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Language Arts in My Household

Boy reading from All About Reading reader

At its most basic level, language arts is about communication: taking in information and sharing information with others. Sounds simple, right?

So why is language arts such a difficult subject to plan and teach?

One big reason that language arts can be difficult is that the single subject area of “language arts” actually encompasses more than ten related topics: phonics, reading, handwriting, listening skills, spelling, grammar, writing, poetry, literature, vocabulary, and speech! It doesn’t seem quite so simple anymore, does it?

Many homeschool parents long for an all-in-one language arts curriculum, but an inclusive approach to teaching language arts can be difficult. Most kids learn to read faster than they learn to write or spell, so although an all-in-one program might be just right for reading, it may be too advanced for writing. For another child, a program may be perfect for spelling but too slow for reading.

Putting It All Together

Would you like to hear how a seasoned homeschooler makes language arts work in her household? Merry Marinello homeschooled two children of her own, so her language arts expertise comes from years of experience in the trenches, figuring out exactly how to teach this multifaceted subject to her kids. As part of our customer service team, Merry has also responded to thousands of questions from parents about using All About Reading and All About Spelling with their children.

Here’s Merry…

When I realized that an all-in-one curriculum just wasn’t a viable option for my children and that I would have to go another direction, I knew I had to begin by identifying what my goals were. I started by asking myself a few important questions:

  • Why do I teach language arts?
  • What am I trying to accomplish?
  • In what order should I teach the skills that make up “language arts”?
  • And finally, what priority should I give them?

After considering my answers to these questions, I worked out a progression for teaching language arts that looked like this:

Language arts suggested order of introduction inforgraphic

I knew that just figuring out a logical sequence for teaching language arts wasn’t enough. I still had to figure out how to fit all those content areas into our school day and apply some time limits for daily instruction. I like to do 30 to 60 minutes of daily language arts instruction for kindergarten and first grade, and 60 to 90 minutes each day for second grade and up.

Language Arts: Start with the Basics

Sticking to these time limits requires some prioritizing. Here’s how I ended up fitting it all inbut keep in mind that these recommendations are what worked for my children. You may need to increase or decrease your instruction time depending on your child’s attention span, abilities, and progress.

A basic beginning plan for kindergarten or first grade might start like this:

  • Phonics and reading instruction: 20 to 30 minutes per day
  • Handwriting instruction: 10 minutes per day

A Note about Handwriting

When just starting out, handwriting doesn’t have to involve putting pen to paper. Instead, you and your child can do things like writing with an index finger in sand or in pudding or on carpet squares or any other tactile surface. Writing is fairly complex and involves both gross and fine motor muscle tone as well as neurological involvement and working memory. I remember thinking that pre-writing types of activities weren’t all that important when, in fact, they are very important. I was too anxious to get to “the real thing” (pencil to paper). If I had it to do over again, I’d spend more time doing fun pre-writing activities.

Add in the Rest

When a child becomes fluent in reading simple words, it’s time to add in:

  • Spelling instruction: 20 minutes per day

And when a child can read chapter books fluently, your phonics and reading instruction time can transition to:

  • Silent reading: 30 minutes per day

A Note about Read-alouds

There are lots of great reasons to read aloud to your children. I recommend reading aloud to even your older children for a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes each day. Read-alouds teach many valuable language arts skills, such as vocabulary. I often stop to see if my kids know a word, or they will stop me and ask for a definition. Syntax and grammar and the flow of our language are also taught informally. Poetry can teach rhyming, alliteration, and the musicality of language. You can work on listening skills and comprehension by asking simple questions like “What do you think will happen next?” or “Why do you think the character did that? Would you have done that?” Most of all, reading aloud can help your child develop a lifelong love of learning. I still read to my high school and junior high students, and I will continue as long as I can get away with it!

When your child is ready for more, you can begin to add in writing and grammar.

  • Writing and/or grammar instruction: 30 minutes per day

I started off by working on these topics informally. I found it easier to add a formal writing program after my children could spell around a thousand words. Writing and grammar do not have to be taught simultaneously. There are many ways to customize instruction in these areas. You can choose to focus on one per year, or do them on alternating days. Try breaking instruction up into 6-, 9-, 12-, or 18-week segments, or use a program that incorporates both content areas.

With older children, speech can be woven into the writing/grammar time slot as well.

Remember, you don’t have to do every language arts topic every year. The most important thing is to think through your goals, consider the individual needs of each child, and build your language arts plan step by step.

Do you have a system for teaching language arts that works for your family? How is it different from this system? Let us know in the comments!

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Leave a Comment

Wendy Zamorano

says:

My third grader is going to do AAR 2 and AAS 2. This will be my first time using the program since my son was in public school. My son was able to read on both placement tests for level 2 easily but only had trouble with some of the phonograms needed for level 2. Two questions?
1) As I looked at the scope and sequence I noticed that for level 2 for AAR and AAS the phonograms are the same. Do they align? And can they work together
2) can we do level 2 in a semester if he can skim through them easily. I feel my son should be on level 3 but only needs to do some lessons from level 2s.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Wendy,
Have your son read the last story, “Rawhide” from this All About Reading 2 sample. It is from near the end of AAR 2 and if he can read it fluently with good comprehension, then you can be confident that he would be better in AAR 3. The phonograms he struggled with will be reviewed in the beginning of AAR 3. However, if he struggles to read the story smoothly and with expression and understanding, then you know that AAR 2 is the right level. We are looking for confident, fluent reading before going on to the next level.

As for All About Spelling, the article Which Spelling Level Should We Start With? has more information on the concepts taught in All About Spelling 1 and will help you decide if your student can skip level 1 and go into level 2. 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. Because of this, most students need to start with level 1.

AAS and AAR both use a similar, but not the same, sequence and the same phonograms. Both are complete phonics programs, so they are interrelated in that way. AAS teaches words from the spelling angle, and AAR teaches words from the reading angle. They are designed to complement each other, but each also stands alone. Because spelling is more difficult than reading, most students do not use the same level of AAR and AAS.

Both AAS and AAR are designed to be used at each child’s unique pace. That means, yes, it is feasible for a student to move through a level in half a year or even less, especially if most of it is review. However, the goal should always be mastery of the material and not finishing a level. Go as slowly as your student needs to have a high level of success.

Also, AAR 3 and AAS 3 are not “3rd grade” as our levels are not grade level. All About Reading and All About Spelling group words in a logical manner based on similar rules or patterns regardless of their supposed grade level, which allows students to progress quickly and confidently. Keep in mind that All About Spelling takes only 7 levels to cover through 12th-grade level spelling and after All About Reading 4 students have the phonics and word attack skills necessary to sound out high school level words, though they may not know the meaning of all higher level words yet. (Word attack skills include things like dividing words into syllables, making analogies to other words, sounding out the word with the accent on different word parts, recognizing affixes, etc…)

I hope this helps, but please let me know how he does on reading the sample story and the spelling placement article. Let me know if you have any more questions as well.

I did have him read “Rawhide” from level 2. He was able to answer the questions that were in the teachers manual. He struggled on two words but that is it. I went ahead and had him read the “Train Cat” from Level 3 and he struggled with some words such as crate and besides. What do you think? He can read the last story of level 2 but i saw him struggling with first story in level 3

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Wendy,
It sounds like he is ready for All About Reading level 3! When you say he struggled with “some words”, I am thinking it is no more than a few per page, and the “Train Cat” story has a good amount of words per page. That would be his instructional level. Go slowly through the early lessons of AAR 3, spending at least a few days or a week per each reviewing the skills he needs to successfully attack the words he struggled with.

I just had a thought. Did you have him read “Train Cat” soon after reading “Rawhide”? He might have been more tired and tired children tend to make more mistakes. However, even if he was fresh when he read “Train Cat”, I still think AAR 3 is the best place for him to start.

Nicole Lynn Schofield

says:

We love IEW for younger kids, through middle school. I have an English degree and high school teaching certification; I currently teach a homeschool co-op college prep literature and writing course for 11th and 12th graders, and I taught AP English at a charter school in the past, so I will say that I find IEW limited for older kids. But it is great at getting reluctant writers to write, and it teaches solid research skills, especially outlining from a source. IEW is also great at teaching the basics of paragraphing and putting paragraphs together into an essay, and is strong on the topic sentence and clincher of a paragraph. By the time my son reached 6th grade and had done IEW for three years, I found I wanted more solid instruction in sentence to sentence organization within a paragraph. So we are using the Well Trained Mind Writing with Skill Level 1 this year. But when inner-paragraph organization skills are stronger from this program, we’ll go back to IEW more in depth until he is ready to take my class in 11th grade. I also find the IEW Fix It Grammar program to be wonderful! Andrew Pudewa’s talk “But What about Grammar?” is very helpful; I highly recommend it (available on IEW website). He notes that formal grammar should be studied with a foreign language and English grammar in the context of writing and editing, and I couldn’t agree more. So we teach formal grammar in our Latin program (Memoria Press First Form, Second Form, etc.) and cover English grammar with Fix It and some memorization from Well Trained Mind Press’s First and Second Language Lessons. As an English teacher, I find this combo really teaches the concepts to my children. My son going into 6th grade can identify main clauses and dependent clauses, phrases, etc. of long and complicated sentences better than most of my high school students; he has no problems with parts of speech either.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Great thoughts and details to consider. Thank you again, Nicole.

Ruthie

says:

Hi Robin, I am starting out as a 9th grade English teacher. I have a grammar text, a literature text and a vocabulary text. Do you have any suggestions for how to set my schedule up for my classroom. Is it possible to alternate days for the subjects, or focus on 9 week segments?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Ruthie,
Interesting question. It is best to keep your students reading daily, so I recommend doing literature all throughout. Assigning just 20 minutes of reading daily for the entire year will help to improve your students’ reading skills and I highly recommend it.

For vocabulary, I do see a benefit in doing a bit each week, as vocabulary learning is often more effective when students have time to reflect on the words and use them in many different ways before adding new ones. Doing a focused 9-week unit just on vocabulary may not allow enough time for students to really know one set of words before new ones are added. We have a blog post on How to Build Your Child’s Vocabulary that will have some useful ideas for you. While it uses much younger vocabulary as examples, the concepts will transfer to high school students as well.

Does this help? Please let me know if you have further questions.

Ruthie

says:

Hi Nicole, I am starting out as a 9th grade English teacher. I have a grammar text, a literature text and a vocabulary text. Do you have any suggestions for how to set my schedule up for my classroom. Is it possible to alternate days for the subjects, or focus on 9 week segments?

Nicole Lynn Schofield

says:

I would add to this that when the child has finished AAR and is reading fluently, reading silently, have the child narrate back to you what he/she reads silently. This is an important skill for writing. And yes, read aloud and use audiobooks. I still read aloud to my 12 and 10 year olds.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Great advice, Nicole! And I still read aloud most days to my 15-year-old as well as his younger siblings.

Michelle

says:

Thank you for this article. Encompassing all of language arts has been a challenge for us in the younger years. This article helps reveal a good overall perspective.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad this was helpful for you, Michelle. Let me know if you have any questions.

Lucia

says:

Do you have any recommendations on writing program? I like the reviews of Institute of Excellence in Writing curriculum and I am considering purchasing it. What do you think about it. Do you have favourites? Thank you.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lucia,
Institute for Excellence in Writing is one we recommend! I personally started using it about a year and a half ago and have been very pleased with the results.

Some to other writing programs to consider:

Writing Skills by Diana Hanbury King is incremental.

WriteShop has incremental lessons and multisensory components. The methods are effective for both regular and special needs learners.

Writing Strands provides an incremental approach.

Essentials in Writing is both multi-sensory and incremental (my co-worker, Merry, used this for years and was very happy with it). The author describes it as a Math-U-See approach to writing. The lessons are presented in short video segments of 3 to 5 minutes and then the student works on the concept that was taught. It also has grammar included for 1st-6th grade levels, and optional grammar dvd included in Jr. High levels.

For a different type of approach altogether, check out offerings from Brave Writer. There are various curriculum offerings, including Home Study Courses that focus on project-based writing before high school. Projects like making up your own island nation or a timeline of your own personal history (both projects in the Partnership Writing course) can take writing from being work to being play!

Rebecka Christenson

says:

Thank you! This step-by-step receive is EXACTLY what I needed!!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Rebecka! I’m glad this was helpful for you, but if you have questions or need more help, just let me know.

Janelle

says:

So if I start AAR with my nearly 6 year old (year 1) then next year add AAS, but don’t add writing until he has learnt to spell about 1000 words, do we just not do any writing for 2 years? We have a history of dyslexia and my 5 year old is showing all the signs, so I imagine it will take us about 2 years to get to that point. That would mean no writing instruction until about year 3. Am I understanding this correctly or have I missed something. I just can’t imagine not doing any formal writing until he is 7 or 8. If I was to add writing, how do I tackle that if we are not yet doing formal spelling? Many thanks. Love your programs just trying to get my head around the timing of everything!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Great question, Janelle.

We do recommend working on handwriting from the beginning and most handwriting curriculum will have students copying sentences which begins the process of them learning to write their own. Then All About Spelling includes dictation assignments where your child will be writing short phrases and then sentences that you read aloud. From this and from learning to read, your child will learn that sentences and proper names start with capital letters, that sentences end with periods, question marks, or exclamation points (and when to use each), and many other foundational skills of writing.

Traditionally, children were not asked to write more than a few simple sentences at a time until they were reading well and were doing well in spelling. This is what we are recommending here. When students have the foundational skills in place, they usually find jumping into writing whole paragraphs not difficult at all and even fun! With my own children, I have had to wait until 4th or even 5th grade (9 to 11 years old) to begin formal writing because they have struggled so greatly with reading and spelling. Yet, even with the late start they were writing well and on grade level within just a couple of years or less.

Many writing (not handwriting, but composition writing) curriculum don’t have programs for students below about 3rd-grade level (approximately 8 years old). Writing curriculum with lower levels typically focus on handwriting, oral work like narration, and copywork, that is copying sentences into their own handwriting. Other lower level writing curriculum give students writing assignments but ask the parent to serve as the scribe, writing what the student says. And, some early writing curriculum gives students writing assignments and encourages them to use invented (or inventive) spelling, spelling words however they want.

If you feel it is best for your child to start a formal writing curriculum earlier, you certainly can. Many do. However, there isn’t any harm in waiting until your student has foundational skills in place to begin formal writing. Waiting can be beneficial for students that are easily frustrated or those that are find reading and spelling such a struggle that they are too tired to try anything else yet.

I hope this helps you get a better understanding of timing with writing. However, if you have more questions or concerns, just let me know.

Janelle

says:

That makes perfect sense, thank you!

Kerri

says:

I love AAReading and AASpelling. Thank you! I hope AAGrammar is in the works?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kerri,
Unfortunately, we have no plans at this time for an All About Grammar program.

However, there are a number of grammar programs available that have either multi-sensory components or an incremental approach. Some of the programs focus exclusively on grammar, while some include writing as well. Most of our customers wait until their students have a good start in reading and spelling before adding a grammar program. However, some that are interested in adding grammar earlier have enjoyed First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind by Jessie Wise. Here are other suggestions:

– Winston Grammar is a hands-on program with color-coded cards and is generally aimed at students in 4th to 7th grades.

– Easy Grammar features an incremental approach and includes topics such as usage and punctuation, for 2nd grade and up.

– Essentials in Writing is described by author Matthew Stephens as a Math-U-See approach to writing. In the elementary levels, this program incorporates grammar with writing. The lessons are presented in short video segments of 3 to 5 minutes and then the student works on the concept that was taught. This is a multisensory and incremental program that is very easy to use. There are levels for 1st-12th grades.

– The Sentence Family is a simple and fun program aimed at 3rd through 6th graders. The program uses drawing pictures along with a storyline to teach parts of speech and how they relate to each other. It is a very fun introduction to grammar but is not complete in itself.

– Fix It Grammar is incremental and uses very short lessons. Each level teaches grammar using sentences from a single story, so there is the added fun of seeing the story slowly unfold. The teacher’s manual is very comprehensive and even includes advanced concepts so the teacher can answer questions a curious student may have. The youngest the program is recommended for is 3rd grade, although it is appropriate for older students as well.

– Hands-On English with Linking Blocks is an intriguing program that uses wooden blocks and flashcards for a truly hands-on approach.

– Analytical Grammar teaches a mastery of grammar by working on it for short grammar focused units once a year for 2 to 3 years. Junior Analytical Grammar is for 4th or 5th graders, with Analytical Grammar for 6th to 9th graders.

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

Minette Levee Juric

says:

Thank you so much for this post; it really clarified a lot of what I had been observing about my son. He’s reading well now, enjoys spelling with AAS, but is having difficulty with the writing portion of his homeschool program. Now I’m going to focus more of his Language Arts time on getting stronger with the basics, before overwhelming him with expectations regarding grammar and writing.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Minette,
I’m glad you found this post helpful. Yes, many times students do better when they become proficient at one aspect of Language before adding in the next thing.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. We love to help!

Courtney

says:

I have 2 sons… 1 is working on level 1 AAR and AAS (he is 10) the other is on level 2 AAR and AAS (he’s 8) if we are using both curriculums for each child, is that considered covering Language Arts? Or should I be incorporating more than those 2?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Courtney,
Your students need to be doing well in reading and spelling before they are ready to add in formal writing and grammar. Some children are ready to begin some formal writing around level 2 of AAR and AAS, but some do better when they have finished level 3. If your 8-year-old is moving through level 2 of AAR and AAS with some ease, then he may be ready for writing. However, it is appropriate to wait until he finished with level 3.

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

Obaid

says:

Hi,
You’ve explained very good about language arts curriculum. I really liked it. So, keep up the good work.

Amanda

says:

Thank you for talking about the importance of pre- writing activities and read alouds. It’s easy to rush through these things to get to “real” writing is and reading. Thanks for the reminder to slow down.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amanda,
You are welcome. The pre-writing activities and being read aloud to are important for learning how to read and write well later on!

Melissa Holka

says:

Waiting to add spelling until my son was finished with AAR1 really helped build his confidence. Thank you for the advice!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Melissa,
You are welcome. We love confident learners!

Jacki

says:

I’m getting ready to start my second year of homeschooling my kiddos (1st and kindergarten). Language arts has been the toughest area for me to figure what to teach. This was helpful thanks.

Emily H

says:

This is a really great system! We have been doing similar but really appreciate your breakdown of steps.

CCSef

says:

Great article! You really break it down incrementally. I was really struggling with my daughter to do her reading and handwriting, and I finally just backed off the handwriting curriculum all together and we focused on the AAR at a slower pace. This really seemed to help. I plan to add back in a formal handwriting program next year, but for now, fun prewriting type activities are plenty!

Holly

says:

I find the order of focus list very helpful. I was trying to do too much at one time.

Leila

says:

I find this method really interesting. I’m teaching English to my son and though we don’t live in an English speaking country, I think some activities proposed in this approach could be adapted to second language learners.
Thanks a lot!!!
Leila

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Leila,
Yes, these approaches apply whether the language you are working on is your native language or not.

Nicole McCall

says:

We have been very pleased with the AAS and AAR programs. I would definitely recommend these programs to others for effective learning that’s fun :)

Elizabeth

says:

I recently learned about this curriculum. I wish I could have used this on my son from the beginning. It would have made a huge difference! I hope to use this and the spelling one for him and my daughter.

Charmari

says:

Looking forward to trying out the AAS program with my boys – it comes highly recommended.

Lynette

says:

This post proved very helpful to me in deciding what approach to take for this coming school year. Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Lynette. We’re happy to be helpful!

Anna

says:

Love the breakdown of when to address each component !

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Anna,
I’m happy to hear you found this helpful. Please let us know if you have any further questions.

Calista Smith

says:

I love your reading and spelling programs, and your helpful blog posts to keep us inspired! Thanks!

Anne Schofield

says:

This was a great reminder. But even better are the comments, that really get specific. I loved hearing about the student finishing AAR 1 and beginning AAS 1. My 5 year old is very anxious to spell everything, but I didn’t want to start him too soon, since his reading is still about half way through AAR 1. Thanks for this pro tip!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Anne,
Our recommendation to wait to begin AAS 1 until the student has finished AAR 1 is a general recommendation. There are situations when starting earlier or waiting longer would be appropriate.

One such situation is when a child is at least through Lesson 17 of AAR 1 and has a strong desire to learn to spell. It sounds like your son may be ready to begin AAS. Capitalizing on his interest in learning to spell can help get you off to the best start possible. However, it would be okay to wait until he finishes AAR 1 if that is better for you. Either option would be fine.

Krysten

says:

We love this program!

Melissa

says:

It is so tempting to try one of the programs that combine multiple aspects of language arts. I don’t know where I read it, but I was advised not to use them for the same reasons. I’m thankful for that advice. The best part about AAR and AAS is that they dovetail. The AAS reinforces the same sounds from that AAR level. It’s like your doing an automatic review by coming at the same words from the other approach (decoding vs encoding). We are nearing the end of AAR 1 so I started up the AAS 1 book. My 5.5 year, who has great handwriting already, flew through the spelling words in the first 15 lessons. We take about a week per lessons which is just right for such a little one. Thank you for showing the chart to define the appropriate order of each subject. This helps guide me to know where to keep up and where to back off if something starts to get tough. Love your program and all the help you provide home school families!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Melissa,
It is very tempting to get an all-in-one program for all things Language Arts, or even for all subjects. However, the best progress is made by allowing children to progress at their own unique pace in each area.

Thank you for pointing out that All About Spelling reinforces and expands upon what is learned in All About Reading! Both programs do stand alone, but they really shine when AAS 1 is started as AAR 1 is finished.

I’m pleased to hear that your little is doing so well with AAR and AAS! Keep up the great work.

