when the child needs to actually *use* the information when reading or spelling, his brain has to go through two steps: 1) recall the picture, and 2) recall the sound. That’s why we encourage students to make a direct connection between the letter and the sound. It may take a bit longer to learn the flashcards, but in the long run, it is actually easier for the student.

We do not have a math program.

Please let us know if you have any further questions. Also, I’d like you to know that we offer a one year “Go Ahead and Use It” money back guarantee. You can use our materials for up to a year before deciding to return them.

Julee Cannon

says:

I’m looking forward to teaching my two little ones with the All About programs for reading and spelling. I wish I had known about these programs when my two older girls were younger! I’m homeschooling them now, and the little ones will also be homeschooled. There’s no turning back. :)

Tasmin McDonald

says:

I want my kiddos to understand why they are doing the work they are doing. AAS seems to explain this really well. It would be great to win Level 2.

Amy

says:

This is why I’m seriously considering All About Reading with my youngest. We’re new to homeschooling but your program seems like a good fit and it makes logical sense.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amy,
Let us know if you have any questions or concerns about All About Reading. We’re here to help from deciding purchase through each step of using our programs, and even beyond!

Joy

says:

Interesting article.

Kendra

says:

Great thoughts and a good way to think about teaching.

Tina Jensen

says:

Definitely something I need to try with my oldest thanks! This year I will be using your program :) very excited

Lee Morton

says:

I have loved all about spelling!

Cassie

says:

Sometimes it is hard to remember to be patient with them, because I forget what it was like to be learning those things that now come easily to me! Good reminder!

Jessica

says:

Looking forward to starting in the Fall!

Dina Corona

says:

Looking forward to a new adventure with All About Learning products!

Melissa Cazares

says:

Interesting.

Jennifer Mathesz

says:

Great tips REALLY

Rebecca Collins

says:

Love AAR!!!

Hallie

says:

Step by step instructions is something I forget to do often with my 9 yr old. My 7 yr old likes vague instructions on many things and then likes to figure it out for hinself, my 9 yr old is the opposite. Switching gears is hard when you’ve got 3 kids with different learning styles.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Hallie,
Yes, it is hard to give each student what he needs when it differs so much from student to student. I struggle with this particularly in Math, as my kids all seem to need the same approach with Language Arts.

Gale

says:

I’ve been trying to learn another language, and there’s a quiz game app in that language I use. Its hard to even read the question before the time runs out, not to mention answer the question. It’s given me a little reminder of what it must be like for my child. It’s not that I can’t read it…but speed is hard. Same for him.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Great comparison, Gale! Maybe all of us with struggling learners should work at learning a new language. It would surely make us all more understanding. Thanks.

Michelle Humphries

says:

Never really thought about this! Great tips to encourage this skill.

Karen

says:

I love the idea of AAR but haven’t tried it yet

Melissa Flint

says:

Awesome tips, I think they will be helpful with my daughter

Saph

says:

Great tips!

Veronica

says:

Really like the funnel concept…..not overloading with too much.

Shannon Campbell

says:

Trying to teach an inpatient preschooler, this article is very helpful. I E been using single books without a formula for success filled with guesswork. I sure hope I win!

botho

says:

thank you very much . its a good lesson for me as a parent since my daughter struggles with spelling and reading but she is 8 years.

Holly Field

says:

My sister loves your program and I am excited to learn more!

Kjirsten Berglund

says:

This is really helpful and good!

Marilyn Fuqua

says:

This is so misunderstood! I totally agree with the concept and your perspective.

Elizabeth

says:

Thank you for the concept of the child’s funnel. I am so guilty of over-filling! What a good reminder!

Nicole Brown

says:

Is it possible for a learning disabled child who processes very slowly to ever accomplish automaticity while reading?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Nicole,
Yes, it is possible. If you could give me more details about his learning disability, I could give you more ideas. I see from another comment that he has sensory processing disorder. Does he have any other learning disabilities? What aspects of SPD are most affecting him?

Nicole

says:

Robin, he has dyslexia, dysgraphia and SPD. He adds letters to words constantly when he reads. He can see a word, sound it out and forget it five minutes later, his working memory is extremely effected by his disabilities. I took him out of public school now and will begin homeschooling this fall. He currently has a grade three zero month reading level and is going to fifth grade. I don’t know if I can help him, but I know the school isn’t. It seems he will never quite understand. I do not think I am competent to help him. I think this is out of my league.
He was also bullied badly during his last sixth months of school. He wants to learn to read better but gets so frustrated. I used AAR placement test and he places in level 2 so that’s what I plan to use. This summer I have been working on all phoneme sounds with him. It’s not going great. All the sounds are hard to memorize for him. I AM FRUSTRATED. I don’t know how to help him.

His SPD issues: he rocks back and forth when school is mentions (this started in January and is probably anxiety), he flaps his hands when excited or grabs his face and shakes. The latter he pretty much only does when he’s at home. He likes to have something in his hand most times.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Nicole,
Thank you for these details. Knowing this, I have no doubt that you can help him to become a successful reader. Marie, the author of AAR and AAS, and her husband were told to prepare their son for a lifetime of being illiterate, because he would never learn to read and spell. Happily, they did not take that as a final answer and All About Reading and All About Spelling are the results. If you haven’t had a chance to watch their story about their son’s struggles, you may want to check that out. It’s amazing! You can have the same success for your son too!

I am not saying it will be easy or quick. Our kids need more incremental work with lots more review in order to master English. But master it than can do!

Naming is especially challenging for our kids, so learning the sounds phonograms make is really difficult. There are things you can do to help him have success, however.

First, it is vitally important that you do a short lesson every day. We recommend spending 20 minutes on All About Reading and 20 minutes on All About Spelling 5 days per week. If you find he struggles to remember over the weekend, you could consider doing a short review-only lesson on Saturday as well. I have a girlfriend locally that does a full lesson on Saturday and a short review-only lesson on Sunday, because she feels it allows her daughter to make the most progress. Personally, I have found that 5 days a week is fine for my kids, although our 20 minute lessons are more review heavy on Mondays.

While you are working on just learning the phonograms this summer, still aim to do it most every day. Short daily work day after day makes much more progress than longer lessons fewer days a week. Since you are only working on learning the phonograms, 5 to 10 minutes a day will probably be fine. You could also do two review sessions a day, playing games or activities for 10 minutes or so in the am and doing a quick 2 to 3 minute flashcard review later in the day.

Start with just 4 phonograms, no more. The vowels are particularly difficult has they have multiple sounds each, and overlap in sounds. So, start with 1 vowel (A is always a great place to start!) and 3 consonants. To begin with, choose consonants that aren’t easily confused. B and D are easy to confuse visually, but be careful of letters that are easy to confuse by sound (M and N, for example) and mouth placement as well. My 3rd child confused N and L for a long time, not because they look alike or sound alike, but because tongue placement is very similar for them.

Review just those 4 phonograms daily, most days of the week, until he has them mastered, able to say their sounds without hesitation. Then add 2 or 3 more phonograms, 1 more vowel and 2 more consonants. Keep the first 4 in review, and continue this way adding a few more as each new batch is mastered. As you go on it will seem that he has them so down pat that reviewing them daily is a waste of time. At that point, try reviewing the ones that have been mastered for a while just once a week and see how it does. Above all, never stop reviewing the mastered phonograms altogether. My son is 13, reading well on grade level, and doing well in AAS 6. I still review all the phonograms with him at least once a month, and occasionally he still stumbles on phonograms from AAS 1 or 2. When he does, I put it back into daily review.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to start. Slow and steady, little by little, he will get there. Below are game and activity ideas for making all that reviewing and learning phonograms more interesting.

