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How to Teach Phonograms

mother teaching phonograms to child

Understanding phonograms is vital to your child’s success in reading and spelling—but the thought of teaching them may seem intimidating. Fear not! Phonograms are actually very simple to understand and easy to teach.

Let’s start with a quick definition.

What Are Phonograms?

A phonogram is a letter or combination of letters that represent a sound. For example:

  • CK is a phonogram that says /k/ as in clock.
  • S is a phonogram that says /s/ as in sat or /z/ as in has.
  • OY is a phonogram that says /oi/ as in boy.

The word phonogram comes from Greek and is literally translated as the “written symbol for a sound.”

definition and pronunciation of phonogram

Why Should You Teach Phonograms?

Simply put, phonograms make learning to read and spell much easier!

Take a look at the word past. If you pronounce the word slowly to hear the individual sounds, you will hear four different sounds: /p/–/ă/–/s/–/t/. For each sound, we can write down a phonogram. This 10-second video shows exactly how this is done.

That was an easy example, but the same principle also applies to multisyllable words. Here’s the word winter.

As you can see, your child doesn’t need to remember w-i-n-t-e-r as a random string of letters. Instead, he can just segment the word and represent each sound with a phonogram.

Listen to the Phonograms with Our Free App

Just click a button below to hear the correct pronunciation of the phonograms.

(If you are on a slow internet connection, there may be a slight delay. The downloaded version of the app will not experience this delay.)

You can download the free app on your computer, tablet, or phone here.

The button colors match the colors of our letter tiles to reinforce learning, and the phonograms are arranged in logical groupings, matching the labels provided with the letter tiles.

Phonograms Are Like Building Blocks

Phonograms are the building blocks of almost every English word. In fact, a study of 17,000 words showed that the vast majority of words follow the regular phonogram sounds. Only 3% of the words are completely irregular (such as said and of).1 This means that there are very few words that must be learned through repetition and rote memorization.

Since phonograms represent sounds, the number of letters in a word doesn’t necessarily correspond to the number of phonograms. Here are some examples:

graphic showing that phonograms correspond with sounds

How to Teach Phonograms

If you’ve been hanging around our blog for a while, you know by now that we teach everything very incrementally, step-by-step. It would overwhelm most kids to have to learn all the phonograms at once, so we teach just a few phonograms at a time. Once your child has mastered those, we introduce a few more.

Flashcards (known as Phonogram Cards) are an efficient way to teach and review the phonograms, and we include them right in the All About Reading and All About Spelling programs.

The front of the card shows the phonogram. This is the side you show your student.

front of DGE phonogram card

The back of the card has information for you, the teacher. It shows the sound of the phonogram, along with a key word.

back of DGE phonogram card

If you are using All About Reading or All About Spelling, these steps are included right in the lesson plans.

  1. Show the Phonogram Card.
  2. Demonstrate the sound.
  3. Have your student repeat the sound.
  4. After several repetitions, see if the student can say the sound without your prompting.

The goal is to flip through the flashcards and have your student say the phonograms without pausing to think.

Organizing Your Phonogram Review Cards

To stay organized, sort the Phonogram Cards behind three dividers:

  • “Review” divider: Cards that your child is currently learning go here.
  • “Mastered” divider: This is where you’ll put the Phonogram Cards that your child knows inside and out.
  • “Future Lessons” divider: This is the parking spot for cards that haven’t been presented yet.
All About Reading review box with dividers and cards

And this is important: after your child knows the phonograms, don’t forget to review! Quickly flip through a handful of cards at the beginning of every lesson to keep them fresh in your child’s mind.

Download These 3 Free Printable Games to Practice Phonograms

There’s no better way to review phonograms than by playing a game! Choose one of these games (or all three!) to make practice time go by more quickly.

Swatting Phonograms preview

Swatting Phonograms

If your phonograms review and practice sessions are falling a little flat, here’s a great hands-on activity that you can slip in whenever you have a few extra minutes. It’s so much fun your child might not even realize he’s practicing!

Click to read more and to download our printable “splat” graphic!

preview of Fun with Phonograms Game

Fun with Phonograms

Playing games is a great way to reinforce learning with children, and our easy-to-assemble printable game boards give you five different ways to have fun with phonograms! It’s as easy as 1-2-3—just download, print, and play!

Click to download Fun with Phonograms!

Phonogram Jungle Bingo Game

Phonogram Jungle Bingo

It’s easy to review phonograms when you have a great game to play! And who doesn’t love a good game of Bingo? Just print our jungle-themed bingo boards and grab your phonogram cards. You’re ready to go!

Click to download Phonogram Jungle Bingo!

The Bottom Line for Teaching Phonograms

With phonograms, reading and spelling are much easier! Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • An understanding of phonograms is vital to your child’s success in reading and spelling.
  • Phonograms are simple to understand and easy to teach.
  • Tools like the Phonogram Cards, the Phonogram Sounds App, and simple games are a great way to help your child master the phonograms.
  • Review is essential!

Was this post on phonograms helpful to you? Let me know in the comments below! And then download our “20 Best Tips for Teaching Reading and Spelling” for even more great information!


20 Best Tips for Teaching Reading and Spelling
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Rawan

says:

Very helpful information.you were direct to the point

Beth

says:

Thanks for posting this. The activities will add some extra fun to our day 😃

Misty

says:

This is great! Thank you!!

