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Tips for Teaching Multiple Kids Together

Three smiling children playing a reading game

Parents often ask if it’s possible to teach multiple children together using the All About Reading and All About Spelling programs.

This is one of those questions that doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer. Let’s take a closer look!

3 Questions to Ask Yourself

Some homeschool parents find that teaching their children together can save both time and money. And the flexibility of the All About Reading and All About Spelling programs makes teaching multiple children possible in many situations.

As you consider whether this option could work best for your family, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are my children at significantly different instructional levels? Children who are at the same level can easily be taught together. In fact, this can be a very effective way to use the programs. However, if your children are not at the same starting point, you may end up holding one child back in order to meet the needs of the child who is not as advanced, or you may attempt to push a child beyond his capabilities for the sake of keeping your kids together.
  2. Are my children able to maintain a similar instructional pace? Although your children may start at the same place, you may discover that one is able to advance through the material at a faster pace. If one child starts to move more quickly than the other, you’ll want to consider splitting them up so each child can move at his or her own pace.
  3. Do my children have radically different learning styles? All About Reading and All About Spelling are multisensory programs that teach through all three major pathways to the brain: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Although AAR and AAS lessons use all three pathways, instruction may need to be tailored to each child’s strongest pathway. This can make it more challenging to teach multiple children with different learning styles—though not necessarily impossible.

What if your children are at different instructional levels, don’t learn at a similar pace, or have different learning styles? In these situations, we recommend that you teach reading and spelling to your children separately to ensure the highest possible levels of success. Consider whether it would be possible to teach subject areas such as social studies, science, and religion to multiple children instead.

All About Spelling Level 1 Review Box and Teacher's Manual on whiteboard

Tips for Teaching Reading and Spelling to Multiple Kids

  • Listen to each child read aloud during every reading lesson. It is critically important that you hear each child read aloud during every lesson, either from one of the readers or a fluency sheet. Listening to your child read can alert you to the need for corrections or adjustments in your instruction.
  • Make sure each child is getting the practice he needs. Be careful not to tailor combined lesson review times to the specific needs of one child. This may result in giving your other child too much—or too little—practice.
  • Provide the perfect amount of practice for each child by customizing the fluency practice sheets. A child who needs extra practice can be assigned more fluency practice, while a child who is not struggling can get by with less practice. Fluency sheets can provide plenty of leeway for children with different needs.
  • Be sensitive to the needs of older students. If your older child needs remedial help, it may be embarrassing for her to share lessons with her younger siblings.

A note about sharing student materials:

If you decide to teach your children together, we recommend that you purchase a separate Student Packet for every student. Review is a critical part of the All About Reading and All About Spelling programs. The cards in the Student Packet (Word Cards, Phonogram Cards, etc.) provide a method for consistent review and for easy assessment of student progress. Sharing one set of Word Cards with multiple children may make it difficult to closely track each child’s progress. Likewise, trying to use only one review box and set of dividers can make it hard to effectively organize individual review and progress for multiple children. Although buying one Student Packet can save you money, what you save in dollars you may lose in efficiency and effectiveness.

Only you can decide whether you should teach your children together. We hope this information will help you discover what is best for your family and your budget.

Have you taught AAR or AAS to multiple children? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.

Free report - '20 Best Tips for Teaching Reading and Spelling'

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Leave a Comment

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

A mom named Nicole shared on another of our blog posts how she makes two levels of AAR and three levels of AAS work in her household. I’m sharing it here as I think her comment will be very helpful for others.

Nicole wrote:

AAL Press recommends 20 minutes on spelling and 20 minutes on reading per day. With two kids doing AAR and three kids doing AAS, all at different levels, I find that I cannot do that. Instead, I spend 10-15 with each child per lesson. We make great progress with this and I am not frazzled. For AAR, that might look like this: Level 1 (young child), read half the story, I read a sentence, he reads a sentence. Or we read two sections on one side of the fluency sheets, then a few of the sentence sections on the other side, I read one, he reads one. Level 4 (older child who just had a leap in reading) introduce the concept and have him read the green cards and the fluency sheet (they are much shorter in L4) to ensure he can read the words with that pattern, then he reads half the story in the next lesson that reinforces the new words. Next day, he reads the other half of the story. At this point, he reads aloud while I do dishes, with me helping him with a word or two but usually not more than that. For AAS, my Level 2 kid does the review box for about five minutes, then new spelling words for about five minutes, then he writes 2-3 phrases or sentences. Level 4 daughter does review box, new spelling words, 3 sentences. Same with Level 5 son. At this rate, we do an AAS step in about 3-4 school days; I slow down when we need to and spend more days, but always just 10-15 minutes per lesson per day.

Here is the link to her comment.

