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Spelling: how much time should I spend?

Child writing from spelling Sound Card

If you’re wondering how much time you should spend on spelling lessons, you aren’t alone! This is one of our most frequently asked questions about the All About Spelling program.

Fortunately, there is a really simple answer that works in most situations.

How Much Time Should I Spend?

I generally recommend spending 20 minutes a day, five days a week on spelling lessons.

Of course, this general recommendation may not fit your family’s situation perfectly. You may need to customize the length of your lessons to fit your child’s specific needs.

But that’s the great thing about All About Spelling—it’s easy to customize. Here are a few more things to think about as you plan your day:

  1. Take your child’s age and attention span into consideration. If your child is young, has a hard time sitting still, or is just starting out in spelling, you may want to start with as little as ten minutes per day. You can gradually build up the time as your child matures and his attention span grows.
Child writing on whiteboard
  1. Short lessons every day are more effective than longer, less-frequent lessons. In a short lesson, your child’s attention is less likely to wander, and you’ll find that you can accomplish more when your student is actively engaged in the lesson. Keep the lessons upbeat and fast-paced to hold the child’s interest. Even if you are working with an older child who can focus for a longer period of time, 20 minutes is all you need to review old material, teach the new concept, and write several sentences from dictation. Students can only absorb so much new information at once, and then the rest isn’t retained.

    Sometimes we hear from moms whose kids balk at spelling lesson time, only to find out that the mom is trying to push through multiple lessons in one sitting, or is spending an hour on extra lessons in order to “catch up.” Even if they were just as effective as short lessons, long lessons make spelling seem like drudgery. As much as possible, we want to keep lessons light and fun.

  2. Remember that you don’t need to complete an entire Step in a day. In fact, sometimes a student will need a whole week to complete a Step. The speed at which your child masters a Step depends on the student’s age, attention span, prior experience, and the concepts being taught. The All About Spelling program is completely flexible and customizable so you can breeze through sections that are easy for your student and spend more time on difficult concepts.

    If you’re new to All About Spelling and are wondering what a “Step” is, download this free lesson sample from Level 2, Step 16. Each Step teaches one new concept, and in this Step, students learn words with the sound of /ar/ as in farm.

    Lessons samples from All About Spelling Level 2

    There are three main sections in each Step: Review, New Teaching, and Reinforcement. If you can’t get through the entire Step in a day, simply mark the page to hold your spot. The next day, start with a quick review of the flashcards (Phonogram Cards, Sound Cards, Key Cards, and Word Cards), and then pick up where you left off the previous day.

  3. Use a timer. After you’ve determined the best length of time for your situation, set a timer at the beginning of the lesson. This will help you stay on track and not make the lesson go on too long. Your child will be encouraged to stay focused because he knows that the lesson will end, and you won’t be tempted to keep pushing past the time you agreed upon.

The Bottom Line

The most important thing to remember when planning spelling lessons is to keep them “short, sweet, and consistent.” Your child’s brain is like a muscle, and consistent exercise does much more to develop muscle than occasional big bursts of energy. And shorter lessons keep your child coming back for more!

Photo credit: Jamie at The Unlikely Homeschool

Short, effective lessons are just one of the ways we make spelling easy! Download my free e-book, “Six Ways We Make Spelling Easy,” to discover six powerful features of All About Spelling that will revolutionize your teaching!

Six Ways We Make Spelling Easy Report

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Leave a Comment

Sandi

says:

My daughter will be entering 4th grade this year at a university model school and I will be in charge of teaching her spelling. AAS is one of the choices we have. Previously she was using Words Their Way. I am struggling with trying to decide what level of AAS she would be using. Can you advise what level a rising 4th grade should begin using?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sandi,
All About Spelling is a building block program with each level building upon the previous one. The rules and concepts learned in Level 1 are applied in Level 2, and then those are applied in Level 3, and so on. Placement for spelling is based on the student’s knowledge of spelling rules and concepts rather than grade level, reading level, or the words a student has memorized.

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.

The article Which Spelling Level Should We Start With? has more information on the concepts taught in All About Spelling 1 and will help you decide if your student can skip level 1 and go into level 2.

Level 2 of AAS focuses on learning the syllable types, when they are used and how they affect spelling. This information is foundational for higher levels of spelling. Three syllable rules are introduced in Level 2, and then more in Level 3 and up. For this reason, we don’t recommend starting higher than level 2.

However, we encourage you to “fast track” if your daughter 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 she already knows and slow down on the parts that she needs to learn. Pull out several words as examples. Make sure she understands the concept being taught, and then move on. This blog article has a good example of how you might fast track.

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

Dee

says:

My daughter is entering 6th grade. When I pulled her from public school at the end of 4th grade we began AAS. In the past year we have completed the first 4 books. However, after reading the comments of others I’m wondering if I’m moving too fast. We do one lesson daily for 4-5 days a week. She has not had any trouble with the lessons so far and she’s mastered the cards pretty quickly. Should I be doing something differently?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Dee,
You would know if you were moving too fast for your student. She would be having trouble with the words and especially with the dictation.

However, All About Spelling 5, 6, and 7 are more difficult, so she may need to slow down slightly as you progress. Keep in mind that AAS 7 take students through high school level spelling, so she has plenty of time to master these three levels.

emily

says:

awesome job these have really helped me to be a better student

Justin's Roth

says:

What about grading? Is this program geared away from “test”.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

All About Spelling is a mastery based program. If the student has anything less than mastery, then that means the student needs more focused review or further teaching. After mastery is reached, there is continued review through dictation passages and periodic review of mastered word cards. There is also continuing word analysis as a form of review, discussing why a word is spelled the way it.

Since mastery is the goal, the only possible grade is an A. I hope this helps you to understand, but please let me know if you have any further questions.

Beth

says:

We are in AAS 1 and I still don’t understand how to use the green cards. Is the student supposed to read them, or spell them orally? I don’t remember seeing anything about them in the book, but maybe I missed something.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Beth,
Each of the cards are explained on page 8 of the AAS 1 Teacher’s Manual. This is additional information about the green cards when they are first used in Step 6.

The green Word Cards match up with the Word Lists near the end of each Step starting in Step 6. The student needs to spell them with tiles first. Then, maybe on the next day, he (or she) spells the words on paper. The Word Cards are kept in the Spelling Review Box behind the green “Review” tab until the student has mastered them, being able to spell them correctly without hesitation. Once mastered, the card is moved behind the green “Mastered” tab. The Teacher’s Manual will instruct you to review the mastered cards three times in AAS 1.

Each day you should begin your spelling time with a review of the the cards behind the review tabs. If you get to the first scheduled master review (Step 11) and find your student is struggling with a lot of mastered cards, you could opt to review 1 or 2 yellow, red, and blue cards and 3 to 5 green cards each day from the mastered sections. I have found that my children do better with long term mastery when we review a bit from the mastered sections daily.