Our blog post with ideas for reviewing Word Cards will work great with Phonogram Cards.

Set out four non-confusable phonograms at a time. For example, set out A, B, H, and M. (Do not set out E and I together, or G and C, for example.) Take turns being the teacher. The teacher says “Point to the /h/ (or whatever sound).” If the student points to the correct phonogram, he gets to keep it. Continue until the student has collected all four. Over a period of days or weeks, gradually add in more phonograms.

Play with our free Phonograms App.

Swatting Phonograms.

An idea for very active kids is the snowball game. You can use a Nerf gun instead of paper snowballs as well. You can just tape the phonogram cards to the wall.

Play board games like Sorry and require players to draw a phonogram card and say it’s sounds before taking their turn. You would do this as well and he would check that you are correct, providing additional review.

Incorporate tactile and kinesthetic ideas to make review more fun. Marie has lots of great ideas in this article. Things like writing on a white board, writing with gel pens on black paper, creating a pretty, special spelling notebook with artwork and stickers can also make spelling more fun.

Nicole

says:

You’re response is a long awaited answered prayer for me. I didn’t even know where to start. Thank you so very much!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Nicole,
I am so pleased that I was able to encourage you, and am honored to be a part of your answered prayer! Let me know how it goes, or if you have further questions. You can read me here, or email me at support@allaboutlearningpress.com. Just ask for me, as Merry also answers emails. Of course, Merry is super helpful and encouraging too!

Nicole

says:

AAS level 1, AAR level 2

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Nicole,
Great! These levels will give him a firm foundation.

If at any time you need help, ideas, or encouragement, just let us know!

Nicole Brown

says:

Thank you for this info. I purchased All about reading and spelling to begin homeschooling my learning disabled son this fall. He is going to 5th grade with a third grade zero month reading level and I am extremely scared. This info is very helpful.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Nicole,
Try not to be scared. All of us here at All About Learning Press have first hand experience with teaching children with learning difficulties to read and spell, and all of us have succeeded! You will too!

We are committed to helping you help your son succeed in reading and spelling. If at any time you have questions or need help, we are available through email (support@allaboutlearningpress.com) and by phone (715-477-1976, Mon-Fri 8am to 4pm CST. If it’s after hours, leave a message and we’ll call you back).

Nicole Brown

says:

Thank you so much. He constantly adds letters to words when he reads. Any advice?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Nicole,
Adding sounds or deleting sounds in words while reading and spelling is a common symptom of dyslexia. My daughter especially struggles with Rs and Ls, adding them in when they aren’t there or leaving them out when they are. However, this problem is much less common for her now than it was, and is consistently become rarer.

All About Reading helps to overcome this tendency by stressing our blending procedure, focusing on each phonogram in a word. All About Spelling works on segmenting words, so that students learn to hear each sound clearly.

When my daughter adds or deletes a sound in a word, I can refer her back to blending or segmenting, as needed. This gives her concrete tools to fall back on, instead of just “no that’s not right, just keep trying” approach. There is a lot less frustration, and after a while students will start falling back on blending or segmenting themselves when needed without having to be reminded.

What levels of AAR and AAS did you purchase for this coming year? I ask because those new to our programs sometimes mistake our levels for grade levels, and that is not the case.

Jennifer L. Padgett

says:

All About Spelling has changel my son’s life. Because of his dyslexia and these programs, I am now bringing this information to both the Reading Recovery program and to the early childhood teachers.

Marisa Bailey

says:

This is great for where my 3rd child is in her reading. She’s excellent at sounding out, but reads so slowly sounding out every word she should know. Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Marisa,
My youngest daughter was that way. She took 2 years to complete AAR 1, because even though she could sound all the words out without trouble, she still had to sound ALL the words out. She then spent 1 year on AAR 2, getting better and better as we moved through it, and now she is in the early lessons of AAR 3 and is moving through it quickly. She is now reading so well and only having to sound out a few words per page (and in AAR 3 there are a lot more words per page!).

Your daughter will get there too. Revisit stories and fluency pages she has already read, as rereading familiar material helps build fluency. Also, when my daughter was still sounding out almost every word, I used buddy reading to help her. You may try it as a way to make reading new stories more enjoyable for you both.

Darlene

says:

I am a Homeschool Mama, struggling to teach spelling to my dyslexic daughters. I refuse to look on the dyslexia as a disability or even a challenge though… They were created by God… In His image… So there is nothing wrong with them.. They are perfect in the way that He created them…. so, instead of looking at this as a problem…I, instead, look upon it as a unique opportunity for us to explore different ways to learn…a gift, of sorts…. I am researching alternative method of teaching that will help them to make the most out of these gifts.

Nicole Brown

says:

Wow. Thanks for sharing. My son is learning disabled with a sensory processing disorder. This is how the Lord made him–wish the world would understand.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Darlene,
Please let us know if you have any questions about All About Spelling or if we can help with your research.

Amy

says:

The path each child takes to automaticity is so fascinating. DD11 (mild dyslexia) struggled with the phonics in reading, and still does in spelling. Once she understood HOW to read a word though, it quickly became automatic. DS8 has no phonics issues. I swear, though, he has to read a word 1000 times before it is automatic. It used to make me crazy, but we just kept reading the same stories, and slowly plugging away at lessons. It’s been getting faster, but his “to be reviewed” section is huge.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amy,
I’ve had different kids progress to automaticity in much the same ways you described! It sure does make things interesting, doesn’t it?

Brian Copeland

says:

Reading and speaking is the cornerstone to survival.

This came at just the right time! I’ve been gritting my teeth about being able to read only one word at a time. I will try and take the slow and steady pace.

Shannon Chomanczuk

says:

Yes to not overloading and to taking a step back. I felt so mich pressure from others to get my first grader rading and then I took a step back and relaxed. Our fighting and stress has gone down and she wants to read instead of dreading it.

Judy

says:

My son is nine and still has not grasped this automacity in his reading. He seems to want to just guess at words rather than sounding them out. We are only half way through All About Reading level 2 because we have to keep backing up on certain lessons. Is this normal? I tested him for dyslexia, but I really do not think that is the problem. It seems he reads better when I am not “making” him read. If that makes sense. Like when we are out he will ask me what this means or that means, having read it off a sign, and I will be amazed. But then we sit down to read a simple reader and he freezes. I have read to just back off and let him read when he is ready, but he truns ten in November and ten is really late not to be reading on your own. Guess I will just keep on keeping on. Thanks for listening.

Donna Hejtmanek

says:

Can you explain what you mean by you had him tested for dyslexia? I am a reading teacher and some of the symptoms you describe could be dyslexia.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Judy,
The first thing that comes to my mind is getting his vision tested. If vision is the problem, then reading a few words in isolation, such as on a sign, would be easier than reading a large number of words on a page of a book. A regular vision exam would be the starting point, but they often are not adequate for this sort of thing, as regular exams do not examine how the eyes work together.

Here is an article that explains the types of vision problems that can affect learning. http://www.allaboutvision.com/parents/learning.htm

Please seek out a specialist that will test for convergence issues. You can find an optometrist that specializes in this at http://www.covd.org or http://www.oepf.org. If vision issues are his problem, you will both be excited to know that students tend to make steady improvements in reading as they continue through vision therapy.

If it is not a vision issue, he may need more work on developing fluency. Rereading stories and fluency pages can help with this. Let us know how his eye exams go. We are here to help you help your son succeed.

Tricia

says:

Great reminder! Such simple things, but they are so easy to forget when you are in the middle of teaching a child!

