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Real Moms, Real Kids: A Typical Day with AAR

Real Moms, Real Kids: A Typical Day with AAR with Robin W.

Have you ever wondered what’s involved in a typical day with AAR?

Robin Williams is a real mom who uses All About Reading and All About Spelling with her own kids. Robin is also a part of our Customer Care team. Join Robin as she shares what a typical day with AAR looks like in her homeschool.

Here’s Robin…

Moms often ask what a typical day with AAR is like, and they particularly want to know how other moms divide up a lesson over many days. I’d like to describe what happens in our homeschool and give you a peek inside our lessons.

First, I start by gathering the All About Reading materials and my student.

We start the day’s lesson by reviewing word cards. My daughter is grasping the concepts in All About Reading easily and well, but fluency is coming more slowly for her. Since I don’t move a Word Card to behind the “Mastered” tab until she can read it without sounding it out, she has built up a thick stack of “Review” cards. So I have her read through the stack for two or three minutes, picking up the next day where she left off.

girl reading word cards

Once a week or so, we review with games. Though the All About Reading Level 1 Ziggy Supplement specifically correlates with All About Reading Level 1, these games will work with cards from any level. So I combine my daughter’s All About Reading review with my older boys’ All About Spelling Level 5 and Level 3 review. In the picture below, they are using a game that requires the players to count syllables in words. In addition to doing the syllable activity, I also required them to read a Phonogram Card before moving the allotted number of spaces. They are all willing to review much longer than usual when they are playing a game!

children playing game together

After review, we move onto the New Lesson section in the Teacher’s Manual. Every other lesson begins with new concepts that are introduced with the letter tiles to make the teaching multisensory. I don’t have a lot of wall space in our school/family room, so I hung my magnet board vertically. I use a magnetic chalkboard instead of a white board, mostly because I had one on hand. (I keep my Spelling Strategies and Syllable Types charts for All About Spelling tacked up right next to the magnet board so we won’t lose them!)

young girl works with letter tiles

After working with the new concepts, we move on to the fluency practice sheet. Because my daughter struggles with fluency, she really doesn’t enjoy this part of the lesson. I divide most sheets up over at least two days; some of the longer ones we spend as much as four days on. Each day I have her read some of the new words, some of the review words, some of the phrases, and some of the sentences. I allow her to choose which of each to read, and she marks off a row after she has read it.

On the second day of a new concept lesson, after reviewing the cards, we quickly review the concept with the tiles and then move onto the activity sheets. I do not pre-cut the activity sheets because my daughter enjoys cutting them herself. We keep the pieces in an envelope in her pocket folder just in case we want to revisit the activity. We finish this day with more fluency sheet reading.

By the third day of a lesson (or fourth day, if necessary), the lesson’s word cards have been read over at least a couple times and have been shuffled into the stack for more mixed review. We revisit concept teaching with the tiles, mix in game review, and redo activity pages as she slowly works through the fluency practice sheet.

For lessons that have a short story scheduled, we begin the lesson as usual with review of the cards and then we “buddy read” the story. I read a page aloud, slowly but with good expression, and then my daughter reads a page. We continue this way through the story. The following day, after reviewing the cards, we buddy read the story again but switch the pages we read. On the final day of a short story, she reads the entire story herself. By the third time through her reading is usually smoother and much more fluent.

mom buddy reading with young girl

I hope this gives you some idea how a reading lesson can be divided over many days, aiming for about 20 minutes on each day.

Here’s What I Love about Robin’s Story

  • Robin’s daughter’s review of the Word Cards is short and brisk, just two to three minutes long.
  • Robin adapted a game to make additional review more interesting, and her older children can join in.
  • Recognizing the importance of fluency practice, Robin figured out a way to make this portion of the lesson more palatable for her daughter.
  • Robin keeps the activity sheet pieces in an envelope so the activities can be reused later.
  • I love the buddy reading idea! In fact I loved the idea so much, we asked Robin to share more about it. You can read more about it in this post!
  • She sticks to a 20-minute time limit, stopping before her daughter reaches a frustration point. This is important; you want your child to be interested in coming back for more.