As for spelling orally, that depends on the student. Some spell fine orally, and it can be quicker and easier for review. However, some students struggle with oral spelling, making mistakes that they do not make with the tiles or on paper, such getting letters in the wrong order or saying the wrong letter. Just last week my 11 year old, in AAS 5, kept making the same mistake orally while we were reviewing. He would spell d-e-s-t-o-r-w. However, when I asked him to write the word, he could easily spell destroy correctly without hesitation. That is why I do not use oral spelling with him. (We hadn’t done it orally for a year, so when he asked to spell orally again I said we’ll try, but last week’s experience shows us both that he needs to spell on paper.)

I hope this clears things up for you. Please let us know if you have questions at any time!

Anyway, even if your child does well with oral spelling for review, have him spell each word with the tiles and by writing (paper, whiteboard, whatever) at least once. Then, any word he struggles with should built with the tiles a few times (on different days, as a part of your daily review) and then spelled by writing a few times.

Jill Morris

says:

Thank you so much for AAS!!! My 5 year old (who started reading just before 3) went from not being able to spell anything to being able to spell every word in every lesson of AAS and we’re only 1/2 way through AAS L1. I do break the lessons up into 10 words a day which he could easily finish in 5 minutes if he focused, but he plays around, asks me to repeat the word multiple times and it ends up taking 30 minutes to spell out 10 little words. The issue is that he doesn’t like to spell and so he dawdles. He does much better when the lesson calls for using tiles verse writing them, but he still dawdles. A friend suggested letting him spell the words out loud, but I can’t stop thinking about the post you wrote about how our brain records the information so much more efficiently when we say the word, see the word, write the word, sound out the letters all at the same time. Any advice on how to help my child enjoy spelling more and not dread it? Thank you!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jill,
5 years old is still very young for writing. Many children that are advanced academically, such as your son reading at 2 years old, are still more average in skills that are more physical in nature, such as writing.

Feel free to work only with tiles, since he does better with that. You can also try having him write the words on the whiteboard, as some children find that easier. And, if your son is doing well with spelling, oral spelling occasionally is fine too.

Lastly, aim for short lessons even if he dawdles, no more than 20 minutes and even shorter is appropriate for his age. Just stop, even if he has only spelled 6 words. Pick up where you left off the next day. Over time, he will settle down and begin to spell more words in that same time frame. Focus is hard for very young learners, and he is already working at an advanced level.

Kristin

says:

We’ve been struggling with school in general lately, but I love how easy it is to quickly “fit in” a spelling lesson (or reading with AAR!) for each of my kids. I have four using both AAR and AAS (plus two older students), so quick and easy is a life saver for me!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Kristin,
Thank you for sharing this. Many customers ask if it is even possible to use AAS and AAR with multiple students each at their own level. It’s encouraging to hear you are doing just that!

Lindsay

says:

I would love to hear how more of how you do this? Do you have multiple sets of tiles? I have one using level 1 of AAR and I want to go back and do AAS from the beginning with my 2 older and struggling spellers.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Lindsay,
Hopefully Kristin will see this and answer as well, but I can let you know what I do. I have three students using AAS at three different levels (AAS 6, AAS 4, and AAS 2) and one student using AAR 2.

I have one board set up for the for the student at the highest level. The younger students know to ignore the tiles they haven’t been taught yet. When I go to the board with a younger student, I just pull the tiles they know toward the middle of the board. I don’t put them all the way in the middle, just on the edge of the middle working space to make it easier for them to find the tiles they know. I also hang my board vertically because I lack a lot of wall space, so I kind of have to do this for my shorter students to reach some of the tiles anyway.

This blog post includes a photo of my youngest working on our board. She was at the beginning of AAR 2 when this photo was taken, but you can see all the tiles that we were using for my son that was in AAS 5 at that time.

Melanie Bishop

says:

Thank you for this!

Amy C

says:

We do a little bit of spelling each day but it is usually less than 20 minutes. Sometimes just 5 minutes, other times 10 or more….We usually do a one step a week, but that still keeps us on a pretty good pace it seems. From what I can calculate, it seems that we will still probably be done with all 7 levels in about 4 years I think….Hopefully I am not missing something….

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Amy,
Many students finish all 7 levels is about 4 years or so, but not all. The difficulty increases with each level, so that students tend to spend a lot more time on level 5, for example, than they did on level 1 or 2. Also, if you start AAS with a young child, they tend to take longer to complete all 7 levels than those that start older.

Keep in mind that in AAS Level 7, students are spelling high school level words (we use all of the modern Ayers list words which ranks up to 12th grade, and other various lists that rank words between 9th and 12th grade). So as long as students finish during high school or earlier, they are doing very well.

Melissa

says:

Thank you so much for this post, I have had trouble determining the time that we spend on each step. This helps a lot, Thank You!!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Melissa. We strive to be helpful. :D

Karina W

says:

I’m excited at the possibilities this program offers. I’m not a homeschool mom, but would like to find a way to support my kids at home so they understand the rules of spelling, and not just memorization. 20″ a day after school sounds doable.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Karina,
We do have more than a few customers that use our products with their children that attend traditional school. It’s called “afterschooling”. Let us know if we can help you with placement or anything else.

stephanie

says:

In 2009 my family moved to Central America, none of us spoke Spanish, but within one year all 4 of my children were proficient. My youngest was struggling with reading at 6, so we thought it was from adding a new culture and language. As time went on we realized it was more than this and began identifying a more definable reason. Dyslexia. I was in rural central America, no tutors, no English schools only the computer. I found All About Spelling from a blogger and went ahead and ordered the program, months later some friends brought it to us and we began working with my son. It worked! He began to read. He had prayed at 6 to be able to read on his own and it took a LONG journey…(10y.o) before he could! What a trooper! He is still struggling with spelling and writing but passed his state test with above grade level reading! Thank you for your direct but simple program. I now share it with other mothers who have struggling readers and spellers.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Stephanie,
Thank you so much for sharing your son’s journey through struggles to reading success! Keep up the great work, both of you.

Madelyn Keegan

says:

A systematic spelling program helps children become successful, not only in spelling, but reading and now math.

Loucrecia Hollingsworth

says:

Thank you so much for this blog post. It’s just what I needed. I went through the 1st & 2nd levels with my older daughter, & I love the structure. But I think I went too fast for her & it didn’t all sink in. The unit study curriculum we use this year has spelling lists, but there’s no lesson to teach the rules of spelling, so it’s rote memorization. I want to go back through AAS Levels 1&2, & eventually Level 3. She reads extremely well, but has trouble with spelling, though she has improved.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Loucrecia,
Since Level 2 starts with a solid review of Level 1, you could probably restart with Level 2. Also, regular review is very important so that mastered words and concepts stay mastered, so maybe plan to incorporate ongoing review of mastered cards. One way is to review 2 of each of the mastered colored cards, yellow, red, and blue, each day and 5 of the green cards. I use this for additional review and am having great success with it with my struggling spellers.