Amy Caldwell

says:

I didn’t have time to read all the other comments but thought I’d share our experience if it helps anyone. I have 8yo twins finishing AAR4. They are both pretty close in reading level and learn fast/well in reading. So it wasn’t hard to teach them together (I have them alternate lines on fluency sheets and do readers and flash cards separately. Everything else we do together). But with spelling, one of them has a significantly different ability than the other. At first it wasn’t a problem starting them together, but by the time we got to level 3, the one with less natural spelling ability was struggling and getting anxious about spelling “tests” (writing green cards on paper). I considered separating them, but found that just doing extra practice with that one each day was enough to resolve the problem. So now, we do a small section each day together but the one who struggles more also gets extra practice with tiles (elctronic tiles on an app we have) or copying the words, or whatever. Occasionally I have her do her own “practice test” without pressure of having her sibling there (this allows me to give her extra practice with green cards she needs to review but which her sister has mastered). It is actually working well. So I thought I’d share in case anyone is in that boat. If this didn’t work out, yes, I would have had to split them. But I am thankful it did because it sure makes it easier to teach them together!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Thanks for sharing your experience with your twins, Amy! It was great to read about how you make AAR and AAS work for your family!

Jennifer

says:

I have two sets of twins ages 9 and 7 and struggle with this all the time. My older twins are on different levels but my younger twins are still pretty similar. Although keeping them together saves time and energy, I’m beginning to believe I am holding my older daughter back from realizing her full potential, by not challenging her enough. Conversely, her twin brother gets frustrated when I try to challenge him to work at his sisters level. With the little ones, they tend to rely on each other for help, which does a disservice to both of their learning progress. So I’m seeing the need there to separate them.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jennifer,
I have not been blessed with twins, but I do have 5 children so I understand the struggle of teaching multiple children at differing levels. Yet, it is what is necessary in order to allow our children the best chance to succeed. I make up for the time spent separately in reading, spelling, and math with combining the children in things that don’t need to be as separate for success. My 3 remaining students (since my 1st graduated a couple years ago and my 2nd finished homeschool this year) do science, history, Bible, art, and lots of other things together.

Mallory

says:

Thank you, this article was helpful. I am starting my youngest in level 1 and my older one in level 2, though she readers fairly well. I want to make sure she have a strong grasp of all the phonograms and hope she’ll soon have more confidence and stamina in her reading.

Mallory

says:

**reads fairly well! Goodness, here’s a nice little reminder to teach her to review her writing before sending!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Mallory,
No problem! I knew what you meant. Typos happen.

Melea W.

says:

So thankful I found this blog post and all the comments. I have been debating whether to separate AAS for my 10 year old and my 12 year olds. I am currently teaching them at the same time, but the needs of one of my 12 YOS is so much different than my 10 YO. My 10 YO really needs a slower pace and more review. One of the 12 YOS needs to go much faster. The other 12 YO can keep up with a lesson a day as long as I incorporate more review. I have been keeping them all in the same level for the convenience of time, but I think its time to separate them. I gleaned some ideas from those who have commented, and I am going to teach the 12 YOS together at one lesson a day like we currently do and with more review. For the 10 YO I am going to break down each lesson into several days- review, lesson, dictation and writing his own sentences. I also like the idea of keeping track of the words the 10 YO often misspells by writing them down and crossing them off as he gains mastery. It’ll be a little more work as I also have a 5 YO, but I love that with homeschooling I can adjust to the individual needs of each of my kids.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Melea,
I’m happy you found this blog post helpful for you.

You can track what your different children need to review by taking good notes, but you may considering getting a set of cards and a review box for each student. I am currently teaching three levels of All About Spelling to three different children each day, and it is easy for me to immediately review only what each needs to review as each as their own cards and review box.

Please let us know if you have any questions or need further ideas for teaching multiple student in a day.

Patrick McLaughlin

says:

My oldest is pre-school age and I have just started her on AAR pre-reading. (She also works on the Math in Focus kindergarten books.) My younger son (almost three) and daughter (one and a half) do not want to be left out, so we sing the alphabet song together, and they get photo copies of the craft sheet to do also, and listen to me reading, and get turns with the sensory activities, but they only get to look on as my daughter does the card games. We’ll see how it turns out when they’re old enough to do the same lessons themselves, but have already had a “pre-view”.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Patrick,
Such play and modeling for the younger children is sure to give them a great foundation for future learning. If you haven’t seen them already, we have a number of letter recognition activity downloads that your children might enjoy.