Arlene Wilson

says:

we aren’t this far yet but this makes the future exciting

Rebecca Everitt

says:

For the BINGO game, you could also place the magnet tiles on the gameboard. Then you could hand the child the stack of tiles and they could arrange them on the board. With multiple children, you can make one pile and have them take turns drawing tiles until both boards are filled. That way, you only have to print the board once but can play multiple times/ways.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Great idea, Rebecca! Thank you for sharing it.

Karalee

says:

So grateful for all your helpful resources and your curriculum!

Becky Scott

says:

Thank you! I am teaching blends right now to my 6 year old!

Seema Iyengar

says:

Thanks a LOT!!! very useful…

Tabinda

says:

Wonderful resource

Bethani

says:

Thank you so much for this! What an excellent resource!

Brianna

says:

Thanks for the free downloads!:)

Linda

says:

Thanks for the helpful instruction and the games

Christine O

says:

These look like great tips for helping my 4 yr old learn to read!

Thelma

says:

Wow, I loved it’s much simpler n easy to catch for a beginner. I use to use jolly phonics but as a teacher I found that kids find it a little difficult n boring to pick d concept. Wud definitely now go ahead with this teaching. I talked gud for kids who r slow learners n hv some problem. I hope u guys keep updating me on your last concepts. Thanks alot. All d best

BP

says:

I would love to try this curriculum.

Melissa

says:

Thanks for the free downloadable games!

Kirsten

says:

We just started level 1 and I’m wondering about mastered phonograms and review. Should I review all of them or just the more troublesome ones when we FINALLY finish step 1?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kristen,
You can work on the concepts in Steps 1, 2, and 3 of All About Spelling simultaneously while working on the phonograms. However, after Step 3 the student should master each Step before moving forward.

When you are ready to move to Step 4 and beyond, do keep the troublesome phonograms in regular review for a while. However, consider reviewing a couple of the easier ones each day as well, to make sure they stay mastered. Also, if there are a few really tricky ones that your student needs to work with for a long while, reviewing a couple of the easy ones allows him or her to have something they get without trouble each day.

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

Soher mady

says:

Thanks, it’s great

Sarah

says:

Love the Phonograms sounds app for my iPhone. Thank you so much for linking to that in this blog post!

Lydia R.

says:

Thanks for the downloads!

Gail

says:

This is an excellent blog. The phonogram app is very helpful for both the teacher and the student.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Gail! We are happy to hear that the phonogram app is so helpful.

April young

says:

I like having new learning materials to use with my 1st graders!

Amanda Stovall

says:

Thanks so much for sharing! This will help me to help my youngest with phonograms, reading & spelling!

Great app for all the sounds! Thanks for the free downloads too.

Mary Beth W.

says:

So helpful.

maude

says:

Hope I win!!!!

Deb

says:

Great tips! My daughter is going to love the downloads!

Heather Lucas

says:

I am excited to use AAR Level 1 with my will be kindergartener this next Fall. My daughter taught herself to read so I’ve been looking for a curriculum for my next kids.

Rose

says:

Hi, my son suffers from severe dyslexia and a neurological issue that keeps his brain from transmitting the info from each side at the same time to properly comprehend the information. I had to pull him out of public school in order to get him caught up. He’s currently in 7th grade and just tested into a 3rd grade reading level. I am praying this program works for him.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

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

You might like to visit our Dyslexia Resources Page.

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

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

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

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

– AAR and AAS use specially color-coded letter tiles. Working with the letter tiles can make the difference between understanding or not understanding a concept.

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

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

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

– 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 Level 3, the Writing Station activity 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.

All About Reading and All About Spelling have a one-year guarantee. You can try them, and if for any reason you feel that they aren’t the right match for your child, return them for a full refund.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have additional questions before or after you order.

Melanie Williams

says:

Thanks for all the freebies…you guys are awesome!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Melanie!

Jolin

says:

We have just started on AAS Level 1. Thanks for alll the tips as always!

Ambrey

says:

Thank you! I love your website and all of the tips that you offer in addition to the curriculum.

katiejo

says:

I was teaching phonics at a school before my daughter was born, but I wish I would have know about many of the the All About Reading tips then. However, now I will use them as my daughter begins to read!

Angela Hendricks

says:

This post was really helpful! I have a preschooler and I’m working with spelling and teaching her to read before she starts kindergarten.

Sherri

says:

Very helpful information. Thanks for sharing!

Heather

says:

This is a great blog post! Thanks for sharing.

Laura Cherry

says:

Games make learning so fun! Thanks for the downloads!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Laura!

Erica Eastman

says:

My 6 year old is using AAR 1 and I still haven’t heard a complaint! Short lessons, flash cards, and engaging stories make reading time fun!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

We love hearing this, Erica. It’s great to know that All About Reading is helping you make reading time fun for your child!

Amy

says:

Thanks for these games! They will definitely help make practicing more fun!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Amy. I hope your student enjoys them!

Nicole Daw

says:

Wow! So informative! I definitely want to try these flash cards with my kiddos!

Saph

says:

My youngest is doing AAR 1 and she’s doing great. Love how your program teaches the sounds!

Carrie

says:

Great information! So helpful!

Rachel

says:

Awesome information! This will be very useful in our homeschool!

Sarah

says:

Very helpful! Thank you!