Anne

says:

We are on Level 4. We worked through Level 3 twice because my daughter just wasn’t grasping the concepts. The second time went faster and stuck. I can’t imagine trying to finish a Step in just one day! We usually stretch it out over a full week so there is time to practice the new teaching, patterns, and dictation. Twenty minutes per day sounds about right.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Anne,
I had to something similar with Level 5 with my son, and the second time through made all the difference.

Erica

says:

I am using level 3 with my oldest daughter and level 1 with my oldest son. While they both love doing spelling, I am overwhelmed by the amount of “one-on-one” time needed for each child. I have another daughter that will be starting soon and I do not know how I will find enough time to teach spelling everyday, in addition to all the other subjects. Are the upper levels of AAS as teacher intensive?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Erica,
All About Spelling does not become independent as the levels increase. We recommend the 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week through all the levels.

I have five kids, three of them still in AAS and one still in AAR, so I understand. I have found I need to make keeping transition times down a priority. I suggest stacking everyone’s spelling and reading things up at your spot at the table (or your desk, or wherever you work with the children) and have each one come to you. Explain that you won’t be waiting for them to finish what they are doing when it is their spelling or reading time, but that when you call they need to stop and come (if you have a kid who struggles with transitions you could give them a 5 minute warning while you are finishing up with the previous child). You will have to decide which order to work with your kids, as you know them. Some little ones cause less disruption if they work with mom first, others do better if they get to play until mom is ready for them. That sort of thing.

While you are working with your children on spelling (and possibly other things, I have a couple that need a lot of help with math too), they need to have things they need to be doing when it is not their turn. They could be doing school things, like handwriting and math. If you have to teach a lesson for math before they do it, you could try teaching the math lesson the day before. Some kids will be fine with this, some will not. Another option would be to start the day with a math lesson for those kids that need it the same day as the work, and then move into your spelling and reading time.

You may need to get a bit creative with your younger children who may not be able to do school work independently. Some ideas include “projects” like cutting up magazines, assigning an older child to help them with a subject or read to them, have chores assigned, allow them to play as long as they are quiet, and so on.

I am doing school of some sort or other from 10 am to 4pm, with an hour so break for lunch, and sometimes I’m answering math questions or listening to a child read aloud while cooking dinner. This is an improvement for me, actually, as my oldest graduated and is away at college, and I’m doing less with my 16 year old as she is taking some college classes.

Jodie C.

says:

Looking forward to starting All About Spelling soon. I just love how you are able to adapt the amount of time you can spend on a lesson or words. It has been a great help with my daughter who happens to have Down syndrome.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jodie,
Thank you for letting us know how your daughter is doing. We occasionally get questions about if our programs will work with Down syndrome children, and I’m happy to say that all reports back have been great so far!

Brooke

says:

We are currently using AAS 1 and loving it! I love how this program makes learning to spell fun. We are almost done with the first level and can’t wait to start level 2. Thank you for creating such an awesome program!

Emma

says:

I’m so glad to have come across your site! My daughter isn’t homeschooled, but I’m trying to supplement what she learns in school with a more multi-sensory approach at home – and spelling is a big one we struggle with! We practice spelling words about 10 minutes a night, at most. But our “practice” involves active-learning and lots of moving around – nothing like she does at school! lol!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Emma,
Good for you to help her learn in the way she needs. Movement is such a missing component in so many people’s ideas of what learning should look like.

johnie

says:

My daughter has had trouble with phonics and memorizing. so spelling has been hard for her.

Maria

says:

My daughter is progressing very well thanks to AAR & AAS. We finished level 1 and are about to begin level 2. My daughter tends to get a bit lazy when it comes to spelling with tiles time. But when we’re done and we start spelling on paper, she’s thrilled to be able to easily spell each word she just practiced putting together. Thank you!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Maria,
Some children do resist spelling with tiles. It is okay to use the tiles just for demonstration for her, and then allow her the choice to use the tiles or move directly to spelling on paper or on a whiteboard. If she struggles spelling on paper, you can go back to the tiles.

My own children prefer not to spell with tiles most of the time, and they do fine with most words. I just have them go back to the tiles for the few words that trip them up.

MS

says:

Thank you for the suggestion!

Kerri

says:

I love how AAS is made to fit your schedule. 5x a week or 3x a week – the Steps make it easy to fit into your family’s schedule.

Tammie

says:

I began All About Spelling this school year with my 12 year old dyslexic son. He is making good progress and I like the program. Our “schedule” is set up with 30 minutes for spelling. Some days he is able to work “full strength” for the entire 30 minutes. But other days, I can see him fade at about 20 minutes. I know that is the time to stop the lesson for that day. To continue, only frustrates and discourages him. When his concentration wanes and he can no longer focus on the lesson, it is best to stop and give him a break. To push on will not be beneficial because he feels defeated.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Tammie,
Thank you so much for sharing these great points. Older students can often handle somewhat longer lessons, but once they start to fade there is not benefit of continuing beyond that point. Keep up the great work!

Dawn Pollard

says:

This sounds like a great program for my dyslexia students.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Dawn,
All About Spelling IS a great program for dyslexic students. Marie, the author, is a member of the International Dyslexia Association, and was an instructor for the graduate level courses in Orton-Gillingham Literacy Training offered through Nicolet College in Rhinelander, Wisconsin for 3 years. If you haven’t had a chance to watch their story about her son’s struggles, you may want to check that out. Quite amazing!

Courtney

says:

Thank you for this post to your blog. It helped me realize that I was spending way too much time on spelling in one sitting.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Courtney,
I’m glad you found this post helpful. Short daily lessons do pay off a lot in the long run.

Danielle Rice

says:

I’m so glad I found this! I have used AAS for about 6 months and just never got in a good rhythm with it. The kids nor I enjoyed it. I was actually going to return it! Until I read these post! I have been spending way too long on spelling each day and I also have been frustrated with the tiles and I have read several tips about those as well. Thank you for posting so much helpful advice! I am not going to return it but rather implement it in the ways I read about here!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Danielle,
I am very pleased to hear this blog post and our replies to comments have helped and encouraged you. However, if you ever experience frustration or difficulties with All About Spelling again, please contact us directly. We are available by phone at 715-477-1976, by email at support@allaboutlearningpress.com, as well as here on our blog and through Facebook. We are committed to helping you make spelling successful and, at the least, mildly pleasant.

Kathy

says:

20 minutes is a good average time, but on day’s when it’s a struggle, I shorten the time a little, and on days when she’s breezing through I lengthen it a little.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Kathy,
Great advice, Kathy. But like you said, maybe just lengthen a little on good days. You don’t want to reward good attitudes with lots more work.

Stephanie

says:

My daughter has autism the AAR & AAS curriculums have helped me fill in the gaps from school… Lessons are fun and time well spent 20-30 min a day…

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Stephanie,
Thank you for sharing this.

Alissa Horton

says:

This website is very helpful by giving ideas and timeframes for learning!

Erica

says:

I just started using ASS with my second child. We spend about 15-20 minutes every other day. Its his favorite subject and I’ve never heard a complaint about doing spelling!