Camille

says:

My son is very close to the end of level 2 in your AAS program and up to this point has really been doing very well. However, we have been on the au versus aw lesson going on three weeks. There really is no set rule on when to use one or the other except /aw/ at the end of the word is aw. We’ve been practicing writing the words in sentences, tiles, just writing the words, etc., but we can’t seem to make any headway on getting these words into long term memory. Any suggestions?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Camille,
Up until this point in AAS 2, students have had just one way to spell a sound. Even when there has been two ways, such as long vowels in an open syllable or with a silent E, the context of each are pretty clear.

However, from this point forward your student will be introduced to more and more instances when there are multiple ways to spell the same sound with no rules or contextual clues to tell when to use each. It is then that the visual strategy for spelling comes into play.

Reading the words together helps students associate them together. Start with just one pattern, probably AU in this instance. You can also use the cards like a word bank, or just type up the AU words from the word cards and More Words. I would have him read the word bank daily for a week as you are reviewing other concepts. Each day have him note how the /au/ sound is spelled. Have him circle it. Build some of the words with tiles and have him circle and highlight the spelling with yellow marker, and use a syllable tag to label the words.

Reading the words in a list also helps kids to associate the words together, which aids in remembering the spelling pattern. Another visual strategy is to post the words some place that he walks by every day: a hallway, a bathroom mirror, somewhere in your school area, etc…

Use kinesthetic methods or tactile activities to practice the words to help reinforce muscle-memory for that them, and to create a visual in different media.

After a week, have him try to spell those words again.

After one pattern is mastered, then another is added in. Spend a week on that one too, and have him note that this time, the pattern is different. When the student has mastered that lesson, then they try a “mixed review” of words with 2 or 3 spellings for the same sound to make sure that they have really mastered them.

I hope this helps, although it sounds like your have been trying some of the things already. If it continues to be a problem, please let us know and we’ll dig up further strategies to help you help him.

Brandi

says:

This has been so helpful!! I forget that there is so much their minds are trying to do, and not just spelling. This has been so encouraging for me as I have one who is good at spelling during the lesson and making mistakes when writing in other areas. I needed that reminder it is not just spelling she has to think about. Thanks!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Brandi,
I’m glad you found this helpful. It is a difficult transition from spelling correctly in the spelling lesson to spelling correctly outside the lesson. The dictation, and then starting in Level 3 the Writing Station, helps with this transition. It will come. For now, just allow her to go back after the fact and correct her spelling. It’s good practice in proofreading anyway, which is a very important skill.

Laura Norris

says:

This was very helpful for me. I am currently in AAS Level 2 with my son. He does really well when we are working through the lessons together, but then I notice that he misspells some of those same words in other areas of school. It can be frustrating when I know he knows how to spell them correctly! He has also spelled the word correctly using the tiles, but then misses it when he spells it on paper. For example, when we were on lesson 11, one of the words was prize. He spelled it with tiles first, and spelled it prise, but then caught himself and changed the s to the z. I complimented him on catching his mistake and correcting it himself. Then when we were spelling on paper, he again spelled it prise. This time he did not catch it and I had to tell him to double check that word again. The same word was used in the dictate phrases section and he again spelled it with the s, and did not notice his mistake until I pointed it out. Is there anything else I should/could be doing to help him with this issue?

Merry at AALP

says:

This is a common example that shows how tasks are progressively more difficult. Spelling with tiles allows the student to focus JUST on spelling–not letter formation or remembering a passage of dictation. So, a student who finds he has to put some extra thought into handwriting and into remembering a dictation passage will find it more difficult to see spelling errors. Some things you can do:

When he self-corrects a word with the tiles, have him try that word again at the end of your lesson time that day, or at the end of the list of words he made with tiles. By practicing it again the same day (“overteaching”), you can help him reinforce the correct spelling.

When he misspells the word on paper, show him the word card or build it with tiles for him. Ask a question such as, “Which letter is used for the /z/ sound in prize?” This will help him focus his attention on the letter to use if there is more than one choice. If he misses a word where a rule applies, or where pronouncing for spelling would help, ask a question related to that facet of the word. Again, use overteaching and have him try writing the word again later in the lesson.

Sometimes with visual patterns like this one, I would have my kids read the word card daily for a couple of days, each time noting which letter is used for the /z/ sound, to build up that visual memory. Then I would have them try spelling it again.

Keep the word card in daily review until he spells it correctly several days in a row with confidence (if it seems like he’s guessing or unsure, I’d keep it in review). I liked to wait until a Monday to move cards to the mastered tab–if my kids remembered a tricky word over the weekend, they were more likely to retain it long-term.

I hope this helps!

Christine Wielinga

says:

Thank you so much for the reminder about multi-sensory learning! My two youngest sons are both struggling with automaticity. I tend to forget to use the hands-on approach because that is not how I learn. We’ll keep on plugging away at it. Thanks for the encouragement!

Erika

says:

YES! It’s the whole reason I decided to start the AAS program this year! My daughter can easily read her sight words K-4th and gets them all correct on her spelling tests, then reverts to phonetic spelling when writing. It was driving me batty. I decided to go back to basics by starting w/ AAS Level 1 and these reminders are just what I needed to adjust my mindset. As a teacher, I know that children have limitations and work as is developmentally appropriate, but sometimes I forget this with MY children :)

Tonya Megyesi

says:

My youngest has been blessed with All About Spelling for almost three years now. And I say “blessed” because it has given her hope in so many ways, but ESPECIALLY in the area of building automaticity. Which, I didn’t even know was a “thing” until this blog, but explains so much about what she has struggled through and is confidently conquering one lesson at a time.

Samantha would always freeze up when something was not processing, regardless of the subject. She might look at “bobkat” and know that she didn’t like what she saw, but she would become so wrapped up in not recognizing why it was wrong that she would basically start “buffering”— waiting for something to load but just going in circles in her mind. She wanted it to feel automatic, and I probably inadvertantly made her feel like it “should” have been by the way I was working with her. I finally began to recognize the signs and would nudge her by covering what she DID know. It was like hitting her “restart” button. For a little while, she had to reload from the very beginning, going through things like, “How many syllables?” and, “What kind of syllables?” until she would get to the part she had forgotten, “What says /k/?” And after a few times of sheepishly giving the right answer, she started to get a bit of a smile when she would get it right. Now she doesn’t have to do a “hard reset”, but flips through to the relevant rule without much work. But best of all, she does it without fear!
I see her using that same technique to boost herself up when her memory just feels like “buffering” that day in History, in Math, in life in general. AAS has encouraged this sweet, hard-working girl that was forever frustrated by giving her techniques to remember how to remember, lol.

And that is why we LOVE the blessing of AAS!

Tonya
– and Samantha, nearly 12, and nearly done with AAS Level 4

Jennifer Wedgeworth

says:

This is so timely – This is exactly what my daughter is struggling with right now!

aida

says:

Spelling Level tools like and an excellent tool not only for my grand daughter put also for me. As I can’t spell. The only reason I do well with spelling is because the computer have spelling check. But when my grand daughter ask me to spell a word for her most of the time I don’t know. I have dyslexia and comprehensions problems. Is there any tips you can share I will appreciated. thank you

Kathy

says:

Hi Aida,

Have you considered using the All About Spelling curriculum? If you are guiding your grand daughter through the program, the benefit is that both of you will be learning effective spelling strategies. If you are already using the program, I would encourage you to be patient and consistent. Spend plenty of time reviewing as this has proven to be very helpful for those who have dyslexia and even comprehension difficulties. We’ve taken each step very incrementally in order to minimize confusion and to build your confidence.

Whether you use the program with a student or just for yourself, we guarantee results and are here to help you. If you have specific questions or concerns, you can call our office or send us an email (phone number and “contact us” are on our website).