Mary Helen

says:

Very helpful and a fun way for review, especially for kids who struggle.

Karen

says:

Didn’t know about the downloadable review games. Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Karen,
Our blog is FULL of free downloads for reviewing letters, compound words, phonological awareness, Latin word roots, and much more!

Carrie King

says:

Very helpful!

Karen

says:

Thank you for creating a wonderful program. I have used it to teach my own children to read and many others through tutoring.

Hedwig

says:

Thank very much for blog, every time when it be come difficult, with reading I know where to found my solution, it in your blog. Really I appreciate it very much and I hope you will keep the good work and keep helping us. All Namibian children will benefit from your efforts.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Hedwig,
We are happy to hear that our blog provides help and resources to the children of Namibia!

Dawn

says:

The way that AAR lays out phonograms for teaching is great!

Michelle

says:

I wish our children had learned to read well in the public school. Where do you start with teenagers….ughh

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Michelle,
If your teenagers can read but could use improvement, consider starting our All About Spelling program. It teaches the phonograms and phonics rules from a spelling angle, but anything a student can spell they can read. We have had numerous great reports from families using All About Spelling and their students’ reading has also improved. Using All About Spelling with Older Students.

Also, requiring daily reading is very important to build fluency and ease with reading. The Matthew Effect has an impact in reading.

If you would like more help with placement, how to proceed, or have other questions on how to go about helping your teenagers improve their reading, please contact us.

Angelina Vickers

says:

Thanks for this article – its very helpful – will use it often!

Samantha

says:

We have loved using All About reading Level 1! We are almost done but my daughter would love these phonogram games. This program has been a perfect fit my early reader!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Samantha,
All About Reading continues to introduce new phonograms even through level 4. These games will work with any level, as they are designed for you to use whichever phonogram cards your student needs to work on.

Thank you for letting us know that All About Reading has been such a great fit for your child!

Catch

says:

Thank You for these tips and downloads they are all so helpful in my homeschooling adventure with my dyslexic kids.

ko

says:

It seems like all about learning makes teaching phonograms simple.

Emma

says:

I am a huge fan of both All About Reading and All About Spelling. They have helped my seven year old son tremendously. It is easy to open and go, takes all the intimidation out of teaching such vital skills. I have homeschooled my two older children and wished I had used this method with them. If you are hesitating over taking the plunge I urge you to give it a go. You won’t regret it! Thank you Marie 😊

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Emma!

Aimee

says:

Using AAR has tremendously helped me in teaching one of my sons with dyslexia! Thank you, Marie Riopel and all at AAL for helping teach our kids in a way that will help them cement the learning!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Aimee,
You are welcome! We are so pleased to know that All About Reading is helping you teach your son well!

Amanda Yeary

says:

This was a great post! My son is a preschooler and we haven’t gotten to this level, yet, but I am glad to know that the phonograms are included in the AAR
and AAS programs incrementally. Teaching reading doesn’t seem so overwhelming when looking at the AAR lessons. Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amanda,
You are welcome! Thank you for letting us know that All About Reading helps make teaching reading less overwhelming.

Cathy

says:

Love the phonogram app!

Launa

says:

We’re slowly working on learning our first phonograms now!

Jennifer Carr

says:

I’ve been doing this with my 7 year old using the All About Spelling program. It works great!

Sarah Connell

says:

I love all the games!

Melody Sitze

says:

I love the simple clarity your instructions offer. The curriculum is affordable and easy to use as a parent. Thanks for making it so visually appealing as well!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Melody!

T Stevens

says:

Thank you so much for all of your blog posts. Anytime I have a question about your reading program, I know I can search blog posts and find helpful information to answer almost all of my questions!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

If you ever find yourself with a question that is not fully answered by our blog, or even if our blog has an answer but you would like more information, just contact us!

Amanda Stauter

says:

My kids are loving this program, my 3 year old will even climb up to the table and participate with his brothers.

SybilT

says:

I love the way you explained how phonograms would help a child in spelling & reading vs. the traditional rote memory in some mainstream schools. The videos also helped me appreciate it better. How I wish we had used this curriculum when my son was smaller but i guess I can still somehow use what I learn from your blog and refresh my son. Thank you so much for sharing!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sybil,
Our programs can be used with older students as well. Both All About Reading and All About Spelling have been used with teens and even adults to help them succeed with reading and spelling!

Ariella

says:

This is amazing. Will use with autistic son 😀

Michelle

says:

We love the free phonogram app. Thank you so much for this site and the resources that you provide us.

Julia

says:

Looking forward to using the app. Have used the curriculum since it first came out!

Melissa

says:

Wish I’d stuck to it more! My daughter is so far behind. I have to get back to my “All About” because it is really great curriculum!

Ami

says:

My son is 5 and is really having a hard time with remembering his letters so we started with the pre-reading I have heard so many good things

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Ami,
As you move through the Pre-reading level, go as fast or as slow as your son needs in order to learn the letters well and be successful with the Language Exploration activities. Some children do great with doing a Lesson per day, but some do better spending a few days or even a week per Lesson. We have a number of letter learning blog posts to help expand upon the Lessons, if needed.

Suzan

says:

Thank you for always providing strong, effective resources for our struggling readers.

