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Real Moms, Real Kids: How AAS Saved My Son with Dyslexia

Real Moms, Real Kids: How AAS Saved My Son with Dyslexia - All About Spelling

When you have a child with dyslexia, does it sometimes feel like you need a miracle?

You’ve exhausted all avenues, but you can’t give up—because it’s your child.

Your child can’t read or spell. The school system has let him down and it feels like the world has let him down—but you won’t let him down. Even so, a miracle would be nice because you don’t know what to do next.

If you have ever felt the desperation that comes from watching your child fail in such a critical subject area, and if you have ever feared for your child’s future, then you will relate to Heather Cole’s story. I know I did.

Heather’s story shows the strength of a mother’s love for her child. Whether your child has dyslexia or not, there are powerful lessons to be learned and poignant reminders that you can’t give up on your kids, no matter what others may say.

Here’s Heather…

My son is the kindest and most honest and selfless child I know. He has taught me more about this world than I could have ever taught him. Yet with all these amazing qualities, he never excelled in school. From the very first day, school was a nightmare. He absolutely dreaded going and would cry and beg not to go. He struggled in all his subjects, but mainly reading and spelling.

His learning diminished. He lost all motivation for learning and doubted his abilities to do anything. Any time spelling or reading was presented to him, it became a battle of wills. He would instantly shut down, and it would become a power struggle even to get him to write his spelling words, let alone try to read them. Of course, all of this left my son with low self-esteem.

Our road to finding All About Spelling was a hard one. From reading and spelling intervention classes, special needs class, misdiagnoses, and even being told that my child had reached his learning potential at the age of 10—we faced so many trials. As his parent, I was angry, confused, and heartbroken. I didn’t understand why his teachers couldn’t see the child I saw. I knew he had more in him. I knew he could learn, but at the same time, I also knew something was wrong. He didn’t read like other kids his age. That’s when I decided to homeschool.

Real Moms, Real Kids: How AAS Saved My Son with Dyslexia

I tried a few spelling programs and found that most shared the same approach—repetitively writing the words or building word pyramids. These approaches did not work for us and I was not impressed. After my son was diagnosed with dyslexia, I began to learn more about dyslexia and how the brain of a dyslexic person interprets information. All the horrible years at school began to make perfect sense. I started searching for curriculum that worked for dyslexic children. That’s when I found All About Spelling. When I opened the teacher’s manual, there were no repetitive lists, no pyramids. The layout was easy. It was structured but flexible. All I had to do was follow the steps.

Now we have been avid AAS users for three years and the progress my son has made is indescribable. For him, spelling is a complex process. But AAS gives him the tools he needs to succeed.

The AAS phonograms app taught him to recognize the correct sounds of letters. Letter tiles gave him physical letters to refer to. He didn’t have to rely on straight memory, and he could focus on one letter and one sound at a time. The Key Cards are like a “safe base” for him. They make the spelling rules simple and easy to remember.

Real Moms, Real Kids: How AAS Saved My Son with Dyslexia

I don’t know that I can truly convey all the things AAS has done for our family. But I can convey the joy I feel when I see my son learning—when he spells a word on the board, jumbles up the letters, and then stops himself and says, “Wait, Mom.” I can hear him whispering and repeating one of the memorized key cards to himself. Then he self-corrects the misspelled word. No frustration, no overwhelmed feeling, just confidence. That feeling is priceless.

All About Spelling not only helped my son learn to spell, it gave him confidence in himself again—confidence that he had lost so many years before. It gave him the reassurance that with the right approach he could spell and read. To have witnessed the change in him leaves me in awe.

Here’s What I Love about Heather’s Story

Heather and her son’s story is almost overwhelming to me, and not just because of the similarities to my own story. What if she hadn’t taken matters into her own hands and intervened? Where would her son be in five years? Ten years?

Without literacy, the chances of achieving a positive outcome—a happy, well-adjusted man—are not very good. But instead of accepting what others believed was inevitable, Heather turned the tide, and now she sees her son’s growing confidence, his increasing skills, and his handsome smile.

THIS is the reason I continue to write and teach every day. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Heather!

Products Heather Used with Her Son

These recent blog posts were especially helpful to Heather in teaching her son:

Did you enjoy Heather’s story? Read more stories in our Real Moms, Real Kids series.

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Leave a Comment

Loreen G.

says:

This is such a heartwarming story and similar to ours. When we finally found AAS it was like a dream come true for us. Thank you for an awesome curriculum!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Loreen,
You are welcome. We are so happy to have had a part in helping your student have success with spelling!

Heather’s story rings true to so many stories we’re hearing in our community. It is one of initial helplessness, near defeat, determination and pride! You are a strong, amazing mother, Heather!

Linda

says:

Thanks for sharing, Heather. I, too, am thankful for AAS and the help it gives me with a dyslexic older son.

Leanna

says:

We are starting AAS 1 with my 10 year old (Fifth Grade). Public School testing said he was spelling on a 1st grade level! He also tested a grade level off in Reading comprehension but his word recognition skills were actually advanced. He reads well when he reads orally but resists doing so in public school because other kids read silently. I think he loses focus when reading silently (he has severe ADHD and mild autism). I’m hoping he doesn’t find AAS boring at first as I think it may be a review. Wish us luck in September.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Leanna,
If you haven’t seen it already, I think you will find this Using All About Spelling with Older Students article helpful. He shouldn’t find it boring, because you will be moving as quickly or slowly he needs to master the material. If it’s review, you’ll move faster.