Emily

says:

This is so helpful and timely for me as a new homeschool mom, we live overseas and my oldest (8 yr old) has been going to a local school that’s all in Chinese, however his first language is English. Other than reading I have not done very much focused English learning for him as Chinese school is so time intensive. We will be homeschooling this coming school year, and It seems that your AAS 1 is a good fit. He can read at about 2nd-3rd grade level, but not much spelling or writing. About how much time does it take to complete AAS1? I wonder is I should also get AAS2 if doing both is doable within a year. What do you recommend as handwriting practice? Do you ship internationally?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Emily,
Outside of the United States, we can only ship to Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea (Republic of Korea), Spain, Sweden, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.

Since you are ordering internationally, I do recommend ordering All About Spelling 1 and 2. Since All About Spelling is designed to be used at the individual student’s unique pace, I can’t say how long it will take your child to complete All About Spelling 1. However, it is likely that it will take less than a full year, so purchasing All About Spelling 2 at the same time will save you shipping.

You are free to choose whichever handwriting curriculum you like. If you are asking for recommendations, we like Handwriting Without Tears, although there are many good handwriting options.

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

Emily

says:

Hi Robin,
Thank you for your reply, it was very helpful! Another question I have is, about how long is each lesson in AAS, and does that increase/change with each level? Is it recommended to do it every day, or can every other day work? I know it requires my full involvement, and since I’ll be using Sonlight (which is also parent intensive), I’m evaluating whether I’m able to devote the time necessary for AAS, even though I think it will be very helpful for my son. Thanks for your help!

Merry

says: Customer Service

Hi Emily,

Robin is on vacation this week, so I’m filling in for her. We both use Sonlight too! I found the time for using AAS for my kids wasn’t any more (and in some cases was less) than other spelling programs I had tried. So, I think you’ll find it fairly doable.

We recommend spending about 20 minutes per day on spelling, but you can adjust that to your needs (when my kids were going through, one did better with 15 minute lessons). Start each day with a few minutes of review, and then pick up wherever you left off previously. Take the program at your child’s pace, so you can spread a lesson over as many or as few days as you need. Some lessons might only take 1-3 days, while others might take up to a week–or occasionally even longer, depending on your child.

You might like this blog article that shows an example of what a typical day and week might look like for spelling.

We find that short, daily lessons are better than longer but fewer sessions. If your child remembers things easily, you could do fewer days per week (3 days per week is the minimum we recommend). If you have a child who struggles though, you’ll want to do 4-5 days per week.

I hope this helps!

Tiffany

says:

Thank you for this! My daughter is starting AAR 3 and AAS2 and I’ve been feeling like it’s not enough wondering if I need to incorporate more. Especially in the writing area. The thoughts of ‘shouldn’t she be writing short stories’ and how to go about that. It’s good to know we are on track!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Tiffany,
Balancing “are we doing enough” versus “I don’t want to overwhelm or overload my students” is something we all experience. I am happy you found this article helpful and reassuring. Please let us know if you have further questions or concerns. We are here to help with these sorts of thoughts and many others.

Cynthia

says:

Why was this kind of information so hard to find? I have been searching high and low for this simplified breakdown of what I need to teach in the elusive Language arts for my kids. they are very much all over in these subjects and This article was a great help!

Rachel

says:

This article is so very helpful!!! We are in the middle of AAR 1 in kindergarten and I was stressing about not also teaching grammar and writing this year and wondering what I should add for next year. (I’m a planner.) This definitely takes some pressure off! We are doing AAR 1 this year along with handwriting lessons. My plan is to do level 2 next year and AAS level 1 and of course continue with handwriting practice. My “writing” instruction will be informal through listening to read-alouds until there is a solid foundation of reading, writing, and spelling. What AAR level would that be? Around level 3 or 4? Does it sound like I’m on the right track? Thank you for the help!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Rachel,
It does sound like you are on the right track!

Rather than which AAR level, consider beginning a formal writing program when your student is in All About Spelling 2 or 3. Many students are ready for writing during or after AAS 2, but some will do better waiting until after AAS 3. By the end of AAS 3, students have mastered over 1000 words and even struggling students should have mastered enough spelling by then to be ready to begin conquering writing.

AAS has a gradual progression for increasing the student’s stamina and fluency in writing, from words and short phrases in Level 1, to phrases and short sentences in Level 2, to 12 dictation sentences per step in Level 3. Partway through this level, the Writing Station is introduced. In this exercise, students write sentences of their own that they make up using some of their spelling words. In this way, students have begun to use words in a more real-world context through dictation and writing, to help them transition to longer writing assignments.

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

Rachel

says:

Thank you so much for replying! This helps SO much!

Nancy

says:

My recommendation would be starting Writing and Rhetoric from Classical Academic Press in about 4th grade. You do 2 books per year and it does include some simple grammar. Than use Simply Grammar in between lessons and books. When you finish Simply Grammar and feel you still need more there is Winston Grammar or Analytical Grammar. My Language Arts philosophy sides on lighter grammar.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for your recommendations, Nancy.

Liz

says:

Can you give suggestions of writing and grammar programs to use with AAR and AAS? I looked at first language lessons at the recommendation of someone and it looks so dry and repetitious? I have really bad memories of grammar classes specially, so usually very traditional materials shy me away. I do realize the sequence is not to start AAS until after AAR. Roughly, at what age is writing and composition supposed to be added? Do you have links to educate me on that? Currently using an all in one curriculum that includes copywork for natural grammar and creative expression for writing so I feel insecure on switching. Thx. BTW we are on 1st grade, and he does ok, but fluency and enjoying the reading is not so good. But it’s only week 2 lol

Jackie C

says:

I am doing The Institute for Excellence in Writing’s Bible Heroes with my son who is doing AAR 3. I think it is fabulous!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Liz,
We really don’t recommend beginning writing and grammar until students have a good foundation in reading and spelling.

All About Spelling has a gradual progression for increasing the student’s stamina and fluency in writing, from words and short phrases in Level 1, to phrases and short sentences in Level 2, to 12 dictation sentences per step in Level 3. Partway through this level, the Writing Station is introduced. In this exercise, students write sentences of their own that they make up using some of their spelling words. Many students are ready for formal writing programs around this time.

It is difficult to pinpoint at which age that is supposed to be. Some students are ready to tackle writing assignments when they are still very young, like 6 or so, while others need more time. I would hesitate a guess that it 8 or 9 is more average.

I hope this helps. I don’t have any further links on this topic, other than this blog post here. Please let us know if you have any further questions.

Liz

says:

Oh thank you. So your program does have some writing. I didn’t know that. Is that for AAR or one would have to add AAS? Would you say the writing amount could pass for what some call copy work? I was considering that some have shared concerns that AAS can be so intense and busy for the student as it has so many rules for memorization that I was considering Spelling you see to go along AAR since my child so far seems ok with spelling. Could you speak to that concern about “overkill” of rules with AAR plus AAS? Thank you

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Liz,
Yes, the writing portion I described is found in AAS. AAR does not have any writing. Starting in Step 11 of AAS 1, the student is asked to write 12 two to three word phrases from dictation in every Step. In AAS 2, each Step has the student doing 6 two to three word phrases and 6 sentences from dictation. In AAS 3 and above, each Step has 12 dictation sentences. And, as mentioned above, starting mid-way through AAS 3, students are also giving a Writing Station assignment in addition to the 12 dictation sentences in each Step.

My children do not find the rules in AAS overkill at all. Rather, they find them helpful, reliable, and something to fall back on when they struggle to figure out how to spell a word. Plus, there is something deeply satisfying in knowing WHY a word is spelled the way it is spelled.

Here is an example of how knowing rules is helpful:

If you want to spell /j/-/ŭ/-/j/, you have to decide how to spell the /j/ sound at the beginning and at the end of the word. Well, you know that the letter g can sometimes say /j/ if followed by e, i, or y (a rule we teach), but the second sound in /j/-/ŭ/-/j/ is spelled with a u. So you know that the first /j/ sound has to be spelled with a j.

You know that English words usually don’t end in i, j, u, or v (another rule), so you know you cannot use j for the second /j/ sound. You know there are two ways to spell the /j/ sound at the end of a word, ge and dge and we use dge only after a short vowel (another rule). Well, the word /j/-/ŭ/-/j/ does have a short vowel sound (knowing the short and long vowel sounds is one of the “rules” we teach), so you know that the final /j/ sound is spelled dge.

So there is no need to memorize, or just hope you correctly remembered how the word looks. You KNOW that it is spelled judge with confidence. This sort of thing is especially useful when encountering words that are more tricky (or at least seem that way) such as cartridge or begrudge. These words are uncommon enough that you might not get a solid visual memory of them, but with rules and phonogram knowledge they are very easy words to spell.

Also, the rules in AAS are not taught all at once, but rather introduced little by little as needed over all 7 levels. It take through level 3 for students to learn all the rules to spell judge, but the varying rules have been reviewed, and used, and mastered as you go along so by the time students are asked to spell words like judge they find it very easy. And, as soon as they learn to spell judge then can also spell “harder” words like begrudge, cartridge, and porridge with similar ease.

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

I hope this gives you a better idea of how AAS teaches rules little by little. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Cherie

says:

First Lang. Lessons are repetitive, but very good. especially lev. 1 and 2. You can go as fast or slow as needed. you can skip ahead when your child has the concept. I also like Write Shop, especially for kids that struggle with reading and spelling. It teaches writing concepts, without too much writing. you can start in Kind. or 1st grade. The first books are mostly dictation while teaching concepts.

Crystal

says:

Thank you for this article. I have some reluctant writers that used to be reluctant readers (now voracious!). I’m considering my options for LA, and this article helps.

Victoria

says:

QUESTION: My 8yr. old is on AAS Level 2. I switched our reading program to AAR Level 1 (half way through).I have also implemented Dianne Craft’s “exercises.” We had stopped AAS (which he really like doing) to work on AAR 1 after I spoke with someone at AAL. When should I add in AAS again? My other kids had started formal english instruction by now, but I know he is not ready for it and I don’t want him to be behind or push him. I am not sure how to work on grammar/english when he resists so much about school. He has an excellent vocabulary, great comprehension to stories….slow reading outloud…and handwriting isn’t his favorite…more than capable. He’s been my first (three siblings above him and two after him) who I have yet to ignite that fire of how fun learning is.

Your article today was so timely, informative in a very practical way…..just need a few specific ideas if any come to mind! Blessings!!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Victoria,
We typically recommend waiting to begin All About Spelling 1 until the student has completed All About Reading 1, or the equivalent reading level. However, there are a few children that do do better with spelling than with reading, at least at the beginning.

When you were doing AAS 2, was that after your child completed AAS 1? How was he doing in AAS 2? Was he mastering the spelling? Was he able to write the dictation phrases and sentences with few errors?

If he did AAS 1 already, and was doing well in AAS 2, then it might benefit him to go ahead with it now. Back up to the beginning of AAS 2 as a review, and also to keep him from getting too far ahead of where he is in reading. Break each Step up over 3 or 4 days as well, so that he doesn’t move too fast. Also, make sure he reads everything he spells and writes. Reading is necessary to check that he spelled the words correctly, and it gives additional reading practice which is necessary for fluency. If, however, he was having trouble with mastering spelling and wasn’t doing the dictation or had a lot of trouble with it, then consider starting with AAS 1.

Please let us know how it goes and if we can help further.

Teri

says:

This was very helpful. What do you recommend for help with teaching grammar and writing for a first grader?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Teri,
We don’t typically recommend doing grammar and writing with a 1st grader. Children that young are usually still working on handwriting, reading, and maybe spelling. It is only after they have developed some skills in those would you begin writing and grammar.

Victoria

says:

Rod and Staff is VERY gentle on grammar/english instruction, but they do not start until 2nd grade. There lessons are short, but give you “extra” if you need to space out the lesson for a couple of days. For now, just take pleasure in reading outloud and/or invest in some audio books by Jim Weiss.

Lydia R.

says:

First Language Lessons is also super gentle, imo. (Never tried Rod & Staff). I started that in the middle of first grade with my oldest. I ended up skipping a few lessons because they understandably have a lot of repetition =)

Lydia R.

says:

IIRC First Language Lessons book one _is_ meant for first graders; and book two is meant for second graders.

Mary Ann Mann

says:

Hi Teri I came across this book First Language Lessons for a Well Trained Mind” by Jessie Wise it is very helpful.

Julie

says:

Hi Teri,
I have a second grader with Dyslexia. I use both the AAR (currently on level 3), and am almost done with level 2 of AAS. I have worked really hard with him and he is doing so well, but he is exhausted after both of those, handwriting, and math. So, I do Rod and Staff Grade 2 orally. I read the lesson to him and instead of him writing out each exercise he tells it to me orally. This works great. He is still learning, but doesn’t have to do all the writing yet.

Jenny

says:

This was helpful! Thank you. I am about to become a guardian of a child entering third grade. She read through all of the AAR placement exams and so I am unsure if I should begin level 4. Is there a “test out” exam? Or what is suggested to do for language arts after AAR is complete? I also have a 1st grader who naturally reads very well. Do I continue to work through the levels even though he can already read the words? Thank you!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jenny,
For the 3rd grader that read through all of the AAR placement tests, have her read the sample stories from AAR 4 as a further confirmation. You want her to be reading fluently with good comprehension. Level 4 sample story

Evaluate (without correcting her) for the following:
Her ability to decode the words in the story.
Her ability to comprehend the story.
Could she fluently read the story with expression?
Did she understand the words from a vocabulary standpoint?

We do not recommend continuing through the AAR levels for children that naturally pick up reading easily and well. However, we define “easily and well” to include comprehension in addition to just being able to read the words, so do evaluate for that too. If your 1st grader places into a higher level of AAR, you can skip him ahead to that level.

Children that don’t need AAR can learn the phonics and rules they might have missed through All About Spelling. However, unlike AAR, we do recommend working through all the levels of AAS. Some children are able to skip the first level; this article, Should We Start in Level 1 or Level 2?, will help you determine that.

Regardless of if you start with AAS 1 or AAS 2, we encourage you to move through the levels at each child’s unique pace. This is likely to be faster than a level per year, especially with the first couple levels.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have more questions!
Robin E.

Kristy

says:

I’ve been wondering about whether or not all levels of AAR are needed but this is the first time I’ve really seen it referenced! We are only into lesson 11-12 of level one but it has been pretty painless. She’s super-keen and attempting to read words everywhere and does successfully get some longer-than-cvc words figured out herself already. We did Pre-Reading but other than these lessons, she’s had no other reading instruction! I was thinking of just doing the first two levels of AAR, not all four. Is that what you would recommend? Or does level one have enough content to get a quick-reader off the blocks to then continue with general reading? I don’t want to short-change her but I don’t want to do unnecessary levels if that isn’t recommended. I do plan to use AAS…and I’m wishing you had All About Grammar! :-) Thanks in advance!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kristy,
We recommend each child does as many All About Reading levels as is needed and is useful for that individual child. We simply cannot tell if a child that is on Lesson 10 or 11 of AAR 1 will need AAR 2, 3, or 4.

Occasionally a child will work through AAR 2 and finish it so ahead in reading that AAR 3, and maybe even AAR 4, would be review. I haven’t heard of a child taking off like that after AAR 1, but I imagine it could happen. However, it does not harm a child to work through all the levels. Remember that we recommend working at your child’s pace, so if your daughter is picking it so quickly you can simply move through the lessons faster. This blog post describes Matthew and his gifted son Kobe, who completed all 4 levels of AAR in 14 months well before he turned 6 years old.

Also, as you go up the levels in AAR, it teaches more and more than just phonics and sounding words out. My daughter just learned about onomatopoeia in AAR 3, with alliteration, similes, and personification coming up soon. There are many aspects of reading beyond sounding words out.

The best way for you to approach how many levels of AAR to use with your child is to wait until she nears the end of AAR 1 and decide if continuing on to AAR 2 would be best. You can use our placement tests for All About Reading and sample stories to help you decide.
Level 1 sample story
Level 2 sample story
Level 3 sample story
Level 4 sample story

Lastly, I also wish for an All About Grammar. I’ll pass the request on to Marie for you.

Let me know if you have further questions. If you need help deciding whether to continue or not with AAR 2, just contact us again as she gets close to the end of AAR 1.

Ruth Ann

says:

Thank you so much for putting this into logical order for me. I was wondering how I was going to fit this all into our school day.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Ruth Ann,
You are welcome. Let us know if you have any questions!

Mary Lou Hom

says:

so the above time “limits” work for an almost 12 yo, going into 6th, who is mildly to moderately dyslexic? She reads above her grade level BUT when reading aloud struggles with pronunciation. Comprehension is pretty good. Spelling and grammar not so much. We are in the middle of Level 3. How behind are we?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Mary Lou,
The time recommendations here are appropriate even for an older student that is struggling. Progress is made in consistent, day in day out work, not in spending huge amounts of time fewer days per week.

I can’t really say how behind you are. If you had started All About Spelling in 1st or 2nd grade you would be about in level 5 or 6 by now, but you didn’t start until this year. Even a 12 year old that doesn’t struggle with spelling would not be at level 5 or 6 if she had just started in the last few months.

As for her pronunciation, keep having her read aloud to you daily. When she struggles with pronunciation, remind her of what she has learned about syllable division rules in All About Spelling. Using them will make pronouncing unfamiliar words easier.

Also, keep reading aloud to her daily. Through listening to literature she will hear these words and others, expanding her vocabulary, comprehension, and pronunciation. It may seem strange to read to a child that already reads well, but there are many benefits from it.

Laura Whitfield

says:

Thank you for the great info – especially in the comments! So many resources talked about!

Erin

says:

My approach to language arts follows the same general sequence. For writing in the elementary grades, I assign daily journal writing with a minimum number of sentences equal to the child’s grade (for example, a third grader must write at least three sentences a day). I require spelling to be corrected based on how far we have gotten in All About Spelling. If a word is misspelled, but is written in a way that makes sense phonetically and isn’t violating any spelling conventions already learned, then I leave it alone. If it’s not written phonetically, I require it to be corrected until it’s readable/pronounceable (not necessarily correct). If there’s a mistake on something already learned in spelling lessons, then it must be fixed. This helps minimize frustration by not having to correct every misspelling, results in decodable journal entries (they’re much more interesting to read later when you can figure out what they say), and allows me (and my child) to see improvement throughout the year.

Jackie Crawford

says:

I am a new homeschooler and language arts was never my strong suit. My son struggles with it. We are in need of a change. I have not seen much fruit out of anything we have done. I am planning on doing AAR 3 for next year. I have just started exploring AAS.

Kayleigh

says:

Great information!

Lisa

says:

Thank you for all this wonderful info!! Trying to get my girls to soak in language arts at age 5 can be overwhelming. This is my to-go place for sure!!!

Tina

says:

I’m new to homeschooling.. every bit of information helps! It can be overwhelming sometimes.. but with help from great people like you, it can be less stressful!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Tina,
I’m glad you found this helpful! We know what it feels like to be new homeschoolers. Let us know if we can help!

Barbara

says:

Good info!

Jennifer Mathesz

says:

Great info. I’m having that trouble now trying to figure out next year

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jennifer,
Let us know if you have any specific concerns or questions. We’d love to help!

Julie

says:

I find the structure of grammar easier to teach than some of the other areas of language arts. Think that is why I also like All About. It is well laid out.

Ann R

says:

We are getting set to begin homeschooling kindergarten this year! I appreciate this post since it can be overwhelming thinking about trying to cover everything sufficiently.

Genevieve Campbell

says:

I liked the org chart for this! It’s how I think of it in my head, but it’s so much better to see on paper. It helped to reaffirm my approach and not clutter my head with other ‘What am I missing?” thoughts. :)

Renae Burks

says:

Thank you for making this topic simple to understand and implement.

Oksana

says:

This is very good information. I was actually going along a similar pattern of teaching language arts, but I kind of went along with how my children were progressing. I’m glad i did it this way. It’s way too overwhelming to try and teach everything at once, before the child’s is ready to move on. At first I was really worried though, that i wasn’t teaching grammar along right away. But it is better to take baby steps and pay attention and not push the child with too much information

Kym

says:

Very informative.

Jodi

says:

Thanks for showing the progression of Language Arts.

I can really see the value of read alouds!

Virginia

says:

Great post. It is very helpful. Thank you Merry.

Brittany

says:

This is a really helpful article. At least it gives me some ideas about how I want to start.

Amy

says:

Thank you. I have been pondering this very thing for the past few weeks!

RW

says:

Thanks for sharing how you do it. This was helpful in more ways than one!

Dori

says:

Merry,
Thanks for the article! I have a 12 yr old daughter that is currently using AAS 3 and is doing well. She has dyslexia and dysgraphia but since using AAS she has progressed greatly. We have also used Diane Craft’s program and we have made even more progress. I want to know more about what we should use for LA and writing. We use Heart of Dakota (Missions to Modern Marvels this year) as our base curriculum but do not follow their math or LA choices. She reads on target for her grade level but has some issues with comprehension. I have mainly focused on free choice writing (where she can write on any subject we are studying and I correct her papers, then she figures out what needs to be changed and makes the corrections, usually with my help.) I would like to start her on a grammar and writing program this year. Do you have any recommendations? I would think she is on about a 4th-5th grade level in these areas and I would like to see some improvement. She learns very well with hands-on and visual picture card learning. Any suggestions? Also for anyone struggling with Math we found that McRuffy Math is the way to go!!! Thank you, Dori

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Dori,
You may want to look for writing programs that are incremental or mastery-based, or programs that are specifically recommended for students with learning struggles and disabilities. Some to consider:

WriteShop uses an incremental approach and includes multi-sensory activities.

Essentials in Writing is described by author Matthew Stephens as a Math-U-See approach to writing. In the elementary levels, this program incorporates grammar with writing. The lessons are presented in short video segments of 3 to 5 minutes and then the student works on the concept that was taught. This is a multi-sensory and incremental program that is very easy to use. There are levels for 1st-12th grades.

Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) also uses an incremental approach and video instruction. The author’s son has a learning disability.