Julie

says:

This is so helpful. Thank you.

Rosa

says:

I have notice that by splitting the lesson in two days, we can do the reviews everyday, and it becomes an enjoyable time for my kids.

jeannie

says:

I was having my child review all of the flash cards everyday. Once you’re far along on the lesson book, it very time consuming. My child did say that their favorite part is reviewing flash cards though. I have learned to chill and put more cards behind the “mastered ” file to cut down our lesson time.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jeannie,
I review 5 mastered cards with my students every day, in addition to reviewing the cards in the review tab. That way the mastered cards are getting reviewed, but it doesn’t take a lot of time.

Falaknaz

says:

I usually give a list which my daughter revises everyday (not more than 7minutes), and then I take test on Fridays. I prefer then on weekends for her to use those words in sentences.

Thank you! This is very helpful. Spelling is an area that we need to work on.

Deanna

says:

20-30 mins are good lengths for my children. I do like to use a timer too. Both teachers and students benefit from using a timer.

Kim Slease

says:

I love All About Learning Press! After just 2 months of AAR my daughter wants to write in her journal and I see her getting motivated to learn to spell. We will start AAS soon!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Kim,
That motivation to write is a great sign!

Lisa Hill

says:

Thank you for the reminder of using a timer.

Rebekah Esch

says:

15-30 minutes max on a lesson with a variety of activities in that time frame. My daughter has difficulty with focus but does so much better 1-1 with short lessons. I’m still trying to figure out timing as some curriculums have unequal lesson timing. I don’t like to leave lessons undone so it is nice to hear your suggestion of a timer and ending with a quick review the next day and then finish what is needed that next day.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Rebekah,
I’m glad you found this helpful. Many students even need a 3rd, 4th, or even 5th day to complete a Step, but knowing that you will work for just 20 minutes a day makes fitting it in easy and predictable for your schedule.

Lisa

says:

We’ve been working every day, but we haven’t been setting a timer yet. I am actually encouraged to read that I’m not the only one who finds AAS a little overwhelming. I learned with lists, and it worked for me, but I have two sons (1st and 3rd) who need the tactile way, and we are just starting out. I’ve been using the Keys, and slowly working our way into it. I love the positive tone and research-based methods. But I do struggle to find time for everything that requires one on one attention, with a preschooler and an infant in the mix. I’m just glad the program is so excellent, because every minute counts.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Lisa,
It can be difficult to fit anything in with a preschooler and infant. I understand; at one point I had a preschooler, toddler, and infant while homeschooling two elementary children. Do what you can, as often as you can, and it will work out. It did for my oldest two. One is away at engineering school and the other is taking community college classes while finishing high school, and both are doing very well.

N. Lynn Schofield

says:

We spend 15-20 minutes each for two kids, a Level 2 and Level 3. Before each step, I set up a “lesson plan sheet” for each day we will do the step, breaking it down into parts. For example, for the first day of a step, I write “Review Red Cards, “Blue cards,” “yellow cards” and put a check box by them. Then I write, “New teaching on board” with a check box. Next comes “spell words with tiles” and a check box. Then I number 1-10 with a space for the child to write 10 review words I dictate to him/her. Then “word bank” with a check box–for my Level 3 child, he does a different word bank every day. Day 2 is writing on paper 10 review words + 10 new words (I number 1-10 for each). The rest of the days are writing on paper. Day 3 is a mix of 5 new words + 10 review words, plus a few phrases or sentences. Day 4 is the same with the 5 other new words. Day 5 is the “more words” + review words, up to 15, plus a few phrases or sentences. Day 6 is the same if there are a lot of “more words.” Day 7 is ten “trouble words” from the previous 6 days and the rest of the sentences. It takes us 7 days per step, but as my children need a lot of review, this really helps them. Writing it all out with spaces for them to write the words and sentences each day keeps me organized, as I know when I look at the sheet what the spelling lesson needs to be. The check mark for word bank each day reminds them to do the word bank.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Lynn, for sharing how you organize a Step over 7 days. I’m sure the details will be helpful for someone.

Lori

says:

We set a timer every day for 20 min. We stop even if we don’t get completely through a lesson. Perfect for us. My son doesn’t get bored and I don’t get frustrated! We are using both AAS and AAR programs. We love it and it has worked the best for my son this far!

Kandi Spencer

says:

Thank you for the tips. Looking forward to researching more into spelling for next year.

Melissa Mowry

says:

We’re just getting ready to add Spelling into our day so I’m glad to see that you recommend 20 minutes. I don’t want my son to be discouraged by adding yet another language piece to his workload.

Miriam

says:

Thanks for that reminder to keep it short and snappy. For our style of schooling in general, I find I’m happiest when I resist the urge to PUSH.
My AAS time with my two kids gets stretched a bit when my toddler wants to mess with cards / tiles. I keep a little bag of the blank cards that are leftover when I separate out the new AAS cards at the beginning of the year; he is allowed to play with those and practice saying the color blue.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Miriam,
What a clever way to keep your toddler happy during spelling time!

Jodi Taylor

says:

The kids do a little every day but we need to be more consistent.

Lana

says:

We do spelling 4 times a week and usually complete 1 step each week. Doing it in small bites like this has been very manageable and effective.

rebecca

says:

I do spelling 3-4 times a week for about 10-20 minutes depending on the difficulty level of the lesson. We are in level 3.

Ellen

says:

Oh wow. We need to add some more spelling time to our schedule!

Kristi Jones

says:

We absolutely have loved All About Spelling! I started teaching my son in K and was overwhelmed just looking at the AAS teacher manuel bc. I learned the “list” way. Once, I took a minute to look over a sample, I fell in love with the tactile learning methods and how we can adjust the lesson to fit his needs. There wasn’t a specific level he was required to stay with and it just took less pressure off of me as the teacher. He is now on level 3 (in 3rd grade) and we spend about 20-30 minutes 3x a week (alternate with Language Lessons). This program really does make spelling easier and it just makes sense to my son. Thank you!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Kristi,
You are welcome. Thank you for taking the time to share how you were overwhelmed with AAS at first, but then you came to love it.

Staci Hubert

says:

I look forward to my son starting AAS this Fall. He will do great I just know it.

Emily

says:

We spend about 15/20 minutes 2-3 days a week, one lesson a week.

Paige

says:

I almost always set a timer for 20 minutes each day and we stop wherever we are within a step. Right now we get always get a step done each day but if we ever do stop in the middle of one step I just do any review cards before I pick up where we left off the day before. It’s always worked well for us. I usually don’t have to mark where I stop either but I have sticky notes handy that I could use if I needed to put one in the TM where stopped.

Mrs. Bock

says:

Thank you for the good advice.

Amy

says:

LOVE this program. My kids are older (middle school) but never really understood WHY words were spelled the way they are. This program has been a lifesaver for me and them. The simple way you design each lesson helps us go through everything quickly and completely. Thank you for helping us learn how to spell!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Amy,
Thank you for sharing how AAS has worked for your family!