Ashley W

says:

That’s beautiful. I love this story and I love the neat idea of a beanbag and a magnetic board to do spelling on!!

Dori

says:

This was a great article. My daughter is some what dyslexic and has dysgraphia too. AAS has really helped her to spell well. I do have a question for Robin E. at all about learning press. Is there a specific daily format to follow when teaching AAS? I have been winging it for 3 yrs and am now finding that I am struggling more and more to teach AAS 3 times a week. Am I doing too much in one day? Should I spread each lesson out to make them more memorable for my daughter? I am just not sure how to go about it? What do you suggest? Dori

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Dori,
We recommend spending just 20 minutes a day on All About Spelling, but we do recommend working 5 days per week on it. This article, Spelling: how much time should I spend?, details this further.

I have heard of students doing well with only doing spelling 3 times a week. However, if your daughter is struggling with the material or is having trouble remembering things that were taught previously, then consider working more times per week. Children that struggle with mastery do much better with shorter lessons more days per week. Also, doing a short spelling lesson every school day helps to make it a habit for both you and your student.

I start each day’s spelling with review of the cards. I review all of the cards in the Review tabs, but I also review some cards from behind the Mastered tabs as well. A couple of my children struggle with long term mastery, and doing this has helped them a lot. I review 2 yellow, red, and blue cards and 5 green cards from the Mastered tabs each day. This review usually takes about 5 minutes, give or take.

Then we move into the Step. The first day of a Step, I do the new teaching of the concept or pattern that first day, and have my child spell the words. My kids rarely want to spell with the tiles anymore, so typically they spell in their spelling notebooks, although one of my kids prefers the whiteboard sometimes. Then they do 4 of the dictation sentences, and they are finished for the first day.

The 2nd and 3rd days of a Step also start with about 5 minutes of reviewing the cards, and then we work in the Step. These days differ by what is in the Step. It could be reading a Word Bank, spelling More Words, alphabetizing, etc. We finish with 4 dictation sentences on each of these days as well.

Starting mid-way through AAS 3, there is a Writing Station activity at the end of each Step. In this activity the student is given 5 or 6 words to write, then they have to use those words in original sentences (or use all the words in a single complex, compound sentence, as one of my kids liked to do). Once my student reaches the point when Writing Station is a part of each Step, we do it on the 4th day. Again, the day begins with reviewing the cards for approximately 5 minutes, but often by the 4th day there is no more work in the Step to do except the Writing Station. So, often the 4th day is a short day for spelling, and my kids see it as a sort of reward for finishing a Step.

Note, we only do school 4 days a week most weeks, although we take fewer weeks off throughout the year to make up for it. However, when we do have 5 days of school in a week we just start the next Step whenever the previous one is finished. I know some homeschoolers feel a need to always be starting a new Step on a Monday, but we just “do the next thing” all year long and make great progress that way. Do whatever works best for you, but the key is consistency.

Note, this pattern I described for how we work through a Step is in general. Occasionally one of my kids will get to a Step that they struggle with, and I will have them spend 5 or even 6 days on the Step, instead of 4. When I realize that we need more time on a Step, I start giving them fewer dictation sentences each day, as I prefer to end every day’s spelling work with at least a couple dictation sentences. We have not really done a Step faster than 4 days, as my kids complain too much if they are asked to write more than 4 dictation sentences in a single setting. AAS 7 takes students through high school level spelling, and all of my kids are on target to finish AAR 7 before they start high school so I am not concerned about making them move faster. As a result, when a Step is easy for them each day’s work may be shorter than 20 minutes.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have further questions, or if I should explain anything in more detail.

Kristin A.

says:

After proof-reading one of my son’s writing assignments (which he dislikes so much) I know I need to work this program into our homeschool schedule. My 10 yr. old son is dyslexic and while his reading has come a long way, spelling (and writing) are still a big struggle. Thank you for this story and the other posts. It’s encouragement for me and gives me hope.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Kristin,
Please let us know if you have any questions, or if we can help you in anyway.

Yvonne

says:

My friend’s son really struggles with reading and writing. At the age of four he could take anything mechanical apart and re-assemble it. Truly a gifted and bright child. However, dyslexia has torn him down academically, which, as Heather pointed out, takes a toll in other areas. I will definitely recommend that my friend browse this blog. Thanks for your great products.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Yvonne,
Please let you friend know that we are readily available to answer questions by email (support@allaboutlearningpress.com) or phone (715-477-1976). All of us in Customer Care have personal experience teaching children with dyslexia and other learning difficulties, and we all are dedicated to helping others help their children succeed as well.

I used AAS with my dyslexic daughter when she was young. Now she is going into 11th grade and has been in advanced English for the past two years.

Brandi

says:

Wow! How encouraging! Thank you for sharing!

Ashley W

says:

Yes, very encouraging!