Julie Patterson

says:

Thank you for making teaching phonograms easy and effective!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Julie!

pam havens

says:

So helpful

Jennifer S

says:

Love the app and use it often. My son is doing so well with AAS. It has helped him tremendously.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jennifer,
Thank you for letting us know that both our Phonogram Sounds App and All About Spelling have helped your son do well!

Jennifer

says:

We just finished All About Reading Level 4 this year! What a tremendous program!! My son enjoyed each level a lot and I’m excited he can continue working with the phonograms in All About Spelling. Thank you for creating such outstanding programs!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Congratulations on finishing All About Reading, Jennifer! Just in case you haven’t seen it, we do have a blog post on What Happens After All About Reading.

Rashmi

says:

The blogs itself are very useful. I am still at pre-reading program but planning to move to AAR-1. My daughter loves this program :)

Jamie

says:

Understanding all this, and teaching are strikingly different. Praying that I will do right by my children.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jamie,
Teaching can be scary. However, you are not alone. We here at All About Learning Press have decades and decades of combined experience in teaching children to read and spell and we are committed to helping you help your children succeed! If you have questions or concerns at any point along the way, just let us know. We are available here on our blog, on Facebook, by email at support@allaboutlearningpress.com, and by phone at 715-477-1976.

Kristie

says:

Thank you for this resource

Jennifer H

says:

Helpful tips!

Thank you for the explanation and activities. I will use these with my small groups this year.

Amanda

says:

My 6 year old son is using AAR1 and loves it! Teaching reading using phonograms works wonderfully!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amanda,
Thank you for letting us know that learning phonograms has worked so well for your son learning to read!

Wanjiku

says:

My son just completed level 2 reading and we are all so excited. Using AAR from the very beginning was the best homeschool decision I ever made. He doesn’t struggle and can even read the lessons ahead before I teach the concepts. I believe it’s because of the foundation of phonograms!! My plan is to start him off on All About Spelling 1 before proceeding to AAR3. He is not excited about this plan though as he is so excited to move on to the next book.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Wanjiku,
This sounds like a good plan. Just don’t take too much time off of reading. It’s fine to take a week or so to get a good start on All About Spelling, but we do recommend working through both programs each day, spending 20 minutes in each.

Wanjiku

says:

Thank you Robin for promoting me not to take too long a break. I was going to focus on spelling for a season but I guess we need to move on to Level 3 Reading sooner rather than latter.

I have a 10 year old daughter who reads very. She has never used AAR but we are currently going through AAS Level 3. Should I consider Level 4 Reading or just focus on AAS. She doesn’t have a challenge reading. I guess what I need to know is – is there an end to learning how to read?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Wanjiku,
You could look over the All About Reading 4 placement test and this sample story from near the end of All About Reading 4. Examples of some of the words covered in Level 4 include: acquaintance, aphid, beneficial, boutique, bronchial, campaign, chameleon, chauffeur, consignment, crochet, cuisine, cylinder, deficient, delectable, distraught, entree, epilogue, etiquette, facial, ferocious, glisten, gnashed, gourmet, graduation, guinea, Herculean, heroism, horticulture, hygiene, incompatible, isle, lariat, lasagna, limousine, magnificence, mayonnaise, malicious, meringue, mustache, neighborhood, nuisance, ocelot, onslaught, oregano, pendulum, perceptible, picturesque, plausible, premiere, prioritize, questionnaire, reassign, routine, sanitize, saute, situation, solstice, souvenir, specimen, spectacular, teleportation, temperament, tortilla, unveiled, vogue, warthog, zucchini.

Your 10-year-old might benefit from AAR 4, but she might not need it. If you determine that she is beyond All About Reading 4, take a look at this blog post, What Happens After All About Reading. To answer your final question, yes there is an end to learning how to read. When children are no longer learning to read, they begin to read to learn. This blog post discusses how to transition to the read-to-learn stage.

Alena B

says:

The phonogram app took this from a seemingly overwhelming task to a fun and easy thing we did during lunch. Thank you so much!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Alena,
We are so pleased to hear that our Phonogram Sounds App has helped make learning phonograms easy for you!

Jessica Smit

says:

Hallo i do struggle a little bit with al the blendings cos there is so many “rules ” i came across it even makes me confuse.please help

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jessica,
I’m sorry you are struggling with English. We don’t materials designed for self-teaching, although our programs have been used by tutors or family members to teach even adults how to read and spell confidently. Do you possibly have someone that can help you?

Glenda

says:

Hi, who is your distributor in Australia. I am in South Australia. I have been receiving emails for a while now and I am so impress with your work. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Glenda,
Our only Australia distributor is in Queensland. However, they offer flat rate shipping to all of Australia for just $9. Check out Educational Warehouse.

Stacy Marti

says:

Hello there! We have used AAS and AAR for years with our 4 kids. I need a new Phonogram chart for a 6 yr old and I seem to remember it was available a couple years ago for free on your site? If so, will you please point me in the right direction?
Thanks! Stacy

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Stacy,
Are you looking for the phonogram chart that comes with All About Spelling 1? It is available for downloading on this page. Or is it something else you are looking for?

Perfect! That’s exactly what I was looking for.
Thank you.

Moira Abrahams

says:

At age 61 I have now become a grade 3 teacher (for my granddaughter) without any experience on how teaching is done today. I live in South Africa and would like to know how much it would cost in SA Rand to purchase your program

God Bless

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Moira,
Lindie Bull is our distributor in South Africa. Here is her email lindie.bull@gmail.com and her website is The Book Connection. Ordering through Lindie will ensure you get the best price and shipping costs possible.