Bri

says:

I have two children that are a year apart, so we do multiple subjects (science, social studies, bible, french) together. As they get older; however, is there a point in which I should have them doing separate studies? They do english, math, and spelling separately now at their current grade level. My older child will be finished with high school a year sooner than my youngest, so my youngest would essentially have an extra year of the studies that we have been doing together lately.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Bri,
There is leeway in subjects like science, history, foreign languages, and Bible. It doesn’t matter if a student completes high school biology in 9th grade or 10th, as long as he completes it. My two older students have very different high school transcripts because of their different needs and aptitudes, but both more than meet graduation requirements. (For an example, my son did Chemistry in 9th grade but my daughter wasn’t ready for it until 10th grade, although my daughter did US History in 9th grade but my son wasn’t ready for it until 10th grade. They are 2.5 years apart, so speech was the only class they did together in high school.)

Also, depending on your children’s age, you can bring them together for writing as well. Children only a year apart can easily use the same writing assignments, especially if they are beyond the just beginning to learn to write sentences stage. Both a 4th grader and a 5th grader can write a story, or a newspaper article, or descriptive paragraph.

When you move into high school, maybe even before, they can share reading assignments too. In high school it is no longer about reading level, but becomes about reading to learn about literature. The benefit of having them read the same book is that it expands the discussion opportunities.

I hope this helps, but please let me know if you have further questions. My next two children are two years apart, but I anticipating them being together for most subjects except math throughout high school (they are 13 and 11 now).

Tara Morris

says:

I’m currently using AAR and AAS with two kids. I absolutely cannot teach them simultaneously. One, the older, is dyslexic, and is proceeding at a much slower pace than the younger, neurotypical, one. They started at the same time, but the younger one is currently 14 lessons ahead of the older one in reading. I’ve started cutting back on some parts of the program with her, as it’s not necessary for her, but is for her sister.
In order to use the same cards with both, I’m simply keeping good records and make sure I pull the cards each needs, each session. We’re using AAR level 2 and AAS level 1.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Tara,
Thank you for sharing how your are using the program individually with two students, especially how you use one set of cards with two kids.

Erin

says:

Hi Marie,

Yes I check multiple groups of my children. I have tried teaching reading together but that didn’t last long ;-) They were really at different stages but it did give the older struggling reader confidence and motivation to try reading again. So win.

Currently I’m teaching All About Spelling to two differents sets of children. My 16 & 14 year old, set one and my 11 &9 year olds, set 2.
As they are older children, needing remedial work, we don’t use the letter tiles, we use the blackboard. And yes we do use one student pack between them but as it’s more of a remedial nature, with the much older children in particular it works.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thank you for sharing how you are using All About Spelling with pairs of students, Erin. This will be helpful to others.

Nicole D.

says:

Good to know as next year I will be in this situation!

Amber Sheffield

says:

Hi! I’m not sure where to ask this question but I’m wondering what curriculum you recommend for Grammar/language that goes along great with AAS and AAR?

Merry at AALP

says: Customer Service

Hi Amber,

Here is fine (or you can always email us at support@allaboutlearningpress.com). Another idea is to post a question on our AALP Facebook page–then you could get feedback from others who use AAR and AAS too: https://www.facebook.com/allaboutlearningpress

You’re really free to use any program you like. Here’s an article about Planning Language Arts that can help you decide your priorities and what to focus on: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/language-arts-in-my-household/

Marie liked Winston Grammar (for 4th-7th graders) when she was teaching her children. I haven’t used that, but liked Easy Grammar. It’s not quite as user friendly as the manuals that Marie writes, but the incremental approach worked for us.

If you are looking for something that incorporates grammar and writing together, you might check out Essentials in Writing. I’ve used levels 7-10 of their program, and it’s really helped my students with writing. (Grammar is included in levels 1-6, but my kids were older when I came across it, so I haven’t used those levels).

Some others our customers have enjoyed–First Language Lessons, Analytical Grammar, and The Sentence Family, so those are some you can look into as well. Hope you find a program that’s just right for you!

Kim G

says:

I’ve had my eye on the AAS program for quite a while, and finally ordered it for four of our boys. I didn’t know how I’d fit in the time with 6 doing schoolwork and little ones as well. The older three have been doing a language arts curriculum together, but they need a good spelling program. After reading a couple more comments of moms teaching multiple children together, I plan to try it together for these three. The younger one has really struggled with learning to read and I’m hopeful that the AAS program will really help him understand some of the reading concepts he’s been struggling with.

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Kim,

That’s great, I hope it goes well teaching your older 3 together.

For your struggling reader, using AAS to teach reading can work sometimes. Other times students need more support and do better with All About Reading. Here’s more about the programs and how they are designed to work:

Both are complete phonics programs. All About Spelling and All About Reading both use a similar sequence and the same phonograms, so they are interrelated in that way. AAS teaches words from the spelling angle (encoding) and AAR teaches words from the reading angle (decoding).

AAS Level 1 starts with important phonemic awareness activities and then moves step-by-step into spelling. With this method, anything a child can spell, he or she has the skills to sound out. One of the differences that comes into play is when and how that child moves from sounding out to reading fluently and with confidence.