Writing Skills by Diana King, who has worked extensively with dyslexic students.

Writing Strands also offers an incremental approach. The author is dyslexic.

Since you have been doing free choice in her writing, then helping her with corrections, you may like the Brave Writer approach. It makes a lot of use of multisensory/project based writing, and encourages parents to work as partners and helpers for their children’s writing.

There are a number of grammar programs available that have either multi-sensory components or an incremental approach. Some of the programs focus exclusively on grammar, while some include writing as well. Here are a few suggestions:

Winston Grammar is a hands-on program with color-coded cards, and is generally aimed at students in 4th to 7th grades.

Easy Grammar features an incremental approach and includes topics such as usage and punctuation, for 2nd grade and up.

Essentials in Writing, described above, teaches grammar with writing in the elementary levels.

The Sentence Family is a simple and fun program aimed at 3rd through 6th graders. The program uses pictures along with a story line to teach grammar concepts and how they relate to each other. It’s a quick and very fun jump start into parts of speech.

Hands-On English with Linking Blocks is an intriguing program that uses wooden blocks and flash cards for a truly hands-on approach.

Analytical Grammar teaches a mastery of grammar by working on it for short grammar focused units once a year for 2 to 3 years. Junior Analytical Grammar is for 4th or 5th graders, with Analytical Grammar for 6th to 9th graders.

I hope this helps. There are lots of options, but as with most choices it’s about finding what works best with your unique needs. Let me know if you have any questions.

Jaime

says:

Thank you so much for this list! I am trying to plan our next school year and ELA is where I tend to struggle. I really need to get it right this year

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jaime,
It can take a while to find a great curriculum match for your unique family, and then things can change and you have to go through it all over again. Individualized learning is both the beauty and curse of homeschooling. Do make the best decision you can, but don’t agonize about it. Let us know if we can help!

Lynette Williams

says:

I just found this post and started reading the comments, looking for exactly this. Could there be a blog post about grammar options that work well with AAS? Specifically, a struggle we have had is grammar programs that group or describe phonetic sounds differently than AAS does. That got way too confusing for us.
Or, you know, just make All About Grammar.

Liz

says:

Yes. Until you make all about grammar and all about writing, could you give a list of writing and grammar programs you know go along well AAR and AAS? Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Liz,
For writing, here are some with incremental approaches:

WriteShop uses an incremental approach and includes multi-sensory activities. The methods are effective for both regular and special needs learners.

Essentials in Writing is described by author Matthew Stephens as a Math-U-See approach to writing. In the elementary levels, this program incorporates grammar with writing. The lessons are presented in short video segments of 3 to 5 minutes and then the student works on the concept that was taught. This is a multi-sensory and incremental program that is very easy to use. There are levels for 1st-12th grades.

IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing) also uses video, although one option has videos aimed the student and another has videos aimed at the teacher. Their PAL writing program is for beginning writers and also incorporates All About Spelling.

Writing Strands’ author was dyslexic and it also provides an incremental approach.

Jensen’s Format Writing is incremental.

Writing Skills by Diana Hanbury King

For grammar, there are a number of programs available that have either multi-sensory components or an incremental approach. Some of the programs focus exclusively on grammar, while some include writing as well. Here are a few suggestions:

Winston Grammar is a hands-on program with color-coded cards and is generally aimed at students in 4th to 7th grades.

Easy Grammar features an incremental approach and includes topics such as usage and punctuation, for 2nd grade and up.

Essentials in Writing, mentioned above, is a writing program that includes grammar in the younger levels.

The Sentence Family is a simple and fun program aimed at 3rd through 6th graders. The program uses drawing along with a story line to teach the nine parts of speech and how they relate to each other. This is more of a beginning grammar program that will need to be followed up with something else. Still, it is very fun and is sort of a jump start on grammar.

Fix It Grammar is incremental and uses short lessons. Each level teaches grammar using sentences from a single story, so there is the additional fun of seeing the story slowly unfold. The teacher’s manual is very comprehensive and even includes advanced concepts so the teacher can answer questions a curious student may have. The youngest the program is recommended for is 3rd grade, although it is appropriate for older students as well.

Hands-On English with Linking Blocks is an intriguing program that uses wooden blocks and flash cards for a truly hands-on approach.

Analytical Grammar teaches a mastery of grammar by working on it for short grammar focused units once a year for 2 to 3 years. Junior Analytical Grammar is for 4th or 5th graders, with Analytical Grammar for 6th to 9th graders.

This list should give you enough ideas to find something that will work for your family. If you have further questions, please let us know.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lynette,
I will pass along your suggestion for an All About Grammar!

One opinion, a popular one, on grammar instruction is to wait until the student is reading and spelling well before beginning grammar. I have not seen programs aimed at students in 3rd grade or higher that mention phonic sounds at all. You don’t mention your student’s age or level, but I suspect you will find a program aimed at older students to fit your needs better.

This list here posted is a bit older, as we are now including Fix It Grammar, by Institute for Excellence in Writing, in our list of programs. Fix It Grammar is incremental and uses short lessons. Each level teaches grammar using sentences from a single story, so there is the additional fun of seeing the story slowly unfold. The teacher’s manual is very comprehensive and even includes advanced concepts so the teacher can answer questions a curious student may have. The youngest the program is recommended for is 3rd grade, although it is appropriate for older students as well.

Cindy

says:

What helpful post. Language arts is indeed such a big topic, and this us useful advice.

Here’s one thing that I’m doing periodically this year with a five-year old to prepare him for grammar and writing. When using the AAR reading flash cards, I’ll take out a stack that is all the same part of speech – noun, verbs, prepositions, etc. I’ll tell him what type of words they are, such as “these are all nouns, they are all a person, place or thing.” Sometimes he makes up an oral sentence using the words. Making all the sentences about a theme (e.g., all relating to chickens) can give him ideas for making funny sentences. I do not expect him to learn the parts of speech at this age (though at some point we’ll youtube the Schoolhouse Rock Grammar videos and he may pick it up). My goal is to teach him to make sentences and to become familiar with the grammatical terms and the concept that there are different kinds of words. My son is a normal, intelligent child yet he has odd glitches in picking up new vocabulary and I hope this gentle introduction to grammar will help him down the road when he needs to know it.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Cindy,
Thank you for sharing this. Making up oral sentences, particularly all on the same theme, is a wonderful idea to prepare for more formal writing later on. Oh, and we love Grammar Rock around here. Just the other day I had to remind my son about the No Singing at Dinner rule, because he was singing, “Unpack your adjectives!”

Heather

says:

This post was *exactly* what I needed to see today. I’ve been pondering our next steps in our LA program. My son turned 6 in early April. To say he was reluctant to read would be the understatement of the year. He was uninterested in “learning” the Language Arts. I haven’t been worried because our family embraces a very strong reading culture. While he hasn’t wanted to learn to read or write, this hasn’t slowed the steady stream of reading in our home. My husband and I both enjoy reading aloud to our children, so he’s absorbing as he listens to the stories we enjoy together.
Anyway, this all changed about a month ago when our AAR Level 1 (and Pre-Reading for my 4-year-old who is bursting with excitement to learn to read). I just ordered AAR2 and AAS1 for him after reading about the programs and seeing how well they work together. We have not focused much on handwriting and I was planning, until seeing this, to work on writing and spelling concurrently. Now I will plan to continue our AAR work, which we are all thoroughly enjoying, and begin our handwriting work. I think seeing the AAS program set aside for a few months might be just the motivation he needs to focus on his writing!
Thank you so much for the fantastic programs you’ve put together and the wealth of resources you offer online. I have recommended All About Learning Press to everyone who has talked to us about reading or spelling with their children.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Heather,
I’m glad that this blog post and a previous reply was so helpful for you. And it’s great to hear how well your son is doing with AAR.

Liz

says:

Thank you Merry! This was so helpful to see the progression you took laid out in a visual format and to hear how you purposefully added in additional subjects to your language arts program over time. I will definitely consider doing something similar for my children!

Rhonda

says:

My two sons (8 and 10) who are dyslexic are just finishing level 1 AAS and AAR. My 10 year old is finally reading but I am really worried that he can’t spell enough to write more than a simple 6 word sentence. They both really struggle with differentiating the vowel sounds. How do I start this in a fun way that’s not disheartening? Do I let them write phonetically just to get them to do it? They do all copy work.

Julie H.

says:

Rhonda,

My daughter is also dyslexic and really struggled with writing initially. She is sixteen now and writing well. When you mentioned that you don’t think your son can put together more than a six word sentence, it reminded me of our struggles with writing. I tried the free write approach– don’t worry about spelling and just get the words on paper but she struggled because she didn’t even comprehend enough about spelling to start writing anything and sometimes she couldn’t decifer what she had written later. The breakthrough came for us using a writing approach that takes good writing and then breaks the writing process down into manageable steps, such as read the sentence, choose 3 to 5 key words, read the sentence again, cover it up and then using those key words write a new sentence. It seemed to help her to have some of the pieces (words) already there. Some curriculums that use this approach are Character Quality Language Arts and institute of Excellence in Writing. As your son moves further along in AAS that will help too but if he needs a more gradual approach this might be helpful. Our boys have all transitioned well into writing using this approach, some are dyslexic and some aren’t but it works well for all my learners.

Rhonda

says:

Thank you for the info. Yes we are doing IEW using key words to rewrite our stories which is all copy work.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Rhonda,
We don’t recommend starting All About Spelling 1 until the student has finished All About Reading 1, or the equivalent reading level. This article, The Right Time to Start, explains this further.

Do your boys struggle with differentiating all vowel sounds, or is it mostly short e and i? If it is mostly short e and i, then that is a very common problem in the US. So common that we have a blog post dedicated just to helping children with it. Pin or Pen? Solving the Short i / Short e Confusion.

However, I haven’t heard of the Pin/Pen Merger in New Zealand. Do they struggle to differentiate all vowel sounds? Can the hear the differences? Set out the a and o tiles. Then you say just the short sound of one of them and have one of your children touch that tile. Do it a few times, and not in a predictable way. Can they correctly identify which should you are saying?

If they can correctly identify these sounds in isolation, try the activity with words. Ask one of your sons to point to the vowel that is used in the word you are going to say. Then say, “map”. Can they correctly choose the a tile? Then try rat, got, tap, sod, shot, tab, man, and so on. Then try it with e and u, then e and i.

I don’t know where you are in AAS 1, but you need to not move forward until your sons master the material covered so far. If you have moved forward and they are still struggling to spell words from many Steps prior, then it might be best to go back to where they started struggling. The words and concepts in AAS 1 are foundational for all future spelling, and they need to master it completely before moving on.

AAS has a gradual progression for increasing the student’s stamina and fluency in writing, from words and short phrases in AAS 1, to phrases and short sentences in AAS 2, to 12 dictation sentences per step in AAS 3. Partway through this level, the Writing Station is introduced. In this exercise, students write sentences of their own that they make up using some of their spelling words. In this way, students have begun to use words in a more real-world context through dictation and writing, to help them transition to longer writing assignments.

So, for the time being, focus on the foundation skills of reading and spelling, and handwriting if still needed. Once they have these well in hand you can begin a formal writing program.

Please let us know how it goes, and please contact us with any questions or concerns you have. We are committed to helping you help your sons succeed.

Rhonda

says:

Thank you for the advice. Maybe I am getting ahead of them in my desire to see them progress? We are at AAR lesson 23 and AAS Lesson 19. It’s AAS that they struggle with. They are hit and miss with spelling the words. 3 letter words were OK but now that there are blends it has become harder. I do my own list of words to spell before I use the lessons list to try and give them some easier words first. I try using a mirror so they can see their mouth shape for a sound too. Mainly u and a are a problem but can be any of the vowels. Our nz “a” sound is like u as in cup so words like grass they may write gruss. But they would get cap right. It’s very confusing for them as there are exceptions to the rules. I guess I am feeling that they will never be able to spell. They are finding AAR much easier. We have also done IEW Pal and now Bible heroes which help as we do keywords and rewrite the stories using adverbs and adjectives etc. All this is copywork which they are fine with and models correct spelling. Is it possible that it won’t click and I should introduce typing to help with spelling? Happy for any advice please. They both had verbal dyspraxia so occasionally the speech isn’t correct ( still doing speech therapy) which obviously influences their spelling too.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Rhonda,
It’s normal for spelling to be more difficult for students than reading–that’s actually one of the reasons why we teach these subjects separately, and why we recommend waiting until students have finished AAR 1 before starting AAS 1. Consonant blends are more difficult than simple CVC words as well; many kids need extra review when they get to that point. It sounds like you work on some review by doing your own list of words as you said, and this is a good thing. Here is what we recommend:

After you finish AAR 1, spend about 20 minutes per day on spelling. Each day start with 3-5 minutes reviewing the word cards that are still in the daily review tab. If there are a lot of word cards in that tab, more than 10 previously learned cards plus 10 from the most recently completed lesson, I would take time off from new lessons and just work on review. You might like some of the ideas in this blog post on 8 Great Ways to Review Spelling Word Cards.

Depending on the dynamics with your children, you may also need to work on review separately. The important thing is that they are both getting enough practice with the tiles and in writing, and that they can both work up to being able to spell the words easily and automatically. If reviewing together seems to work, go ahead and continue that. It’s just something to keep an eye on.

Cards should stay in daily review until they can answer them quickly and easily, without self-correcting or having to stop and think about them. The word cards need to go into daily review after they get them correct in the book, so that they get additional practice after that. Review 2-3 new words each day, rather than a whole list of matching-pattern words, and mixed in a few words of other patterns (either other daily review words, or some mastered words). This extends the number of days after the lesson that they are still thinking about and reinforcing the newly-learned information. Also, I wait until a Monday to move any cards to the Mastered section. This way they have to remember over the weekend, and it seems to stick in their long-term memory better.

Tricky situations like the one you mentioned (a sounds like /uh/ in some words), you may need to spend some extra time. This happens in the US too, although in different ways. In our region of the US, short o and aw/au sound identical. In your situation, this is what I recommend:

Many of our British, Australian, and New Zealand users add additional sounds to the A phonogram card. I have emailed you a short document about some alterations that others have used in this situation.

Unfortunately there isn’t a rule to tell them when short A says /uh/ versus when to use a U. This is more of a regional pronunciation issue. When there isn’t a rule, good spellers tend to use other strategies, and you can teach him how to do this. Over time, AAS teaches 4 main effective spelling strategies: phonetic, rules-based, visual, and morphemic. In this case, I think a visual approach would help.

First, pull out some short A word cards. If you have some that represent both the short A and the /uh/ sound, all the better. Talk about the different sounds for short A, and have your children sort the word cards into two stacks-one, one for the short A sound and one for the /uh/ sound.

Set any short A cards aside, and keep the /uh/ cards spelled with A out. Talk about how they sound like the /uh/ words spelled with U. Have them spend several days just reading this stack of word cards. (In Level 2, we introduce “Word banks,” which help to build up a visual memory for a pattern that doesn’t necessarily have a rule about which spelling pattern to use.) When they read the stack, ask at the beginning how the /uh/ sound is spelled in each of these words, to help them pay closer attention to that. After several days, have them practice spelling those words. Show the word card to them after they spell each one, to continue solidifying the visual memory. Keep the word cards in review until they are easy for them.

You can also incorporate tactile practice (such as writing the words in sand or corn meal with a finger). This article on Kinesthetic strategies has some ideas you may want to try. Any time that you can add something to make review more fun or memorable, that helps kids learn.

They are much too young to give up on spelling, so hang in there! I know the road can seem long at times, but they really will get there. Marie’s own son had severe dyslexia and other learning issues; they were told he would never read or write. If you haven’t had a chance to watch their story about her son’s struggles, you may want to check that out. It’s amazing!

Please know if you have additional questions. Also, let us know how things are going.

Courtney

says:

I wish I knew what to use after level 4 for AAR

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Courtney,
As you know, AAR 4 is the final level of the reading program. At the end of AAR 4, students have the phonics and word attack skills necessary to sound out high school level words, though they may not know the meaning of all higher level words. (Word attack skills include things like dividing words into syllables, making analogies to other words, sounding out the word with the accent on different word parts, recognizing affixes, etc…)

After completing AAR 4, our recommendations are:

Read-read-read! Get your student hooked on an age-appropriate series. Subscribe to kid-friendly magazines, check out tons of books from the library, have him read instructions for games he wants to play.

Have the student keep reading aloud a little each day, and you can use all of the strategies that he has learned to help him decode unfamiliar words.

Set a daily reading time for your student to read for 30 minutes. Choose books that interest your student, both fiction and non-fiction. You can also choose books that correlate to other things you are studying, such as historical fiction or Usborne books that cover science topics. Possible sources:

Literature-based curriculum such as Sonlight
Resource books like Honey for a Child’s Heart
The 1000 Good Books List
Books for Boys and Other Children Who Would Rather Make Forts All Day

Make and use flashcards for review, as needed.

The study of Greek and Latin roots can be helpful.

Complete the All About Spelling program, which supports reading.

Keep reading aloud to him.

For most kids, reading and being read to are the best ways to Build Your Child’s Vocabulary. If you need or want to provide extra vocabulary support: Marie recommends Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction by Isabel Beck (good for all ages).

I hope this helps!

Samina

says:

Just wanted to say thank you for everything! My dyslexic 7 year old ( turning 8 by end of summer) is finishing up AAR 4 and is almost done with AAS 3. Thanks to your outstanding curriculum he is now a fluent reader, he reads everything now and is so proud to borrow books by himself from the lib. It took him 1.5 year to go through level 1 but finished level2,3 and 4 ( soon) within a year. I absolutely live AAS and think it is an extremely comprehensive spelling curriculum which has helped build his skill and confidence subtly and gradually without burdening him. And just so you the other day he was acting out a story from AAR 4 reader with his 5 year old brother. I have a question. My 5.5 year old picked up phonics himself, on his insistence i have started AAR 1 with him. He is always reading random words and sentences and spells as well without my prompting him to do so. But he gets a bit bored and frustrated by the fluency sheet. Should i skip some words or still go through it, i know it was an invaluable tool that helped my eldest with fluency and practice.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Samina,
Thank you for sharing just how well your 7 year old is doing! It’s wonderful!

As for the fluency sheets, we find that older students that have struggled to learn to read need them more than younger students that are picking up reading quickly and easily. You want your 5 year old to be able to read the stories smoothly and with good expression and fluency by the time he reaches the end of AAR 1, and if he can do that without reading every word of the fluency sheets, then that is fine.

Also, sometimes students get overwhelmed by the amount of words on the fluency pages. Do feel free to modify these to his needs. There are some tips for using these in the Level 1 Teacher’s Manual on page 43. Here is our Top 5 Tips blog post for using the practice sheets. Make sure to read the comment section too, as customers had some great ideas!

Julie

says:

I found the order of instruction helpful as I consider what to do in the future. My daughter just turned 6. She is almost done with AAR level 1 and will be starting level 2 soon. I have AAS level 1, but I’m unsure when to introduce it because she is still so young. She loves learning and I don’t want to overwhelm her. All the components of language arts are really overwhelming to ME as I consider the future and what to do for first grade. I feel like writing letters is the most difficult part of language arts now. I want to keep learning simple and fun and the last thing I want to do is burn her out because I’m trying to add too many components of language arts. Any suggestions as to when to start AAS would be helpful. Should I wait until she is officially in the “next grade” or start when I start AAR level 2?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Julie,
Typically, I would suggest starting AAS 1 with AAR 2, but your daughter would be better off to be at least somewhat comfortable with handwriting before beginning AAS 1. AAS 1 asks students to spell words starting in Step 6, and asks them to write two word phrases from dictation shortly after that. There are ways to work around students that aren’t ready to write, but as you say she is young. You could spend the rest of this year focusing on handwriting and then pick up AAS 1 at the beginning of next year.

Does this help? Let me know if you have further questions.

Heather

says:

I was wondering exactly the same thing for my newly-6-year-old son. Thanks so much for asking! I just read Robin’s response below and I’m happy to have a thoughtful response to the question.

Lynda West

says:

I love seeing that you wait to add in the writing and grammar. I see so many “curriculums” that have those in very early grades, but right now we are trying our best to get through AAR 2 and AAS 1 that I cannot imagine adding in writing and grammar to a 7 year old boy who dislikes reading and writing. ;-) Do you do any journal prompt writing or anything early on? I don’t want to push him but I feel like we are missing something.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Lynda,
In the early years, like your son, I serve as a scribe for my children. They “write” by telling me what they want to say and I write their words down (or type). If it’s a card or letter to someone, I would have them then copy my words in their own handwriting, but if it was a long letter it would be done over a few days.

If the child is interested in writing, I provide them the opportunity, but I didn’t require it until they are far enough along in AAS to be comfortable writing sentences. For some children that is in or after AAS 2, but for others in AAS 3 is a better place.

Don’t worry too much about missing something. You are giving him a firm foundation, and when he is ready for more writing it will be more pleasant and enjoyable because he is older and more ready for the task. However, keep reading aloud to him daily. Reading aloud to children, even after they are reading well themselves, do impact their reading, writing, vocabularies, and more.

Amy

says:

We use AAR and AAS. After AAR 1 we start essentials in writing and AAS.
Handwriting though I’ve started my son who is working on AAR 1 on copy work from the AAR 1 storybooks.
I have copied the stories on lined paper.
He then writes and reads it. This not only gives him another opportunity to read but being able to read what he wrote gives his handwriting practice more meaning.
I’d love a AAR copybook for handwriting ;-) especially for level 1 & 2.

My 7 year old is finishing AAR 4 and is in AAS 3. She does Essential in Writing and Wordly Wise online for vocab. The mix is so doable.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thank you for the details of Language Arts in your homeschool, Amy. I, too, have used parts of the AAR stories as copywork for handwriting practice.