MaryAnne

says:

I love using AAS with my dyslexic children. We are considering using AAR this year to reinforce the reading program we’ve already completed for them. Thank you for making it so easy to help them learn.

Merry at AALP

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome! Please let us know if we can help in any way. AAR works great for dyslexic children.

Lisa Falk

says:

I have been enjoying AAS with my son, and feel that we are seeing results. FINALLY!

Hope

says:

THANK YOU! This program came highly recommended for my rising 1st grader that we believe is dyslexic. Her desire to learn went out the window when she started school last Fall, so we withdrew her and decided to homeschool. She is excited to learn again, and this post just reinforced my decision to start using All About Reading for ALL of my children!

Thank you so much for sharing this! My oldest daughter, 10 and going into 5th grade, is at a 2nd grade reading level. She has struggled with reading and spelling her whole school career, even having and IEP and in special reading programs. She has a normal IQ and is very bright, but just can’t get reading/spelling. I feel the same way as Heather did. Our family is moving, and that was the final catalyst for me to pull my kids out of public schools and homeschool. This will be a new season of life in the fall! In my homeschool research, I found you, information about dyslexia, and many wonderful resources. I’m excited to begin our new adventures, using AAR & AAS! Thank you!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Kristen,
I’m so glad that you found this blog post to be encouraging as you begin homeschooling your children. Please let us know if we can help in any way!

Ashley W

says:

I’m so glad you got the push you needed to take your daughter’s learning into your own hands! It’s a crazy journey, for sure! I would love to read an update of how your daughter is doing now. Is she using the AAS or AAR curricula? My daughter is 10 and did struggle with reading, until we started AAR. She struggles with spelling, so we are trying to decide if we need to start using AAS now. Best of luck on the journey!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Ashley,
I do hope Kristen gets back you; I’d like to hear how things have gone this year as well!

As for the question on if you need to start using AAS now, we recommend starting AAS 1 once the student has completed AAR 1 or the equivalent reading level. This article, All About Spelling – The Right Time to Start, explains this further.

Please let us know if you have any questions!

This is inspiring. I have a special needs child and have found AAR a great fit.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

I’m glad to hear that AAR has been a great fit for your child!

Steph

says:

We are progressing slowly with the spelling, concentrating on the reading right now. Learning that my son really needs to slow down when trying to spell. I so wish the schools would incorporate some of these things for our kiddos with dyslexia. I don’t care how many times you do fluency reading, it is just not going to get them to progress.

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Steph,

Yes, these strategies would be so beneficial to kids in school (and even for kids who don’t have dyslexia). A lot of schools (both public and private) actually do use our programs; maybe yours will consider it at some point. It sounds like you are doing a good job of meeting your son’s needs and helping him work at a pace that helps him master and retain concepts–good for you!

Linda Holley

says:

I think this is terrific. I can’t believe how well it works. I have never used it but from what I hear this is a great reading program. I hope to use this in the future 😊

Jill

says:

I am thankful that this resource is available to help with dyslexia. Now I know what resource to recommend to friends who have a child who is struggling.

rachel cartucci

says:

I am going into my second year of homeschooling my 7 year old son who has autism. It has been difficult and sometimes I question if I am doing a good job. It’s so hard to know if he is learning as much as he would if he were in school…but schools in my tiny town are not an option….it’s horrible at those schools.

Ashley W

says:

You’ve got this, mama! Best of luck on the journey! I’m sure we all have the same question from time to time or more frequently. I know I do! Your his mom, you love him, and want the best for him…So you are more than qualified already to give him what he needs!

Tammy

says:

We are going into our 2nd year of homeschooling and we are super excited to have this program!! My son completed the 4th grade with a 2nd grade reading level and they PASSED him ANYWAY!! I have been trying for him to be held back but the school was totally uncooperative. So with lots of prayer I started homeschooling. We recently received our AAR Level 1 and are ready to dive in head first realizing there is nowhere to go but up!!!

Tammy,
Thank you for sharing here. I hope you find All About Reading to be just the thing to help your son have reading success. Please let us know if we can ever help in any way.

Rebekah

says:

My 10 year old daughter is also dyslexic as well as a few other glitches. I like this program because it is user friendly for me as a mom/teacher. No prep work…. No prior training for me. I don’t need to learn anything before I open the book and start our lesson for the day. I make the lessons no more than 10 minutes, which she likes, and the daily repetition of rules has helped cement them. It is pain free for both her and me.
During this second book (our 3rd year with the program) she is starting to become more confident in her spelling and not ask me as often “How do I spell…”. I recommend this program to any parent…. Not just the parent with a child who has dyslexia. As a postscript… It is fun to spell with the tiles… And no spelling list.

Rebekah,
Thank you for sharing here. I love that there is no spelling list too. ;)

However, we do recommend spending 15 to 20 minutes a day, most days of the week, on spelling in order to make good progress, especially with older students such as your daughter. You may consider slowly stretching your spelling time each day until you reach that goal. Another possibility is to opt to do two 10 minute sessions each day.

Please let us know if we can ever help in any way.

Ashley W

says:

I know this was last year, but good to know older kids like my 10 year old can benefit from this program! :)

Amanda

says:

I have been homeschooling my dyslexic son for 2 and a half years and this is the first year I’m looking forward to teaching reading because of this program. He struggles with reading and math and it has helped him a lot .