Some students take off in reading on their own. They might be fine just using All About Spelling. AAS focuses on encoding skills, spelling rules and other strategies that help children become good spellers. Our clients who have used All About Spelling to teach reading adjust the lessons to add in blending techniques, fluency practice, comprehension discussions, and so on. This can work for students who learn to read naturally or quickly, or for parents who have a lot of confidence and experience in teaching reading, and like to design their own lessons.

Many students need more support in reading, though, and that’s where AAR comes in. AAR includes research-based instruction in decoding, fluency, automaticity, vocabulary, comprehension, and phonemic awareness, and it is truly a complete reading program. These students benefit from going through AAR to get complete reading instruction.

Most students progress more quickly in reading than in spelling, which is one reason why Marie decided to create separate programs. AAS and AAR are designed to be independent of each other so students can move as quickly or as slowly as they need to with each skill. For most children, Marie recommends completing All About Reading Level 1 first, and then adding in the All About Spelling program. This way, students get a solid start in reading first, and they have a strong basis for spelling as well. You are free to progress in both programs at your student’s pace until both skills are mastered.

Here’s an article that explains Why We Teach Reading and Spelling Separately: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/why-we-teach-reading-and-spelling-separately/

And here’s an article that illustrates What’s the difference between All About Reading and All About Spelling: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/whats-the-difference-aar-aas/

I hope this helps as you decide what is best for you and your children. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

Tara Morris

says:

What do you recommend if you have a child who is proceeding more quickly with spelling than reading? My daughter is two lessons ahead in AAR at the moment. She’s also not applying what she’s using with spelling to things she writes. We’re at lesson 23 in AAS, but you can’t tell by looking at her writing. Her spelling is just as atrocious as before we started. Any ideas?

A. Chandler

says:

My two children both took to reading like ducks to water (a real blessing!) I started them with another spelling curriculum and found relative success until the realities of the English language hit the elder square in the noggin’. I was very surprised when he’d exclaim, “Wait–that letter doesn’t sound like that in those other words!?” Since he could read so well, I assumed spelling would also come naturally. He’s very rigid–rules should always apply–no grey areas for him and he’s very kinetic–especially when he starts to get frustrated. I wasn’t finding a way around these issues as he began to fall behind his younger sibling in many areas of learning as they all involve writing of some sort–I couldn’t keep on taking dictation for him forever! I decided to start them both on Level 1 as recommended–even though I felt they were at a higher level than beginners. I’m glad we did start at the beginning and we’ve made great progress together. As he gains confidence in the letter sounds he’s bolstered by his sisters’ encouragement, too. Even though she’s ahead of him in spelling and Language Arts, she graciously helps him practice the letter sounds, or, if he’s needing one-on-one time, she’s given other work to do in another subject–or she’s given the time to catch up on doing her chores. It’s only a short time before his lesson is done and we’re off to another subject before she has time to get “distracted” ;-) It is a good thing to have extra “busy work” for the higher achiever lest the other notice the gap, too, I’ve found.

Thank you for your detailed sharing on this.

I particularly appreciate your feelings about starting your older children on Level 1 of All About Spelling. Many times a week I help customers that have older children struggling with spelling, but the parent finds it hard to get comfortable with the idea of starting them on Level 1. I started my own 4th grader on Level 1 way back when, and like you I was very glad I did. The beginner stuff really is foundational for higher level spelling.

Thank you as well for your description of how you make things work with two children together in AAS when one needs more one-on-one time than the other. Sometimes it is hard to imagine how it would work, but you detailed it clearly.

Again, thank you for sharing this very helpful post.

Becca

says:

I just started using All About Spelling this year for both my kids who are now ages 5 and 7. I started them both on level 1 and they worked through it together. It made it easier for me and my oldest could help teach his younger sister on some things which was neat to see. My 5 year old was barely reading at the start of this school year and is now reading chapter books like Magic Tree House books with ease. I give much credit for her reading skills to All About Spelling. Spelling rules have helped her so much with reading. Thanks for an awesome curriculum!

Becca,
It sounds like doing spelling together with your children has been a great experience! When the circumstances are right, teaching children together can be very effective and rewarding for everyone involved. I’m glad it has worked out so well for you and your children. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

I hope you all are having a lovely week.

Stacy

says:

I’m late reading this, but I do appreciate this post! We LOVE the AAR and AAS programs. I started my daughter with AAR 1 last year when she was five years old. Her younger brother just kind if joined in and did well. However, by the end of level 1 he clearly needed more practice so he repeated level 1 and she moved on to level 2 without him . Currently my daughter is almost done with level 3 and my son is almost ready to begin level 3. We just started AAS 2 and are doing it together. My daughter could move faster, but they enjoy doing it together. Part of their “morning work” includes quizzing each other with review cards. When we get to the lesson, one child will spell with tiles while the other “jumps” the word (this is a large foam hopscotch board and they make one jump for each sound of the word). The jumper has to then look at the word spelled with the tiles and agree or disagree with the spelling. It might sound complicated, but they love it. They might need split up later, but for now, as they are five and six and still WANT to learn together, why not? It won’t last this way forever!