Adrienne Austell

says:

I love the AALP programs. 3 of my 4 kids are using them right now (5yo – pre-level 1, 7yo – AAR2, AAS1, 9yo – AAS4, AAR4). I wanted you to know all the kids LOVE Ziggy. They all love participating with him when he is out for the sons lessons. They want his to teach every lesson.

My 7yo/2nd grade is a reluctant reader. She is excelling in AAS but is behind in AAR. She can spell the words (verbally or with tiles — she doesn’t like to write so to not frustrate her I use the verbal or tile options) but when it comes time to reading lessons she struggles with the words. She knows all the phonics without hesitation. I have stopped the spelling lessons to focus on the reading but is that the best option as she was getting the spelling?

What do you recommend after AAR4? My other daughter will complete level 4 here shortly do I just focus on the spelling/grammer/writing? She is a more advanced reader and has easily flown through the lessons with full comprehension of the rules.

Thanks for any help.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Adrienne,
Your 7 year old sounds very much like my youngest student. My daughter Belle had the concepts and phonograms down pat, but still struggled with fluency in reading. What worked for my daughter, although she is still progressing slowly, is to continue with AAS and spend extra time focusing on fluency building in AAR. We did a lot of buddy reading, and spent extra time on the fluency sheets.

However, it has been AAS that has made the biggest difference in her reading. It is strange, but she suddenly gains a higher (although not perfect by a far stretch) level of fluency of a concept after she masters the spelling of that concept. She is now mid-way through both AAR 2 and AAS 2, learning things in spelling right behind when she learns them in reading. It’s working for her, still slowly, but it is more improvement than she did in the last two years.

So, my recommendation for your 7 year old is to do lots of read and rereading to build her fluency, and continue with All About Spelling at her own pace. Also, she might enjoy writing the words on a whiteboard, as a change up to verbal spelling or tiles. My kids that don’t like to write on paper do still enjoy whiteboard or chalkboard writing occasionally.

For your 9 year old finishing AAR 4, our recommendations are:

Read-read-read! Get her hooked on an age-appropriate series. Subscribe to kid-friendly magazines, check out tons of books from the library, have her read instructions for games she wants to play, etc.

Have the her keep reading aloud a little each day, and you can use all of the strategies that she have learned to help her decode unfamiliar words. Choose books that interest your her, both fiction and non-fiction. You can also choose books that correlate to other things you are studying, such as historical fiction or Usborne books that cover science topics.

Make and use flashcards for review, as needed.

The study of Greek and Latin roots can be helpful.

Complete the All About Spelling program, which supports reading.

Keep reading aloud to her!

For most kids, reading and being read to are the best ways to Build Your Child’s Vocabulary. If you need or want to provide extra vocabulary support Marie recommends Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction by Isabel Beck (good for all ages).

I hope this helps with both of your daughters. Please let us know if you have any further questions or concerns.

Angie

says:

Is it okay to JUST focus on reading, math, and handwriting for a struggling first grader? Right we are using an all encompassing language arts program and I think it might be too much right now.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Angie,
If a child is struggling with reading and handwriting, adding in spelling, grammar, and writing is simply an exercise in frustration. The progression of Language Arts that Merry lays out in this blog post does work. With a struggling learner, it is important to focus their time and energy on laying a solid foundation, and not needlessly frustrating them with things they are not ready to do yet.

However, I do recommend against having reading, math, and handwriting being all that your child does for school. It is important for struggling learners to have something they can enjoy and be good at. Please consider adding in a hands-on history and/or science, that you read aloud to you child and allows your child to explore the world.

And lastly, it is very important that you read aloud to your child regularly. This blog post lists just 6 of the many benefits of reading aloud to children, and it is so important that we actually schedule 20 minutes of you reading aloud to your child in every lesson of our All About Reading program.

Laura Icardi

says:

This is a really helpful, simple description of how to organize language arts. From the perspective of a beginner homeschooler, I appreciate these informative posts! Thank you!

Amancia

says:

Do you have writing & grammar program suggestions?

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Amancia,

There are a number of grammar programs available that have either multi-sensory components or an incremental approach. Some of the programs focus exclusively on grammar, while some include writing as well. Here are a few suggestions:

– Winston Grammar is a hands-on program with cards, and is generally aimed at students in 4th to 7th grades.

– Easy Grammar features an incremental approach and includes topics such as usage and punctuation, for 2nd grade and up.

– Essentials in Writing is described by author Matthew Stephens as a Math-U-See approach to writing. In the elementary levels, this program incorporates grammar with writing. The lessons are presented in short video segments of 3 to 5 minutes and then the student works on the concept that was taught. This is a multi-sensory and incremental program that is very easy to use. There are levels for 1st-12th grades.

– The Sentence Family is a simple and fun program aimed at 3rd through 6th graders. The program uses pictures along with a story line to teach grammar concepts and how they relate to each other.

– Hands-On English with Linking Blocks is an intriguing program that uses wooden blocks and flash cards for a truly hands-on approach.

For writing, here are some with incremental approaches:

Essentials in Writing (mentioned above)

IEW-Institute for Excellence in Writing–also uses video

Jensen’s Format Writing

Writing Skills by Diana Hanbury King

Writing Strands

For a different type of approach altogether, check out offerings from Bravewriter. There are lots of good ideas in The Writer’s Jungle, and on her free email loop, the Bravewriter Lifestyle (includes lots of multisensory activities like Tuesday Tea).

Hopefully this gives you some to consider!

Laura

says:

This is one of the best and helpful articles I have read about LA. Thank you so much!

Katy

says:

I have loved AAR & AAS as components of our L.A. program. We use Writing With Ease and First Language Lessons to round out the subject and they all flow so nicely together! I love that we can go at the speed my child needs for each component.

Bethany

says:

Katy, I like the sound of combining these resources and wonder what your suggestion is for when to start what. I’m starting out with a 4 year old who is already reading the first few sets of BOB books.

Stefani

says:

Looks like what I do! Except, I don’t start spelling (AAS) until we finish reading (AAR), so we have started some simple writing and grammar (Writing with Ease 1) BEFORE starting spelling. I just can’t deal with 2 boxes of cards at the same time. ;)

Rebekah

says:

Hi,
I came back to read this post again since I’m back to doubting how to handle Language Arts with my second son. I finally started him in AAR 1 last year, and he is now in AAR 2 and doing well. But he is nowhere near “grade level” since according to the calendar he should be starting 3rd grade in the fall. I guess I’m just looking for direction on how to really get him going in LA when he’s still sruggling to read well, much less be able to put together sentences independently. Oh, he is on L. 14 of AAS 1. He is doing well with it, but again, slow progress.
I am continually doubting what to do with him because of his age/grade level. He is not a very studious guy, but very hands on and mechanically minded. He is trying so hard to learn his handwriting, reading, spelling and math, but it really is a struggle for him. I know he needs these LA skills though. What would you do to try to gently add in more grammar and composition over the next year or so?

Laura

says:

Wow! I could have written this post myself about my son. To answer your question about grammar, I bought Easy Grammar 3 this year. It was recommend by my friend who was a school teacher for many years and now homeschools her son, who also struggles in the LA. My son has done very well with it even though he is “behind” in reading/spelling.

Simone

says:

My son was similar. I would just keep doing what you’re doing. When my son was in the middle of Grade 3 all of a sudden he experienced a huge leap in his reading ability and we were able to skip through about 20-25 lessons of All About Reading. He only started reading in Grade 2 and now at the end of Grade 3 he is technically at a Grade 5/6 reading level according to the Lexile Measures of the books he’s been reading lately. We are probably going to finish with AAR 3 and 4 anyways though cause it’s good reinforcement I think, and just in case there are any gaps I’m not aware of.

Rebekah

says:

Thank you for sharing. It’s encouraging to hear that my son and our situation are not uncommon and that you are having success with reading!

Rebekah,
Simone’s experience isn’t unique. Lots of children take much longer to have reading success, but then in 3rd or 4th grade they jump ahead quickly to be at or above grade level. Mind you, I’m not talking about doing nothing with him and then suddenly he gets it. Keep working with reading where he is at, keeping the lessons short and low stress, but be very consistent. It will work.

It worked with two of my sons that were still struggling to read on a 1st grade level at 8 years old, and I am sure it will work with my 8 year old daughter that just barely finished AAR 1 after working on it for 2 years (and these three kids after my first two were both reading chapter books before 1st grade).

One thought, have you ruled out possible vision issues, including the possibility of convergence problems? It is always important to get a struggling learner’s eyes checked. You likely have had this done, and everything was fine, but I just thought to check.

Once your son has finished AAR 1, we recommend starting All About Spelling 1. AAS has a gradual progression for increasing the student’s stamina and fluency in writing, from words and short phrases in Level 1, to phrases and short sentences in Level 2, to 12 dictation sentences per step in Level 3. Partway through this level, the Writing Station is introduced. In this exercise, students write sentences of their own that they make up using some of their spelling words. In this way, students have begun to use words in a more real-world context through dictation and writing, to help them transition to longer writing assignments.

Remember that the goal of being able to read and write fluently is a long term goal. Work where your student is at, and where he is at will slowly become closer and closer to “grade level”. Just realize that it may take a while to get there.

Let us know if you need anything. We are here to support you in any way we can. (support@allaboutlearningpress.com or 715-477-1976)

Arielle

says:

THANK YOU sooo much for this article!! I have been really confused on when and what and how long to teach for Language Arts and this has helped immensely! :)

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Arielle, I’m so thankful that this article was helpful to you! Thanks for the kind words!

Tabitha

says:

What writing and grammer program did you use?

Merry at AALP

says:

I’ve tried a variety of things over the years, but my favorites are Easy Grammar and Essentials in Writing.

Essentials in Writing does include grammar for 1st-6th graders, but my kids were older when the program came out, so I never got to try those levels. I like it because it’s very incremental, he models the actual writing process (complete with making mistakes and correcting them as you watch him write), has short video instruction (usually about 3-5 minutes) , and it broke things down into very doable parts. It’s been great for both of my kids, but especially my struggling writer.

Easy Grammar is incremental and I liked that it starts with prepositions. The presentation of concepts made sense. Sometimes I wished for more or clearer instructions, but it worked pretty well here.

Marie really liked Winston Grammar, and that’s another one you could check out if you have older students.

Karen

says:

My first grader (six years old) is about to complete AAR2, just started AAS2 (Step 6), and we use First Language Lessons, Writing With Ease (composition side to FLL), and Handwriting Without Tears. WWE requires quite a bit of copywork, so I have eased off of the formal handwriting practice to avoid overdoing it. He has really just *clicked* with reading, his fluency has taken off and his progress is amazing, from reluctant (to put it mildly) reader when we started Kindergarten last year, to reading fluently at an impressive level. And he tore through AAS1. I think he internalized so well from AAR he was able to piece together basic spelling intuitively.

Merry at AALP

says:

That’s wonderful, Karen, sounds like your son is really taking off with reading and other language arts skills!

Anita

says:

Hi, my 8 year old did AAS level 1 last year but she is still not a very confident and fluent reader. She loves making up stories for her friends and family and I don’t want to discourage her by constantly correcting her stories. Howeve, She still sometimes asks for help in spelling, even words we may have covered in level 1. Should I take her back to AAR1 or start at AAR2 since she is already reading? Should I move her on to AAS level 2? Should I do both in the same year? Please help :-).

Anxious mom

Merry

says:

Hi Anita,

That’s great that she loves making up stories. I wouldn’t correct those at all–let her have fun with them, and just enjoy her writing. Sometimes it takes awhile for the skills a student has learned in spelling to transfer into every-day writing, especially if she isn’t really thinking about editing yet.

AAS will give you more opportunities to teach editing skills as you progress. The dictations get longer in Level 2, and then in Level 3, there is a Writing Station activity. If she misspells a word in dictation or the Writing station, you can say something like, “There is one spelling mistake. Can you find it?” Sometimes kids find and correct it right away, just with that prompt, while other kids need more.

“Can you think of a rule that applies?” or, “Read exactly what you wrote,” (this is useful to say if they have left out a letter or used a wrong phonogram.)

As you progress in the levels, you’ll receive a “Spelling Strategies” chart that will help you lead her through some of this process. And then you’ll be able to apply more of the ideas in the article here.

For now, one thing you can do: When she misspells a word that she learned in AAS 1, make a mental note of it. Then you can put that word and any related key, phonogram, or sound cards needed, back in her daily review tab in her spelling box. Review it daily until she’s really solid on it. You want to keep cards in daily review until she can spell the word or answer the card with little to no hesitation, no second-guessing etc…

If she knows it easily on its own, then you know the issue is just that she’s not able to focus on her ideas and spelling at the same time–and that’s normal for many kids of her age. You’ll get more practice on doing this as you work through the program.

Unless you see a serious issue where you need to redo an entire lesson (she can’t remember the concept at all, can’t spell those words etc…), I would go ahead and move on to AAS 2.

When she asks for help with spelling–if it’s a harder word, give her the spelling. If there are words she commonly uses, she might even like keeping her own personal dictionary of harder words–she could have a pretty notebook and list the words in there.

If it’s a word that she learned in Level 1, talk her through how to sound it out or apply the rules she learned. If she’s really frustrated and just wants to move on, you can just give her the spelling, but I found many times that talking through how to approach words helped my kids start to make that transition to spelling in their writing. You can always just put that word back in her daily review box too.

As far as her reading goes, the best way to decide where to place her is to use the placement tests: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

Here’s a bit more information about each level:

Level 1 of All About Reading covers CVC words, consonant blends, short open-vowel words, and short-vowel compound words. You can see a complete listing of the words taught in this level near the back of the sample Teacher’s Manual. She should be able to read most of these words fluently, without having to sound them out.

Level 2 covers 3-letter blends; two-syllable words with open and closed syllables – hotel; vowel-consonant-E pattern words; VCE syllable combined with closed syllables – reptile; contractions; r-controlled words – her, car, and corn; soft c and g – face, page; past tense – hugged; vowel teams oi, oy, au, aw, ou, ow, oe, and ee; y in shy; wh in wheel; i and o can be long before two consonants (ex: ild, old, ost) – most; silent e after u or v – have; and the third sound of a – all. It includes two and three syllable words such as pullover, outnumber, sandpaper, saucepan, and invoice, etc…

This page has samples for all of the Teacher’s Manuals, Activity Books, and Readers for all levels of AAR, so you can really see inside and get a feel for which one might be best: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-lesson-samples/

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions. Merry :-)

Tammy

says:

My eldest child learnt to read very early and this is basically the progression we have followed although the amount of time spent was slightly less because of her age – as she has become older we have lengthened the teaching time. However I still have my child read aloud to me – silent reading has not fully replaced reading to me despite the fact that she is fluent in early chapter books as I have found that she needs help with vocabulary in the more advanced books she is reading to me. I have certainly found that as her spelling has improved her ability to write has improved drastically and she is more confident putting words on paper. I have not yet started thinking about adding speech to the mix, but now might be a good time to start thinking about it. Thank you for this article.

Jenika

says:

Merry, I just wanted to say thank you. This is a great article and I appreciate your time. Your advice in the past has been wonderful too. I am just so thrilled with my children’s development in Reading/Spelling/LA. We are avid users of AAR/AAS. I love the curriculum so much…and so do my children. My oldest is 10 and is not a “natural” speller. He struggles but the progression and rules in AAS make it so he has minimal frustration. A while back you gave me the advice to hold off on dictation in his LA program and only do the dictation in AAS. It is working beautifully! He’s in Level 3 and was introduced to “Writing Station.” He loves it! He “hates” writing, he says, but really enjoys writing station sentences a lot. It’s great practice! I didn’t even know it was coming…hadn’t previewed the level much, just opened the book! I feel like it was a nice little present for all of us. :)

My 7 y/o IS a natural speller and is progressing beautifully through AAR2 and AAS1. I love how they over lap and compliment each other so well. The repetition and flow is so nice! The two programs eliminate frustration and misunderstanding for both of us. Just recently he has started spelling EVERYTHING! I am having to tell him rules like “R-controlled” and some other blends because he is jumping ahead in his comprehension!

Thank you all you do!

Merry

says:

Hi Jenika,

I’m so glad to hear how your children are doing, how exciting! Thanks for taking the time to share your note! Would it be ok with you if we used this on our review page for AAR or AAS? I think other parents might be encouraged to hear the progress your kids have made.

Thanks for your note! Merry :-)

shanna

says:

I am learning a lot from all of your comments and hope to get a response to mine soon. I am starting homeschool this year. I have a 6 yr old who attended K in public school this past year and a 3 yr old who already recognizes all of her letters and a lot of the sounds that they make (however I’ve been teaching her only the short sound of the letters)…she can write a lot of her letters as well, but needs work on handwriting…my son is reading very well, but can’t spell well, yet. He can write all of his letter, but his handwriting could use some improvement as well. Soooooo, I’m trying to figure out where I need to start with them. I don’t want to go overboard with my 3 yr old bc she’s so young, but I also want her to continue to improve what she already knows. I was planning on doing First Language Lessons and possibly Writing with Ease with my 6 yr old, but what levels should I use for him for AAR and AAS? (like I said, he’s already reading very well, but could definitely improve) And how can I incorporate handwriting into these lessons/what handwriting curriculum would you suggest?

Merry

says:

Hi Shanna,

I would start by checking the placement for both of them. Here is a link to all of our placement tests for AAR: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/.

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 have a strong basis for spelling as well. If your 6 year-old is very excited about writing and spelling, you could start sooner–just take it at his pace.

AAS and AAR both use the same sequence and the same phonograms. Both are complete phonics programs, so they are interrelated in that way. AAS teaches words from the spelling angle, and AAR teaches words from the reading angle.

All About Reading includes research-based instruction in decoding skills, fluency, automaticity, comprehension, vocabulary and lots and lots of reading practice. AAS focuses instead on encoding skills, spelling rules and other strategies that help children become good spellers.

For this reason, the programs are also independent of each other so students can move as quickly or as slowly as they need to with each skill. Kids generally move ahead more quickly in reading, and we don’t want to hold them back with the spelling.

For Handwriting, we like Handwriting Without Tears because the formation of the letters helps to prevent and correct reversals.

I hope this helps! Merry :-)

Andrea

says:

I, too, wanted an all -encompassing language arts program, but found
that choosing the best in each language arts area was better for our
family. So we use AAS and AAR for those components of LArts.

Annie

says:

Do you mind me asking what programs you use for other aspects of Language Arts? Thanks!

Rebecca

says:

I have to say I love this and will have to show it to my husband. We love AAR and my husband has been a little concerned because we haven’t had spelling words like he remembers from school. I’ve told him we will get there, first lets get some reading down. I think he is just frustrated by the constant questions from the girls on “How do you spell __?” :) I can’t wait to get into AAS1 and AAR2!

Brenners

says:

I cannot even begin to tell you how freeing this blog post is to me. I always viewed Language Arts as a separate subject from reading and spelling. It is a relief to realize that when my 2nd grader does reading and spelling, she IS doing language arts. I’ve tried to use Abeka LA, but found it frustrating. My daughter couldn’t write sentences, not because she didn’t know what a sentence was, but because although she’s an excellent reader, she’s just not ready for forming her own reading material… not to mention that she is a bit behind 2nd grade level spelling. My daughter and I found Abeka’s hit and miss, jumbled up LA workbooks so frustrating, I just stopped doing Language Arts all together. It made me feel incredibly guilty. But after reading this, I’m realizing that we have not been neglecting Language Arts, but instead sharpening the basics skills she will need when she is ready to write and learn grammar.

Tracy

says:

I would love to try AAS with my first grader

Amber

says:

Funny, I find that I’m pretty much following the same schedule as in the article. Would love to try all about reading with my younger kids, currently using AAS and love it.

Dessia

says:

We just found All ABout Spelling and are excited to get started. Like all things new though I am feeling a little overwhelmed. I’m confident that this is just what my family and I need.

April

says:

My girls are 3 and 1 so for now we read together lots. I have been looking at AAR as a a good place to start.

Tiffany

says:

We use all three levels of AAS currently for 3 children. I add in Plaid Phonics for extra practice as well Explode the Code. We had these before we found AAS. I really enjoy how thorough AAS is!

Amy

says:

I am finishing AAS Level 1 with my daughter, and have just begun AAR with my son. I am so thankful to have found this fantastic curriculum. I recommend it to all my homeschooling friends!

Hannah Taylor

says:

To help with the reading/listening skills and comprehension portion of language arts: I just bought the Teach the Classics literature program (see http://www.centerforlit.com for more info) that gives you good questions to ask about any story. You’re only meant to ask a few per book. The questions vary from easy to hard on particular topics (such as setting and style), so you pick from the bottom of the lists for the younger kids. So far, I’m loving that program, and I think it’ll be helpful for covering the parts of the books that I often forget… but I haven’t actually used it yet, so who knows?

Jess

says:

I am so excited to begin formally teaching language arts to my 2 and 4 year old. So far, we’ve read lots of books and played alphabet games.

Shannon Johnson

says:

AAS has really made a huge difference in all of my kids reading skills. We use First Language lesson, they read 30 minutes aloud per day, I read to them several times a day and we use AAS. That covers our language arts for this year. Once we started using AAS, the kids reading improved by several grade levels. It has been amazing! I am considering the AAR program for my youngest child.

Jody Watkins

says:

I am interested in ARR. My first two kids (girls) were a quick learners. My boy has been an entirely different experience. My issue is finding book/readers he is willing to try. If it has bears, dolls, blocks, or anything that appears baby-ish : ) my boy wants nothing to do with it. I know he has to bite the bullet and ready the silly before he can get to the good stuff, but it would be nice to find some stuff he actually enjoys and looks forward to!!!!

Kim

says:

We use AAS1 and AAR2 combined with First Language lessons and Writing for the Well Trained Mind for our language arts. They fit so well together and each one is laid out so simply that there is very little stress or preparation. They are all open and go formats. So glad I found these programs!