JoAnn

says:

Thanks for the tips.

Sharon Schoepe

says:

We generally try to keep spelling lessons no more than 15 minutes. Any longer than that and the kids lose focus

Jennifer

says:

Great advice! I’ve been a little overwhelmed with AAS, I’ll keep these suggestions in mind!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Oh, don’t be overwhelmed, Jennifer! If there is anything you are unsure of, just let us know and we’ll help you every step of the way. However, most parents find that if they just start, it falls into place pretty quick.

Hannah Jenks

says:

I was just asking myself this question while planning school for the week. So helpful! Thanks!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Hannah,
I love when our blog posts are timely!

Judith Martinez

says:

Good suggestions. It sound consistent with what Charlotte Mason talked about, short, concentrated lessons.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Judith,
Yes, exactly. Short, focused, consistent lessons are the way to go!

Mindy

says:

Thanks for the great info!

Amanda

says:

Thanks for sharing this! We spend around 20-30 minutes on spelling and reading each, but I do always wonder what’s recommended!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Amanda,
We recommend 20 minutes for reading, 20 minutes for reading, and 20 minutes of you reading aloud to your student each day! Of course, that can vary based on your student’s age, attention span, and interests.

Dee Anne

says:

Great advice!! I especially like the idea of using a timer to stay true to the time limit. So simple!!!

Patty

says:

Thanks for the info. Have been homeschooling my son for 3 years now and have always read about your program. Would love to try it out.

Amanda Clark

says:

Thank you for the tips! I’m trying to get my bearings and a plan of action for when we start. Unfortunately, we aren’t homeschooling yet because our adoption isn’t finalized yet =( But, our young lady is very excited to be adopted and keeps asking if we can homeschool. So, hopefully next year we’ll be able to implement some of these ideas!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Amanda,
Let us know if we can help in anyway!

Kerri

says:

We always spend about 20 mins on our spelling. Unfortunately, the curriculum we’re using now just isn’t working for my 7 year old. I’m planning on switching to AAS next year!

Kimberly A

says:

Thanks for the tips and input

Mikki Larch

says:

Thanks for the imput

Audrey

says:

I Always tell my husband that less is more when it comes to schooling. Thanks for the great tips!

Juill

says:

Thanks for the tips.

Kim Clouse

says:

We love AAS. We spend anywhere from 15-30 minutes a day on Spelling. That includes the time we spend on games like hangman or word hunts. My son loves to do Spelling. It is never an issue when I say time for Spelling.

Monica

says:

Great advice!

Andrea

says:

About 15-20 minutes is good for my kids

Wendy Clark

says:

We haven’t started spelling yet, still working through AAR Level One, but I have to say I am nervous about incorporating spelling into our day. Its good to read about your routine.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Wendy,
I’m glad you found this post helpful. Try not to be nervous. Things usually fall into place easily in a day or two.

Laura Stephenson

says:

We typically spend 30 – 45 minutes 3 days a week, rotating between reading and spelling every other day. This seems to work for our family. This curriculum has worked wonders for our children. It has made a big difference in how they view learning.

LA

says:

I could see me becoming pushy to finish or catch up. Good tips!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Whenever my child is close to finishing a Step, but our time for the day is up, I give them the choice to go ahead and finish or to leave it for the next day. Sometimes they choose to finish, sometimes they choose to leave it. Either way, it is their choice and not my pushing, so it’s better for both of us.

April

says:

Great tips!

Alta Mahan

says:

I have to say, last year, when we first started AAS, for my 5/6 year old, I was the Mom that would push a whole lesson in one day. My daughter was frustrated, and didn’t like her spelling lesson at all. Seeing the tears, and the frustration, we slowed down, split the lesson up into a few days, practiced the dictation over a few different days, and it totally changed her view on spelling. This year we are continuing with spelling, and have planned out our lessons with one lesson per week, and spend the whole week, either learning, or reviewing the lesson. We split up the dictation to 5 words, 5 phrases, and 5 sentences per day. We alternate how we do our dictation, sometimes, we write it in our spelling book, sometimes we do it with the tiles, sometimes we do a kinesthetic game and use balloons, or sand, etc. There have been no complaints this year, and the learning curve has been fantastic. Thank you again for a great program!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Alta,
Thank you for sharing your experiences with spreading a Step out and how well it has worked with your child.

Jessica Norris

says:

We love AAS!!!

Lauren

says:

10-15 minutes

Christi Evangelo

says:

Great article! We love All about Spelling!

Alaina

says:

Hi ! We have found the timer to be extremely motivating and helpful . I set the timer for twenty minutes and it works wonderfully to keep my kids on task . I also like it because it helps us to finish without mentally taxing them . Thank you so much for all your hard work and dedication to provide a great curriculum that works!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Alaina,
You are welcome! Thank you for sharing how well timers work in your homeschool.

Jessica Lee

says:

Question – at what age do you start AAS level 1?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jessica,
We recommend starting All About Spelling Level 1 after the child has completed All About Reading Level 1, or is reading on an equivalent reading level. Often that is 6 to 7 years old, but of course that could be younger or older as well. This blog article, The Right Time to Start, gives more information on this.

Malena Howe

says:

I love your idea of using a timer. I hate spelling, and it is always the subject I put off until the end. Maybe we will start with just 5-10 minutes a day and see if that works.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Malena,
I find if we do what we dislike first, the whole day feels better and we actually get to that subject. Anything pushed off to last here is all too likely to not be done at all.

I’m sorry you dislike spelling so much. Is it anything specifically? Can we help in any way?

Jennifer S

says:

20 min is just about perfect for my 4th grader who has been doing AAS for years. I try to keep to 10-15 min for my 6 yo just starting out in AAS 1.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jennifer,
Great reminder! We often recommend somewhat shorter lessons for younger children. Thank you.

Lynn Corporan

says:

We are really enjoying both programs. Great advice as I have both the Reading and Spelling programs and wasn’t sure how much to dedicate to each as I do not want to overwhelm my daughter. Thank you.

Terra

says:

Just beginning and loving the program. Especially enjoy the flexibility in how much we do or don’t do each day.

Katie

says:

About 15-20 minutes at one time!

Jess

says:

Thanks for this! Very interesting read

Naomi

says:

It depends, but usually I just go until they are losing interest. We have been in catch up mode for the most part, so the words are easier for her still. I’m sure once we get to the right level, we’ll slow down our pace.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Naomi,
Have you seen our post on Using All About Spelling with Older Students? I don’t know if your student is “older”, but the recommendations apply to younger advanced students as well. The post gives you details on how to fast track students through the easier material, while still making sure they are mastering the concepts.

Julia Voncannon

says:

Thank you for the advice. I love your blog posts! They are very helpful.

Windy

says:

I like the timer!

Laura Platt

says:

I love the timer idea! I think this would really help our homeschool in all areas so thank you for the wonderful advice!