Madhu

says:

I’m Madhu running a montessori . It’s quite interesting way to teach phonograms and great ideas to deal the reviews .

Viv

says:

How do you purchase the phonograms box.Does it come as part of a kit?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Viv,
The review box pictured in this blog post is sold as apart of our All About Reading Deluxe Interactive Kit and it can also be purchased by itself.

The Phonogram Cards are an important component of both our All About Reading and our All About Spelling programs, and are included in each level’s Student Packet. However, if you are not using our programs, you can still purchase our Phonogram Cards separately.

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

We just started AAS Level today!! My kids got up like it was Christmas day, so excited to start the new spelling program! We love how easy it is to teach. :)

Sara Freeman

says:

My four year old son wanted to learn to read so we started with AAR Pre-Reading. Having watched his older brother do homeschool, he was already aware some letters make more than one sound and wanted to learn all of the sounds for each phonogram from the start. Because he was so young, it was difficult for him to remember which phonograms had multiple sounds and how many sounds it made but he was adamant about learning them all. So I took a marker and made dots on the bottom of each card corresponding to how many sounds the phonogram makes and that’s all it took! He was able to learn them with ease and excitement! The visual cue helped him bridge the gap. He just finished AAR 1 and we are reviewing some things for mastery while we are doing our first few steps in AAS 1. He has kept his excitement about reading and spelling that he had when we first started and I’d say it’s only grown. He still wants to get Ziggy out and use him in our lessons. Thank you for all of the effort, creativity, and support you provide all of us who are teaching our kids. I’m so grateful to have found your program. It has made the monumental task of teaching my children to read into something I actually think is fun and I look forward to it each day. I’m redeeming my own education too, filling in knowledge gaps I didn’t even know I had.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Sara,
I love how you took the Pre-reading level and made it what your son needed. It sounds like he is really doing well. Thank you so much for sharing this.

Laura

says:

I have confidence that it’s not too late to start this with my children! Can’t wait to!

Bryanna Paice

says:

This program has made teaching my children to read so fun and successful. One of my biggest worries with homeschooling was teaching reading and spelling. They came naturally to me as a child and I wasn’t sure I could break it down to explain to my children. This has been amazing!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thank you for sharing your experience with AAR and AAS, Bryanna. We are happy to have been able to help you teach your children!

Hope

says:

I cant wait to start this with my daughter I think she will really enjoy this method of learning! Thanks!

Andrea

says:

This approach seems to make sense. Just started using AAS and my kids seem to like it. It’s still easy as we began with level 1, I Keep waiting to see what was missed by the previous program..a few more lessons and I think we will get there. Thank you for creating a more interactive and fun way to teach spelling.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Andrea,
I’m glad you are finding AAS interactive and fun. You might find this article, Using All About Spelling with Older Students, helpful. Since your kids are finding AAS 1 easy, you may be able to use the tips in this article for fast tracking students through material they already have mastered.

Sharon Whelan

says:

Even though my grandson knows his sounds he has chopping blending instead of smooth blending and it just doesn’t click how to form the words. So we are also using this to teach stretchy and bouncy sounds and so far it is working. http://www.ruthmiskin.com/en/resources/sound-pronunciation-guide/

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Sharon,
The bouncy versus stretchy sounds is an interesting way to put it. However, if you are an American, just be careful with these resources. It uses British pronunciation which differs from ours in subtle ways. It might confuse an American child.

Ashley T

says:

i’m pretty sure my 4th grader doesn’t know all of his…he was taught in public school with their program (which wasn’t very good) we are going to start the spelling program in a month so hopefully his reading skill will improve….he passed all of the aar lv placement tests…i may put him in lv 4 to help review…his sister is going to start aar level 1 since she completed HOP K….i feel like this is more in depth

Monica

says:

I’m wondering the difference between teaching reading and phonics. Some curriculums sell a reading program, spelling program and a phonics program seperately. Would teaching AAS or AAR be considered a phonics program?

Debra

says:

They both teach phonograms (which is the same thing as phonics) and there is some overlap in AAS and AAR in that both have the yellow phonogram cards. I do both programs with my kids every day, but only review the phonograms once. I think both programs are the best I’ve ever seen and both are worth doing.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Monica,
This is a great question.

Phonics is an umbrella term that simply means any method of teaching reading and spelling that places emphasis on learning the sounds that letters represent. Not all phonics programs give equal importance to phonograms.

Phonograms are the written units that represent specific sounds. In English, a phonogram can be formed from 1, 2, 3, or even 4 letters (ex. A, TH, DGE, and EIGH). Programs differ in that they may teach that A says /a/ as in apple and /a/ as in apron, but some will stop short of teaching that eigh also says long /a/, for example.

Both AAR and AAS would be consider phonics programs; you wouldn’t need a separate phonics program.

I wonder if these other programs are marketing their learn-to-read program as a phonics program and their literature program for older students as their reading program. I think I have seen it set up that way.

Anyway, I hope this clears some terminology up for you. Please let me know if there are further things you have questions about.