Lori H

says:

I probably follow your flowchart except I’m putting more emphasis on the grammar than the writing at this stage. My oldest is in 2nd grade and hates the act of writing so we do as little as possible. If he has to write something (other than penmanship and answering questions in other subjects) he dictates to me and then if need be copies it later. We’ve been using First Language Lessons, for two years and he has a good grasp on some basic parts of speech. We’re also using AAS Level 2 and I love it. I want to start teaching my youngest how to read this summer and am planning on using AAR.

Sonya

says:

We currently use AAR2 and AAS1. I also add in some writing practice by using journaling prompts – my 1st grader loves them!

Katie

says:

Working on AAR Level Pre-1 right now. Love how your program incorporated all the language arts so well!

Kristi

says:

We have always used Sing, Spell, Read and Write for K and 1st. BUT…I HATE the spelling portion of that system. Last year I discovered AAS! OH MY GOODNESS!!!! It is a God-send! In fact, I’m going to make my 4th grader go back and start with Level 1 just to reinforce all the rules! We use Writing with Ease and First Language Lessons for Writing and Grammar. I LOVE how they all flow together!

Tracy Guillorn

says:

We use IEW, AAS, and AAR for language arts and they just flow beautifully. I am just so happy with those choices.

Jennifer Ellis

says:

Language Arts right now is still a lot of guide phonics practice and guided reading. He’s beginning to want to read independently. He’s in first grade.

Nancy

says:

My 11year old son learned to read and spell in a year and a half using AAS. I tried the same approach with my 8 year old son. He is able to spell words but has trouble reading them. I think using AAR would help balance things out.

Belinda

says:

I once taught an education class for the University of North Texas. The whole class was learning how to do something called “Guided Reading”. All About Spelling/Reading takes the best of guided reading and puts it into the hands of homeschoolers. It is an excellent, research based program. And I have adopted as their main reading and spelling program for the University-model school that I am now principal at.

Chrissy Soxman

says:

Our family has LOVED AAS. Love the variety that is used to teach spelling – it’s fun for the boys! Looking forward to starting AAR with my Kindergartner next fall.

Stephanie S.

says:

We use AAR and AAS level 1 for our kindergartener. Other than that, we work on forming letters, writing short lists, and we read, read, read. I would love it if you would develop a grammar program! The short easy chunks that make up your lessons work so well for us.

brook

says:

I use a combo of AAS, literature units, First Language Lessons, and Writing with Ease with my oldest. My kindergartener is about to complete AAR1 and start AAR2. We love it! I am looking forward to getting the prereading for my up and coming next year :)

Marietta

says:

This progression makes so much sense. I see many grade school age students with very poor handwriting habits and I believe it is because they are encouraged to write before pre-handwriting skills/exercises are promoted. Many parents also believe because their students “read” at a young age phonics instruction (spelling) is not necessary.

Katherine

says:

AAS has been a blessing and answer to prayer in our home full of boys.

Kelly

says:

Our kids LA skills vary. One is a natural speller; one needs more rules for spelling; one will begin spelling in the fall. Our youngest is learning to read and our older ones are reading well. I would love to use AAR/AAS products next school year.

Emily

says:

I am just starting out and have been using AAR level one. It is going well but am worried as my little one learns more and how to organize it. I have enjoyed reading the different comments.

Lisa Imerman

says:

Currently LA is our weak spot. I bought a spelling/reading program that just doesn’t work for us at all. So we are doing reading, we do Time for Kids Magazine which has reading comprehension and current events in the worksheets. We also do a lot of writing with a program and with our history program which is heavy on writing and reading. I really need to get the LA spelling and more reading strategies going.

Lisa Imerman

says:

I really have been wanting both the reading and spelling programs. Just have to save up for the budget to afford them. Soon, I hope!

Joy

says:

We love this fun and informative curriculum. We are on our second year of AAR, and my daughter wants to bring out her reading books for fun! Her reading is really taking off!

Kelly

says:

AAR has really helped my son with Autism, enter into the task of reading without being afraid to try. Each step from “building” words in the magnet board, to reading flash cards, to putting it all together by reading a short story in the book, all seems “do-able” for him, and I believe once he felt some success with reading, he was willing to try more and more each day. That’s invaluable. Thank you All About Reading!!

Alana

says:

We are currently using Abeka Language Arts with my 4th grader but would like a solid pre-reading/reading program for my preschooler. Have been interested in AAR and AAS for a long time but haven’t made that purchase yet. Very interested in your AAR program.

Sheryl

says:

My son has a difficult time and struggles with reading. We have tried other things but he still guesses at words and doesn’t sound them out. I think this would be a great help for him.

Cathy

says:

I have heard so many great things about your program however we just cannot swing the cost. I would love to one day win something towards it so that we can use it!

Cindy

says:

We’re using AAR Level 1 and AAS Level 1 this year! My daughter is READING!! Can’t wait to begin AAR Level 2 and AAR Level 2 in the fall!

simplytodelight

says:

Our order is similar, although slightly different.

Christie Anne

says:

I find Language Arts the hardest subject to teach and am still struggling to find something that works well.

DeeDee

says:

We try to saturate our environment with language: books read aloud, books on tape, word games, etc. The “All Abouts” have played a large role in that effort.

LJ

says:

LOVE the idea of this program, makes it easy for parents. My daughter LOVES reading. She’s just turned 6, reads pictures, sounds out 3 letter words, and is itching to be able to read on her own. I’d love to use this to set her free. I’ve taught her the phonetic alphabet and some simple sounds, and she has a great vocabulary, and so is good at guessing the word from the picture. But I’d love to help her read and fill in the gaps (love that your program is so comprehensive).

Jennifer N

says:

We spend about 30 minutes a day on phonics and blending sounds (my son is in Kindergarten). We would LOVE to use AAR 1 next year during 1st grade!!! :-)

Emily R

says:

LA is a little disjointed in our homeschool this year. We are currently using FLL, but see that our needs are changing.

Catherine

says:

We currently use Abeka, which I loved for K4 but now I’m only just “content” with it. I can’t wait to finish the year so we can try this.

Kim Chance

says:

I struggle with all the pieces of Language Arts. I would love a program that weaves all the parts together for me.

Lana

says:

We’ve seen one of the samples and liked it, interested in adding this to our curriculum.

Nikole

says:

We love All About Reading Level 1!

Jennifer

says:

My son has struggled with reading. I hope to start with the all about reading program in the fall.

Heather

says:

Looking forward to learning more about this program.

Jenny

says:

I am a former bilingual First grade teacher and have taught reading intervention as well. My son is at high risk for dyslexia. All About Reading appears to meet all of the criteria I need to help him and incorporates the best of the reading strategies I have used in the past as well. I struggle with organization outside of the public school classroom and love the well-thought out, ready to go look of this program. I would love to try it!

Katie

says:

Thank you so much for this break down. Jumping in to homeschooling this year with three kids (K, 2, and 4) has been a challenge, to say the least. I appreciate any and all advice from someone who has more experience than I!

Tessa

says:

We are using a curriculum with a natural approach, but I do feel overwhelmed with including multiple facets of LA a week. We’re in our first year and there’s not as much focus on learning to read as I would like. I feel as though I need to supplement but there are so many choices out there, It’s hard to decide what we need and what is redundant. AAR seems like a great place to start!

Eileen

says:

I really want to try this program! I used a different program in the past with my daughter…although she is reading, the program left out some major components…now I am struggling with filling in the gaps :( I would love to start on the RIGHT foot when teaching my son to read with a program that covers all the bases :) …and from what I see and hear, this program does!!!

Daphne La Rosa

says:

I would so love to win this, I have been wanting to get this for my 3 little ones

Lisa K

says:

RIght now for my 3 boys I use Italic handwriting. I use All About Spelling 1 and Explode the code for my 6 yr old and would like to incorporate AAR at some point. My older 2 boys use IEW’s Fix-it Grammar, Phonetic Zoo Spelling, and All Things Fun & Fascinating writing. It is very difficult to get it all done each day. I appreciate your post. That takes some of the pressure off!

Megan

says:

We’re still working on basic phonics!

Sarah

says:

I read daily to my children, but recently realized how important language arts is when I began homeschooling one of my children children who is not able to do well in school. I have found that language arts is more than reading and spelling words. We’ve began to keep a journal to help him remember what he is learning, and he just recently began reading Tom Sawyer, and he loves it!

fenna

says:

I’ve just started homeschooling last fall and we did phonics first and we are into grade 1 level reading at the moment! After this, I’m not 100% sure….

Nicole

says:

We aren’t doing spelling words right now with 8yo, but we do dictation, cursive and writing.

We use a variety of resources including MCP Phonics (Plaid books), Aussie SpellForce (computer game), old school grammar books, LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of reading — out loud to Mom and Dad and to siblings and quiet reading time; we journal daily, write letters, reports, reviews, etc…. We’ve also started using some language arts apps on the Kindle, but I haven’t found any that I absolutely love yet. The kids do enjoy learning with apps, and it’s something they do in the car or free time.

Heather

says:

We recently starting using the All About Spelling program as recommended with the Primary Arts of Language program we are using from the Institute In Excellence in Writing. I

Lisa T

says:

We use a gentle and slow Language Arts approach to encourage reading in our household.

Debra G

says:

We use AAS in our house.

Jennifer

says:

I have been using All About Reading Pre-Reading with my 2 girls and they love it! They have so much fun with Ziggy, it makes our school time fun and they love learning! We plan to start All About Reading level 1 in the fall, this is a great program!

Sara

says:

I am very interested in using AAR with my almost 5 year old daughter. She has been wanting to learn to read!

Vanessa

says:

We just started AAR1 with ODS, 3.5 years old. He had been asking me to teach him how to read for over a year. I am so glad we found something that he loves on our first try with curriculum. I love that this program teaches the ins and outs of reading and not just how to read.

Katie

says:

We love our time with Ziggy! He helps make learning fun. Even my 20-month-old loves AAR!

Meg

says:

Language arts is a little haphazard in our house but I’m trying to remedy that!

CandaceC

says:

Loving this All About Reading program and looking forward to starting with my 5 year old daughter. She’s having a hard time blending sounds to make words and she gets frustrated with reading. I want her to love to read and I think this program will be the key.

Stacy L.

says:

I do various activities for my children since they are at different levels and learning styles. I have used in the past quiet reading time, retelling of stories, reading aloud classics, and free writing. By far my favorite ways have been AAR for my youngest and AAS for my children. My daughter did AAS when it first came out and she got the basics quickly. She is my writer and loves writing fan fiction and reading, so I really leave her to doing that on her own. I then step in with editing her writing and showing her the editing symbols and how to think about paragraph set up and transitioning from one paragraph to another. I have also enjoyed using Michael Clay Thompson’s programs with her. My middle child is different. He loves reading on his own now and I struggle daily with getting him to enjoy writing. I try to let him do his own humor into his writing since that is how he operates mainly. I enjoy when he gets in to a free drawing and then adds his own telling of that picture. My challenge is just now to get to actually hand write that story to me!

brandee

says:

We haven’t used AAR yet but we were planning on ordering for next year.:)

Brooke

says:

This is our first year of homeschooling, and we’re still finding our way. We have AAS, and are getting good results. I would love to try AAR. We are currently using First Language Lessons and Writing With Ease for writing, and we have Explode the Code books and the Sonlight readers for reading. We also use lots of library readers. I really feel like we need more reading instruction though.

I’m still working it out. I use MFW with my 1st grader so it’s all inclusive but I also have added an extra 15-20 minutes of reading. For my Kindergartner we usually do about 15 minutes total.

Rachel

says:

I have a 9th grader and a Kindergardener so it’s a wide range. We’re still working on phonics w/ my K and it’s slowly going. We only do writing with the 9th, but fold in literary analysis in it. Next year, we’ll do spelling, grammar, and writing for 1st, but not until we have phonics down better.

Angelita

says:

I’m so excited to start using this with my daughter!

Crystal

says:

I’ve been saving for AAS, I’m still on the fence about homeschooling, but i feel like with an all inclusive curricula it seems less daunting. I hope I can purchase this soon, my son is not flourishing in the classroom setting.

Joanna Perez

says:

We are learning letters sounds and letters recognitions
We love AAL P1 thanks for the giveaway, from Venezuela
:-D
Joa

melissa

says:

We use AAS and AAR….would love to see AAGrammar!

Jerry Wilson

says:

We use several different products to teach these subjects

Leah Mick

says:

We’ve been using All About Spelling which I LOVE, 1st Language Lessons, Writing with Ease, and Handwriting Without Tears and copywork, but for reading I have not found anything my daughter and I have loved. I’m really excited about trying All About Reading and suspect that I would love it just like we love All About Spelling!

KP

says:

We do about the same thing but maybe with a little light grammar about the same time as spelling is started.

heather

says:

We do a little bit of a lot of different stuff.. we are probably going to use all about reading next year.

SheliaD

says:

We’ve been using AAS this year and love it. I like your order of LA elements. We are at the spelling-writing transition. Nice to know the game plan I laid out for us is also recommended by AALP.

Marisa

says:

I like the way you broke down the different parts of language arts for the younger children. I have been muddling my way through homeschooling my kindergardener, and now I have a clearer picture of what to do. We just started the AAR, and it has helped both of us a great deal. As he progresses, I will remember this article. Thank you!

Tanya

says:

We are looking into using AAS and AAR with my 6 & 8 yo boys. My 8yo learned to read quickly with MFW, but my 6yo is much more active, so Im looking for something that will move a bit slower than MFW and yet be very hands on.

Krista Case

says:

We use AAS for my 4th grader. Just getting her spun up as we switch to AAS this year. She’s going to be starting level 3 in a week or so. I loved it so much that I switched my K-5 DD to AAR Level 1. She’s taking to it like a duck in water. I’m excited to see how this will help her transition smoothly into AAS. I have my AAS student play w/toddlers while I do AAR K-5, then switch and have my K-5 DD play with toddlers while I do AAS w/my 4th grader.

Kathy

says:

Love the “duck in water”! Also love the switcheroo you play to keep everyone happy!

Shelly

says:

We have gone through three different curricula this year trying to teach my son how to read. He is coming along very slowly and is about a year behind his peers in reading. He is very kinesthetic and visual. I think this program would be fantastic and would perfect for him. I would love to win this giveaway!!! :D

Barbie

says:

Language arts has always been a touchy issue with us. My oldest son (17, just graduated) is a very visual, right-brain thinker. When he was younger, I tortured (and I don’t use the term loosely; tears were an every day issue) him with phonics, spelling, and writing assignments. In middle school years, I laid off, and he hardly did any LA work – mostly math and science. Finally, in high school I tried to bring it back in, but the damage was complete. He struggles desperately to get the images in his head on paper as words. Now in college, he is working through the problem. Because of the struggles with him, I am having a hard time landing on a curriculum for my kids that will meet all their needs, and mine to be easy to teach for a very busy mom of nine children. I’ve settled on AAR for phonics (my 7 yo loves it!), AAS for spelling (3rd, 5th, and remedial high school for a special learner), Primary and Intermediate Language Lessons by Serl for those upper elementary students, and Grammar of Poetry (using the new dvd lessons) for my two high schoolers this year. We also like IEW for writing, although I would really like to give The One Year Adventure Novel a try next year.

Amy

says:

I love how you set goals and actually asked yourself “what are we trying to accomplish by teaching language arts?” I am just beginning to teach my first child to read and am excited to set a great foundation with AAR!

Lisa

says:

This is one area we constantly struggle with. I think your program would solve that issue.

Jenn

says:

We do an hour of LA for each or at least that is the goal. Doesn’t always happen.

Tracy

says:

we are using Heart of Dakota’s book suggestions but I would love to try AAS 2.

Laura F

says:

This would be great! This is my first year homeschooling kindergarten. Language arts, spelling..its all been rough. We were using sonlight & saxon, but after giving it 8 months its just not working for my daughter with speech & comprehension delays. We are still working on remembering letters & sounds. Last week a friend recommended checking AAR & AAS, we’ll be making the switch soon!

Kim

says:

We really need help here. I can make many subjects stretch across grade levels, but not Language. My 5th grader is suffering, I’m afraid.

Nicole

says:

Spelling makes sense, since we started AAS!

Anne D

says:

I love the suggestions in this post. I all too easily slip into thinking that I should be teaching ALL language arts ALL the time. Thanks for the ideas!

Krystle

says:

I really enjoyed this post. Language Arts is something we struggle with, and it’s always nice to see how others are handling it!

I’ve been using AAS for two years and just got the beginning info for AAR 1. We love it. So helpful for me and my kids.

Cathy K.

says:

Great article with great comments from all the readers. I am in my first year of homeschooling and have stressed so much over whether or not I am teaching my son the right things, in the right order, etc… He already a great reader, so I started him with AAS Level 1 this year. It worked great! We also do a lot of the language arts activities with our Five In a Row curriculum. We have read aloud to him since he was a newborn and started teaching him how to sound out words and read to us since he was around 3. We never put any pressure on him, but he showed so much interest in how we do this “reading” thing at such a young age. I truly believe that helped him so much! I can’t wait to move on to AAS Level 2 with him, and I want to start adding in the AAR.

Lisa Cross

says:

I have been looking for a solid Reading program for some time. I would love to try this!! Sounds great!

Aimee D

says:

After my first grade, 7 year old son has almost finally completed his kindergarten reading program, I am so ready to start AAR level 1!! I am close to ditching the final lessons of the first program, to just jump in with AAR. I am thankful for a program that teaches reading in a logical progression, after reviewing many that just seem to jump around with no rhyme nor reason.

Thank you, All About Learning!

Pamela

says:

We use both AAS and AAR. It’s really helped my son gain confidence in reading. It has also helped to back off on grammar right now.

Joanna

says:

I am working with 2nd grade and pre k. I also thought I had to do it all but found my son was struggling a lot with writing because he couldn’t spell. So we’ve taken a break from that but have continued on with grammar, spelling, reading and phonics.

Jill B

says:

Wow! Great article! I have been wondering when to introduce spelling and grammar/writing to my almost kindergartner. Thanks for helping!

Kristi

says:

Thank you for this article, I have been doing alot of diff workbooks for reading, and just working with flashcards, for reading, I would love to get my husband to buy the AAR level 2 but funds are very tight right now. We use AAS and LOVE it. Thank you for the breakdown of time that should be spent in each area.

Jane

says:

To be honest, I need a great spelling program. At the moment, we do heaps and heaps of reading each day. I have a son (7) who could happily spend the whole day snuggled up just listening. Lrarning his sight words & phonics but prefers not to do the work but listen to me read to him. Daughter (9) is a fluent reader & we read heaps of biographies together.

Beckysue

says:

Great article! We use bju and aalp for our kids. When they recognize their letters and founds we then do some of the 100 easy lessons book.

Melissa F

says:

I followed the same LA progression without thinking about it. The hard thing is having an early reader and knowing how to do phonics with a kid that ready gets it. Good article.

Rose

says:

We do lots of read aloud and identifying words in public. I’m focusing on letter sounds with my pre reader now.

Karra

says:

Language arts has been a lot of letters. Forming them with all different things, wooden shapes, wikki stix, play dough, etc. Practicing rhyming. Practicing beginning sounds.

Reading literature related to our letter. Lots of letters. Lots of fun!

Thanks

Cindy N.

says:

My youngest, who is 7, is slowly catching onto reading but I believe I could be doing more to help him along. I have heard many good things for this program so I am hoping to start as soon as possible.

Caryn Salamy

says:

We are using All About Reading L1. It has helped my daughter greatly! Next, I’m going to introduce her to AAS. Soon, we’ll be ready for 2.

I am currently trying to make the best decisions on how to fit language arts/grammar/spelling/reading into our daily routine in the best way. We have used a variety of different books/methods, but are slowly but surely moving to Montessori methods in much of our schooling. That being said, I have heard that AAS and AAR are very close to the Mont Methods, because they are so hands on in many ways! I would love to have both sets for our home classroom!

angie

says:

We’re just now getting to school age in our house but have had a language rich environment from day one. Just never realized we could call it “language arts”. This program is a great way to introduce a more structured approach now that our oldest is ready!

josette

says:

Thank you! This is so affirming! We didn’t do things deliberately this way but it seemed like the natural course for my boys!

Allison B

says:

Such a wonderful program.

Jessica

says:

I am new to homeschool this year! AHHH. I am excited to try this reading program and pray it really makes a difference in my son’s attitude toward reading.

Jen

says:

This was a very informative article.

Becky Milstead

says:

Thank you for this article. It was nice to see that I need to focus on the reading and then work in the handwriting. Language arts was not my best subject in school and I’m having to relearn a lot as I teach my kiddos.

Stephanie Dobbins

says:

This is our first year you this program, we are using AAR Pre-1 and AAS level 4 and we LOVE it!!! I am so glad I found out about this, it has made our lives so much easier :)

Melissa Short

says:

I’m almost finished the AAR pre- level 1 and also use AAS w my oldest son. Your programs are blessings:)!

Angela

says:

Language Arts is hard for me. My oldest has a language comprehension delay, so I think I cater to his weakness with the other 2 also. I’ve been doing better :) I actually have him do the same grade level as his younger sister…it seems to be more comprehensable for him…and easier for me to teach. I am really looking forward to trying AAR with my youngest…starting K this fall!

susan hall

says:

This program looks fantastic! I hope my three littles will love it :)

Rachel

says:

Language Arts isn’t my favorite subject to teach…but when you see the light bulb over their heads, it’s worth it! We are using AAR level 1 right now!

G

says:

Phonics
Silent reading
Spelling
Handwriting (which came much later than the other two)
Now starting some grammar and speech.

Rebecca

says:

I have tried several different programs for my 7 yr. old son. So far, AAS is the one that has produced the least amount of tears and the most amount of success. :)

MamaGames

says:

We have tried SO many things between my two kids. For my son, reading was very, very easy and spelling is SO hard. My daughter is not following in his footsteps at all – writing is okay, spelling is all right, but reading is just not clicking. Looking forward to getting more good advice on how to make everything work for her.