Kate

says:

Some lessons we spend one day on, others we can spend a week on. We just finished the lessons about syllable division in level 2, and that lesson was so important that I took my time on it to really reinforce the concepts. I know that this is probably not recommended, but it is working for our family in that I am teaching two different children at two different levels at the same time. Usually, I will introduce the new concept to one child and then start giving them words to build, while I teach the other child their lesson for the day. We then alternate sentences to spell and rarely, has there been any confusion with it. The children love this! and are often competing with each other to see who gets their words and sentences spelled correctly first. The younger child I feel does benefit from being exposed to the higher level lesson -right now they are only one level apart- and the older child frequently benefits from being reminded of the concepts being taught in the younger level. As a result of teaching the two children together, spelling session usually last about 30 minutes, but it does make it easier than teaching it separately.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Kate,
Your system sounds great! It might not work for all children, but for some children it would be a wonderfully efficient means of getting spelling done.

A couple of my kids struggle with working memory, so hearing someone else’s sentence would erase their own sentence from their minds. So we do not do dictation together like you. However, I do do review together once a week or so. Just last week it was spelling review for 3 and Spanish review for 1, all at the same time! I posted about it on our Facebook page.

Thank you for sharing.

Christy

says:

Consistency really is the key. Through small and simple things, great things really do happen. My son is living proof. My oldest son practically taught himself to read and was reading Jules Verne novels by age nine. Not the abriged or childdren’s adaptations but the real thing. For my second son, however, learning was super hard and exhausting for him. I tried and tried to teach him how to count when he was three, but he didn’t catch on until he was five and even then it was only to twenty and usually with mistakes in the teens. He was ten before he could read a second or third grade level book with any kind of ease or fluency. Teaching him how to read was gruelling, I felt like my eyes and ears were bleeding, he was exhausted and frustrated and so was I. I wish I had known about AAR then, because I think that it would have made a BIG difference. After doing some testing and finding some resources, we did find some exercises to help train the brain and he did learn how to read, but it was PAINFUL. Because we were so far “behind” I got worried and tried to play catch up. So I was always pushing him at the highest level possible. All that did was make us both frustrated, killed our love of learning and teaching and really made us farther behind. On top of all this, I was dealing with a chronic debilitating illness that made it difficult for me to be consistent because many days my body simply could not leave bed. But God is gracious and I finally learned how to change and how to do things a better way. I learned that we have to spend most of the learning time with our kids at a level where they feel comfortable and confident. I learned that I had to be as consistent as possible, and I learned that for kids with his learning challenges, you have to find the tools that speak to their brain. I was led to AAS and some other resources and ideas for math. No matter what we had tried for spelling before, it just didn’t work. When he was 11 and a half we found AAS. The consistent review, the step by step process really helped. I will be full on honest AAS made me feel like a genious teacher! All the info, was right there to walk him through simple processes that allowed complex ideas to become easy and understandable for him. We started looking forward to spelling each day and he started to gain confidence and believe in his ability to learn. There were no more tears and frustration. Learning started to be fun again. He has just turned 13 and we are in AAS level three. This level moves a little faster, and so I am finding that I have to take review days inbetween steps sometimes, but he is still progressing along rapidly. He is so much more confident when he has to write things. He was so embarrassed when he was around other youth his age and was put in a position where he had to write and coudln’t really do it. Now he feels so much more confident. These same concepts are working in math. Yesterday he completed a long division problem for the first time in his life. He was able to divide, subtract, bring down, repeat and put all the numbers in the right spot and figure out which times table, which after years of practice are still a little fuzzy, made things work. The biggest thing for him is keeping all the numbers in the right places, and keeping all the steps and processes in order, But as we have started to approach math and spelling more along the lines of how AAS breaks things down, he is starting to love learning and gain confidence. The keys: 1. Work at a level where your child feels comfortable and confident and learning can be fun, 2. Small consistent lessons and review work better than sporadic lessons or longer lessons that are pushing them to “catch up” and 3. Fnding curriculum like AAS that can make the learning process so much easier by multiple sensory methods, moving incrementally in a logical and consistent way and incorporating consistent review. 4. We are all unique individuals in unique circumstances don’t compare yourself or your children with anyone else. Relax and enjoy this time with your children. If you are worried because you have a struggling learner, there is help and there is hope. If my son can do it, so can yours!! I am very thankful for AAS.

Eliza

says:

Christy, thanks so much for the encouragement and for taking the time to post. Yes you are right – and I have often done just what you warn against: playing catch up, doing too much for him and for me, and giving up too easily. Tx Eliza

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Christy,
Thank you for sharing your son’s story. I’m sure you can understand how encouraging it is to be in the midst of struggles to read how other families have conquered them and are having learning success!

You make many excellent points about working with a struggling learner. Thank you.

Deb B.

says:

Thank you for sharing! I can relate to everything, our stories sound so much alike. I have a special needs child. Thank you for taking the time to post. Now that I’m healthy too, I find myself falling back into old habits of pushing and driving. I have to remember the lessons we were forced to learn together while I was ill were actually a blessing and training for me as a mom and teacher (as well as other areas) and to keep applying them.

Kathleen Schiebe

says:

Thanks for all the great information.

Maria

says:

My daughter will do a lesson in one day. She doesn’t like using the tiles, so she just writes everything on a white-board and I will pull out any tiles that might help her with the lesson at hand. That is usually 45 minutes once or twice a week. Other days, we will just work on her “words that just won’t cooperate” list, “homophone list” or go through the cards and be done in a few minutes.

I found that with my daughter, I had her start writing short stories in addition to doing lessons. She finds this entertaining and I’ll see occasional words wrong that she gets correct during the lesson.

I admit that I am totally chaotic on how I teach spelling. But even through the chaos, AAS really helps her. I was proud as a lark when she took a class, was moved up to forth & fifth grade level (my daughter is a third grader), and she impressed her teacher with her phonetic mastery and prowess! She was still labeled “Advanced” and AAS/AAR is 100% responsible for that since everything she was doing in the class came directly from her previous lessons!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Maria,
Some kids are resistant to using the tiles themselves. You might try using them yourself for demonstration of concepts, especially syllable division. However, it does sound like your daughter is doing really well!

Melanie Horrell

says:

Thank you SO much for these ideas. My daughter hates spelling and it is a huge chore. I think I definitely need to scale back the time we spend each day (and invest in a timer) as well as spreading out each lesson over several days instead of trying to do a lesson per day. Thank you for making a great curriculum!!!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Melanie,
I’m glad this blog post was so timely for you. In addition to spreading out a Step over several days, I find my kids do better if we spread out the dictation over all of those days too. If I wait to do all the dictation on one day, they balk. Doing 3 to 4 phrases or sentences at the end of each day’s work is much better for us.

LV

says:

My 8-year-old daughter is usually pretty excited to do spelling. I take the whole week (4 days…we don’t do a lesson on Friday) to complete a lesson. We are also doing the All About Reading, so reading and spelling is done back to back.

Kristina

says:

Thank you for all the great advice! I also appreciate the opportunity to win.