Also, if you enjoy reading articles and studying on your own, we have a wealth of information on our website in the “Learn” category. There is a Spelling Resource Center and a Reading Resource Center full of articles for you to choose from.

I hope this helps!

Kathy
Customer Care Representative

Carolyn

says:

I’ve been using All About Spelling Level 1 with my son. He catches on to the rules very quickly and is able to spell accurately as we practice each list. But, just like Merry spoke of in her post, when writing his own sentences, reverts to phonetic spellings, even for simple words. This post was encouraging; I appreciate the tips! (And to know it’s not so unusual!)

Thanks!

Lori

says:

Great ideas & love the use of gentle reminders of rules, etc.

Erin

says:

Yes, thank you for the patience reminder. I have found the multisensory approach helpful here as simply a way to slow down and enjoy the work.

Lacey

says:

Thanks so much for sharing! I will keep this in mind as we begin our first year of homeschooling.

Nicole

says:

Thank you for the reminder to be patient as my children learn! I forget to encourage as much as I correct! That is a goal for me this year!

Thanks for the tips. I worry about teaching my son spelling and am happy to have found such a great program. Spelling has always been easy for me, just came naturally, so I worry that I won’t understand the “why” of any struggles he has.

Karla

says:

Thanks for the information. It has given me a lot of things to think about.

Citysister

says:

I have always had trouble with spelling…but I’m so proud of my kids when they know words end with -ck if they have the /k/ sound at the end of a word!…it’s beginning to become automatic!

Li Sian Wong

says:

Great tips!!

Andrea

says:

So far, everything has been coming pretty easily to my daughter (she’s kinder – we’re enjoying PAL). However, I have worked with many kids as a teacher and have been frustrated at times. I’ve learned patience and a positive attitude with lots of encouragement go far. That’s my plan for when my daughter has a hard time grasping a concept!

Vickie

says:

Great suggestions. I hope to accomplish this with my boys.

alina

says:

great tips!!

Amy D

says:

Yes ma’am, I have already found myself getting slightly frustrated with my pre-k son in our second week of homeschool!! I am trying very hard to remind myself that I had to learn the ABCs once, too, and it did not happen overnight for me either. Thank you so much for the above post – I am going to start tomorrow with a NEW outlook!

Shay

says:

I’m guilty of trying to rush automaticity in my kiddos…. trying to remind myself often that they are in the forming connections stage and will be for a while. I think our culture is so rushed, and we expect children to move at our speed. :(

angie

says:

understanding word memory makes me think twice about giving directions to my children.. perhaps it will lead to less frustration!

Laura

says:

Thank you for the wonderful ideas. We are using All About Spelling for the first time this fall–can’t wait to get started!

Katherine

says:

I am amazed at the results AAS has brought for my ds. My dd has a myriad of learning disabilities and has reached the point to learn to read. I’m excited to start with AAR and move onto AAS as she progresses. I am encouraged and excited by the other blog comments and look forward to gleaning more from experienced product users.

Mariah

says:

Great advise! I do get frustrated with my child, as well as myself. Being a struggling perfectionist, it is easy to expect my child to master concepts immediately. I sometimes see her frustation and confusion at my perfectionism, and it is a big wake up call to turn off the teacher and just be the Mom.

Clarissa

says:

Very good information! I’m glad to have found this blog!

Jane

says:

I really struggle with stepping back and allowing the kids time to “do”….patience is not my virtue!

I have a 10 yr old dyslexic son and a daughter just starting to read. Would 1 kit be fine or do I need to purchase 2 student packs?
And I am so glad I found your website, I have tears!

Merry

says:

Hi Jane,

I’m guessing that you are looking at the reading, but please let me know if I’m wrong. Most people find it easier to get a Student Packet for each student, but some will just get one. A big part of the reading Student Packet is the Activity Book. You can make copies of the consumable pages for your family, but you may find it easier to just have a book for each. The cards allow you to customize the review for each student, because usually students have different words that they need to practice. If you plan on doing everything together, you may be able to combine them and use just one packet. In that case, you would have both review all of the words until they each have them mastered. Here again, because they are older and have struggled to learn to read, you may want both to have their own packets so that you can focus the review time just on what each needs.

Marie considers it absolutely critical to hear each child read aloud so you can make corrections and adjustments in your teaching. In some way (either through the readers or fluency sheets), make sure that you hear each child read aloud in each lesson. Also make sure that each one is getting enough practice. Older remedial readers tend to need more practice than younger ones. Marie designed the fluency sheets with lots of practice with these older readers in mind. I hope this helps! Merry :-)

Brandy

says:

Great tips! I most definitely get frustrated while waiting for my child to master something. However, I almost never show that frustration because I know my children would shut down. Instead, later on, I will worry myself silly about it. I learned this lesson when my oldest was learning to tie her shoes. That was the most frustrating two years ever and I’m sure my obvious frustration did not make it any easier for her. Now, If I see my kids shutting down on something, I take a step back and re-evaluate how I’m teaching/responding.

Holly

says:

Thanks for the reminder that we all develop at our own pace. Our expectations of each child should be revelant to their stage of development. What a blessing to have the tools to help us find each stage for each child and then help them grow and blossom.

Sarah

says:

I have a very young daughter who is just starting to learn spelling, although she’s doing great reading. I think that she is a bit of a natural speller, but it’s really fascinating to see what words she just sort of automatically knows how to spell and which ones she makes errors on. Sometimes seeing what comes naturally and what doesn’t is a lesson in and of itself!

Karen M.

says:

Spelling has always come easily to me. I remember participating in several spelling bees during my school years and doing quite well. Since my oldest was just in Kindergarten last year, I did not emphasize spelling and allowed him to phonetically spell out his words in his “stories”. I ordered All About Spelling a few weeks ago and I’m looking forward to starting to systematically teach spelling to my son this coming school year. Thanks for a great program!

Amber

says:

Thanks for the tips. Spelling comes easily for me but my girls have difficulty with it. It is frustrating.

Christy Marez

says:

Thanks for all the great tips!

Risa

says:

Great article – thanks for another round of great tips.

Sarah k

says:

I think it is very important for my girls to know how to spell and read excellently

susan

says:

thanks for these tips!

Faith

says:

Thankfully my daughter(9) is really great with spelling like I was …. BUT… My dear boys coming along may not be that way! I am really hoping to be able to get the All About Spelling to help me teach them!! Thanks for the pointers on how to be patient and show them different ways… I’m gonna need them!! :)

Amie

says:

These are great tips! I will keep these in mind as my first grader begins Spelling this year.

Dominique Jackson

says:

I am learning a lot of patience teaching my son to read. He knows all the letter sounds and many of the two letter phonograms but still has to slow down to think and sound out. This is my first time teaching a child to read and I know automacity will come with practice and time and AAR :)

Jennifer P

says:

Thank you for the reminder that automaticity is different for every child. We struggle with one of our children learning math facts….

Kelly Fernandez

says:

Thanks!

Kathy Lapan

says:

My daughter and I are both dyslexic, so in many ways this makes it easier for me to teach her…I understand how her mind works. On the other hand, despite a masters degree I don’t always have immediacy in spelling. This makes it more of a challenge.

So we learn together. We work on recognizing how letters represent sounds and hoe to put them together. In one school year we improved her about a year and a half grade levels in reading! Spelling will come.

Katie Olson

says:

This is so true in all areas, including spelling. Helping kids find their mistakes empowers them to do it by themselves the next time even if it is just a little bit. Learning takes time!