Cheree

says:

I love these cards! Will be starting them in a couple of weeks with my two (previously schooled) boys. Just last night I was looking through the all about reading program that we purchased and am really looking forward to teaching (and learning myself!) all the reading rules. Just by reading through this blog post, I (have had 12+ years of schooling as a child) discovered a ‘rule’ I didn’t know – ((the sound /j/ is spelled with DGE after a short vowel))

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Cheree,
The rule I learned that really blew my mind was that English words don’t end in i, j, u, or v. I know that is obvious for many people, but I never even noticed that until I taught it to my children through AAS and AAR.

Heather

says:

Phonogram Review Idea:
My 8 year olds loves it when I make a long trail — like a life-size game of Candyland — with the review cards. I lay them on the ground, face up, in a winding path (sometimes going over the sofa and out the door into the next room.) If he makes a mistake, he has to go back to the beginning of the trail. At the end of the trail, of course, there is a snack for a prize! Usually we do this on Mondays when we review ALL the cards, even mastered ones.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Heather,
What fun! Thanks for sharing this great idea.

Stephanie Bercedoni

says:

The Phonogram Cards have been exceptionally helpful to both my student and me for daily review.

Kim

says:

Thank you for these ideas and the blogspot. I have a 7 year old that really struggles with learning to read and I am always looking for ways to help him. All About Reading and Spelling I just discovered recently so it is on our curriculum list to buy when the budget allows.

American

says:

These ideas are FANTASTIC! With different kids at different reading levels, and some with learning issues, the cards make it possible to see the progress and not get any one stuck or too far ahead.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Great point. The cards make tracking what is mastered and what needs reviewing easy.

Elize vdMerwe

says:

English is our second language, but it is so important to get it right. I think All About Reading will help us take “the difficult” out of learning to read English, like these phonogram cards.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Elize,
We have had great reports from parents using our program to teach reading and spelling of English as a second language. Our step-by-step process and teacher helps really make a lot of difference for student and teacher.

Courtney G

says:

Thanks for the helpful tips. We will be starting Level 1 in the next couple of weeks and reading this and the other readers’ ideas in the comments will certainly be useful soon.

Marie

says:

I have both a gifted learner and a struggling learner and teaching phonograms has been essential to developing reading and spelling skills with them both. The English language is extremely complex, and with my gifted child it has been very helpful in advancing decoding skills with teaching what phonograms say. My child is always asking questions ‘why does ‘gh’ say ‘f’ instead of ‘g-h’ and now understands the concept of phonograms, which in turn is quickly advancing reading comprehension levels. With my struggling learner, learning that letter combinations make different sounds than expected, has made reading so much easier to understand and this child is now almost at grade level for reading.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Marie,
Thank you for sharing how learning phonograms has helped both your struggling and your advanced learners.

Cherie

says:

Thank you for your quick response to all my questions. AAS has been a great help already!

Denice

says:

I have a struggling reader. This post is so helpful! I’m convinced that we need All About Reading!

Stephanie

says:

All about reading is making a huge difference with my older struggling reader. She finally feels successful.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thank you for sharing your daughter’s success with reading, Stephanie. It’s great to hear that All About Reading had a part in making a difference for her!

Kelly

says:

I hold them up like a hand of cards and let my daughter draw one to read. She thinks it’s a fun game. :)

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thanks for sharing this idea, Kelly. It’s simple, but I can see how it would make it more fun for a young child.

Chris

says:

This is such a great website! I’ve used your suggestions in the past with great effect! Thank you!

Sandy

says:

Thanks, I love all these wonderful tips.

Katie

says:

Thank you for the tips.

Cary Christian

says:

Hi Marie, Merry Christmas and a Happy 2016!

Kate

says:

I was sold on the concept of teaching phonics but was sooo intimidated by the process until I found All About Learning Press!

Niovi Patsicakis

says:

I agree that phonemic awareness is intimidating because teachers have never gone into such minute skills or what comes before phonics. I find it hard to distinguish between teaching the 2 as the sounds seem the same when it comes to visually show it. What is the difference between phonogram and phonics and phonetic elements. I kind of think as phonemic the manipulation of sound not tied to writing of the sound. Once you show the actual letter then that becomes phonics or sound/symbol. Please clarify. thanks

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Niovi,
Great questions.

Phonograms are the written units that represent specific sounds. In English, a phonogram can be formed from 1, 2, 3, or even 4 letters (ex. A, TH, DGE, and EIGH).

Phonemes are units of sound in a language, such as /k/ and /j/. Phonemic awareness (also called phonological awareness) is the ability to manipulate sounds in a language without a visual representation (so you are correct about that). One of the simplest phonological awareness skills is the ability to detect of words rhyme. This article discusses other phonological awareness skills and how to develop them.

Many children develop phonological awareness skills naturally in the preschool years, but some children must be taught them explicitly or they will struggle to learn to read. If a child cannot identify the individual sounds in language, he will struggle to blend the sounds from phonograms into a word he recognizes. Our All About Reading Pre-Reading Level works extensively with phonological awareness skills, as well as the other Big 5 Skills for reading success.

Phonics is an umbrella term that simply means any method of teaching reading and spelling that places emphasis on learning the sounds that letters represent. Not all phonics programs give equal importance to phonograms.

Anyway, I hope this clears some terminology up for you. Please let me know if there are further things you have questions about.

Jen

says:

Appreciate the step by step help!

Ruth

says:

Thank you for producing these!

Cassie

says:

Such great tips here and in the comments! Thanks!

Brandi

says:

Love my phonogram card holder. I have two going one for each child that’s in different levels.