Products Robin is using with her daughter

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

What were your main take-aways from Robin’s story? Was this helpful for you?

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Erin

says:

I’ve used AAR for three kids (so far). Love it!

Rebecca

says:

I love all of these ideas! With my four-year-old, I make the Fluency Sheets more entertaining by having her choose a crayon of her choice (and I choose one too). We each take turns reading words/phrases, and then circle the word we read, or put a check mark beside it. My daughter loves writing on the sheet and the satisfaction of “ticking” the words she reads off!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Rebecca,
There is such a wonderful feeling of satisfaction to checking things off! Using that great feeling to help with motivation to read the fluency sheets is a great idea. Thank you for sharing it.

jennifer wagner

says:

It is nice to see how others are taking the same curriculum and making it fit for their individual families! Thanks for sharing!

laura cripe

says:

I love the giant board for the letter tiles

Brittany

says:

It’s so helpful to know how other people are using the curriculum. Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Brittany. Since you found this helpful, we have a video showing a teacher and student working through Lesson 3 of AAR 1 that you might also benefit from. It is near the end of our recent How to Teach Reading Comprehension blog post.

Michelle

says:

We love All About Reading! Only need Level 4 to complete our set!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Congratulations on nearing the end of All About Reading, Michelle! If you haven’t seen it already, you may find our blog post on What Happens After All About Reading helpful.

Wendy

says:

This would be a great tool for my son

Virginia I. Schultz

says:

I am excited to apply the ABC Crafts for Uppercase Letters to my granddaughter’s home school curriculum.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Virginia,
We hope you and your granddaughter enjoy the ABC crafts!

Dandi D

says:

My son loves reading and this looks like a great program!

Jessica

says:

Where would you start a rising fifth grader who has never used the curriculum?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jessica,
We have placement tests for All About Reading to help you decide which level would be best. Also, we 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
Level 2 sample story
Level 3 sample story
Level 4 sample story

Evaluate (without correcting your student) for the following…
Your student’s ability to decode the words in the story.
Your student’s ability to comprehend the story.
Could your student fluently read the story with expression?
Did your student understand the words from a vocabulary standpoint?

For All About Spelling, we recommend that most students start with level 1 to build a strong foundation in spelling.

For example, we find that many students simply memorize easy words like “cat” and “kid” but have no idea why one uses a C and the other uses a K, or that the same rules that apply to these words also apply to higher level words such as “concentrate.” Other students switch letters or leave out letters entirely. This usually occurs because they don’t know how to hear each sound in the word. Level 1 has specific techniques to solve these problems.

However, we encourage parents and teachers to “fast track” if the student knows how to spell most of the words but does not understand the underlying basic spelling concepts. In this case, very quickly skim the parts that the student already knows and slow down on the parts that he needs to learn. Pull out several words as examples. Make sure he understands the concept being taught, and then move on. This blog article has a good example of how you might fast track.

Please let me know if you have any other questions!

Cheyenne spears

says:

As someone who is just starting this program, it is great to see how other people use it for their child!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Cheyenne,
This blog post has a video showing Lesson 3 of All About Reading 1 in action. I think you may find it helpful as you begin.

Renatta Welsh

says:

It is helpful to see how others use the program. Thanks for sharing!

Melissa

says:

We have been using All About Spelling with my now 3rd grader and are on level 3. It has been a great program! Just started level 1 of All About Reading with my K’er. Also a great program! Highly recommend these! They are no-rush programs that can be completely tailored to your child’s pace!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Melissa,
Thank you for sharing how you are using All About Spelling and All About Reading with your children!

Carissa

says:

Great blog post!

Judith Martinez

says:

It’s so nice to see how other people are using the curriculum. We’re just getting started.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Judith,
This blog post has a video showing Lesson 3 of All About Reading 1 in action. I think you may find it helpful.