Wendy

says:

Multisensory, especially the addition of tactile to auditory and visual, is so important in all teaching. I have seen big jumps in using letter tiles.

Susannah Krug

says:

I love spelling and I do sometimes need to take a step back and do some step by step sometimes with the kids!

Renatta Welsh

says:

Achieving automaticity is often a slow, and sometimes painful, process, but SO worth the wait! Thanks for the reminder and encouragment!

Stacy Thompson

says:

starting out fast with AAS has made this part a little challenging but now that we are starting to slow down and only do a lesson a day (instead of getting up to speed) this is becoming more of a natural thing for us! Your programs work great! I just wish they had been out 7 years ago when i started teaching my son to read! I can’t get over how fast my daughter is learning to read with the AAR! i couldn’t be more pleased! (And the whole family is becoming better spellers!)

Candyce

says:

All About Spelling has been a god-send for our son’s spelling ability. He’s not only learning to spell, but he’s got the tools and the confidence to do it! Thanks!

Michelle

says:

Thank you, my daughter does that exact thing. When I try to correct her she gets upset, she is a bit of a perfectionist. I will be using some of these tips this year. Thanks!

Patty

says:

I have heard so many good things about All About Spelling. I would love to try it for my children.

Chris

says:

Spelling is so important and I never considered it until I found your blog. Thank you so much for such great information!

Amber

says:

Thank you for sharing this info. I’m definitely bookmarking it – I had a bit of trouble with this myself, and still do. This might even help me out a bit. :P

Terri-Anne

says:

Another super helpful article.

Lori

says:

Thanks for the great tips. We struggle with this so it helps to understand & have some strategies to try.

Canaan Herkamp

says:

Such a great article! My son’s recent ed. pysch. testing revealed extremely poor processing speed and poor working memory. It has helped so much to understand this.

Sandi W

says:

It is frustrating, mainly because we learn in such different ways. I’ve never actually thought about spelling and learning spelling in this way.

deborah

says:

very excited about this program. Getting ready to order it tonight! Thanks so much

Amie

says:

Great post!

Amy Mac

says:

I worried there was something wrong with my sons, because they don’t have this. Now I see it as a part of the progression.

Thank you so much for your program and these tips. It really helps to hear such wisdom from someone who has been where we are!

Zendie

says:

Thanks for all the ideas! I would patiently wait while my kids develop mastery in certain skills.

Gabriela

says:

a good grasp of spelling is so important.

Sara

says:

Great tips! It is good to remember that what is obvious to us isn’t yet that way for them! Thanks!

Teresa G

says:

this is really interesting. Great advice that I will bookmark for later!!

Lisa Fetty

says:

WOW! Since we’re just getting started with spelling, this is great info!

Kristi

says:

So glad that I learned that learning comes in stages. It is so helpful for me to relax about what seems to not be clicking when I know that there is still time left and that likely it will naturally click in the next stage. :)

Rachel

says:

I would really like to learn more about this program :)

Merry

says:

Hi Rachel, feel free to email us with any questions: support@allaboutlearningpress.com

Merry :-)

Katie

says:

We love this program!

Gina

says:

This is exactly what I need to work on! Thank you!

Valerie

says:

Thank you for this article. I always need a reminder to step back and take a look at the whole picture before getting frustrated and lashing out at the little ones to get it right ;)

Jody

says:

Great post – I especially liked the suggestion to have children edit their own work.

Sherri

says:

What a relief! I have been banging my head against the wall for nothing! Thanks for the encouragement and the tips.

Sherri

says:

What a relief! I have been banging my head against the wall for nothing! Thanks for the encouragement and tips!

Liz

says:

Keeping all these little tidbits for the near future. Thanks for sharing.

Kathleen

says:

Looking forward to trying some of these ideas. We have been working on this for years.

susan clark

says:

multisensory approaches have given me something to think about :)

April Eckerman

says:

We have been using All about Spelling for 2 years now and my children have grown leaps and bounds in Spelling. So thankful for your prouct!!

One of my children is a level below the norm, but this program makes him fill he’s achieved something and makes it fun for him!

Mike W Davis

says:

your insight into helping with this problem,will make a solution for our Jesse–It is a problem,and he really struggles,I am going to use some of the ideas that you post, hoping and praying they will help Jesse

Christina

says:

I can’t wait to implement some of these ideas into our day. My son struggles with spelling and I have decided to really focus on that subject area this year. He is beginning to be embarrassed because he misspells easy/high-frequency words and I want to give him to be confident in his abilities.

Pei

says:

Thanks for tips on gentle reminder and adjusting our expectation to make learning less stressful for both the child and parent.

Paige

says:

This is a great post. I learned to read with phonics instruction and read and read and read and read, etc. I feel like the strong basics in phonics and then endless amounts of reading helped me obtain automaticity in spelling at a young age. I’ve seen my older son struggle with learning to read and now he hates to read. These facts make it hard for him with spelling now too.

I fully intend to not make the same mistakes with my younger son who is just learning to read. We are using AAR 1 and AAS 1 with him without a doubt.

Anna J.

says:

Thanks for the article! Our oldest son has ADHD and possible LD and can never remember how to spell anything. Some of these tips will be helpful.

Susan

says:

Great suggestions and something I never really thought about before. Thanks!

Jennifer P

says:

Help!! I have a dyslexic kid and I was wondering if this program would help teach her how to read?

Merry

says:

Hi Jennifer,

Yes, it will! All About Reading and All About Spelling are both based on the Orton Gillingham method which is very successful for kids with dyslexia: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/orton-gillingham-approach.

If you have additional questions or would like help knowing how to place your child in All About reading, drop me an email at: support@allaboutlearningpress.com

Merry :-)

DaNeil

says:

Hmm, I will be using these ideas as this is our first year with AAS.

cin

says:

thanks for this great post and tips.

Patricia

says:

Thanks for sharing these tips. I always forget that they are learning and they may not get it the first time it is taught. I’m the one that needs to be patient.

Jennifer Edwards

says:

Great tips, especially about learning in stages. I have the hardest time remembering that mastery takes time, especially for little ones :)

Karey Hideg

says:

Hope this helps my dd

Deb Robertson

says:

Thank you for reminding me to just relax and be patient!

Anita

says:

Thank you for all the great info!

Cheryl

says:

This is what I needed to hear about. I think we went a little too fast through level 3, so we’re going to back up and go more slowly this year.

What a great post!!! I gained a lot of insight and wisdom, and will be referring back to your suggestions as needed. :)

Tabatha

says:

I will have to try these tips when I start in September.
Thanks!

Stephanie

says:

Thank you for this wonderful information.

Dawn Smith

says:

I think this can really help my 3rd grader who is struggling. Thanks.

Rebecca N

says:

I don’t get frustrated, somehow I feel like I’ve failed as a teacher. I love the practical solutions!! Thanks.

Sarah Cook

says:

It’s really easy for me to get impatient and want my son to “get” something, especially when we have gone over it numerous times. But I just have to take a deep breath and remember that my attitude will have a great impact on how he wants to learn in the future. So I bite my tongue and explain it again, LOL.

Andrea

says:

My 12 year old ds has dyslexia and struggles enormously with spelling. We found All About Spelling Last year and are half way through Level 3. Automaticity is not there yet, but I am seeing improvement which is something I didn’t know if we would ever see with this one. Thank you for these great additional ideas, and for such a wonderful program which is giving us hope that some day he may be a decent speller.

Bridget

says:

Good article. I appreciate the #2 tip which states that spelling mastery comes in stages. Spelling is my son’s favorite subject. He gets teary-eyed, though, if he misspells a word on a test.

Janet

says:

Great tips and information!

Audy

says:

Oh, how I wish your articles had a print option.