Haley Bibber

says:

We love AAS. My oldest just finished up level 1 and was super excited to start level 2. Everyday my kids are excited to do their spelling. They are also excited because they know as they master spelling they can write stories. I love the enthusiasm!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Haley,
This is great! Who would have thought kids could be excited to do spelling?

Sarah L.

says:

I love this! As I prepared our materials for this year I was trying to decide how to break it up for scheduling. Then I stumbled upon the idea of time based. It’s perfect for my young learner. The time we spend on each subject is just enough to get something done while not frustrating or boring him. I have a large clock with a red plastic piece that sets the timer. As the red disappears he knows he’s closer to finishing which keeps him motivated.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Sarah,
Your timer clock sounds perfect! Now I want to go look for one. We use a timer for a lot of things, not just spelling.

Maria

says:

I was using a timer, but it stressed my daughter out. She would get really upset if we weren’t done in time, and feel that she failed. She spent more time looking at the timer than she did looking at the work we were doing. I hid the timer, but she would look for it or ask how much time elapsed. I would tell her that it didn’t make a difference, but she would still get upset.

Timers are good tools. I wish I could use one.

Merry at AALP

says:

One of mine was like this. Things I used to do instead:

I had a clock in view so that I could make sure I didn’t go over 20 minutes, but I would stop when we got to the end of a section, somewhere close to that amount of time. That way, we had a good, solid “stopping point,” I could praise for finishing a section (or for finishing some other goal I set out, such as writing a certain number of phrases or sentences, or practicing a certain number of words etc…).

Hélène

says:

my dyslexic/SPD daughter is the same way. stresses out n obsesses on the timer…shes also highly competitive. so i just look at the clock and stop as soon as possible in a reasonable spot in the lesson.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

We use timers for a lot of things (screen time especially), but not for All About Spelling. My kids become focused on the timer as you described, so I just wing it. I judge the lessons by what I think they can accomplish in about 15 to 20 minutes and by how they are doing with the lesson. We stop shortly after frustration rears it’s ugly head. We may work as little as 12 minutes or so or as much as 25 (rarely) in a day. I tend to focus on the bigger picture. Are they mastering the material and progressing through a Step in 3 to 4 days? Yes, they are. This is working very well for us.

Christina W

says:

AAS has been such a blessing to our family. My DS is on Level 3. Our current routine is to spell 5 review words, 4 new words then dictate 3 sentences. Sometimes those three sentences will be a writing station, where each sentence must contain at least one of the 9 words for the day, and he gets stickers for every word beyond one he can incorporate into his sentences.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Christina,
I love the idea of rewarding your student for using more words in his Writing Station sentences! This encourages them to stretch their writing skills, as more words mean a higher likelihood of complex sentence structure.

Pris

says:

this is helpful thanks!

Eliza

says:

Please give advice on spelling with a 14yo. We have done various spelling programmes over the years for years, and it just does not seem to stick. We have ‘dyslexia’ in the family but the other dc have improved whereas ds is still struggling. He can read, we use books all the time and he has a good memory but is making spelling mistakes like ‘wi’ for ‘why’ and ‘cum’ for ‘come’ – although other days he will get it right! Any advice? I want to keep him motivated, but don’t know how intense I should be making it. Thanks

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Eliza,
Can your son find and fix his spelling errors after the fact? It is possible that whatever he is writing has him focused on the content of the writing so much that spelling gets overlooked. If, after he has completed the writing, he can go back and find and fix the errors, then the problem isn’t as big of an issue. Spelling correctly in the context of original writing is the most difficult level of spelling. This article, Helping Kids Achieve Automaticity in Spelling, discusses this.

It might be that you son needs more review, more consistently, and over a longer period of time in order to truly master concepts. All About Spelling’s review box makes tracking that consistent review easy.

Because he is older, you could move up to 30 minutes a day of spelling and possibly even consider doing it 6 days a week. However, considering his age and the type of errors you described, I would recommend you work with an Orton-Gillingham based program. OG focuses on incremental, explicit, logical, orderly instruction that uses multisensory teaching. All About Spelling is OG, but there are many other OG programs out there.

Please let me know if I can help further. We can continue to converse here, or you can contact me privately at support@allaboutlearningpress.com.

Hélène

says:

Is there a better OG program for kids like this? My daughter is the same way. I only do OG programs, period, but she has SPD and no amount of review is going to work if her brains not catching it–trust me, Ive beaten my head against a rock with absolutely no progress with her in some things. Is there an OG curriculum made esp for dyslexics?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Hélène,
Actually, All About Spelling works very well for students with dyslexia. The author, Marie Rippel, is a member of the International Dyslexia Association, and was an instructor for the graduate level courses in Orton-Gillingham Literacy Training offered through Nicolet College in Rhinelander, Wisconsin for 3 years. 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!

Here are some ways that AAS can help kids with dyslexia and other learning difficulties:

– AAS is multisensory. It approaches learning through sight, sound, and touch. This helps kids who struggle with memory issues, because they take in information in various ways and also interact with it in various ways. The kinesthetic approach can be very helpful to a child who has expressive language struggles.

– AAS uses specially color-coded letter tiles. Working with the All About Spelling letter tiles can make the difference between understanding or not understanding a concept.

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

– AAS has built-in review in every lesson. Children with learning disabilities generally need lots of review in order to retain spelling concepts. After a concept has been taught, don’t assume that the child knows it. Quickly revisit that concept again in the next lesson, and add in as much additional review as needed.

With AAS, your child has a Spelling 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. Customized review is important for kids with short attention spans because you want every minute of your lesson to count. Another benefit of the review is that you can practice with your child what to say; you can rehearse as many or as few times as your child needs to help him remember the concepts.

– AAS is logical and incremental. AAS provides the structure, organization and clear guidance that kids who struggle need in order to learn.

– AAS includes dictation that starts out very short and gradually gets longer. With dictation you will say the phrase or sentence and have your child repeat it. If possible, you want to encourage your child to really focus so that you only say the phrase or sentence once, and they can repeat it and then write it. You are training them to expand their working memory a little at a time, and gradually building up the spelling skills in their writing.

Some tips for using AAS with children with learning disabilities:

– Work in a quiet room with as few distractions as possible. Your child needs to be able to hear the sounds of the words without distraction.

– If your child misspells a word because he isn’t applying a spelling rule or pattern, go back to the letter tiles to demonstrate, and let him try to demonstrate back to you–you give him the words to say and then see if he can show you with the tiles and begin to repeat some of the rules.

– Allow for lag time while your child processes what you just said. After you explain something, allow a few seconds for the explanation to sink in.

– Hold spelling lessons during your child’s best time of day, when he is best able to concentrate and least likely to be disruptive or shut down.

– In order to keep making progress, it is important to work on spelling every weekday. Make spelling a priority and don’t skip lesson time.

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

Sofia Heard

says:

I am interested in AAS for my daughter. We are pulling her out of school and going back to full time homeschooling and have been interested in this spelling curriculum for her. Praying to win this awesome chance at the giveaway. Blessings!