Alberta Baxter

says:

The program works amazing with children who have dyslexia

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Alberta,
Yes, it does! All About Reading and Dyslexia.

Laura

says:

I think my son would enjoy this program!

Gabrielle McConeghey

says:

I love this. What a great way to get through all the material without the student getting burnt out.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Gabrielle,
Yes! While consistent lessons are essential for success, keeping each day’s work short and focused is so important for keeping motivation up. That is why we recommend working on reading for just 20 minutes a day.

Jen S.

says:

I love this program. It is great that it is mastery based so my kids can progress at their individual rate.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jen,
Yes! This blog post was from a few years ago, and my daughter finished AAR 4 this winter and she is happily reading all day long! It was difficult for her to become fluent, but she got there and that is what matters.

Eileen

says:

This was very helpful. I think I was getting stuck in the idea that “progress” meant “one lesson per day ” or “finishing the program” rather than “mastery” — and my son and I were both getting frustrated. Thank you so much for giving us permission to just …. slow down. I had thought following your plan might draw out the lessons too much and make it seem “boring,” but the opposite has turned out to be true. His favorite part of the lesson? The two minute word card review! He likes to record how many words he read correctly each day, and beat the previous day’s record. He also appreciates not doing the fluency sheet all in one sitting — I have him pick out 3-4 sentences to read ,and circle 2-3 word groups. He’ll do that much of the sheet happily on most days, and it all just works so much better. We also actually set a timer for the lessons, so he knows the end is actually in sight. The improvement in his attitude is doing more to facilitate his progress than anything else. Thank you so much for sharing this!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Eileen,
I’m so glad to hear how this blog post has helped your son to enjoy reading and make progress! Slow and steady works wonderfully! It’s a year later, and my daughter is now moving through lessons much more quickly, about 2 days for concept lessons and 1 day for story lesson. She is able to do this now, because we took the time to build up her fluency.

Nicole Abrazian

says:

Thanks for this article. I will be using this program with my 9 year old and my 5 year old when I start schooling them next month. I was having trouble figuring out how to spread it out over several days. I can’t wait to implement this into their school days.

Nicole,
You are welcome. The trick is to move at a pace that is comfortable for your student. Some will be comfortable moving through the lessons faster, and some, like my daughter, needs more time.

Let us know if you have any questions or if we can help in any way. I hope you have a GREAT school year!

Sarah L Dupree

says:

This was so helpful in making my decision to use All About Reading!

Stacey

says:

We just started level 1 with my six year old son. He is loving the program.

Jen R

says:

I think my 6yo daughter would love this!

Julie F

says:

We have homeschooled for 10 years. I wish I had “All About Learning” when I started. We have used All About Spelling this year and have loved it!

Tonya Ferguson

says:

I like this blog

Stephanie Kilgore

says:

This is my second year to homeschool and I am clueless *I feel* on how to teach certain subjects. I am always looking for a great way to help my kids learn. Where I live they have a program called barks, books and buddies. Your child reads to a dog – a non-judgmental listener-and my oldest daughter really enjoys it!

Merry at AALP

says:

Very cute! I’ve heard of similar programs (and reading to the family pet or a favorite stuffed animal is popular too!)

Andrea

says:

I have a 7-year-old son who is struggling to read. I just bought AAR Level 1 and I’m going to be using this post to help implement it for him. Thanks!

Andrea,
You’re welcome! It can be frustrating and scary when your child struggles; I know I worry about Belle’s struggles and she is my third child in a row to do so. Yet her brothers overcame their struggles and now happily read at grade level or above, and I keep telling myself that slow and steady with the right materials Belle will get there too. So will your son.

Let us know if there is any questions or concerns we can help with along the journey.

Anuhea

says:

I will be homeschooling my daughter for kindergarten next year. This program looks awesome and I love seeing these reviews on how it is implemented in a real home setting.

Beth Naas

says:

I really like the buddy reading idea. We are new to All About Reading, but my son is enjoying it, and I really like the flexible nature of the lessons. Thanks for sharing how you structure your AAR time with us.

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