Stacy,
Thank you for sharing this. I love the way you can have both children work on the same word and check each other.

None of my children are close enough in abilities to work together on spelling or reading, but they do love it when I can come up with ways they can review together while working on their own cards. I can definitely understand why your kids would enjoy working together like this so much.

Have a great week.

Kathryn

says:

Thank-you for this blog post. I think teaching multiple kids together is a delicate balance. With my four kids I have been just amazed at what 3 and 5 year olds will pick up from sitting at the table near where I am teaching older kids. On the other hand, I have seen a very bright older child get a bit lazy and allow younger siblings to answer the questions and to just skate through the lesson. It creates an unique challenge…

Kathryn,
I completely understand. The three kids pictured above are my three younger children, and we do a mix of together things and separate things. Some things work well together, like Bible study, and some are just much better separate, like Spelling. It is definitely a balancing act.

Thank you for commenting. I hope you have a great weekend.

Nicole Eisenman

says:

Thank you for this information! I have 3 children but my oldest is only in kindergarten right now. I keep worrying about the future and how I’ll have time to get everything all done and what subjects to teach together and what not. I’ll definitely be using this information for years to come.

Nicole,
Try not to worry about how homeschooling 3 kids will be. You’ll work it out. You’ll get busier in some ways, but as the kids grow they become more independent too.

This is my last year homeschooling all 5 of my children; my oldest graduates next month. I’m on the other end of things, where I will have fewer students every 2 to 4 years. I know it’s cliche, but it really seems like the time went by so quickly.

I hope you have a lovely week.
Robin E.

LJ

says:

This fall we will begin homeschooling 2 children of very different abilities and ages, and I’ve been worried about being able to support the younger struggling learner (who will have educational testing next month) without shortchanging the gifted one. Thank you for all the information shared on your website–and thanks to the commenters for their tips and insights as well!

LJ,
I’m glad that our website could be a place of support and encouragement for you! I hope this coming year will be a great one for your and your kids. Thank you for posting.

Laura B.

says:

I used AAR pre reading with my 3 and 5 year old boys. It worked well since it is flexible. My one year old even likes to get involved. I laminated the cards to help ensure durability. As my oldest is preparing for more reading, I am needing to work with him individually.

brandi

says:

I’m thinking of teaching my youngest two. Thanks for all the good onfo

Merri

says:

I am teaching 3 and appreciate these kinds of posts. I will be mining this post for good ideas! Thanks!

Jamie

says:

I teach 5 kids at different levels. It is HARD, but doable and worth it. For AAS, I always work with one child while the others are doing independent work. They only do 10 minutes of spelling a day, because otherwise I cannot fit everything in! Only my younger kids are doing AAR. I always work with my youngest first. She is in pre-level. We finish all of her school in about 45 minutes (10-15 minutes AAR, 10-minutes math, 5 minutes for handwriting, 10-20 minutes of me reading something to her, the toddler, and her older brother). I then work with my son on AAR (first grade, level 1). The timing of this changes because some days he is super focused and wants to read for a half hour or 45 minutes. Other days working for 15 minutes is a challenge! This is all done while my older children (3rd grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade) are doing chores, Bible, and starting their independent work. Homeschooling multiple children with different gifts, all at different levels (sometimes with a younger child in a more advanced level than a younger sibling) is challenging but doable. It takes a good schedule with LOTS of flexibility and love :-D

Tracy Hendrickson

says:

I would love to use AAR with my two children!

Bekah

says:

I’ve always taught each student separately for math, phonics, spelling, and grammar. It’s a big time-saver and relationship-builder to do some subjects together. It’s always a little overwhelming to me when the older one starts showing they need to go at a faster pace because it is so convenient to be able to work together on science and history.

Ashley M

says:

My 4 year old has consistently sat alongside his 6 year old brother through homeschooling and picked up most of what big brother is learning. When it comes to reading and spelling, the little one is slowing down as the older one pushes ahead. This was a great blogpost that gave me a lot to think about as I prepare to start formally teaching my little one next year!

Merry at AALP

says:

It is amazing what younger ones can pick up by listening in! My kids are also 2 years apart, and I found that my youngest picked up on some math concepts by listening to her brother’s lessons at this age! Overall, though, I found it best to separate my kids for skill-based subjects, but combine them for content-based subjects like history, science, Bible and the like. When they got closer together in writing ability, I did find that they could often either do lessons together or use the same resource (the older one might write more in depth on a topic). Sometimes it takes some experimenting to find out what works best!