Merry

says:

Hi Audy–they do! It’s just a bit camouflaged–right under the main header, you’ll see this line with a clickable print link:

by Merry on 08-13-2012 at 01:26 PMPrint This Post

Audy

says:

I am off to print. Thanks

Jenessa

says:

Always appreciate your helpful suggestions, Merry.

Allison

says:

Thanks for the tips! I look forward to using AAR and AAS this year!

Shondra

says:

This is a great article! Thank you.

Joy

says:

We are starting AAS this year & I am excited to see how it will help my struggling speller. These are great tips to help us get started.

Christina Stamey

says:

Thank you for always sharing such great information!

Excellent post! I’m not the best speller in the world so I’m hoping as we work through each level I can remember the rules and become a better speller and depend less on spell check :)

Rachelle

says:

We are looking forward to receiving the AAS1 we recently ordered. My 3rd grader really struggles with spelling and I appreciate all the extra tips!

Patty

says:

I just started using AAS and love it. Almost ready for the next one.

Tina

says:

Thanks for the encourgement and reminders on how to be a good teacher.

Leslie Dixon

says:

Thank you for all the wonderful tips! My daughter is just doing AAS1 this year. Right now, the expectations and frustration with not meeting them are not coming from me but from my daughter! I can’t see to keep her encouraged . . . that part of learning is making mistakes and learning from those as well. Any suggestions?! Almost always this occurs with phonic/reading/spelling subjects and hardly ever with the others. I think she has just convinced herself that she isn’t good at these subjects, but she’s only SIX! I don’t want her to feel that way! HELP!!

Merry

says:

Hi Leslie,

Ah, yes, the perfectionist child! We’ve dealt with that too. Some things that have helped here (not immediately but over time):

Preface a new activity by saying, “This is new and it might be kind of tricky. Don’t worry if it takes some practice before you get it.”

Compare to other things she had to learn (riding a bicycle, tying shoes, swim lessons, a computer game…anything she has done that she had to learn.” “Could you do x the very first time you tried it, or did you have to practice to get better at it? Reading is the same way.”

Share things that are not easy for you, or things that you have to practice in order to learn. This came up even the other day–I was explaining something to my son, and he said, “well sure, it’s easy for you because it comes naturally, but it’s not for me!” I think kids often think this, but it was interesting to hear him verbalize it–no, it didn’t come naturally to me, I had to practice too!

Point out your own mistakes and model how to react and learn from them. When mistakes aren’t a big deal, kids are less concerned about making them. Laugh about them if you can. One time I forgot to put eggs into some muffins I was making. I had already dished them up into all of the muffin tins. What could I do–try to scrape all the mix back into the bowl? That would be a huge mess! I finally decided to beat the eggs and spoon a little into each muffin tin and mix it in! I didn’t like the extra time it took, but what a funny thing! My daughter and I had a good laugh about that. (Apparently I haven’t achieved automaticity in cooking yet!)

Leslie Dixon

says:

Thank you so much for the encouragement and ideas! I know I’ve shared some times when I’ve messed up and had a hard time learning things, but I probably need to share more since I mess up ALL the time (even if she doesn’t notice yet!)

I will definitely be more proactive in these approaches. I just want her to be confident in who she is, mess ups, difficulties, and all! :)

Danielle R.

says:

We are starting AAS this year and I am really hopeful this will help my daughter learn to spell. She is a great reader but spelling is a struggle for her. The typical list with test on Friday just did not work for her.

Sandy

says:

All About Spelling is helping my deaf son learn to spell.

Vanessa S

says:

These are great reminders for ALL subjects as we start the school year! I think I need to return often the first few weeks of school as I get my brain back in gear for school!! Thanks, Merry.

Rachel

says:

My son seems to spell the same words differently everytime! He uses phonics a lot and is pretty good at that but that method isn’t reliable on its own. It’s something we are working on for sure and he is improving.

Merry

says:

Yes, good spellers use a variety of methods. Here’s an article on Effective Spelling Strategies that you might like: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/effective-spelling-strategies

Shauna

says:

This is great!! My oldest kiddo struggles with spelling, and honestly I do too. So we work the program together, and it is slow going. Sometimes, I’m afraid that my middle daughter will catch up with big sister, and I think that would be a bad for her self esteem.

AdenaF

says:

I have realized that my problem is I am ready to move on when a concept has been “mastered”; my definition of “mastered” needs to include alot more remedial work so that automaticity happens and this is only when they have done it so much, they can almost do it in their sleep without thinking of it.

Merry

says:

Excellent! Yes, they really need to be confident in it–not hesitating, stopping to think about it, self-correcting, tired of answering that card, etc…! (My kids sometimes get tired of a card but are old enough to see that they do need it! I sometimes let them decide whether to keep a card in review longer. My son has gotten especially good at realizing he needs more review on a concept, and I think that will help him in his studies when he goes on to college).

I like to only move cards after a weekend off, to see if it’s really sticking. I also include extra weekly reviews for one of my kids.

Kim

says:

I question how much to expect from my Kindergartener at times. This is helpful! Thanks for sharing it with us!

Raven

says:

Good ideas. My boys are both struggling spellers and I just keep plugging on, trusting that one day the words will be in their brains solidly enough that they will come out their pencil.

Jasmine

says:

I need to print this out as a reminder. Two of my three school age children struggle with spelling SO MUCH.

Brandi

says:

To be honest… I HATED spelling. Oh my gosh. And, I am and was an AVID reader. Love reading your blog so that hopefully my kids can click with spelling better than I did :)

Julie

says:

Just getting started so I appriciate all the tips I can get.

Nikki

says:

I especially like the editing idea instead of expecting perfection. We’ve done that on public signs wherever we are…I’ll say while we’re waiting in line “There are three grammar or spelling errors on that sign. See if you can find them.” My daughter loves to do that.

Susan

says:

We’re just starting this program, and we’re enjoying it so much! Looking forward to the day my children achieve automaticity in spelling! :O)

April Schack

says:

This helps so much! My son struggles and we are just finishing up Level 1 and the fluency sheets help a lot!

Jill

says:

Great tips, I am going to try adding tactile methods of teaching into our lessons.

AshleyJ

says:

The very reminder that something that is easy and natural for me may be difficult for my 1st grader has been an area of turmoil for my OCD self for a long time. I’m finally starting to consciously stop myself from being critical and remember that she’s just a little child, and I don’t want to create a negative view of learning or self-doubt within her because she isn’t as smart as her mother … yet. I know it will come in time, but I always appreciate the reminder.

Melany Rivera

says:

Number 5 really hit me home. I have yet to start working on spelling, but it makes so much sense. I will remember this when I do start working on it.

rose

says:

Thanks for these great reminders.

H cat

says:

Working memory!! So important! Thanks for the reminders! Dictation is a great tool and editing imperative! I can’t wait to start on the program! Sounds so great!

Jennifer S

says:

the first 2 steps are the key for me – I know my daughter has read the word hundreds of times, so why can’t she spell it? thanks for the reminders :)

Merry

says:

Yes…while good spellers are almost always avid readers, the opposite is not necessarily true. Lots of people who love to read and read a lot still struggle with spelling. Hang in there!

Sherri

says:

This sounds like a great spelling program!

andrea

says:

oh my goodnes, that senario is way too familiar to me! ;) glad to know i’m not the only one with a student like that. it’s hard when it’s your younger one, and the older one totally gets it. thanks for the tips. we LOVE ‘all about spelling’!!

Dawn Shaver

says:

Good tips!

Susan

says:

Wise words as usual, Merry. Thank you.

Michelle Watkins

says:

Great tips as we start out with Level 1!