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Hi Amanda! I hope that you can thoroughly enjoy teaching reading now, and that the program is a perfect fit for you. If you have any questions along the way, please don’t hesitate to get into touch with us. We’re here to help!

Kimberly

says:

My 10 year old is dyslexic and we tried All about Reading this last school year and have seen a HUGE improvement from him!
Thank you so much for this program!! We plan on getting the All About Spelling for this coming school year as well!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Thank you for sharing the news of your son’s improvement with us, Kimberly. I’m so happy for him…and for you!

Ashley W

says:

Yay! Stuff like this is what I love and need to read. I know this was last year, but I had to comment. My 10 year old has also been using AAR and we too have seen improvements in her reading! We’re trying to decide if we’re going to be using AAS for this next school year. Thanks for sharing!

Jana

says:

My brother is severely dyslexic and I keep looking for signs in my kids (who are still young). I’m so glad to have found All About Reading/Spelling and have a plan for whether any of them end up being dyslexic or not!

Jana,
Dyslexia is definitely hereditary, although it seems to be more strongly so when it is a parent that has dyslexia. I know that was the case in our family; my husband is dyslexic, and four of our five children are too to some degree. Maybe you will find this “Symptoms of Dyslexia Checklist” helpful. http://info.allaboutlearningpress.com/symptoms-of-dyslexia-checklist

You are correct, All About Reading and All About Spelling are great programs whether your child has a learning disability or not. Let us know if we can help you in any way! Thank you for your comment.

Brianne H.

says:

This is super encouraging! Thank you!

Michelle

says:

All About Reading and All About Spelling have been a tremendous help in teaching my dyslexic daughter to learn to read and spell. I also started using AAS with my older son who has struggled with his spelling for years, and I am happy to report that his spelling has improved by leaps and bounds! I will be using both of these programs with my younger kids as well. My kids and I love, love, love AAR and AAS!!!

Melanie

says:

My youngest is 7 and shows signs of dyslexia. This program helped my son be an awesome speller and reader. He stops himself when reading or spelling and makes sure he is reading it correctly.

Brieanne

says:

This is a great post. I was so anxious when we learned our son was dyslexic..that I wouldn’t find a way to help him and we so love this program because it has provided us with a way to teach him! He’s only done level 1so far but he has jumped so far ahead with his reading skills already! The best result we’ve seen is that he no longer says “I can’t read” !! His confidence is improving. Yah!!

Merry at AALP

says:

I hear you, Brieanne. It can be so scary when our kids are first diagnosed. Good for you for looking for options to help your son. I’m glad AAR has been helpful for him, and love that his confidence is improving. Keep up the good work!

Paula

says:

Good for you, Heather, for fighting for your son!! My kids aren’t dyslexic (though my older son is “spelling challenged” and has benefited greatly from AAS, and I’m planning to use All About Reading with my younger son), but my husband does have dyslexia. He faced all kinds of challenges in school because of it, but this was in the 80s, before homeschooling became common (and, of course, before AAS and AAR). But his mother did work with him a lot outside of school, and he still has a toy car his dad gave him for working so hard with his mom. In high school, a counselor told his dad that they were just passing him, he’d never accomplish much, and my husband should go to a trade school. Thankfully, his dad never told him any of this until after he’d graduated community college, where he’d been inducted into the honor society; by that time we knew that counselor was just plain wrong. My husband went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting (can you believe that??), now works as the fiscal controller for a local non-profit, and is considering going back to school for his MBA. He’s very successful in what he does, and he’s extremely intelligent, despite what the schools tried to tell his parents. There’s no reason dyslexic children can’t succeed with the proper tools!

Merry at AALP

says:

Paula, thanks so much for sharing your husband’s story! What an encouragement to parents of students who are struggling to persevere! And what an amazing blessing his mom and dad were to him. It’s such a benefit that we can homeschool our kids and meet their struggles as well as their interests and help to foster their success. Keep up the good work with your kids!

Brandi

says:

I have a dyslexic 12 year old and 14 year old. I had no idea what was wrong for years. I wish I would have had this program back when they were young. I have decided to get rid of my other reading programs and use this exclusively for the other three children following behind them. It is thorough and fun and in short enough sessions. Thank you for this post. It is encouraging. I’m thankful I’m not the only one walking this road with the older children that struggle with dyslexia.

Brandi,
You definitely are not alone and I’m very glad you found this encouraging! Keep up the great (and hard) work. Please let us know if we can help you in any way.

Nakia Biles

says:

I am hoping to see similar results here!

I would really like to try this out on my two children that have a hard time learning how to spell.

Niki P

says:

I really want to try this program! :)

Amber Rex

says:

I can’t wait to try this program!

jennifer mathesz

says:

great story!

Kimberlee

says:

Considering this for my daughter, whom I suspect has dyslexia.

Rebekah

says:

Having worked as a special ed teacher, I agree that this is a fabulous program for dyslexic children.