Jenny acosta

says:

I plan to use AAR with my 2 boys. I’m very excited to start!

Pamela Testi

says:

I love that my boys can play AAR and AAS games together to reinforce what they are learning at their individual levels.

Amy C

says:

I agree that is one great thing about doing a level together. My twins are even excited about going back to play Ziggy games with their little brother when he starts AAR this coming school year!

Deana

says:

I love hearing how other families teach their kids together. I have a 1st grader and a Kindergartener. My K boy catches on to things much quicker than his brother. I am thinking that at some point he will catch up to his brother in AAS and AAR and I will be able to teach them together. It would certainly save me a bit of time each day.

Amberleigh

says:

This is really helpful. Thank you!

Sabrina Caines

says:

Thanks for the tips. I am using A AS with two kids.

Kim Colllins

says:

THank you for this! Very good information.

RG

says:

I am a special education teacher using AAS at a small, K-12 public school. For times ranging from 15 min. to 45 min./day, I teach AAS to the following groupings: three 6th graders together, six 4th graders together, two 9th graders together, and an 8th and 10th grader together. Out of these 13 students, 8 are dyslexic. I feel good that these students, in particular, are getting the help they need through this program. I wish I could teach them all individually, but the school schedule make this impossible. At least I’m truly addressing the students’ needs.
AAS’s simple, methodic thoroughness make it possible for me to juggle this program with my other teaching priorities. ( AAS was recommended to me by my older sister who home schools. After trying several complicated reading/spelling programs with her son with dyslexia, this one is finally working for him.)

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi RG,

I’m so glad the program is working for your students and for your sister’s son. I’m sure your dedication and hard work will make a difference in these students’ lives!

Michelle Nott

says:

I would love to know how you teach this to such a wide age range. I teach at a homeschool co-op and have several parents that have requested that I work with their dyslexic students in a class setting, meeting once a week. I’m struggling to figure out how to manage that. I feel led to help these struggling readers (and their struggling moms). Currently, I tutor 1-on-1. I just don’t have 30 extra hours in my week to accommodate all the students that are needing my help. Any suggestions would be amazingly helpful! Thank you, in advance!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Michelle,
Hopefully RG will get back to you, but she did post a year ago so she might not see this. However, we do have a pdf document detailing how our programs can be adapted for group settings in classrooms. If you email us a support@allaboutlearningpress.com, we can attach the document to you in reply.

I will add, however, that when Marie tutors she either requires the parent to work with the child at home during the week or she insists upon 3 sessions per week. Struggling learners will not make good progress with just once a week work. Since homeschool co-ops aren’t really set up for multiple days per week, you might consider a once a week teaching the teacher class, to equip parents to work with their children at home.

Michelle Nott

says:

Excellent suggestions! Thank you! I will send an email now.

Mandy

says:

Thanks for the tips! My two oldest are two years apart but it might as well be four years as far as learning and progression. I teach them separately but because my second child is four I have not been as diligent as I need to be in getting her going. I enjoy using All About Spelling with my oldest but am looking forward to trying All About Reading for the first time!

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Mandy,

You could even just wait for your second since she is only 4. We typically recommend waiting on spelling until the child has completed All About Reading 1, unless he or she is very anxious to learn how to spell!

Sara S.

says:

Love this information! My oldest is in Kindergarten but I will be starting preschool with her younger sister soon and this is good to know for the future. Thanks!

Ashley Caputa

says:

This is very helpful! I was considering teaching my 3 and 5 year olds at the same time this fall, but now I realize that I probably need to be more mindful of how I plan our lessons. I can’t wait to use All About Reading for the first time. Thanks!

Haley

says:

This is our first year with AAR. After using two other programs, my son is finally reading well! Thank you!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Haley! I’m glad that your son has become more stronger in his reading skills, too!

Cherry Hiens

says:

Thank you! This was perfectly timed for me! Appreciate all you do!

christi

says:

My son is doing AAR 2 and AAS 1….my problem is that he doesn’t like the tiles. For spelling he’d much prefer to spell the words out loud or write them…..is it ok to “skip” the tiles so long as he’s getting the concepts?

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Christi,

Yes, that’s fine. You can use underlining while writing on paper or a white board, or colored markers, to show when letters are working together as one phonogram. Or, do the demonstrations with the tiles, but let him choose whether to practice the concept with tiles or in writing. Here are some other kinesthetic and tactile methods for practicing words: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/kinesthetic-learning/

Remember that the goal is for our students to be able to write words fluently–to not have to stop and think about how they are spelled. With that in mind, I would use oral spelling somewhat sparingly–it’s fine for a quick review with the word cards, but if he misses or struggles with a word, have him practice writing it for a few days as you review that word. I hope this helps!

