We have shared many posts about using All About Reading with children who have special needs, and we love sharing those stories. But there’s a group of special learners that we don’t hear about quite as often: gifted learners.
Gifted learners have special needs, too, but the needs of gifted learners are quite different than those of other special learners.
Generally, gifted kids need to progress faster, they need to make big leaps, they need to be able to interact with content on a deeper level, and they aren’t willing to put up with shallowness or inconsistencies. Though on the surface these may sound like “good problems” to have, they can make it very challenging to choose a curriculum for a gifted learner.
So when we heard from Mark*, the father of a gifted little boy, and he mentioned that his son had finished all four levels of the All About Reading program in just over a year, I was eager to hear more.
And when I saw his video of five-year-old Cody reading When Dinosaurs Lived: Velociraptor by Kate Riggs, I knew I had to ask Mark to share Cody’s story with our readers.
Cody’s story begins when he was around 1 1/2 years old.
I always said that I was going to start teaching my kids at a young age so that they would have an advantage through school. We started with some animal flash cards. I would show him the pictures, say the name, and tell him a few facts about each one. It wasn’t long before he started identifying and pronouncing the names and facts clearly for animals such as rhinoceros, walrus, toucan, and more. I was amazed by how fast and easy it was for him. At the time, I didn’t know how unusual it was for a one-year-old to be able to say these things.
After the animals, I started on numbers 1–100, and within a couple of weeks, he had number recognition down. Then I moved on to letters, and within a few days, he had those down as well.
After the letters, I was starting to realize that I had a smart one on my hands. He loved it, so we ran with it. That Christmas he received an easel, and from that point on, we tackled everything—the solar system, states and capitals, presidents, money, multiplication, decimals, division, food chain, measurements—just about everything we could think of. Except for reading.
I love to read, but wasn’t too excited about teaching it. I like to fully understand something before I can teach it. Just because you know how to read, doesn’t mean you understand the rules for reading. My wife, Tami, suggested I quit stalling and start reading. We both knew he was eager to learn and that the timing was right.
But like I said before, I wanted to fully understand reading before I would teach it. I began to research how to teach kids to read—every bit of information I could find, but I was disappointed in what I was finding. By this time, I was probably more confused than I had been before. The information I found seemed to contradict itself and just created a lot of confusion. Still determined, I kept searching and finally resorted to creating my own reading curriculum.
Then one day I was researching phonograms and stumbled on a company called All About Learning Press. As I researched the programs that AALP offered, it seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. And the more I researched it, the more convinced I became. So I ordered All About Reading Level 1—trying not to expect too much, because it just seemed too good to be true.
A few days later I received the curriculum, and standing there flipping through pages, I was amazed. It turned out to be the godsend I was searching for. It had everything I imagined.
Cody was eager to get started, so we started immediately after receiving it. Cody loved it…from day one all the way to the end. It took him fourteen months to complete all four levels. We did every lesson. We flew through Level 1, completing about three lessons each day. In Levels 2–4, Cody was able to complete one or two lessons each day, with each lesson taking between 20–30 minutes. He was five years old when he completed Level 4.
It was the greatest discovery. This curriculum company has all the answers for reading. Every public school should have to integrate this program into their curriculum, because what the schools offer is a joke compared to All About Reading.
Cody just turned six. He’s in kindergarten and will never have to worry about reading. He can decode pretty much any word that there is. I couldn’t have been more pleased with this program!
Thank you, Marie Rippel and team! Keep up the extraordinary work. I recommend you to everyone I know!
Did you enjoy Mark and Cody’s story? Read more stories from Real Moms (and Dads).
*To preserve the privacy of the child featured in this story, we did not use the family’s real names.