Sandy Mills

says:

We will be trying AAS for the first time this year. I am very exciting and praying it helps! ;)

Lynn Cornoy

says:

Yes, I completely agree. When you have a struggling child, you never give up until you find a way to reach his or her full potential. I have a daughter with disabilities and even though she is moving slowly through the All About Reading Curriculum, she IS learning to read. What a blessing!

Merry at AALP

says:

Good for you, Lynn! And that’s great that your daughter is making progress. When she’s grown, no one will know or care how long it took to work through the materials. You are giving her a solid foundation.

Kelly

says:

My kids have learned so much with this program.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

I’m thankful to hear that, Kelly. Comments like this are music to my ears. :)

t.larson

says:

Has worked great for us! Excited to use the next level this fall.

K. Tran

says:

Eager to give this a try with my emerging reader/speller.

Crystal

says:

This program has helped my son so much! Love it!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Crystal! Please tell your son that we’re rooting for him!

Amy Krause

says:

I’m looking forward to trying this program with my dyslexic son!

Charlene Chartier

says:

I have found that AAS is the best program for my dyslexic son. We started with AAS, was tempted away by something new, and quickly returned to AAS. It is such a great fit…and he really enjoys spelling time!

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Charlene,

I’m so glad that AAS is working well and that your son enjoys spelling time too!

Melissa Buttry

says:

frustration in your childs face is hard. I am planning on starting with this program this fall.

Marcia Sartin

says:

My children have struggled with spelling but last year we used All About Spelling and it has helped tremendously! So thankful for this program.

Toshia

says:

My son was having siliar problems and even though we have not recieved an official diagnosis of dyslexia, i bought this knowing it would help him either way. He went from crying after spelling and reading to begging to do spelling. It has helped him sooooo much. I love this program!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Hearing about your son’s progress with our program has made my day, Toshia. Thank you so much for sharing!

Jenny C

says:

This is one of my biggest fears as a homeschool mom starting out. That one of my children will need ‘extra’ because they don’t see or understand problems of any type like the “typical” child. A BIG deciding factor for going with All About Reading and All About Spelling is the fact that they have proven to work for SO many learning differences. Thank you!

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Jenny,

It can seem intimidating to think about our children struggling with learning, but just take things one step at a time and enjoy your kids. You can do this! You’re right that AAR and AAS are set up to help many different types of children. Also, know that we’re here to help. We provide lifetime support, and you are always welcome to email or call if you have trouble along the way.

Julie

says:

This could so help my daughter! Every day with dyslexia is a struggle.

Chenell

says:

Beautiful story! We’ve just discovered AAS and are excited to get started with it!

Merry at AALP

says:

That’s great, enjoy!

Jennifer P

says:

Thanks for sharing such a wonderful inspiring story. It give me hope that my daughter who’s struggling with reading and spelling could do great things with AAS.

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Jennifer,

I’m glad you enjoyed the article! There definitely is a lot of hope for students with dyslexia. I know the days can seem long sometimes–but your hard work and hers will definitely pay off.

Since she struggles with reading as well as spelling, you may want to look at All About Reading as well. 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.

Marie also did a blog article on What’s the difference between All About Reading and All About Spelling, which I think you’ll find helpful: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/whats-the-difference-aar-aas/

Dawn

says:

I am planning my first year of homeschooling with my 6th grade twins. I have been pouring over curriculum and keep coming back to AAS. I would love to use it!

Susie L

says:

Thanks for sharing such an inspiring story! I’ve just started AAS with my children and am excited to see the results.

Cyrus

says:

Thanks for sharing!

Katie

says:

Very cool!

Leslie houk

says:

Should I use the reading program or spelling program or both for my 15 and 12 year old boys ? And would I start at the beginning?

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Leslie,

I just answered your other question, which will hopefully help. You can use either or both, depending on which skills you need to work on.

For All About Spelling, you almost always start with Level 1 because it’s a building-block type of program.

For All About Reading, you can use the placement tests for AAR to decide which level would be best. Also, we recommend having your child read the sample stories from the previous level online as a further confirmation. You want your child to be reading fluently with good comprehension before going to a higher level.

http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-resource-center#ChoosingAllAboutReading

Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Alycia Dillman

says:

I have just started using all about reading with my son and we are on lesson 18 he has improved so much and not become. Ink so frustrated with words. I want to get him all about spelling to! This story really gives me hope for my son!

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Alycia,

That’s great! I’m so glad your son is improving with reading, and experiencing less frustration with words.

For spelling, we generally recommend waiting until after completing AAR 1 to start. This way students get a solid start in reading first, and have a strong basis for spelling as well. See our article on the Right Time to Start AAS for more information: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/aas-right-time-to-start/

Let us know if you have additional questions.

Leslie houk

says:

I hAve been Uzi g th AAS.After reading your article that spelling is not reading I became concerned about what I should be teAching my sons. They are 12 and 15 years old. They both have dyslexia. The older is more severe: how can the AAS help him if it is not a reading program?

Leslie,
All About Spelling is a spelling program. It can help with a student’s reading to a point, as a student can read any word he can spell.