Michelle

says:

We have been using AAR level 1 for my son who is a struggling reader, it has helped him, it is a good program, he can go at his own pace, he enjoys the mix of games that is included in the lessons. Glad we found All About Learning products.

Debra Pierce

says:

We are currently using Spelling Power, Primary Language Lessons, and Writing Strands. Although I like them, I think I would like to switch to All About Spelling.

rebecca fitch

says:

I like how you break up the amount of time for each subject sometimes I worry I do not teach one subject long enough…thanks again

Tanya

says:

So far I am just reading books aloud and letting my son read to me by looking at the pictures but would love to start teaching him more since he is now 4 years old.

Beth

says:

Our Family has really enjoyed AAR and AAS. My boys are picking up more and more books that they are willing to try and are happily surprised they can read!! Writing is becoming more and more easy too:D Thanks!!

Laura

says:

We use Handwriting without Tears, Explode the Code, Wordly Wise, First Language Lessons and Writing with Ease. I’ve heard great things about AAR would love to check it out!

Jessica Jacobs

says:

We’ve started with writing, just because my daughter has caught on to that way quicker than reading. But now that we’re doing AAR 1. She’s reading three letter words. This program is wonderful!!

Jennifer

says:

We have been using AAS for three years and started AAR with my 5 year old this summer. I can not begin to say how much these programs have improved my children’s reading and spelling skills! THANK YOU! I heard a rumor that you might be working on a grammar program…. I am anxiously waiting for this to come to fruition.:)

Kathy

says:

Hey Jennifer,

Check out the Forum on our website where you can add input of your own concerning the possibility of All About Grammar! Nothing official yet but brainstorming in the works!

Customer Care Representative

Amy

says:

All About Reading was our 4th try at trying to find a reading program that my daughter clicked with. I knew right away this was the one. Within 2 weeks you saw a huge difference. I only wish I had found this program a long time ago.

Emily

says:

My PreK is just starting to read, so we use the Reading Lesson, reading just one page per day, plus reading a Bob book or something of the sort. We also do a page of Explode the Code, and a page of handwriting. We have AAR1, but for some reason, she REALLY does NOT like it…hopefully we can use it in a few months. Would love to try the PreLevel 1 for our preschooler, see if that helps.

Krystal S.

says:

We are using AAR pre-level 1 right now and my daughter enjoys it very much! Can’t wait to keep moving forward with her and AAR! :)

We are just beginnig our homeschool journey, so we learn LA by example right now! We do phonics with our 4-year old using AAR 1. And my 2.5-year old is learning LOTW. But as for language…..learning by example and lots of reading!

Amber Davis

says:

We are doing pre-k with our just turned 5 year olds this year. We are just beggining or language arts journey and have been looking at what reading/language arts program we are going to use for next year. Would love to win this one!!

Elizabeth Thayer

says:

AAS and AAR is so well rounded that we’ve had much success with this. My 6 year old is reading like a maniac and my 5 year old is beginning in reading. My boys are advanced and it just goes to show when you have a great curricula that is well rounded, the kids do great. I am so amazed at how my, then 5 year old, kindergartener who has recently turned 6 is reading and writing so, so, well. And since he has been so successful my 5 year old son, in preschool, wants to be like his big brother. He is in the beginning stages of actually reading, he already knows the basic phonetics, and can write simple 3 letter words as well. So encouraged to know that I can teach my child!!

Sarah

says:

We follow a Charlotte Mason approach to language arts, which focuses on oral narration in the early years, along with some handwriting practice by way of copywork. Reading lessons commence in K and usually go through 2nd or 3rd grade, depending on the child, then spelling is added. Grammar concepts are introduced in 2nd and 3rd grade by way of oral work with formal grammar work starting around 4th grade. Short written narrations begin that same year, with formal writing lessons starting in 5th grade.

Tessa

says:

I have reinventing the wheel and plan on using AAR next year to ease my load! Wonderful Program!!

Kimberly Dickson

says:

We are using All About Spelling level 1 right now, and I can’t believe the difference it has already made! My son’s reading has improved as well!

Michelle C.

says:

I love that you recommend short lesson times. It’s right in line with the way we do lessons. These are some great suggestions!

Lakshmi

says:

In my family language arts occurs naturally. My children have always made books, both graphic and otherwise since they were little. We have read nearly everyday aloud, until recently when both children started reading on their own. We talk about words, and word origins.

My youngest has been a slow to learn reader. I have no idea if AAR would help her gain fluency or not, but I would like to think that it would.

Chelsea Farnsworth

says:

We don’t have any program at this time…I just let them pick out books and I read them to my kiddos.

Tamara Pfanstiel

says:

Having two dyslexic children, we’ve always chosen literature-rich curriculum (Sonlight, MFW, TOG, etc), and I think it’s paid off. Even though some of my kids can’t read on grade level, they still have expansive vocabularies and can dictate and summarize complex ideas with ease. You wouldn’t be able to guess that their ready level was behind if you were speaking to them.

Dee F.

says:

I would LOVE a chance to win this program & try it out! It looks fantastic!

mary

says:

We use all about spelling, veritas press handwriting, and explode the code for reading.

Michelle S.

says:

My little one is 3 years old, so we read every day! Thanks for the chance!!!!!

amanda

says:

We are using Abeka for our oldest daughter. It includes grammar, creative writing, and spelling/vocab. It has worked well for her since prek. It is all in one, but it is very intensive. My youngest needed a different approach, so we just started AAR for her. It is working very well!

Alissa L

says:

we use aas level 1 and 2….would love to add to our curriculum!

Kim Greene

says:

My son is 9 and a struggling speller. It’s like pulling teeth to get him motivated! I just started using AAS with him and he loves it! He actually asks me when we get t pull out the magnet letters and he’s made such progress just in the few short lessons we’ve done. Thanks for making a program that reaches and motivates all learning styles!!!!

Anne

says:

I hope to win so I can help my dyslexic son learn to read!

Sarah W.

says:

I have three very different learners that I homeschool. We’ve used AAR pre-reading this year and had lots of success with it. Time for us to move up to the next level! I can’t wait to order!

Tabitha Zehner

says:

We use separate programs for everything. It’s inconvenient and I would like to have a program that includes everything.

Angela Russell

says:

We are very interested in all about spelling and all about reading. I have three children whom are very good readers, but poor spellers. I believe this program will help fill in the gaps.

Michelle W

says:

We have been using Alphabet Island for reading/phonics/handwriting. It has been a pretty good fit for us but I am really looking into starting All About Spelling for spelling and maybe switching to All About Reading. They both look really good!

Rebekah

says:

My daughter now loves spelling because of your program! we are soaring through level 1 and I have level 2 waiting on the shelf!

Wendy

says:

We have four children (1st, K, 3-yr, 1-yr)–When we started our homeschool journey we were cruising along just fine because our two oldest are girls and they LOVED to be read to. Short stories, long stories, it didn’t matter, they could listen for long periods of time. When we began our reading instruction, I quickly realized that our 2nd daughter was very word smart and our first was really struggling with her word smart abilities. We are now into our second year and each day with our 1st grader is a struggle. The only thing she really enjoys is to be read to. When I ask her to read aloud, copy words from sight, copy words from dictation, etc., it is a battle. At this point, our K has passed our 1st grader and lack of confidence has really set in. The ironic part is that I didn’t even set out to teach our K daughter. I focused my lessons, as much in private as I could with 4 children, on our 1st grader, but our K daugter picked it right up instead.

Robin Wright

says:

LA is hard at our house because we have 2 dyslexic children and 2 advanced readers and 1 just beginning to read. We have used Go Phonics and it has worked well but we still seem to struggle.

Kate W.

says:

My son is 4 years 2 months old. Our language arts consists of me reading to him, him looking at books and making up his own stories, learning the letter sounds using Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading. We’ve been doing prewriting activities– playdough letters, writing in salt, tracing letters and I’ve just ordered Handwriting Without Tears kindergarten manual and student book along with the chalkboard. My son really, really wants to read but he also really doesn’t want to sit still for more than a few minutes. I would love to get AAR but right now it’s more than our budget can stretch.

Rachel

says:

This is helpful. We are homeschooling for our second year and this whole subject overwhelms me!

Twila

says:

This post is really helpful! I will definitely bookmark it and refer back to it. I thrive (maybe too much) on guidelines. We appreciate this program so much! I am currently using AAR 1 with my 1st grader and kindergartener. My 1st grader is on his last lesson so I appreciate the advice you have given others about using AAR & AAS together. We will definitely get started with AAS. Would you recommend switching back and forth between the two or doing AAS 1 & AAR 2? Both of my children are doing well, but my daughter gets teary when it is time for the Fluency Practice pages. Do you have any suggestions?

Merry

says:

Hi Twila,

You don’t need to go back and forth between AAR and AAS, unless you want to for some reason. 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 have a strong basis for spelling as well. The programs are independent of each other so students can move as quickly or as slowly as they need to with each skill. Kids generally move ahead more quickly in reading, and we don’t want to hold them back with the spelling. So, you don’t have to line up lessons in any way–once your child is ready for AAR 2, go ahead and add spelling on as well.

There may be too many words on a page for your daughter. I would modify these to her needs (page 43 of the TM has some ideas). Other suggestions:

Take a piece or two of blank paper and cover all of the words on the page except for one or two lines (whatever won’t overwhelm her to see). Let her know right away that she only has to read that amount. See if she can read at least one line from the words, phrases, and sentences section before you move on to the next step.

Use the viewfinder bookmark to read them.

Let her highlight each line she reads.

Take turns reading lines with her (or let a puppet, stuffed animal, or favorite toy take turns). Many kids enjoy having a reading buddy :-).

Use the page for your reference only and write the words, phrases, or sentences one at a time on a white board. When she can read one line well, try writing two lines at a time, and see how she does with that.

Make the words/phrases/sentences with tiles for her to read.

Use the word cards to make sentences (and you could use white index cards for any additional words you need to make).

Mix up the exercises a bit more–do something from the next step and then just a bit of the fluency reading from the previous step. This will stretch the next step out a bit more, and give her a bit more fluency practice, without having the practice be all together in one chunk. Maybe she would like that variety more?

Use the words, phrases, and sentences to come up with a little book together that she can read. Put one phrase or sentence on each page, and let her draw a picture, or cut and paste pictures from a magazine on each page. My kids used to really enjoy making up little books like this.

I hope this helps!

Merry :-)

Jennifer

says:

My son is 6, in first grade, and is an avid reader, so the “reading” part happens naturally, all day. We do about 10 minutes of spelling right after breakfast, and later work on handwriting/composition while little sister is napping. We also incorporate read-alouds and related reading by using the TruthQuest American history curriculum. My 2-yr-old follows along with spelling and history, as well as lots of reading aloud.

Becky Marie

says:

My oldest just started reading a few months ago. I’ve been trying to go slow but he wants to do everything right now! I’m nervous about teaching spelling.

Sarah

says:

We currently homeschool our 5 kids…and now are adding a little brother & sister through foster care adoption! I would love to use these programs with them as they start their adventure in learning with us!

Lisa

says:

I just purchased the pre-reading set and Level 1 and 2 of AAS. I would like to get AAR Levels 1 and 2.

Terri

says:

We use All About Spelling level 2, First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind, and our own reading choices. When will you come out with All About Grammar?

Maureen

says:

What a wonderful article! I am home educating my three young children ages 5, 6 and 7 and have been searching for a comprehensive language arts curriculum but have not yet found the perfect fit so I am incorporating various components in our home such as spelling, children’s literature, living books, read aloud picture books and chapter books and silent independent reading time for my eldest who is reading chapter books. We enjoy a creative writing course and one area that I am looking to learn more about is poetry.

AnnaLynn

says:

We have two boys, both with their own struggles, so my approach to Language Arts is still evolving. My younger struggling reader is using AAR, level 1, listening to audio books and practices handwriting daily in the Charlotte Mason style (Queen’s Homeschool, “Printing with Pictures.”) My older student reads silently 30 minutes daily, uses AAS (shortly to begin level 3), and completes a daily lesson in “Language Lessons” (also a Charlotte Mason approach purchased from Queen Homeschool). I read aloud to both of them at night (which they still love…yeah!). Love the All About Learning Press products!! They have helped both my boys turned the corner with their reading and spelling challenges and we have so much more fun learning now. :)

AmyW

says:

We are just beginning our homeschool adventure! This looks like a wonderful program to use

RobinMarie

says:

My 13 year old son was still struggling with spelling so I started using All About Spelling with him. He is flying through the program and surprises me with the words he can spell. I love this program.

Deanne

says:

I really like this ‘pyramid’ method of teaching Language Arts!

Arianne

says:

I *love* the idea of not having to do every language arts topic all the time! It can feel overwhelming that way, but breaking them up by years or by 6-18 week chunks…there is a *lot* I like about that idea. Things wouldn’t get boring, and you get review for the previous topics in a different way when you move to the next one!

Also, it’s true that reading out loud together has benefits long after your child learns to read. As a parent, I can model so much about thinking and reading (and enjoying both) by reading out loud to them. Thanks for the great post!

Roxanna

says:

Would love to start using this! We are newbies! :)

shannon

says:

My children LOVE All About Spelling!!! Its a huge lifesaver!!!!

Jennifer W

says:

language arts is fun for us, my 6 year old twins LOVE LOVE LOVE copy work and right now we are learning the parts of a sentence

Jennifer Mattison

says:

I am currently focusing on teaching her (6yo) to read. She does some copy work. with my 4 yo boy I am working on a Letter of the Week program its not going so great (partly my fault ? partly his disinterest?)

Darla

says:

Very interested in this!!! Only been homeschooling for a couple years and don’t like what I have been using

Lidia

says:

The age gaps between my first child and my next two in line for homeschooling is huge, but with all about spelling I can have all 3 of them on track. When I withdrew my son from public school, it was obvious that Language arts was his toughest subject and he did not have the foundations he needed. So I started him with the first level at the same time I was introducing my youngest two to it. It has helped a lot and it helps me keep my sanity when teaching all 3 :-)

Jonana

says:

We have struggled to find a good LA program that works for us. We have been focusing on spelling and grammar this year.

Laura

says:

Yeah…language arts. We are pretty much all over the place with it, though we are good about reading aloud every day!

Tiffany

says:

I have found that if I don’t stress about it then things go a lot more smoothly. With four kids and one being extra needy, I just can’t get to all of them with everything they need to do. It’s not a race, just a little a time.

Bia

says:

We take a pretty relaxed approach to LA. My main goal was to get my children reading.
Copywork is our main way of getting them writing, and visualizing proper grammar, spelling and sentence structure.
Our oldest 2 (12yo boy & 10 yo girl) are ‘just’ beginning to do creative writing, learning proper structure, and grammar rules.
The littles (7 yo girl and 6 yo boy), are reading good books, and journalling. Not doing spelling or any structure yet.
I don’t want to bombard them with too many technicalities until they have become more comfortable putting their thoughts down on paper.
Structure will always come later.

Karen

says:

I found out about AAR from a fellow homeschooler and am planning to start AAR2 with my soon-to-be first grader this summer. This was my first year homeschooling so I used Bob books followed by reading grade 1 with handed down Sonlight materials. AAR2 seems to be a more comprehensive approach that I look forward to trying!

Rebecca

says:

We are working on letter recognition and the sounds letters make=)

Marci

says:

My daughter is using workbooks this year. She’s in kindergarten but reads at a high level so she does mostly silent reading or reads to her brothers. My son will need this program for next year though….lol

Sheri'

says:

My son works with an old phonics program I used when I was little as well as phonics cards I make myself-we switch back and forth so he doesnt get bored. This morning he finished his first set of phonics cards, so it was a red letter morning! We would love to try a new program, really enjoys new things and loves learning to read, so anything to keep him interested would be great!

Lori

says:

My youngest son could benefit from this program greatly. Looking forward to the drawing…. thanks for hosting a giveaway!!!

danielle

says:

Language arts is the area I have the most difficulty teaching, my kids are very hands-on. We are about to switch to AAS to help my son in this area.

Stephanie

says:

Our Language Arts is very heavy on grammer, as we have two with speech delays, one being very delayed. Reading and handwriting happen, but the kids can’t read themselves yet (which I”m hoping will also help their speech). We have started spelling out loud when the older one mispronounces something. “I felled”, “Sweety, it is ‘fell’, F-E-L-L. It ends with an ‘l’ sound. There is no ‘d’.” This is something new but I realized that since the older one knows all his letters and sounds, this might be a natural progression. Not very formal, but it is what works for us right now. I think this program looks great and would work better than others we have tried so far.

Merry

says:

Irregular verbs like “fell” are very hard for some children. Even kids without speech delays will sometimes use incorrect forms for years. Another thing you can do is to let him know that this word doesn’t follow the usual rules. Instead of “falled” or “felled,” this one changes the root word–Today I fall, yesterday I fell. Sometimes directly talking about these differences can help. Hang in there!

Josie

says:

Read anything and everything! Writing prompts and other creative writing activities add to the fun. We have begun implementing AAS into our program and what a difference this has made with progress in terms of reading and writing. It’s simple and fun!

Michelle Drake

says:

We use basic language arts as we are only at the preschool level. But we do read aloud everyday, several times a day. Also of course we are always talking with our children, and our daughter has recently gained an interest in her A,B,C’s so we have been using lots of hands on materials such as alphabet puzzles, magnetic letters, even letters in her bath! When she starts homeschool kindergarten, AAR will be a great next step to foster and refine these pre skills we have been working on! Can’t wait!

Krystal S

says:

We are using AAR prelevel with my son. I also always make sure to read to him. He is just now starting to learn how to write his letters. I am definitely looking forward to using the other AAR levels and AAS!

Katrina

says:

Spelling is no problem in our house its learning the language rules that my daughter struggles with. We tried First Language Lessons but it was too repetitive.

Susannah Krug

says:

We love spelling and love to make spelling into a game!

kimberlee

says:

I never thought of having a system, and this would have helped probably with my 2nd child. The black sheep, she has disliked reading and struggles with it and she got glasses this year for her farsightedness. Which I wonder if that affected her disliking reading.
And as a 2nd grader, I didn’t know what to do about spelling, so I have her doing 1st grade and it’s a struggle. I have tried the Teach Your Child to Read in 100 easy lessons & she hates that! :( We didn’t finish.

b

says:

so far, we’re just learning letter sounds!

Jill

says:

We are just starting to plan for homeschooling next year, so we don’t have a formal curriculum picked out yet. We do lots of reading though!

Faith

says:

We have done a couple things. Currently my older kids have a curriculum (althought not my favorite) but I have found that for my youngest right now the thing that works best for him is some time with his alphabet game on his Leappad. It has him trace letters and say them. I love it. We are also in the process of starting All About Reading Pre-Level!! :)

Meagan

says:

We are currently “homeschooling” with an online public cyber school, and while the curriculum is thorough, it is so time intensive. To complete all of the parts of Language Arts each day is a mandatory 2 hours and 10 minutes…for my KINDERGARTENER. We will definitely be using something new next year, and I am currently in research mode — very interested in learning more about AAR!

Merry

says:

WOW! That’s a very long time just for LA for a K student!

Effie Twitchell

says:

Thank you! I will be homeschooling in September and will be using this program with my girls!

Heather

says:

We use All About Spelling for my daughters spelling and we have noticed a difference with this compared to other things we’ve tried. She has several learning dissabilities so any progress is wonderful!

Elizabeth B

says:

I am very new to homeschooling, and so I don’t really have a Language Arts plan yet. My oldest is only 2.5! But we do read books all throughout the day. Sometimes I have to tell her “not right now” so I can get some work accomplished. But I am so glad she has a love of books! I would love to try AAL curriculum when the time comes!

Lilia

says:

I think Language Arts is one of the most important subjects to teach to your child. I really look forward to using All About Spelling and Reading as my son now moves into 1st grade.

zekesmom10

says:

We don’t have a system, per se, but we are in a reading/writing phase with the 7 year old. The 6 year old is still struggling in reading.

Kyla Johnson

says:

We use AAS2 and are finishing AAR PreK. We love it!

Mary

says:

We also use AAR and AAS…it has been a great way to keep kids working at their ability levels without frustrating them!

Karla

says:

We use AAS, it has been great for my son. We also use First Lang. lessons and for writing we have use HWT. But it would be great to just do one curriculum instead of all these. Thinking about it for next semester. :) thanks!!

jamie

says:

Sounds like a great plan to me.. We are using a mixture of LA .I always need more encouragement to slow down and do more hands on, thank you.

Sarah

says:

I will be new to homeschooling (excited to start this summer as soon as school lets out this year!) and I’ve heard many good things about the AALP programs. Planning to use at least All About Spelling for my 8 year old!

Kate

says:

I found AALP through Confessions of a Homeschooler and I wish I could hug her! From what I’ve read and reviewed, this program would be a wonderful start to our homeschooling program. I’m a newbie to the homeschooling scene but we look forward to diving right in!

Dawne

says:

We start our LA with AAS and then move to AAR. Then we read, read, read. My littlest one has recently started Pre-Reading AAR and loves Ziggy. My daughter is dyslexic and has struggled even with other Orton-Gillingham programs. For the first time she is making some real progress and gaining some confidence in her abilities.

Kristen

says:

My 6 year old son is an avid reader, but I realized this year that he is struggling with spelling. I began researching programs and came across AAS. It’s been a good fit for us, because I feel like it’s filling in the gaps for where we tend to be missing the understanding aspect. Also, my 4 year old son has been able to participate with us. I am still dabbling with other LA areas and how to best meet those needs. I am a huge fan of Explode the Code and will continue with that, but am trying to piect together the rest of what we will be doing next year.

I have just started looking into Spelling programs to help my oldest son (10) who has really been struggling with it. He can read fairly fluently, but struggles with spelling when it comes to having to write. I am really interested in the Reading program for my two younger boys (2 & 4) who are just starting to read.