CabotMama

says:

My fourth grade son has always balked at any subject requiring him to write; however, I make him practice spelling by tiles during our intro session and then by writing until he has the word mastered. After mastery, the word can be reviewed orally, which is a reward for him. If he really struggles with a word (i.e. friend), I’ll have him write it two or three times in a row and then challenge him to write it with his eyes closed. I make the challenge more about “keeping it on the line” or “put the dot over the i in the right place without looking” and he happily rises to the occasion. I’ve talked to him about “muscle memory” and the importance of getting his handwriting muscles used to flowing a certain way when his mind wants to express the idea of “friend” or “worry.” This approach has helped ease some of the pushback about writing his words on paper.

Merry at AALP

says:

Great ideas!

CabotMama

says:

After using AAS for three years and two children, I have just begun to find ways to combine their learning times. My fourth grader is currently working thru AAS4 and my second grader has almost completed AAS2. We do school four times a week. The first day is review and intro of the new step, which require separate teaching times, one-on-one. The second day is spelling with tiles and also requires one-on-one. The third day is spelling on paper, which can be done simultaneously (“For your first word, Child A, spell ‘worry’. Child B, spell ‘spent’ ” and so on with me monitoring their progress to make sure no errors are made and/or practiced. The fourth day is dictation and is also done simultaneously. The third & fourth days require less time and thus allow more time for other subjects. Some weeks, we do not have a full four days of school. Those weeks become “review weeks.” We play a variation on the spelling bee or I give each child twenty review words to write. AAS is teacher intensive, but my children are HAPPILY learning to spell well, so we will continue. Next year I will add a kindergartener and in two more years I will have a 6th grader, a 4th grader, a 1st grader and a kindergartener. How we will manage, I am not sure, but we will continue to persevere and try new ways!

Merry at AALP

says:

Great ideas! I wonder if you could try combining your K and 1st grader and teach them together? Since you are starting young with them, that might work–certainly worth trying!

Shannon

says:

Thank you for the post! I just wanted to share that I have taught the first 4 levels of AAS to four children simultaneously (meaning all at the table together). They are ages 7-11. It has worked marvelously. I would encourage anyone who really WANTS to make it work, to plunge into it. It works very, very well for us. We even use just one set of word cards (1 student packet)! I would have to (respectfully) disagree with the recommendations above for tracking all of the children’s progress individually. This may be necessary in families where there is a LARGE discrepancy in the children’s ability levels, but in our family it would simply be a waste of time and money. How it works for us, is we review to the youngest child’s ability (as a group). The older ones who learn it faster may end up doing a little bit of extra review because we don’t leave the youngest one straggling behind. (But, there is no harm done in extra reviewing!) We are so grateful to have been able to experience the benefits of this amazing program by making it work for our family in this way!! As a mother of six, I never would have been able to do a spelling program individually with each of my children. I love this program, and the kids do too!

Julie Haynie

says:

I hardily agree. Due to my oldest, now 12, being a terrible speller–after using MANY other spelling programs, I was desperate to find something that worked. When it was recommended to start at the very beginning with Level one, I was hesitant, but thought I’d give it a try (and I would be able to use it for all of my kids). It has been such a blessing. I have 7 kids, the oldest 12, and decided to try teaching the 4 oldest together (12, 11, 9, 8). I should also mention that we’ve been doing this for about 1 1/2 years. I couldn’t possible teach them all separately and get to everything else in the day, so for levels 1-4 I taught all the kids together. This wasn’t as challenging as I thought it would be. I was able to move very quickly through the first 2 levels and then took a year to do the next two levels. They all sat down at the kitchen table. We did two lessons a week one Monday, one Tuesday. At the beginning of each lesson we went over the yellow, red and blue cards. I would start with a different child each day so they all had to take turns answering different ones. While we were doing the sentences at the end if one of my kids missed a word, I wrote it on a sheet of paper with columns under each name. I would then begin the next lesson with that child having to spell those words. I would keep the words on the list until I could see they had mastered them. These lists only consisted of a few words at any given time, so it was very doable. At this rate we finished levels 3 and 4 before the end of the school year. Then I do “testing”. For the kids to “pass” off that level they have to each individually say the review cards and spell the green cards correctly. This has worked so well. Next year however I will have to teach on 2 different levels. It is true that some of my kids have had to go a little slower or my youngest was slightly more challenged, but this hasn’t proven to be a mistake. It can be more adaptable than you might think if you get creative. Highly recommend–my oldest son has finally figured out when to double a consonant and what to do when adding a suffix. Not being the greatest speller myself I have finally been able to make sense of so many things!

Julie Haynie

says:

I forgot to mention, that because I did it the way I did–and kept track of a list of individual words for each kid, and because I have done the testing for each kid at the end I did not find it necessary to have separate cards for each. Imagine either trying to teach on 4 or 5 different levels or buying that many sets!