Hope T.

says:

A lot of good tips to add as we work through All About Spelling. Thanks!

Deborah

says:

Great tips, especially #1!
I must say, I’ve learned a thing or two about spelling just by doing this program with my kids! So thankful for AAS (and AAR) :)

Amanda

says:

I like your suggestion about telling them there’s an error and letting them find it. Our guy hasn’t started on spelling yet, but this would work in other areas too.

Deb

says:

This is a struggle we’re dealing with now because spelling has always come easily for me, but not so for my son, so I have a hard time figuring out exactly how to help him. Thanks for the tips!

Sonya

says:

Thank you for sharing this concept and ideas. It will be helpful when my daughter starts with AAS1 later this year.

Belle B

says:

I am still waiting for this with my 8th grader….getting better!

Kristi

says:

I do, and appreciate the reminder that they are not going to automatically know how to do something that they have never learned or been taught. I find myself getting impatient thinking they should just ‘know’ because they are old enough. Good tips, here, though. Thank you for sharing. :)

Hannah

says:

I wish I had the money to try this program. I think I would LOVE it!

Erica

says:

Thank you so much for sharing, such a blessing to find trusted resources online, this being my first year to homeschooling!

Erica

says:

Super excited to begin my first year of homeschool with my 4yr old! Looking forward to the challenge but also the blessing!

Jamie

says:

Was frustrated with this just today. Thanks for the reminder that things are not as simple for them as they are for us.

Ginger

says:

I see so many mispelled words online, due in part, I believe to texting and social media messaging practices. I cringe with many of them. My little guy is just starting kindergarten but as we progress with letters, words and reading, I will definitely be using these helps to point him in the right direction to achieve automacity in spelling. I want him to spell correctly when he writes and not to take shortcuts.

Shawne

says:

We have had great luck using the sandbox for spelling and handwriting to increase automaticity.

Alicia Bland

says:

Asking the girls to go back and reread what they wrote works well for us. They can usually find the mistake and figure out how to correct it. Thanks for the other suggestions too.

Angie

says:

Great tips and reminders!

Ruby

says:

Words of wisdom from Merry…as usual! :) Thanks for the great tips. I’ll be sure to incorporate these in our homeschool!

Cindy

says:

I am so glad we switched to All About Spelling! The review/repetition is great for my son!!

Amy

says:

Great article… I can use all the help I can get! I sometimes forget to take it one step at a time!

Amanda

says:

Great ideas and tips! I will have to try them out with my kids!!

Angel

says:

great article

Carlen

says:

Oh I need all the help I can get with my son! Thank you for the tips!

Jill Lauder

says:

Great article and giveaway! Thank you!

HeatherH

says:

Driver’s Ed – what a humbling, eye-opening experience!

Merry

says:

LOL, proceeding with some trepidation…

Jessica

says:

Great article! It’s hard for me to understand why it’s so hard for my daughter to spell well, especially since I am a natural speller.

Julia

says:

Thanks for your tips on helping out children achieve automaticity. I’ll ahve to try a few as we work through our spelling lessons this year.

Roxy

says:

Dictation lost its way for so long and is making a needed comeback!

Stefanie

says:

My oldest is a natural speller so I haven’t had to deal with this yet. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes with the little one.

Heather

says:

It’s so hard to wait for this to happen, but it’s so rewarding to watch when it does finally “click”! AAS has really helped my bigger boys progress in this area. Can’t wait to see what advances we’ll make this year!

Marlana

says:

Great article! Patience is such a key item for some parents/kids as they are working through learning how to spell correctly. I notice that my oldest, 6years old, gets nervous and looses confidence if she sees that I am getting impatient with her. However, if I gently nudge and encourage, meanwhile, telling her that she is doing great, then she reads so much better and does it with excitement!

Shauna Hingston

says:

Thank you for the tips I will be revisiting this again at a later date forsure!

Becky Tolf

says:

Great tips! I love all the ideas to help my girls work through and discover their mistakes on their own.

Aimee Jongejan

says:

My 4 yo is learning to read. My biggest frustration is getting her to try to sound out the words rather than guess them. I think its time for AAR

Dawn Clemons

says:

Wonderful ideas for my dyslexic child. Thank you.

Kimberly

says:

Looking forward to spelling

Sandra

says:

Great tips! Thank you!

Laura

says:

Good information.

Cassandra Knipp

says:

Great tips for getting my kiddo’s spelling skills up to speed. The tactile/kinesthetic tip is very important for my 3 boys!

Heather

says:

Spelling is something I really want my boys to master!

Elisabeth

says:

Thanks for sharing. We will be starting level 1 this year with our first grader and Im very excited.

Trisha W

says:

Spelling has always been a challenge. Thanks for the post.

Alisha

says:

Thank you so much for all your advice I have children with LD and I can use all the help I can get. Thank you!

Debbie N

says:

I do get frustrated waiting for them to become automatic in certain skills, especially math facts and reading. However, we don’t have this problem in spelling. Your All About Spelling program has worked wonderfully for my kids (and helped my daughter with her reading skills, too)!

Pamela

says:

Love your company- thanks for all the excellent information! :)

Amy Nix

says:

I am wanting to get all about spelling my son is in 3rd grade and can not spell well I want to start him on this so hopefully he will not have to struggle like I did

Peggy

says:

I remember with one of my sons struggling through our daily reading lessons. On one particularly difficult day I said in exasperation, “Do we need to start back at the beginning of the lesson book?”
He looked at me with his big eyes and replied, “Can we?”

I suddenly realized that he was just as frustrated as I was. While we did not return to the beginning of the book, we did backtrack about 20 lessons or so to a point where he felt comfortable and confident. Before I knew it we had not only ‘caught back up’ but we had surpassed the troublesome spot as well.

Sometimes it is too easy to get caught up in the trap of following a schedule or trying to obtain some sort of goal which may give us a sense of accomplishment in ticking off another completed task, but ignores the real needs of the child. After all, isn’t the goal of meeting the needs of the child why we home school in the first place?

Merry

says:

Oh Peggy, this brought tears to my eyes. Your son sounds so precious, I love it when they realize just what they need and can clue us in! You’re a wise mama to hear what your son was saying that day and to backtrack. I’ve had similar experiences when hitting a road block. When we go back to something they can do well and work forward again, sometimes that road block just disappears. What a great post!

Gina

says:

I’ve had to repeat level 3 this school year, though we did complete it last year. My 8 year old son does remember all the phonograms and rules, but struggles with the a consonant e versus ai words. I have stopped progressing and just keep reviewing the words from the word bank as well as from the green cards. I made up a bunch of a consonant e cards and have him group them, then write them on a sheet split into 2 groups. He still often writes blaim instead of blame, or sprane instead of sprain. Any suggestions?

Merry

says:

Hi Gina,

I’m sorry your son is struggling. He may not need to review all of Level 3–he may only need to review a few concepts. The sorting steps are a common place for students to struggle, because these steps reveal any gaps in what they have mastered. Often, students need more review to master concepts. You will find this especially necessary for spelling patterns that need to be remembered visually (when there isn’t a rule to decide which one is the correct spelling). A (open syllable) and AY are fairly easy to distinguish by rule, while AI and A_E have to be distinguished visually (thus the training in “scratch-paper spelling.”)

I’d encourage you to take a break from Level 3 Step 3, and pull out the Word Bank from Level 2. Sections 1, 3, and 5 all have A_E words. The purpose of the word bank is to give your child a visual memory of these words, and to help him relate words together that follow the same pattern. Work on that and reviewing the A_E cards for awhile.