Nina Martin

says:

My 6 yr old is a great reader but hates to write!

Danielle R.

says:

My oldest is a strong reader but really struggles with Spelling. We have completed AAS level 1 and have just started level 2. I have high hopes for her success if I can just get her to slow down and segment the words as she writes them.

Tara

says:

I am researching curriculum for my soon to be kindergartner and have found wonderful reviews of your products!!

Viola Contreras

says:

We use A Reason for Writing and love it. We also use McRuffy phonics and I love it the kids enjoy it, just not sure it’s working :/ very torn.

Tiffany

says:

We are using pre level 1 read in right now with my younger 2 and they LOVe it!! Thank you for the tips in this article!! I really needed “the big picture” and this does it for me!

Andrea

says:

My oldest just started Write Shop. Transitioning my 1st grader into timed reading/handwriting. I am thinking that we will use AAR at the Pre-Reading level for my 4 yr old next year. We use AAS all together and it has made spelling a breeze for us. We have so much fun with it the kids are always asking for spelling time! Thanks for making a great product!

Beverly Wood

says:

We are in the process of switching to AALP in my house. I have three boys and my oldest has Aspergers and has a really hard time with things that aren’t hands on. I have heard AALP is outstanding and God just kept bringing me back to this curriculum.

Christina

says:

We are finishing up AAR-1 and excited to begin AAR-2. I would love to begin implementing AAS in the near future!!

Lilly

says:

My daughter is only 3 right now but she loves letters and “reading”. So far we have just exposed her to lots of reading and let her pick things up at her own pace. I’m amazed at how fast she picks things up, between watching Word World and playing with letter magnets and puzzles, and reading books…

Abby

says:

I really liked reading your blog. My daughter is a little young for a formal phonics program right now, but I am looking forward to trying All About Reading with her next fall. I have looked at several programs, but AAR is the one I am hoping to use!

Leah G.

says:

We use the AAS but are hoping to use the AAR soon!! We have 3 boys, the twins are 8.5 and the youngest is 6.

Helene Ivie

says:

I’m new to homeschooling; still researching, in fact. I have quite a few friend using AAR and AAS, and I’ve glanced through their materials. As a former first grade teacher, I’m very impressed!

Tracey

says:

Next year will be our first year homeschooling. We are so excited to be starting with the All About Learning!

Karin

says:

Hi Marie, thanks for sharing this natural progression of subjects within language arts. It can become overwhelming to figure out how to cover all of these aspects — especially if you have multiple students to work with — and even moreso if some of them are struggling readers.

Personally, I have three children all on the on-ramp toward reading, so to speak. While my youngest (5) is probably the most intuitive reader, whose abilities blow me away, my oldest, on the other hand, struggles tremendously (dyslexic with significant auditory processing deficits). So in order to accommodate all three, I have been teaching a light OG based phonics lesson for about 20 minutes per day, focusing on one or two phonograms — first we say and trace the phonograms, then we read some words with those sounds, brainstorm and write additional words with those sounds, and later, spell words with those sounds, etc. This has worked well as it still introduces the sounds that my oldest son needs to learn, in a way that is not overwhelming to him, while still giving the phonics instruction that my youngest two are completely eager for.

However I do not have any readers to go along with our approach, and so I am taking a serious look at All About Reading, because of Marie’s delightful readers! It just might help reading become more enjoyable and not such a drudgery for our oldest.

Deedra Stewart

says:

I am thrilled to have found you! I have poured over just about every space and freebie on your website and I could not be more excited to start up with everything AAL! Thank you… for everything!

Marti

says:

I’m looking for a new way to implement LA in our curriculum. I would love the opportunity to try AALP!

nicole

says:

i am new to homeschooling and have heard so many good things about AALP so i can’t wait to try it out this coming school year!

Cris

says:

We love AAS and AAR for Language arts. We also read, read, read. Narrating stories is also something that we do.

Staci

says:

I have been following suggestions In the Well Trained Mind for classical education and that has worked well.

eunice

says:

We are currently doing wordlists for spelling and using the Charlotte Mason approach for grammar.

Jessalyn

says:

I have read good things about your programs and am eager to learn more!

Nicole

says:

We followed the progression you laid out – reading, handwriting, spelling, grammar. My now six year old learned to read just before turning three. We worked on pre-writing while he was learning to read and once he was reading easy readers (age 4.5) worked on perfecting his handwriting. We added in a focus on spelling at age 5.5 but nothing has worked well for him in this area to encourage long term spelling ability. About a year later his handwriting was just lovely and we began working on grammar through Primary Language Lessons. It’s a nice gentle introduction to grammar. I’m seriously considering AAS for him to give him a better foundation since I want him to start writing short stories but his spelling frustrates him. He gets so stuck on spelling everything correctly the first time he writes anything.

I have a two and half year old who is learning to read now and we’ve been working at the same time on pre-writing. I’d like to teach him with a better spelling foundation than I gave my older child.

Teish

says:

I’m still trying to sort out spelling. It’s something that always came easy to me, so it’s hard to figure out how to “teach” it to my child who doesn’t just “get it” like I did.

Karrie

says:

I am preparing to homeschool my children and this program makes the daunting task of spelling, reading and language arts development/curriculum so much more manageable. Thank you!

Katie H

says:

we’ve been doing a basic sort of early phonics program for pre-k until I realized that my older dd didn’t innately have the phonemic awareness skills needed to move forward. we recently got AAR – pre 1 and I am really hoping that it and the rest of the series will be a good fit for my daughters who both have speech issues and signs of some other LDs.

Sally K.

says:

We are loving pre-reading and aas 2!

Brandi

says:

We are finishing up AAR 1 and are hoping to start AAS1 and AAR2 soon! We love it!

Heather

says:

Thank you for this post and the progression list. The how to move from the reading (easy at our house) to the practical use of all those words in spelling and writing, is helpful.

Rachel Sanda

says:

Love AAS for my 1st grader who reads at a 4th grade level, but has some “gaps” in knowing all of the phonics rules. AAS fills in those gaps. I am interested in AAR for my 5 year old who is currently using Explode the Code and 100 Easy lessons.

Lisa

says:

I have just been doing spelling lists and am very interested in your program.

Nadine

says:

What a great article thanks! I often wonder how to cover all the areas of LA and love your suggested order of introduction :) I started AAS last year with my now 3rd grader and have just begun with my 1st grader this year. I am contemplating AAR for my 1st grader and preK child.

Missy

says:

My daughter is still in prereading level, using different workbooks, hooked on phonics,, bob books and genji phonics. Language arts is an important part of life and learning to grow up to be an independent individual.

Alison

says:

I just started using All About Reading Level 1 and we like it so far. We’ll be ready for Level 2 before long!

I was an English teacher. I taught grades 7-12, and college level. We’ve never used a formal LA program. We do a classical education. We do Latin for grammar. We do lots of notebooking with literature and history.

Pam

says:

I love this flow chart. It is a great visual and is the natural order in which we have approached Language Arts in our family.

Katie D.

says:

Sounds good to me. We focus on learning to read (AAR1) and some handwriting for now.

Anna D

says:

We are just getting started and really don’t have much direction. This seems to be a PERFECT program for us!

Jennie

says:

My little one has loved AAR, and we can’t wait to add to our resources!

Tamara

says:

We have loved All About Spelling. This is our first year using it and my kindergartener is reading level 1 books! Thank you for the great products.

Jennifer Valko

says:

My son just recently turned 4, so I do not have anything stringent for language arts except doing AAR 1, Explode the Code, and reading.

April

says:

What a great article!! We are just starting out and in K/1st we are focusing on phonics/learning to read and handwriting. We plan to add in spelling and grammar next year.

Amy

says:

I have a 1st grader, and lots of other littles coming up. We started reading and writing with ABeka, and will be adding AAS soon, with FLL and WWE. I’m also trying to read aloud. Really enjoying homeschooling with all of the great tools out there, and have enjoyed looking into AALP.

Renee

says:

Language Arts for our family works best when we do phonics one on one and reading all together.

Jeannette Espino

says:

I love your program.

Emily

says:

I have a 3.5 and a 2 year old. We are just starting to get into officially structured learning times. But their favorite activities revolve around reading tons of books, learning letters, and for my 3 yo, she loves learning and spelling new sight words and just spelling the letters in every word she sees. I can definitely tell she is eager to take the next step and am seriously considering the AAR pre-reading program!

Amber

says:

We do a lot of reading, but just recently my son has started to try spelling random words on his own! He’s mimicking how my husband and I try spelling words when we don’t want the kids to know what we’re saying. He picks a word from his sentence he’s saying and sounds it out, spelling to the best of his ability. I use the opportunity to praise his efforts and help him with the correct spelling. It’s time to start AAR and AAS!!!

Lee

says:

I’m on pre-reading with my 3rd child and having used eclectic, classical approach in our past I can’t list all we have tried. I just recently heard about these products and am learning more about them and thinking they may be a good fit for #3. Unlike the first two, she is struggling and I think the “scriptive” format as well as the repetitive review may just what she (we) needs. Would love to win and get a chance to try!

Jenny

says:

I’m about to start using the All about Reading program to teach my son to read and I’m excited to use it. The curriculum seems like it will be lots of fun!

Jennifer

says:

I have a 5yr old and a 3yr old and we haven’t really begun a language arts program. Your programs sound amazing! Would love to get them started on the All About Reading curriculum soon!

Rhonda

says:

Language Arts encompasses so many things. Thanks for this breakdown. We do a lot of reading, narration, copy work and we use All About Spelling. I have seen great improvement in my son’s spelling since starting on this program! Thank you!

Colleen I.

says:

My daughter is 4 and loves to read books. She is learning fast and this program looks so wonderful. So glad I found it!

kristina womack

says:

My 10 year old is a BIG reader and loves to read at least an hour every day. I’m hoping for my soon to be kindergartener to become excited about books when he learns to read!! :D

stefanie smith

says:

With 2 special needs kids, and being a financially struggling sahm we have not found something awesome yet. I’ve been trying to win some giveaways to try AAS/AAR because it seems like a good fit, so far we’ve just been doing a little of this and a little of that.Whatever I’ve been able to get free/cheap.

Michelle

says:

My son loves to read but has the worst time recalling the story so Language has always been a struggle for us. This looks like just the ticket for us to try.

Sarah

says:

I am using the AAS program this year and would really love to try out the AAR program.

I’m looking forward to starting All About Reading with my 1st grader. (And start AAS next year too!)

Lydia

says:

We love AAR level 1 for my K daughter!

Rachael

says:

My daughter is really struggling with reading and I’ve heard so many good things about this program! I’m really excited to get started!

Kristin

says:

I love this program!

Iris Porter

says:

I love your take on Language Arts instruction! It’s refreshing to hear someone else who approaches it this way.

Cassidy Austin

says:

I have been looking at All About Spelling for a while and finally got the go ahead from my hubby to switch curriculm. Language Arts has been a big frustration in our homeschool so I am super excited to get started with AAS especially after reading this article and lots of the comments. Thank you for providing such an amazing option for my homeschool.

Joy Bartel

says:

Language Arts happens around our house because of the IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing). I have six children between the ages of 5-17 that I am currently homeschooling. My college- bound student has been progressing through all the Student Writing Intensive courses, while the junior high through elementary do various writing assignments, according to what theme we are doing. We are currently doing the Geography based unit study using A Tree in the Trail, Minn of the Mississippi, etc. We also use phonetic zoo (spelling) and the poetry memorization. Each child is able to do this completely on their own and they really love it. It is their favorite spelling program we’ve ever tried and it requires no time from me! We also use the “Edit it” program for grammar because grammar has been one of those things that fell to the wayside for my older children. I am thinking about adding formal grammar to the younger ones, but we are currently using the Memoria Press third grade grammar guide. The All About Reading and Spelling looks very interesting to me for the smaller kiddos. It seems to be very thorough, but I like the hands on activities and the visual reinforcements. This is what I think my boys ages 3-7 really need! Thanks!

Amanda Brighton

says:

We do 10 minutes of handwriting first thing before breakfast. We do Phonics in the morning for about 30 minutes. In the evening I have my child read to me for about 10-20 minutes and then I read to my children for about 30-45 minutes. I also read to them a lot throughout the day. This way we have language arts spread out through the day. My oldest is 6, and I also have a 4 and 2 year-old.

Jacqueline

says:

I will begin homeschooling my children (age 6 and 3) this next year and am planning on using both All About Spelling and Reading with them. I don’t have a way of fitting in language arts that works for us yet but am very excited to begin teaching them.

Jen Skoog

says:

We LOVE All About Spelling, and are in Level 2 with my 7 year old. My 5 year old is starting to read and I would LOVE to get the All About Reading Level 1 program for him!! Thanks for all of your help in teaching this invaluable skill!!

Jess Benoit

says:

We haven’t used AAS yet but I’ve heard soooo many good things about it that I had to look it up myself. Sounds like a great fit for my 3 kiddies.

Megan L

says:

All About Spelling has revolutionized our day! It’s so nice to have a program that doesn’t cause tears! We use Writing Strands and that seems to be sparking some creativity in our papers! Grammar comes from Easy Grammar. My 2nd grader LOVES grammar. She likes going through and making corrections because of this program. We also READ, READ, READ! I think this is so important to our Language Arts. Handwriting is a tough one for our younger ones. I love that you mentioned not sticking pen to paper immediately! We love using all kinds of different ways to learn letters. Shaving cream, sand, rice, using spaghetti noodles to make the letter, or even yarn to form the letter (especially helpful to show how the cursive letters are formed!)

Michele

says:

Our language arts program has morphed over the years, but this is what is working best for us now. For my 9 year old:
Required Reading: (my choice of book, right now its Fablehaven)
Grammer: First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind, Level 4 (then to Hake Grammer)
Writing: Writing with Ease (then Writing with Skill)
Spelling: All About Spelling, Level 3 (then to Level 4, We LOVE this!)
Letter Writing: one letter to friend or family every other week
Vocabulary: 8 new words a week from Vocabulary from Classical Roots A
Oral Reading: one selection from Words that Built a Nation read to self 2 times then aloud to adult once with no mistakes.
Poetry: read aloud by me one selection a week
Penmanship: Cursive practice twice a week

My 8 year old does a scaled down version of the above. Thanks for the great topic!

Elizabeth

says:

I like your suggestion on reading aloud for 20-30 minutes a day. This is such an enjoyable way to learn and I think it’s often overlooked.

Teresa

says:

Thank you for this post! I have been struggling with the Language Arts aspect of our curriculum, trying to figure out how to “do it all” and ending up doing very little. Your order of progression was a lightbulb moment for me and your “you don’t have to do it all every year” statement will allow me to step out of the Language Arts box and do the pieces that make sense now.

Amy

says:

My daughter did 2 levels All About Spelling last year and she learned so much. This year we have been following the spelling plan of the curriculum we are using and it’s just memorizing words. She already knows how to spell every word they throw at her. I don’t like just memorizing so we will be going back to All About Spelling so she can continue to learn to spell any word.

CMiller

says:

This is our first year homeschooling and we would love to give this program a try! So many encouraging posts!!!

Eve Goertz

says:

I would love to try the All About Program for my first grader. She is just finally getting the reading down and I feel like its time to add more! We use a variety of things for her with reading, writing, and spelling. It would be nice to just try one program that has it all!!

Ronnie M

says:

I struggle with the area of phonics – we are just beginning with our younger kiddos. Hoping for more peace and ease with phonics this year!! ;)

Tanya Area

says:

We just started using AAS and already I am amazed. I have a 3rd and 5th grader and sadly I had let spelling slide because they were such good readers. We never had a formal spelling curriculum. I’m so glad to have stumbled upon this curriculum and am excited to use it with my younger too as well. I’m also going to try out the AAR for my 4 year old since I love the AAS so much. Thank you for such an awesome product.

Caroline Moore

says:

We are actually using our states curriculum. And for L.Arts it is has been GREAT! It has the best phonics, spelling, reading and writting program I have ever seen. This is one of the biggest reasons we chose to use this state-based curriculum. But I will have 2 children to Homeschool next year. The states program is great but VERY detailed and would not be so easy to do with 2 kids. So I am branching out for next year and going to plan my own curriculum. I need a L.Arts program that I can do with them both. I found this and think it would be a great fit!

jenn

says:

I need all the help i can get in getting my kids to remember the phonics rules.

Brittany

says:

I have been using the Comprehensive Curriculum for my Kinder and 2nd grader. I also use the Kumon Reading books for my 2nd grader as well. I have been looking for a more complete unit that covers everything a bit more thoroughly and I think AAR and AAS are the answer, I have read so many good reviews about them so I think that is what we will be ordering for next year. I am also super excited about the Pre-Reading Unit as well for my Preschooler. Thank you for this post, I really like the idea of the order of importance and time spent on each subject. Thanks!

Karen Chaffin

says:

We currently use Abeka Books Language Arts workbooks for our homeschool. Yours looks great & I would love to try them!!

dana

says:

With my kinder we are using aas and etc plus reading every day. My 1st grader also uses aas but she is an advanced reader so she reads chapter books. Hod is what we use for our main curricula so we follow the grammar lessons in it and nothing extra as of now.

Krystal

says:

For reading we read classical literature together. The boys then read 30 minutes daily, a book of their choice. For Reading Comprehension, we use Critical Thinking Co. Reading Detective and Evan Moor Reading Comprehension. For spelling, we use Evan Moor Spelling. Grammar is Easy Grammar and writing is WriteShop. We need to do a better job addressing phonics in our house. I really wish All About Reading went to a higher level. I do, however, look forward to using it with my preschooler.

lisaK

says:

Up to the point we have just read together. We are starting to add spelling and writing in a more formal way.

Andrea

says:

We are using books that appeal to my boys – and creating fun activities to reinforce different aspects of learning.

kim

says:

I love the many aspects of the program and really enjoyed the article. We all use LA all the time and never realize we are teaching it. Pre-writing skills are so important and we need to focus on the basics before moving to pen and paper. We are all too eager to see results and forget we need to put in the basics first and then the results will be much better and come easier when the legwork is completed.

Tara

says:

We use Learning Language Arts Through Literature and supplement with AAS. Plus lots of extra reading and read-alouds. So far language arts comes fairly easily to my girls. I’ll have to see about doing something else when my son gets older.

Jennifer

says:

Thank you for the information! It is nice to have a guide to work with rather than inventing the wheel myself.

Dinah

says:

I love the multi-sensory approach you use with your program. This looks like a great program, I’m looking forward to learning more about it!

Amy

says:

Looking forward to trying it.

Amy

says:

We didn’t discover All About Learning until our youngest was showing readiness to read. She has been talking to her best friend Ziggy the Zebra every day since I ordered All About Reading Pre Level One. She is now half way through AAR Level One and she still talks to Ziggy. During every read aloud, Ziggy is right there by her side. My daughter has made wonderful progress and is able to read with expression thanks to the fluency practice. We cover about two lessons each week, even practicing over the weekend because she wouldn’t have it any other way. AAS has been a big hit for our first grade boys, as well. Thank you for sharing your heart experiences as a mom with us. We have truly benefitted from the results of the path you walked with your struggling learner.

Pam

says:

Language arts is everywhere in my house. I homeschool 3 kids, kindergarten, 3rd and 7th. From the simple beginnings to tough phonics. I have been reviewing the All About program for months now considering it as part of our curriculum next year. It looks like a great program. This would be awesome.

Emily White

says:

We use All About Spelling and I love it. I also what what you detailed above about where you spend your time and for what ages. It speaks volumes to me.

Mary W.

says:

We use AAS in our home and love it! It has enabled the children to learn so much and has made language arts fun! Both of my children look forward to spelling time and using their reading books. I would love to try Level Two of AAR with my daughter as we have had great success with your other products.

Erin Tucker

says:

We try to flood our house with literature. Everything we do seems to tie in to books. I think I am actually getting shorter from carrying all those library books! We supplement with AAS, it catches any mistakes that slip by.

Chandra

says:

We have used the first two levels of the spelling program and have really enjoyed it. The constant review makes spelling easier. Thank you for this program.

Virginia

says:

I use AAS with my 1st grader and we love it! It has made teaching language arts a fun part of our homeschool day! Thank you!

Amanda

says:

Would love to try this product!!

Ann S

says:

We absolutely LOVE AAS!!!! Can’t wait to start AAR with our younger child next fall!

Heather B

says:

Language Arts is the foundation for so much in life. With 3 children in the K, 1, 2 grades it is my primary focus. I love how the rules are taught in AAS, not just memorizing words. This program has changed my oldest with special needs to love to learn again! I would love to try the AAR program too:)

Sarah C

says:

For my oldest (Kindergarten) we use AAS 1, Explode the Code, reading to Mom, and free reading. For my preschooler we are currently using The Reading Lesson. I would really love to get AAR Level 1 or 2 for him.

Caroline

says:

Learning LA Through Literature and AAR1

Shannon

says:

My kindergartner is finishing up AAR1 and has done so well. I’m about to place an order for AAS1 because it seems to be the natural progression. Without even really thinking about it we seem to be flowing through language arts like the chart you posted above.

Trisha

says:

I have just recently recieved my All About Spelling program for my soon to be first grader. We are homeschooling starting in August and I am so thrilled to try it out! I would really love to try out the All About Reading program as well.

Caroline

says:

Thanks for the wonderful information! I am planning to use all about spelling next year in first grade. We do lots of read-alouds and reading, spelling and writing.

Felicia Bruner

says:

We use ABeka for our son and he seems to do very well with it. I am thinking for my daughter I would like to try using the All About Reading/Spelling programs though as I feel they may cover her needs better.

Tatia Wooten

says:

We are starting All About Spelling in the spring and I can’t wait to get started!!

Maggie

says:

We have tried almost everything for language arts and have been very unhappy with most. Right now what is working for one of my kids is a computer based program, for another I have to use a classroom book and another we are struggling just to learn to read. Of course my others are too little to be working. I would love to be able to do this program,. Thanks for the chance to win this gift certificate.

marisa maloney

says:

I’m interested in learning more about the phonics way of teaching instead of just memorizing!