However, being able to decode individual words is only one part of reading. Reading has other aspects such as fluency, comprehension, stamina, vocabulary, and more. These are not covered in All About Spelling because it is a spelling program. Rather, we cover fluency, comprehension, and so on in our All About Reading program. http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-reading/

If you are concerned about your sons’ reading abilities, I recommend looking over our All About Reading placement guides. http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

We also recommend having your student read the sample stories from the previous level online as a further confirmation. You want your student to be reading fluently with good comprehension before going to a higher level.
Level 1 sample story http://downloads.allaboutlearningpress.com/samples/CobwebTheCat_Sample.pdf
Level 2 sample story http://downloads.allaboutlearningpress.com/samples/AAR-L2-QueenBee-2ndEd-Sample.pdf
Level 3 sample story http://downloads.allaboutlearningpress.com/samples/AAR-L3-Shipwreck-Sample.pdf
Level 4 sample story http://downloads.allaboutlearningpress.com/samples/AAR-L4-Charlies-Sick-Day.pdf

Please let me know if how we can help you further.

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Leslie,

Depending on their struggles, they might benefit from using both. Here’s more about the programs and how they are designed to work:

Both All About Spelling and All About Reading are complete phonics programs, and both are Orton-Gillingham based: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-orton-gillingham/

They both use a similar sequence and the same phonograms, so they are interrelated in that way. AAS teaches words from the spelling angle (encoding) and AAR teaches words from the reading angle (decoding).

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

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

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

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

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

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

You would not have to start your sons in Level 1 for reading. Students who are already reading but need further support can use the reading placement tests to decide where to start. (Spelling works a bit differently, and so almost all students start with Level 1 for that program.)

I hope this helps as you decide what is best for you and your sons. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. We’re here to help, and provide lifetime support for all of our programs.

Annie Bleuer

says:

This was a great read! Thanks for sharing!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Annie!

Kelly

says:

Thanks for sharing, this is very encouraging for a mom with a struggling learner!

Nicole Abrazian

says:

Thank you for sharing. I have 3 children but my middle daughter is the one that has trouble with reading and spelling. I had no problem with my oldest so it was kind of a struggle to see what was going on. This helped me make my decision to try this program on my youngest 2 girls to see if it will help.

Nicole,
I’m very glad this blog post was helpful to you. Please let us know if we can help you in any way, with placement or anything else you need to help your children.

Michelle Williams

says:

Amazing Story! What a great teaching and learning tool!

L v Vuuren

says:

This is a touching story. It is wonderful to see that even those who struggle can succeed, given the right tools!

Yes! This story, and others like it, is an encouragement to all of us with struggling learners.

Thank you for commenting.

Steph

says:

What an amazing story!

Diane Bare

says:

We are new to homeschooling. I am interested in trying out this program!

stacy

says:

I am new to your blog researching on how to home school my two dyslexia boys. At this point the task seems scary, but I Ned to help them find a way to succeed!

Stacy,
Please let us know if we can help in any way. I have lots of experience teaching dyslexic children, as four of my five are dyslexic. Others here at All About Learning Press have similar experiences with dyslexia and other learning difficulties. Our first desire is to help and encourage others in anyway we can. We can be reached by email at support@allaboutlearningpress.com or by phone at 715-477-1976.

Homeschooling dyslexic children isn’t easy, but it is completely possible. You can help your sons succeed!

Kate

says:

We love the All About Spelling program! After struggling with spelling for years, my third grader is finally grasping the concept of spelling. Now she is able to sound out words using the rules and spell them with more accuracy than she could previously. Spelling is no longer frustrating for her and she looks forward to this subject now!

Kate,
It’s great to hear how All About Spelling is helping your daughter! Keep up the great work, and thank you for sharing.

Sarah Hackelton

says:

We are eager to try out this program for my child’s third grade year. After a really difficult 2nd we have enough information to believe he has been struggling with dyslexia. Finding answers and the possibility of working with a curriculum he can handle has given him a major confidence boost. And hope for this mom!

Sarah,
I’m glad you two are finding hope and confidence. Let us know if we can help with placement or anything else.

I hope you have a GREAT year!

Alice Ross

says:

This is so encouraging. I have a child who struggles with reading & writing. We are benefiting from these products & are glad we are not alone.

Kathy

says:

Indeed! You are NOT alone! Welcome to our community:)

Rene Rutherford

says:

This past year I worked with two students who could not spell. One has reading difficulty as well. This program looks to offer real hope for progress.

Rene,
Our goal is to help all students have success in reading and spelling. Let us know if we can answer any questions for you.

Heather Coffman

says:

I worked very hard for 2 years, along with a reading specialist from our local university, to learn how to teach my dyslexic daughter to read and spell at home. During that time I learned what goes into a quality Orton Gillingham based program. That coupled with my own experience as a homeschooling mother of 5 has lead me to choose AAS for my family.

Kathy

says:

Hi Heather,

You’ve been a BUSY Mom! Thanks for your vote of confidence for AAS! We hope you continue to enjoy the benefits of being able to teach your children at home. We look forward to helping you if you ever require assistance!

Kathy
Customer Care Representative

Congratulations to Heather and her son!