AAS purposefully separates visually-discerned patterns (like A_E and AI) so that the student can master them one at a time. So focus on one at a time, and when you think he has them mastered, mix them in with some other mastered words to review.

After that, then go back to the AI vs. AY lesson, review the word banks and cards for that lesson–and then try Step 3 again.

There may still be a few words he misses, but if he understands the concept, can get most words correct, and is willing to sort the words by first using scratch-paper spelling to try to decide which is right, then he’s on the right track. Keep any words that he misses in his review tab for awhile, and review them periodically after they are mastered. Also continue to review the word banks for awhile.

Use the Spelling Review Box to its fullest potential. Be diligent about reviewing the flashcards at the beginning of each and every spelling lesson, every day. The review portion of the lesson is extremely important. Since your son is struggling with words that have been “passed,” I would pull those A_E words and practice them again. Do not add cards to the “Mastered” section until you are sure that he has completely learned them. And even after a card has been placed behind the “Mastered” divider, review those words occasionally to make sure that he has indeed mastered them.

Marie describes it this way: If a Word Card is behind the Mastered divider, you should be able to dictate the word at any time during the day, and your son should be able to get it right without hesitation. If he can’t do this, the word hasn’t been mastered.

(I have moved words to mastered, only to find later that my kids needed more review, so don’t get too discouraged when that happens). Ultimately, it’s just a sign that our students need us to slow down and spend more days on one concept so they can master it. Marie’s article on Working memory and the Funnel Concept really helped bring this idea home for me: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/working-memory-funnel-concept/

Another way to use the word cards is for reading practice. Let him read the words with the A_E pattern and then practice spelling them. After each time he spells a word, show him the word card to reinforce the correct spelling through a visual.

I hope this helps! Hang in there, he’ll get these with time. Merry :-)

Cheryl Baranski

says:

Thanks you for the tips.
I am not the best speller,
I want to be the best for my
children and to also help
them achieve their best.

Stacey

says:

great post!

Suzanne

says:

thanks for the tips I have a struggling speller

Elizabeth

says:

My children struggle with spelling and these tips are very helpful. Thank you.

Cara

says:

Spelling is one of my strengths, so it can be difficult to see my child struggling with it. Thanks for the tips!!

Frances

says:

Thanks so much for this post. I have always struggled with teaching spelling. My oldest just got it so to speak. She was a great reader and just picked up words. My other 4 have struggled and I have tried various things. Thsi really looks good and doable.

Gina H.

says:

The multisensory approach has worked very well for my 10 yr. old. Her test scores have gone from the 29th percentile to the 80th. Thanks for All About Spelling!

R

says:

My son is a great reader, his spelling… not so much. I’m hoping daily AAS lessons will help him improve!

Stephanie Garcia

says:

I really like the summary! It’s very true.

Michelle

says:

This is my first year doing this program, but just from looking over it , i am very excited to get started!
Thank you for all the helpful tips too!

Vanessa

says:

We are excited to start All about Spelling this year. Thanks for the great tips!

Cyn

says:

One of the main challenges for me has been trying to understand how the mind of my dyslexic son works. It’s so different from the way mine processes information and it’s been a constant struggle to remember that he just doesn’t learn in the same way I did and that it’s important for me to always keep this in mind during his lessons.

Lisa

says:

I’ve been waiting for the “right time” financially to purchase this program for my son. So many people in our Classical Conversations group have praised All About Spelling, and I am praying that this giveaway will enable us to tackle the spelling issue very soon!

d

says:

This is my first yr homeschooling and I really hope that I can be mindful of my patience and grace. It was difficult with homework before!

Joanna

says:

I am just realizing that there are areas that my kids are lacking in, and it is because I have not specifically taught that skill or rule, both in life and in school. A lot of things do come naturally, but I have to make sure that I am really teaching the little things that they need to know.

Kyla Davis

says:

Very excited to try All About Spelling this year!

I had this very question in my head yesterday. Thank you for the help.

Cathina

says:

Wow, these are really great tips, I really needed more help with my 8th grader, these tops are exactly shat I needed!

Christina S.

says:

These are great tips!! I am planning to start using AAS with both kids this Fall.

Stacy

says:

Such an interesting way to look at this concept. I need to evaluate some of the things my guys struggle with and see how I can use these tips to help them. Thank you.

Marci

says:

I love anything that makes spelling easier.

DeeDee

says:

Thank you for reminding me to “edit” my expectations. I am homeschooling a child with severe ADHD, one with ODD, and one with PDD. The balance between understanding limitations and expecting them to do their very best is often a challenge!

Brandy

says:

I love all the tips. I have four kiddos and one of them really has a hard time with spelling.

Amy H

says:

I’m working on this with my son, and these tips will come in handy. Thanks!

Cindy

says:

My son is definitely going to benefit from my having read this. I’m frustrated. He’s frustrated. I think maybe I need to back off a little. Thank you!

JenRay

says:

I am happy read this, and find that I do many of these things already. Although I am sure she remembers the rules better than I do! So far so good with spelling. But there are absolutely areas where I get a it impatient and need to adjust my expectations!

Jenn

says:

Great blog. More of the same wonderful in share over at the Sonlight forums.

Kerri

says:

Great reminders and tips! Thanks again! =)

Jamie S.

says:

This is a great article for us newbies to spelling. My kids are starting 1st grade so we are just beginning. I’ve been really looking into AAS and I am thinking it would be amazing for my sons, especially with my son with autism.

Janean

says:

Working on this w/ my 9 year old right now

Angie

says:

Great tips!! Thank you!

Beth Hall

says:

I found this article very helpful. My son has trouble with automaticity in spelling -the very thing you describe with brave/brav – he would do that. Thank you for the helpful tips! I can’t wait to use them to help him.

Erin

says:

Thank you for the great reminders!!

That sounds way to much like one of my sons. Love all the tips, might have to log this one away for future use. We are just starting AAS this year, can’t wait to use it!

Keri

says:

Thanks for the great info!

Jackie Betancourt

says:

Thank you for sharing this, I too have children in need if some great spelling skills. I have heard wonderful comments about your curriculum, and am looking forward to trying it this year. Thanks again and God bless!

Catherine

says:

Great tips!! :)

Christina

says:

I have 7 kids and only one of them spells well, although I would consider myself a good speller. Thanks for the tips!

Tracey M.

says:

These are great suggestions! Thank you for posting and reminding us all what we can do to help our children build automaticity. We like to play games of all sorts emphasizing spelling rules … anything that is fun, interactive, and educational. We use online resources to hep too. We LOVE using All About Spelling as our main curriculum!
Thank you,
Tracey M.

Sabrina

says:

The multisensory approach is a sure-fire way of helping a child develop and learn.

Tina

says:

Spelling is so important in life! That’s why I love this product!

pam

says:

This is what we need! Spelling has always been my child’s most difficult subject. We’re thankful for All About Spelling and will include some of these ideas in our daily spelling!

Wendy

says:

Thanks for the tips. I have four children, some really struggle with spelling. I’d love to start your program with them.

Aimee

says:

Thanks for these good reminders and tips, Merry.

Caryn

says:

The All about Learning products were recommended to me by a local tutor that specialized in dyslexia. I can’t wait to get started! You are definitely correct….my reading/spelling seemed to come naturally to me. I can still remember the day I picked up a book and all the words just made sense. My daughter is more like my husband, so I’ve had to go outside my comfort zone and find ways that work for her. Great article!

Delphine

says:

Thanks for all your ideas and tips. There is so much to keep in mind when we are teaching our children and guiding them on their journey through school.

Brooke

says:

I want my children to be able to do this, I struggle with spelling and might learn a thing or two as well ;0)

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