Laurie

says:

I frustrated my older child by trying to push her through her struggles. AAS has opened her up 10 fold from where she was in just a few short weeks. We still use a different “English” program which teaches grammar and writing. She learned to print her letters before we started homeschool so we are working on cursive using a handwriting book. As much as I pushed my daughter I have slowed my youngest down. He started to read on his own and has already started spelling by sounding out. We are beginning AAS with him this week. I am introducing grammar to him gently. He has copy work which also helps him practice penmanship.

Beth B.

says:

I have two toddlers so for now we just spend a lot of time reading together.

Cindy Webb

says:

We use Rod & Staff for grammar and narration and dictation for spelling, etc…

Trenity

says:

We started using AAS (from the beginning) with my 6th grader this year. He was initially upset because he thought he would be doing kindergarten work but we quickly discovered he had missed an awful lot of the basic spelling rules and pronunciations of each letter. We love your products! I will definitely be following the flow in this article with my 2nd child!

Laura

says:

I love this simple guidance!

Christy

says:

We will be starting homeschooling next school year. My daughter does not enjoy language arts at school (and her homework) because she is a very active child, and she must often sit still in order to complete her reading assignments. I want to use a language arts program that will make her very excited about reading. Reading is the best way to gain knowledge, and I want her to enjoy it.

Cari

says:

We just started using AAS this year and we LOVE it! I am so thankful we found this program. We want to start using AAR as well. We have seen such an improvement in our kid’s decoding skills and a huge boost in positive attitude and confidence in all of their school work. Thank you!

Georgia K.

says:

Ahhh…. Language Arts….. I loved this article because it’s one of the subjects I struggle with planning and preparing on a weekly basis. I feel like I need to dedicate an entire day to just this subject matter alone!! Like many of the parents who’ve commented, READING is numero uno on the list!! I read to my children who then–naturally–take an interest in reading on their own. It seems to be a natural flow of learning in our household. BECAUSE my 8-yr old is such an avid reader–we decided to use MCT Language Arts program (20-30minutes/3x per week) because it teaches this subject matter through stories. We use IEW for writing (60 minutes/2x per week) and English from the Roots up for vocabulary(10-15 minutes daily) because it effectively teaches the roots of our english language.

When it came time to actually TEACH spelling–however–I was timid. HOW do I teach this? I asked myself, when our family decided homeschooling was the path we were going to take only 2 years ago.
I spent OOODLES of time researching & was so THRILLED to find AAS! Two years later, I’m able to see clearly just how effective this program is in teaching spelling!! Not only is it effective, but it is much more interesting & creative than than my spelling classes growing up!! My daughter BEGS to do spelling class!! Now that our youngest is turning 3, recognizes all her letters & numbers & shapes, I can’t wait to start All About Reading with her in the fall!!

Georgia K.

says:

P.S. I forgot to mention that we are doing handwriting and typing, each 2x per week for 20minutes/day. (MON/TUES: Penmanship & WED/THURS: Typing)
We use the “Palmer Method,” for handwriting…and for typing, I just teach the home keys, proper hand positioning, etc. etc.
I also allow her to type her final writing assignments and gave her an email account for additional typing practice & to help her keep up communication with family/friends who live out of state.

roshawnda

says:

Lots of reading and phonics right now.

Kara N

says:

My daughter is 5 and we just started her with sight words! She is very excited! I have heard many great things about your program so I will definitely be using it next year for her kindergarten!

Naomi

says:

I start out with a healthy dose of reading immersion from when my children are babies! We read ALLLLL the time. We go to the library regularly. We encourage books as gifts. And we always find time to read before bed, preferably separately to the different age groups of our children, because we want them to really enjoy bedtime reading and think of it as special.
I used lots of Montessori reading techniques when my children are littles – and then when I’m confident they are ready to learn to read (and not before!) then I like to use the old standby Teach Your Child to Read.
For language Arts in school, I prefer to build up their confidence in reading first and foremost. Spelling has been held off for my grade 3 child, but next year we will start full swin in with All About Spelling. I regret not seeing this earlier, and would have started in grade 2 had I known about it!
I use Easy Grammar for grammar. We have silent reading (20 minimum every day). We read do three novel studies each year based upon appropriate age levels and base our studies around them. One novel per term.
For writing I use Getty Dubay Italics, but in the past have used A Reason for Handwriting.

Dianne

says:

We are just in the process of getting started in homeschooling, so I am still deciding on curriculum.

Chat Villacampa

says:

In my household, we started with phonics then handwriting and now we’re about to start reading.

Rachael

says:

I am excited to get started with your spelling program! I was learning things from your samples!

Rebecca

says:

My 6 year old reads on ~4th grade level. She loves to read and learned to read with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. She then progressed quickly through the early “readers” at our local public library and on to Henry and Mudge and then Nate the Great and then The Magic Tree House Mysteries. She devours books! We also use the McGuffey Eclectic Readers–she is currently on Grade 2 of that and performing very well. In addition, she reads selections from an ESV Bible and has only a little trouble with some of the uncommon words (ex. leavened). For Spelling, we use the Natural Speller along with the free version of Spelling City. We plan to start grammar next year with Rod and Staff series. For handwriting, we use copywork with guidelines from Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting series. For my 4 year old, we are beginning to master all the letter sounds and have been successful in some blending to read simple stories. We are still using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons–just at a slower pace. However, I am always on the lookout for easy ways to help my children learn.

KRistin

says:

We use all about reading and spelling and love it. We also use HWT and love it too. I use wise bauar for grammar and writing. I love picking different programs that fit our needs.

Donna

says:

I use the AAR program and it is working for my son who is a struggling reader. I appreciate this post because I often wonder when I should introduce the other subjects to him.
Thank you

Alison P.

says:

My son is in public kindergarten, but we have been working on reading and handwriting at home. He’s beginning to try to sound out words for himself, and I’m stuck with how much to coach him on correct spelling, making some sort of spelling instruction a natural next step for us. On rave reviews from a homeschool friend AAS seems like a good move for us.

Sherie

says:

Very interested in learning more about your products! I am always on the look out for something that is practical and works yet covers all bases. I have 4 children ages 2,4,6 & 8 so they are all at different levels. Using just one program for their different levels would be a god send xx

Kathleen Calabrese

says:

I have an 8 year old who was really struggling with reading. We tried several reading programs and they just didn’t work. I am using All About Reading Level 1 now and he is finally getting it. He loves reading now.
Thank you!

Michelle Goddard

says:

My 4 year old is working on AAR Level Pre-1 right now. We’re looking forward to getting into level 1. He is enjoying the program.

Sara o.

says:

I will begin homeschooling next school year, but right now we read lots of books, tell stories and practice writing letters.

Crystal

says:

I am just entering the world of homeschooling!! We are very excited!! I have reviewed AAR-1 and love what I see. I hope to use it, but will have to wait and see if it is in our budget. The money back guarantee is very comforting. As of now, my son just does a lot of writing practice, and is sounding out words. We are looking forward to starting A Reason for Handwriting.

Sarah M.

says:

We are just starting phonics and letter recognition with our preschool age kids. When we are in the car, we play, “What are some words that the letter ___ starts with?”

nichole

says:

I am excited to be almost finished with AAR1 and about to order AAR2. It’s amazing how fast they catch on, and just when you think fluency will never click, it does. Practice makes perfect and I believe this has been the fastest, and painless way to approche reading. Deciding whether or not to start AAS, too.
Thank you for a great program.

Julee

says:

I would love to try All About Reading with my 3, 4, and 5 year olds!

amber

says:

We currently use free online printable activities and games, Before Five in a Row and do lots and lots of reading. I’m looking into using AAR Pre-1.

We’re still in the early stages, so I read a lot to my daughter and we are learning letters, but that’s it so far!

Meghan F

says:

Right now, we work on read alouds and phonemic awareness activites. I’m hoping to be able to afford AAR Pre-reading soon though, because adding a newborn to our mix in a month will be tricky!

Sarah

says:

We are just getting started with All about Reading. I am using the Pre-Level 1 program with my 3 1/2 year old, and she loves learning her letters and helping Ziggy figure out his mistakes. After using the Pre- Explode the Code books with my 5 1/2 year old, I tried to teach her to read with the Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. Ten painful lessons into it, we put the book aside. I would love to use the All about Reading Level 1 with her.

Hannah

says:

I am in the third year of homeschooling with a 2nd grader and kindergartener so I am far from an expert but our language instruction starts with begining reading then writing, dictation for beginning composition, then on to spelling and grammar.

Rhonda

says:

The outline of the progression for teaching language skills is extremely helpful!

Nikki D

says:

I really appreciate the visual showing the order. I knew that order was best for us, but seeing in a visual the order made even more sense to me. Thanks for laying it out in a simple way to follow. I too thought it would be nice to have an all-in-one, but in truth like you said, you don’t need all facets at the same time when they are young.

Dawn Doll

says:

We struggle with having enough time for Language Arts. When we are able, we use AAS for spelling and IEW’s PAL program for reading. We also use the IEW DVDs and workbooks for writing.

Danielle

says:

I have been reading quality children’s literature to my daughter since infancy. We gradually increased in difficulty to longer picture books such as Make Way for Ducklings, chapter books with short stand alone chapters like Teddy Robinson, and recently “big girl” chapter books such as the Little House on the Prairie series. We started AAR Level 1 this year for kindergarten. Our handwriting has never been super consistent or worked well. I recently purchased PAL: Writing to work on handwriting, story structure, and spelling (AAS!) when appropriate for my daughter.

Amy S

says:

Right now we read books daily and informally practice handwriting by writing the grocery list or making stories. We plan to start homeschooling in the fall and I’d like to use AAR along with Handwriting without Tears for my boys. They will be 5 and 7.

Jeannine

says:

We have two young boys in our home whom love stories. In our home for language arts we do reading (all about reading level 1) everyday 20-30 minutes for new concepts one day and review about 15 minutes if needed every other day. We do activities with clay, art or cutting and pasting some days and copy work for writing on other days for whatever amount of time we see fit for the activity. We have recently added spelling (all about spelling level 1) for 15 or so minutes a day and it is working out quite well. We do also have grammar a couple times a week and use Essentials in Writing Grade 1 ages 6-7. It is the right level for them but it is only a sprinkle of add lesson.

Amanda

says:

Right now I read to my 3 youngest children & we are also practicing writing letters. We are using Confessions of a Homeschoolers letter of the week curriculum. We love it!

Marci

says:

My youngest has been the most challenging to teach. She has an active imagination and does not enjoy having to “do school,” on top of being easily distracted. We will soon begin AAS and I am seriously considering AAR for second grade since we have struggled with our current curriculum. I plan to make a trip to my local homeschool bookstore to check it out very soon!

Sarah

says:

We just finished Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and look forward to beginning AAS!

Lisa Sciandra

says:

Right now I read to my three little girls. I recently started letter writing with my oldest, who will be four next month. I want to homeschool and this looks like an amazing program for us to start with!

Salina Holland

says:

We have used AAS and AAR and have found them to be the most effective programs in our homeschool journey.

Jen

says:

Lot’s and Lot’s of reading by mom;) I have one well on her way with reading and a little guy who’s doing really well at 4.5 thanks to aar! I’ve got two more little one’s yet to start the fun adventure!

Missie

says:

For our three older kids, I did A LOT of reading aloud. We also did books on tape whenever we were in the car (which was most of the time) and during quiet times during the day. I used various reading curriculums but none of which really hit “the spot”. Now, we have a three year old that is ready to read and I am looking at All About Reading for him and for his little sister for the future.

kate wilson

says:

I also am interested in seeing how your products are put together. My son is a totally different learning style than my girls which leaves always searching for something that will help him in his reading and phonics. My friend uses your program and loves it, which causes greater interest for me! :) We already do lots and lots of writing, reading, and storytelling in our house, but would love to add to it!

Bethany

says:

My daughter is currently finishing up Pre-K so our Language Arts has been pretty informal, but we do focus on phonics and other letter/sound activities. She is able to read easy readers with minimal help at this point! Next year for Kindergarten, we plan to use AAR level 1! I have looked at many programs and am very excited about these products! We can’t wait to begin!

sajumols

says:

I wish to know more about this,prog. my son needs help with his spelling that’s when I discovered this site.

Ginger

says:

I am in the process of trying to find a program that works for my boys. We’ve tried several different things but my five year old is a reluctant reader. I hope to try all about reading and spelling in the near future!

Alissa

says:

We school classically and are now on AAS3 for our 9 and 8 yr olds. Love it. Fits right in to our method of learning systematically.

Jeff

says:

We use several different curriculums for this area.

Jess W

says:

We use AAS and like it a lot so I’m interested in trying AAR with my younger two. Would love to try it out! I’m wondering how much overlap the programs have though. For instance we have the 3 level 1 AAR readers but my kids could easily read those once we started that level. Hoping my younger guys can get some learning to read use of of them. The illustrations are excellent!

Merry

says:

Hi Jess,

There’s not a lot of overlap. AAS and AAR both use the same sequence and the same phonograms. Both are complete phonics programs, so they are interrelated in that way. AAS teaches words from the spelling angle, and AAR teaches words from the reading angle.

All About Reading includes research-based instruction in decoding skills, fluency, automaticity, comprehension, vocabulary and lots and lots of reading practice. AAS focuses instead on encoding skills, spelling rules and other strategies that help children become good spellers.

For this reason, the programs are also independent of each other so students can move as quickly or as slowly as they need to with each skill. Kids generally move ahead more quickly in reading, and we don’t want to hold them back with the spelling.

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 have a strong basis for spelling as well.

If you already have the interactive kit for spelling, you won’t need another complete kit for reading. The Basic Interactive Kits are almost identical (these have the letter tiles, magnets, phonogram CD-ROM and divider cards). The only item you would need from the Reading Interactive Kit is the Reading Divider Cards and the Reading Review Box (or a 3″ X 5″ index card box).

The materials packets for AAS and AAR are different–there is almost no overlap between the two packets.

I hope this helps! Merry :-)

ashley

says:

We are just starting our language arts journey in our household. I have a 5 year old girl who is just starting to read. We would love the AAR program.

Natalie

says:

We have three children 5, 4 and almost 2. We’re still in the learning the ABC phase and the 5 and 4 year old are close enough I try to work together with them. We do alot of reading together, reading 1 on 1, ‘reading’ for 20 minutes – aka they look at pictures. We started our five year old 6 months ago on Kindergarten curriculum through Sonlight and used All About Spelling at the same time… We encourage the kids to tell back stories and make up stories to develope their listening skills and imagination skills. They love this! My 5 year old loves to write… my four year old… not so much. He struggles still using a pencil and uses both hands. I’m not very ‘strict’ with the 4 year old and I try to be a bit more structured with my 5 year old. We color and paint alot also.

Melissa

says:

We do a lot of sight words, reading and writing in home school. My daughters favorite subject is language arts.

Lynn

says:

We have several children, ages 2-13, so as more readers grow into being able to “read” to younger siblings, we get even more benefits for everyone. We also use listening center stories and books on CD during quiet times or family laundry folding times to help accomplish all the great things that come from hearing good literature read aloud. We are painting a special chair to use as an “author’s chair” to inspire beginning writers to share their written pieces aloud with the group in a fun but organized way. We also use journals and blank books to help inspire writing, and have pen pals. Handwriting time can be accomplished while writing thank you notes or real life lists. We are excited to try All About Spelling with our first and second graders this year.

Jenny Brunsvold

says:

Regarding language arts in our house, we use the Michael Clay Thompson Island series for my oldest (3rd grade). This includes grammar, poetry and latin introduction. We use All About Spelling Level 3 as well. We also use All About Spelling Level 2 for my second grader and level 1 for my K’er (who is more advanced in language skills — he started reading The Chronicles of Narnia series this summer after my oldest finished them).

We love the All About Spelling series. I am very interested in the All About Reading series for my youngest. Based on what I know from the AAS series, I think he will really benefit from the AAR series (and it will help me teach him to read!) ;)

Roy

says:

The kids love language arts lessons.

Marcy

says:

I started all 3 of my kids in AAS this year and they absolutely love it, as do I! My 6th grader has gone thru levels 2-5 already and it’s been a great review as well as filling in the gaps of several spelling rules he’d missed.

Mindy H

says:

We were given All About Spelling to use for our 4 year old. What a great program! All About Reading is on out purchase list for the next school year!

Babs Harrell

says:

Thanks for these suggestions! We just started and we love All About Spelling

Andrea

says:

My son has had little interest in learning to read until now (just turned 5). He’s also showed great interest in writing lately- but with very poor letter formation. So we’re going over penmanship now and through the summer. Then we’ll start All About Reading Level 1 in the fall when we officially start Kindergarten.

Jennifer C

says:

My daughter reads a lot and I read to her. She has fine motor issues, so we do a lot of handwriting activities that aren’t just pencil and paper. We don’t do much formal spelling or grammar, but work it in when it comes up during schooltime or otherwise.

kathy balman

says:

We currently use PAL from IEW it came with the All About Spelling level 1.

vonda

says:

We use the All About Spelling and love it.

Lara Borden

says:

We use All About Spelling and love the results. We tried All About Reading Pre-level 1 and it was great, but we haven’t been able to purchase Level 1 yet.

Lauree

says:

Language arts has been a struggle here. I should not have moved on until we were solid in reading. So now we are going to start on All About Spelling Level 1 and work on reading aloud and reading silently. Meanwhile, I’m going to take a look at AAR to see if it it could help.

Heather

says:

I had been using AAS for my youngest son and he was doing well. He could spell quite well, but he struggled with reading, no matter what I tried. This year we added AAR Level 2. We went through the first few lessons quickly then slowed down now taking it 1 to 2 lessons a week. He is so pleased with how well he is reading, he surprises himself. I am thrilled. We are looking forward to Level 3.

Charis

says:

Great article! I’ve also been trying to find that elusive all-inclusive language arts program, but my first grader is such an advanced reader that it’s been too difficult! We’ve loved AAS 2 for 1st grade this year, lots of read alouds and silent reading and having her read to me some every day. Started more writing this year and hope to start some grammar in second grade.

Carrie-Anne Irby

says:

This sounds like it would be a great way to teach my daughter who is starting kindergarten this coming year!

Pamela

says:

We’re really hoping to start All About Reading Pre-reading soon. I’ve looked through the materials, and I can’t wait to start it with my boys!

Cassandra K

says:

My kids are young, so we are focusing on a lot of reading time. I’m so happy that they truly enjoy it! We read every day and now my oldest is starting prewriting skills. We are new to homeschooling and sometimes is all seems so BIG. I’m happy I’m not the only one who struggles with all the hows and whens. I’ve been searching for a quality program we can follow and am happy I stumbled on your blog!

Bria

says:

Thanks for a helpful post. I appreciate having the knowledge that not all skills fall into line as quickly as some curriculum seems to expect them to develop. Of course, now that I’m schooling number 4, I see more than ever, the huge difference between each child. One child is practically born with a pencil in hand, and another views a pencil as a sure sign of punishment though his cognitive skills are just fine.

Sabrina

says:

I’ve just purchased the AAR pre-level and will be starting it with my daughter within the next couple of months. This article is so helpful and informative for my preparations of this well-thought out program. Looking forward to utilizing all the suggestions made. Thanks!

Tressa S

says:

We have an English workbook that we use for grammar and then we use the All About Spelling books for my 1st and 3rd graders and All About Reading for my 1st grader. They also read for a specific time period, write a specific amount, and complete a handwriting worksheet every day.

Jennifer S.

says:

I am interested in trying this program next school year.

Shelly H.

says:

At the beginning of the school year I started AAR level 1 with my twin Kindergarten girls and it was a struggle because I soon realized they needed a big review of the basics first. We are going to start AAR level 1 this Summer and I am so excited because now I know they are confidently going to thrive with this program. I have heard nothing but great reviews on this program, and would love to continue it with level 2!
We currently do a lot of BOB books, sight words, read alouds, vowel sounds practice and blends practice. My girls LOVE books and that thrills my heart! THanks!

Kira

says:

We started off my oldest son using Samuel Blumenfeld’s Alpha-phonics and the BOB books, then added in Explode the Code and CLP’s Building Spelling Skills later, followed by Rod and Staff’s Preparing to Build grammar series (but a year behind in both BSS and grammar as they are very intense). This worked well for him; he is in 4th grade in a small private school now and language arts is his strongest subject. However, he is followed by a younger sister and brother who are both kinesthetic learners and his sister was overwhelmed and confused by this program. So on to something else…we just started her with AAS and my youngest with AAR (pre-reading level) and they LOVE it and beg to do it!

Melody

says:

I’ve been wanting to get into this program, but, like most people, money is tight. I would love to win, and thanks for the giveaway. Right now, we do 20 minutes of independent reading (I have a 4 year old), and then she reads some readers to me after that. Thanks again!

Cherlyn

says:

I am so excited to learn more about AAS. Our daughter just turned 4 a few months ago and tested out of preschool. With Kindergarten coming soon, my husband and I have come to the decision that we feel it best to homeschool her. I have been doing all the research and searching for the best assistance out there for homeschooling. I came across AAS and I must say, I would love to win this months prize and start doing this with my daughter now instead of later. :)

Tracy

says:

It’s a bit haphazard. My first grader’s reading skills have really taken off so I just use every opportunity to talk about and improve on his spelling and grammar as he reads and writes about what he reads.

RealMom4Life

says:

We have been using All About Spelling for about a year now and love it. Finally, something that moves in a logic order with built in review! I’ve pulled spelling away from our Little Angel Readers…and am struggling. I like them combined. I cannot yet afford to the All About Reading program so I hope I can win level 2 because I have really been praying about it lately (yeah…I know it’s a raffle…no brownie points…just the honest truth :) )

Rebecca

says:

Grammar, spelling and writing are separate for each of