I have a question. Has anyone used AAS with a kid who is enrolled in public school? How has that worked out? My grandson is moving away (boohoo) and I won’t be able to work with him very easily. I’m hoping to make good progress with AAR 1 this summer, but I was so looking forward to using AAS 1 with him after that. I think his mom and her fiance would work with him on AAS 1, but I don’t know how it would work with his public school spelling program. He’ll be repeating first grade. His teacher this year (after we moved schools) didn’t have spelling lists or tests, which I appreciated.

Lydia R.

says:

Hi Nancy–

My 7 y.o. goes to public school; we’ve been doing AAS since kindergarten and are currently on level 3. His school does alot of science and math, but as far as I know they hardly teach any spelling. Different schools probablyhave different programs, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t teach much spelling beyond sounding out words, sight words and word sorts.When they teach vowels in first grade, my son was the only one other than his teacher

Lydia R.

says:

(Accidentally posted before I finished typing, whoops)

My son was the only one* who knew “and sometimes y.” All the other kids only knew “aeiou.”He didn’t win the spelling bee, but he’s the best writer and one of the best spellers in his class.

I think AAS will teach/cover the massive gaps in public school spelling instead of contradicting their spelling program. My two cents =)

Good to hear. I think I will ask my daughter if she would do this with her son. I think it would really help him.

Paul Fread

says:

I am trained in The Writing Road to Reading which seems to be very similar to Orton-Gillingham. I plan on looking into what you have to offer. thank you so much for what you are doing.

Kathy

says:

The Writing Road to Reading could be called the “Orton-Spalding” method as Spalding worked closely with Dr Orton in developing it.

Although I have only my two boys as guinea pigs (therefore much more limited experience than the teachers commenting here), I am very familiar with both programs. What AAS brings to the method is classified word lists (ie a group of at least 10 words following the one spelling rule/pattern being taught in the lesson) which is the very thing I thought that WWTR lacked when I was using it. AAS is also much more user friendly for the untrained mum (sorry, mom, I’m an Aussie) to use.

I have tried one other Orton-Gillingham style program (Australian-based) and have looked at one or two others, but I think that AAS is probably the most user friendly and logically organised of all.

Kathy G

says:

I just realised that there’s more than one Kathy on this list (should have known it seems to be the flavour of the month in my age group). I’m not the one from AAS, just so everyone knows :^)

Kathy

says:

Glad you joined the discussion and added such valuable insight, Kathy! We have a common name, but unique experiences:)

We’re glad you’re finding AAS easy to teach. That was a huge mission for Marie when undertaking this project! Keep up the good work with your sons and let us know if we can ever be of assistance along the way!

Kathy
Customer Care Representative

Lavonia Hardman

says:

I am new to your blog and your products, but I am very impressed. I teach third grade and want to use your ideas and products in my reading class. Thanks so much!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Lavonia! I’m glad you are able to use the ideas in your reading class! Thanks for being a teacher!!!

Dara Pernell

says:

I am looking forward to starting All About Spelling this fall!!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Yay! I sincerely hope you and your kids enjoy it!

Tammy

says:

I’m not sure how to feel about this for myself. I am so glad that this has been a success story for her and her son. My son is 13 and taking things back to this level, as much as he needs it, leaves him feeling ashamed and angry. So many things that are easier for him to read, he calls baby stuff. I feel the frustration in more ways than one.?

Tammy,

I’m so sorry your son is struggling with this. Those late tween/early teen years are difficult ones for a young person’s confidence even when everything is going right, and it can be so much more difficult when there are struggles.

Acknowledge his feelings. Anger is understandable. As is shame, although it is in no way his fault. But anger, shame, and frustration alone will not fix this problem. Only hard work, going back to where he begins to have struggles, will do so.

I understand your ambiguous feelings about reading about another student’s success while your student still struggles. Just last week a 6 year old got up to read a Psalm at church and everyone praised him, and I sat there knowing that my 8, almost 8-and-a-half, year old has been working on reading diligently since she was 5 and she still cannot read even half as well as that 6-year-old. I don’t want to lessen that boy’s accomplishment, but I also want everyone to understand that my daughter has worked three times as hard for three times as long. Hard work should be worth something too.

Sigh. I guess what I want you to know is that we here at All About Learning Press understand. My 8-year-old daughter is just the youngest of my four students that struggle, and the rest of the Customer Care Team has also had experience with learning difficulties in their own children. We offer lifetime support, as much and as long as needed, through email (support@allaboutlearningpress.com) and phone (715-477-1976).

Kim Tisdale

says:

Im so excited to try these products.

julia

says:

I’m glad we found All About Spelling. Now in 4th grade my son has finally started to learn spelling.

I also have a dyslexic child and she’s doing great with AAS. I started one of my other kids on it as well who is not dyslexic but struggles with spelling SO MUCH. It’s definitely more time consuming than a regular spelling program, but every minute is time well spent.

Georgia,
While All About Spelling might be more time consuming for a child that is a natural speller, I found it less time consuming for my daughter when we started it in the 4th grade. We were spending so much time on weekly spelling lists, and she was still struggling. The 15 to 20 minutes a day with All About Spelling that lead to finally having spelling success was a breath of fresh air for the both of us.

Thank you for sharing your experiences with AAS, and how well it is working with your children.

Julia Daniels

says:

Would love to try this with my daughter. I am still her walking dictionary!