Shelley

says:

My son is a perfectionist and HATES to make any kind of mistake. I did not want to say “lets see what you know and which ones we need to work on” since that would send him over the edge. I do not know the phonograms so we are learning them together. When we first started we took a card from the stack, clicked the letter on the CD and listened to the CD make the sound then he repeated it and I repeated it. We did this for about a month. We did all of them together everyday until all of them were mastered never focusing on the missed ones just constantly reviewing all of them. It was sooo much fun. He has a toy horn and would toot it every time I missed one or messed up (sometimes I would miss them on purpose – wink, wink). He has mastered them all and I still have trouble with the vowels. Our favorite phonogram is the letter L…we both pretend we are dying when we hear the “L’ sound. When we started segmenting words I accidently said Segmenting WORMS! My son LOVED it and tooted his horn at my mistake – now he loves segmenting worms :). When we do the Sound cards. I say the sound and he clicks on the CD to hear the correct sound. Even though he has mastered the phonograms, we review them all every day testing ourselves against the CD since it hardly takes any time at all. I’m so glad I decided to get All About Spelling. My son is in the 6th grade just starting this program.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Shelley,
This was such an innovated and clever approach to avoid his perfectionist tendencies. Great thinking.

However, as a mom of a couple of perfectionist learning boys, I recommend you gently start teaching him that it is not only okay to be wrong, but it is actually a good thing.

First, show him this article 9 Brilliant Inventions Made by Mistake. Get him thinking about how mistakes can lead to wonderful things.

Then, discuss with him that you expect him to make mistakes. Why? Because if he got everything right the first time, then you would have nothing to teach him. When he makes mistakes, both you and he then know what it is he needs to learn better. You can help with this by when he does make a mistake saying things like, “Oh, I’m glad you made that mistake so I can show you this,” before going over the rule or pattern.

Encouraging him to be more moderate in his disappointment with mistakes and being willing to take risks is going to be a work spanning a long period of time. Try to react without disappointment as each mistake is made. Instead of “You spelled that wrong,” try “Let’s analyze this one.” Pretty much the same thing, but it can impact a perfectionist child quite differently.

I hope this helps. I do know it’s frustrating, but adults make mistakes all the time (as you have shown) and so will he.

Nicole Douglas

says:

Completely agree with the importance of phonograms to see/read/spell sounds as a group of letters instead of one letter at a time. One other idea for review cards I used to do with my kids was place the review cards all over the room, say the sound, and then have them try to find that card.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Ooo, what a fun review idea, Nicole! Phonogram review and a scavenger hunt all in one. Thanks for sharing it.

Kimberly

says:

Thank you! Very helpful post. My twins are almost 6 and we are classically educating them. I have been researching your products for some time now and LOVE what I see!

Jacqueline Potter

says:

I am considering purchasing the All About Spelling for my 6 year old. She is Dyslexic and has Visual Processing Disorder. Is this program easy for a parent who is not a teacher to use?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jacqueline,
The All About Spelling and All About Reading method is very easy to implement in comparison to other Orton-Gillingham or Spalding-based methods. It is designed to enable parents and teachers to teach their children without specialized training. Everything you need is right in front of you. You don’t have to flip back and forth between different resources. You don’t have to figure out what you need to teach next; it is all planned out for you. Helpful notes are included along the way to maximize your effectiveness as a teacher.

After the initial 20 to 30 minutes of set up (getting the tile board and cards ready), it really is open-and-go each day.

Taura

says:

I simply MUST comment … I AGREE COMPLETELY! I was so worried about teaching my daughter to read wih out missing any fundamental concepts. This program is practically spoon feeding me as the teacher. Beautifully organized, simple and tremendously effective.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Taura,
Thank you for saying this! We are very happy to be able to help you teach your daughter.

Liberty Star

says:

My son can not keep more than 10 phonograms in his head at one time.He is age 8 and we have been trying for 2 years.I taught my older kids this spelling program, but it just doesn’t seem possible for my son I’m teaching now.

Wendie

says:

Liberty Star- please do not give up and do not lose hope! My Son is now 11, we have been working on phonograms for 6 years. He has mastered the alphabet ones, it probably took 3 years. We have slowly been working on the next set. Play games with them, relax and have fun- they get it when they get it, but it’s such an important foundation

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Liberty Star,
I’m sorry to hear that your son is struggling so. We really want to help you as much as you need in order for you to help your child to succeed. Here are some ideas, but we could help better with further information. Please contact us at support@allaboutlearningpress.com or at 715-477-1976.

First, I would like to refer you to our Making It Stick blog post. It is #4 of our 5 part Memory blog series; you’ll find the link to the other 4 posts at the bottom of this one.

How is your son doing with reading? If he would place into All About Reading Level 1, we recommend working through it before beginning spelling. AAR teaches the phonograms more gradually and builds up knowledge of them through use. All About Spelling Level 1 starts with all 26 letters in the first lesson because it assumes the student is already reading fluently on at least a beginning level.

If your son is already reading well on at least the level of AAR 2, then we recommend working with the phonograms at least 4 or 5 times a week. Short daily lessons are much more effective than longer, less frequent lessons.