Amy C

says:

I have found that the list for each kid works well too for me with spelling since the green cards got complicated for two kids in the same level.

Merry at AALP

says:

Thank you Shannon and Julie, for your comments! I love hearing how this works in different families!

Melodie

says:

I have a 7 year old finishing up AAR L3 in a couple days. He is halfway through AAS Level 2. My 5 year old has 7 lessons left in AAR Level 1 and he is halfway through L1 AAS. They are quite obviously at different levels in both subjects but I will often do reading/spelling with both together, taking turns with the same parts of the lesson as it fits (phonogram review, spelling dictation, etc.). Sometimes the other will color or do some cutting out for an activity while I focus on one boy.
My 4 year old little girl finished AAR Pre-Reading earlier this month as well. It’s been quite the juggling act but I really feel it’s time well invested. I know I could buy a cheaper/more independent/easier program elsewhere but I can’t justify the loss of proper learning materials. I was homeschooled and my parents did a great job, but I can’t believe how much I never learned about the English language. I’ve picked up some great tips from the Logic Of English blog and YouTube videos that perfectly enhance the teaching I’m doing with Reading and Spelling. I highly recommend checking it out. I plan to start the Handwriting program they have.
Next year will be busy! :D
8 yr. old-AAR L4, AAS L3+?
6 yr. old-AAR L2, AAS L2
5 yr. old AAR L1, AAS L1 (as she is ready)
Besides other subjects and a 3 yr. old and a newborn…

Heather F

says:

I have been checking these products out for a year now but haven’t bought them yet, BUT I am soooo ready! My kiddos (ages 7,6,3 and 18 months) would surely benefit from a more robust and interactive reading and spelling program. I am very much interested on how families are currently using this at home with multiple children together. I have been swapping time with each of kiddos (one on one time with mom versus altogether) but it would be WAY easier to do it all together especially for the younger ones to see it in action from the big kids.

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Heather,

I started mine in spelling together and ended up deciding it was easier to do them separately. I just had the other one do something independent while I worked for 15-20 minutes with one, then swapped.

But for reading, you might like this post about Robin and how she homeschools–she does teach reading and spelling separately, but they do some review games together: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/real-moms-robin-williams/

Laurie

says:

I am teaching 4 students in 3 different levels of AAS. I completely agree – separate card packs saves so much time and frustration. One note – the dividers are not included in the additional student packet – be sure to add those to your order. It is worth it!

Janee

says:

When I was teaching my two older kids AAS together we bought two card systems. Totally worth the extra expense. However with my 8 year old we started with AAR first. So that I can use it with more kids later I’ve laminated the activity book pages and made them into folder games. They are easier to use and will last a long time. This will allow you to continue using each level through all of your kids sequentially or together. However, unless the kids are several levels apart it is still better to have a card system for each one so you can review along the way all the way back to level 1.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Janee, I love that you’ve laminated the activity pages from our AAR series to ensure that they’ll withstand the test of time! I’m thankful to hear that your family has enjoyed these folder games. Thanks for sharing your great idea!

Carissa Bohley

says:

WE have never used the All About…series before but we are schooling a middle schooler, a 3rd grader, and a preschooler so we could certainly use something simpler.

Jennifer B

says:

I have a 4 yr old & 5 yr old. They are one yr, one mo, and one day apart. The younger dau knew most of her letters and some sounds, the oldest knew very few of either. We bought the pre-reading set, with two student packets((WAY WORTH IT!!)). Since the younger dau didn’t fit the categories for level 1((great tool BTW)), I felt the pre-reading would be ok for both. We take turns pointing out letters, while signing the abc’s. The charts are a very good visual to have-even though I have the alphabet posted on another wall. They enjoy it, even pretend play school!! I know the older dau needs the extra instruction/help, but the younger is getting bored w coloring etc. I try to find ways to mix that up(paint, markers, etc.) I still feel they are both benefitting from the same level, it helps. Now, idk how I’ll do it once baby boy is old enough to participate. Thanks for making such a great program. I absolutely love it!!!!

Mary Bockrath

says:

Over this last academic year I have taught AAR Levels 1 & 2 to my six year old daughter and eight year old son. My son has dyslexia and my daughter is a very fluent reader. I taught them the same material each day but I taught them separately and making sure that they were in different rooms from each other. AAR Level 1 went very smoothly but I think that in AAR 2 the pacing was perfect for my daughter and too progressed for my son with dyslexia. I agree that both AAR and AAS would better serve the children by being taught separately.

Merry at AALP

says:

Thanks for your comments! If you want or need suggestions on adjusting AAR 2 to better meet your son’s needs, please email me at support@allaboutlearningpress.com. I’d be glad to help!

Tina

says:

In order to save money, we started with one student pack to share bw 2 kids. It ended up getting way to confusing. So much better now that we have 2. Worth the extra money for sure!

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