Wendy jones

says:

I just order all about spelling can’t wait to get started!!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Hi Wendy! Let us know if you have any questions when you get your package (support@allaboutlearningpress.com or 715-477-1976). Enjoy!

Anne

says:

Love this program!

Mallory

says:

I hear nothing but good things about these programs. The stories from parents are so encouraging. I am looking forward to using both with my children and further students I hope to homeschool.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Thank you so much for the kind words, Mallory. Our customers’ satisfaction means the world to us. I wish you all the best in your homeschooling endeavors.

Ellie

says:

Beautiful! How encouraging! It’s evident that Heather’s son will have not just learned to read and spell, but to persevere, work hard, and be empathetic toward others in trying situations! How beneficial will that be when he’s an adult. AAS/AAR is so key in turning defeated kids into conquering kids! I’m looking forward to our dyslexic kids changing the world!

Kathy

says:

A hearty AMEN, Ellie!

Emily

says:

This is so encouraging. I haven’t tried All About Spelling, but we’re really loving All About Reading, and it has tremendously helped my son who was having reading difficulties.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

I’m happy to hear that your son has been helped by AAR, Emily! Thanks for sharing!

Amanda Duke

says:

What an inspiring story! Parents truly do know their children best and are the best people out there to educate their child. What an amazing mom for realizing what her child needed and doing it herself.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

I’m glad that you were as inspired by Heather’s story as much as we were. That’s why we wanted to share her story with everyone. Her perseverance in helping her son when others didn’t know how to help him was incredible.

I have to say yes yes yes! AAS saved my oldest son too. It was recommended to us by a therapist and from then on I used it with him to improve all his skills and he is just finishing up level 5 as we speak. My daughter has done wonderful with it as well she is in level 4 and then we come to my smallest son. He is a severe dyslexic and has had therapist helping him but our insurance just denied renewal for that so I’ve cried, prayed and been angry a lot the last 2 weeks and I pulled back out AAS 1 and we started it with our smallest son again. I love AAS and I am so glad that years ago I was told to try it.

Kathy

says:

Kayla,

We’re so glad you have AAS materials AND experience enough to know that there is hope for your son! Please let us know how we can be of assistance to you. You’re NOT alone!

Kathy
Customer Care Representative
All About Learning Press, Inc.

Chantel

says:

Great story! Love AAS.

Wendy

says:

What a great story! Would love to try these products…

Laura B.

says:

Thank you for the inspirational story. I can already see how much just the AAR pre reading program has helped one of my sons with his ability to more clearly verbalize. I wasn’t even focusing on teaching him. I was teaching his older brother and trying to make it fun for everyone.

Laura,
Don’t you love it when incidental learning happens? What a great by-product of the Pre-Reading level. Thank you for sharing.

Erin Rodriguez

says:

Amazing :)

marie

says:

these stories are so helpful! it is so good to get advice from someone who has been there too!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Thanks for the positive feedback, Marie. It’s always so encouraging to see how someone else has done it and to see if there’s something to be learned from it.

Jill

says:

My second born has struggled for years. We are finally finding help and giving All About Reading a try!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Hi Jill! I’m glad that you are finding AAR helpful for your struggling reader! If you run into any roadblocks as you are teaching your child, feel free to contact us at support@allaboutlearningpress.com or 715-477-1976. We want to make this as easy as possible for you!

Amanda

says:

My youngest struggles with letter sounds and my oldest breezes through every lesson. I like that we can use AAR and AAS at the same time when needed and both kids are learning so very well. I have learned to be a better reader as well. 😀

Beth

says:

We can’t wait to start using this in September!

Dawn

says:

Finding All About Spelling was a lifesaver. Even though my daughter was much older, we started at level 1. My daughter loved the painless, short lessons and dictation. I loved how easy it was to teach!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

I am so glad to hear that you and your daughter loved the spelling lessons, Dawn!

Melissa

says:

Help! My kids are terrible at spelling. Where do I start? My kids are 7 & 10.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Hi Melissa! Most students–especially if they are struggling–start with Level 1 of All About Spelling. For more information on placement, please see the article “Which Spelling Level Should We Start With?” If you would like additional help, feel free to call us at 715-477-1976 or e-mail us at support@allaboutlearningpress.com. We’ll be happy to help you find the right level for your children!

Leslie

says:

Just as a testimonial… We started my older child on Level 1 too. It was brilliant to see how confident she became finding she did know more than she recognized, but with a new and organized way she was able to categorize in her brain. I don’t know if it’s recommended, but we flew through level one and two (she didn’t struggle as a reader, but somehow it never translated into spelling). Now we are moving on to more challenging levels, but there’s not confusion because of the great AAS foundation!

Kathy

says:

Just want to confirm that we do actually recommend working quickly through early, foundational lessons in our beginning level or two. The confidence your daughter found, Leslie, is part of the key to an older student’s motivation to cooperate with doing so. Firming up that foundation, filling in any gaps and preparing a logical progression from which to spring ahead would be the primary emphasis we encourage.

Thanks, Leslie, for sharing your great experience for those who wonder if it’s worth it! Keep up the great work as you forge ahead!

Kathy
Customer Care Representative

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