Also, with his struggles, consider over teaching. Review the phonograms he knows quickly at the beginning and ending of every lesson time each day. Don’t move phonograms into the mastered tab too soon; keep them in daily review for many days after he starts to get them. Then, once they do get moved to mastered, review them at least twice a week for a long time, so he is not losing old ones as he learns new ones. Don’t work on more than 2 or 3 new ones at a time. Allow him to at least a few days or a week after mastering some phonograms before adding new ones in.

Plain flashcard review is quick, but can be boring. You can mix up the review with games and activities. Here are some ideas:

Swatting phonograms

Snowball game You can just tape the phonogram cards to the wall or use a dry erase marker to write them on a window. Also, some kids prefer to use a Nerf gun or bow to shoot the phonograms.

Making the review task more tactile can be very helpful for some students. It can be as simple as writing the phonogram on paper as he says the sounds, or as complex as forming the phonogram out of dough or writing it in sand, also while saying the sounds. Mix up showing the phonogram card and having him say the sound(s) and you saying the sound(s) and having him write the phonogram.

You can add the phonogram cards to any board game he enjoys, such as Sorry or checkers. Each player has to draw a phonogram and say it’s sounds correctly at the beginning of their turn, before they get to go. You, or a sibling, has to do it too and he gets to see the back of the card to make sure you are correct.

Anyway, these are just some ideas not knowing the specifics of your son’s struggles. Again, we want to help and ask you to please contact us further with more details.

Julie Brown

says:

If a child is struggling with retaining information auditorally, even though much consistent practice has been used, sometimes an “auditory processing disorder” is a contributing factor. It doesn’t mean repetition won’t help- on the contrary, they may need more. But it can mean specific exercises for improving listening/auditory skills can greatly improve learning. I would recommend investigating neurodevelopmental programs like The Hope Center, Equipping Minds (Carol Brown) or SENC (Kay Ness) for addressing those areas alongside a strong spelling program like All About Spelling. When general neurological organization is addressed both auditory and visual processing often improve affecting overall academic success. (From “just a mom” with 4 children including one with severe autism, one with ADD/Dyslexia, and 1 “gifted.”:) I’ve used AAS with my ADD/Dyslexic child and love it, but we did years of ND work before starting this and I know that prep work has helped her tremendously.

Tracey Holland

says:

Wonderful Orton-Gillingham approach!

Dash

says:

I absolutely love this Spelling program. Not only is my son learning the content, but he is now applying it in his everyday writing! Couldn’t be happier!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Dash,
This is wonderful. Applying what they have learned into their own writing outside of spelling time is the last and most difficult step in mastering. It sounds like your son is doing GREAT!

Della

says:

Thanks for explaining that!

Tonna O'Neill

says:

Thanks to All About Reading my child CAN read! At the end of the day she wants to read the fluency review pages to anyone who comes to visit.😊

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

This gave me a big smile, Tonna. Thank you for sharing.

Sara

says:

This program is amazing! My struggling 4th grader now loves to read! Thank you!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Sara, this is GREAT! Thank you for sharing your child’s success with us.

Michelle

says:

I love this website. I’m looking into homeschooling my daughter so it gives you plenty of learning tools.

christina

says:

I just ordered All About Spelling for my son and was looking forward to using it, but now that I have read the blog and see that Marie is a member of the IDA I am fully excited to start using this too with my son! We questioned his reading and spelling and never really knew if it was because he is bilingual and has not had structured English spelling or grammar or reading instruction, or if he is dyslexic. All the well-discovered rules of spelling make so much sense, but moreover, the letter tiles system seemed akin to some other dylexic approaches… and no Wonder!
So, I am so excited to start working with these materials, not only because someone has finally made English spelling have rhyme and reason, but also for the dyslexic angle too!

Thank you in advance!
Christina

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Christina,
Both All About Reading and All About Spelling are fully Orton-Gillingham based, which is a proven method for helping students with dyslexia and other reading struggles.

Lisa

says:

My 7 year old and I just love AAR and AAS! All About Learning Press’ way of teaching phonograms was new to me compared to how I taught my older ones to read, but it is so very effective!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Lisa,
Thank you for sharing your experience between your older and younger students.

Lorri W

says:

Can I purchase your phonograph cards without buying the whole kit?

Monique

says:

As soon as my youngest turns 4 we will be getting this program. He’s already reading but I want to make sure he learns the real mechanics of it and this seems to be the key

Taura

says:

My 6 yr old jumps on a rebounder (small trampoline) as she reviews the phonogram flash cards. This makes them more fun.

Elisabeth

says:

Great idea!!!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Taura, of course movement makes almost everything more fun! Thanks for sharing your bouncy review method.

Lydia R.

says:

I follow most of the instructions except for review when teaching my son AAS.

Instead of reviewing everything periodically, I review 4-5 phonogram cards, 4-5 sound cards and 1-2 key cards at the beginning of every lesson. If we’re not using the whiteboard at a particular lesson, I simply skip the sound cards.
We only do wholesale review whenever we move up a level.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Lydia,
I review a few mastered cards from each section daily as well. I pull two each of the mastered phonogram cards, sound cards, and key cards, and 5 of the word cards to review each day. However, we also do the complete master review when scheduled mid-way through the book and between levels. My current students benefit a lot from the extra review, but my one that has finished All About Spelling did great with much less. It’s about finding what each student needs to truly master the material in the long term.

Thank you for sharing your method of review.

kimberly dismukes

says:

Love your ideas! Thank you!

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