Andrea

says:

Just wanted to share what we use for extra practice sometimes. :) If you have an Android tablet (It maybe be available of the iPad, as well.) the Squeebles Spelling app is fun. The teacher is able to enter their own list and then record the word in their own voice (Which is good, because if my daughter is expected to spell the word “human”, I need to be sure to put emphasis on it being spell “huMAN”, rather than how it sounds when we speak it “huMIN”. The kiddo earns stars which they later trade in for “Squeeberangs” (which come in about a million different designs. ;)) they can use in a game. Fun stuff!

I would still love, love, LOVE an All About Spelling app that allows the speller to manipulate the phonics tiles to spell their words. We are on the 4th level of All About Reading, and the physical tiles just get too numerous/tedious to use. An app would be lovely. I’d pay. :)

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Andrea,
Thank you for this app recommendation. It sounds like a lot of fun!

I want to address your stressing the spelling pronunciation for words like human. Doing so is a great scaffolding technique to help your child as she is learning, but for long term she needs to be able to hear or think “humin” and know to spell human. Once she is spelling the word correctly with your help with the pronunciation, start giving her the word in the way you normally would say it and ask her to then pronounce the word for spelling then spell it. Only when she can pronounce the word for spelling and spell it without hesitation has she truly mastered it.

Lastly, we do hope to create a letter tile app. We don’t have an estimated release date yet, but we’ll be sure to announce it on Facebook, our blog, and through our email newsletter when we do.

In the meantime, you can look into Whizzimo. Through the settings you can change the tile colors to match our tiles. It’s not an exact match for our tiles, but all the basics are the same.

I hope this helps!

Amanda

says:

I am so happy to have this cirriculum for my boys! I enjoy learning the spelling rules as well, in school these were not introduced! Awesome! You will not regret this investment!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Amanda,
I so know what you mean! I feel like I am finally know how English truly works, now that I have been using All About Spelling and All About Reading for over six years.

Curri

says:

I really enjoy AAS and feel very equipped to teach spelling with it! Currently using 3 different levels with 3 of our children…they are doing well with it…ages 7,8, and 10. We do short lessons, 5xs per week…it is an awesome program. Love the tiles.

Jocelyn O.

says:

Smaller, more frequent definitely works better for us! Even doing 2 small lessons in a day is better than 1 “big” one!

Holly

says:

I love this article and boy did it come at the right time for me today! I tried to work for too long in our homeschool today and pushed my son too hard and it ended in tears from both of us. :( I needed this article, thank you! It reminded me to stay short and sweet and upbeat. Tomorrow is a new day!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Holly,
I love when our blog posts are timely for someone! I think we have all pushed too hard or too long at least once, but, you are right, tomorrow is a new day!

Stacy

says:

My 6year old and 7 year old have fallen into a routine that is working wonderfully for us. It amounts to roughly 20 minutes per day. On Mondays, we review briefly together before doing the “new teaching” for the week. The kids then build the new words for the lesson. Tuesday through Friday, they use the app to quiz themelve on the phonograms. I also leave them each a stack of ten word cards to review together (they quiz each other and trade stacks the following day). Next they put a header on the next page in their dictation notebooks (Tile: Dictation and their name and date). They do this portion independently (along with a few other things they can do on their own) while I manage the toddler and do some morning chores. Later, I dictate to them. By the end of the week I have dictated each of the words, phrases and sentences and made a note of any remaining problem words. This program is great and I am finding that these spelling lessons are a breeze when doing AAR a level or two ahead. Both are fantastic; especially together.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Stacy,
Thank you for sharing your system.

Tracy

says:

I am so pleased with AAR. My son is almost finished with level 1. The curriculum is so easy to follow and really covers all the bases. And we love Ziggy! He has brought much joy to our school time!

Jennifer

says:

All about spelling has helped my struggling speller so much! After very careful consideration, I started my 8-year-old on level 1. She is an excellent reader, but was not able to spell very well and would get upset when she needed to write. She has gained so much more confidence now and is happy to learn! I have started it with my 6-year-old and she is loving it. Noth girls like to try to teach their 3-year-old brother the phonogram sounds and it is adorable hearing him repeat them. I’ve tried a few others, but they just didn’t work for us.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jennifer,
Thank you for sharing how All About Spelling has worked with your struggling speller. It may seem odd to start an older child on Level 1, but it really works. Most struggling spellers are missing some foundational concept that we cover in Level 1.

Stephanie Olmsted

says:

We spend about 15 minutes a day on our spelling. We are using a different program this year about we will probably use All About Spelling next year.

Linda

says:

I use the timer and it is good to keep me on track! If the timer rings and there are 2-3 sentences left to finish a Step, I will ask them if they want to finish or save it for next time. Gives them control. Sometimes they go on, sometimes not, depending on the day. I love AAS! I like having blank cards to add occasional things we want to review.

Joy White

says:

It really doesn’t take me 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week to do spelling. If we were to do that, we would probably go through two levels in a year. We seek to do spelling 3 times a week, for no more than 20 minutes each day—and at that pace we get through one level a year. I love how this program is equipping my daughter (and me!) to be a great speller. It is very thorough and so easy to implement! Oh, and we only try to do 1 step per week, because that is all that is needed to go through a level in a year.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Joy,
It sounds like your daughter is doing quite well. Great job making adaptations for her specific needs. Many children do need 20 minutes a day at least 4 to 5 days a week, but you are of course correct, not all do.

Carol

says:

My son, age 9, usually goes through 2 or 3 lessons/week, spending 20-30 minutes at a session. I mix the new material with review of past steps (even past levels!). I also keep track of any trouble words (on the tricky words list) and throw those into the review, too. It has worked for us so far, and we are on Level 7 now. Writing station is much more fun in Level 7 and usually leads to lots of laughs and some great discussions. We are taking it slower with Level 7 as it is the final level and is nice and challenging. After we finish AAS, I will take vocabulary words from our reading and/or his current hobby/interest.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Carol,
Your son is doing amazing! In Level 7 at age 9 is advanced.

Sarah

says:

Love the timer idea!

Kelly

says:

I have made peace with 15 minute spelling and 15 minute reading lessons 4 days a week for my very active 7yo boy. Day 5 we often read from the reader. They are short enough to keep him focused, long enough to “get things done.” They are easy to fit into a day. Slow and steady but it works!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Kelly,
Slow and steady is what many kids need for success!

Hélène

says:

Consistency is the
K.
E.
Y.
to allll homeschooling.
Its the biggest downfall of HS families and the biggest thing to make you succeed. Its amazing what you can accomplish in ten min a day even. At the end of the week, month, quarter, year…you will be astonished.
However, demands on the mom and undisciplined families make this very often not the norm.
Moms, be consistent. It is THE biggest thing you can do as a mom.
I am 50yo and have been hsling several decades. Hear my wisdom :)

Colleen

says:

You are sooooo right. Consistency and discipline are key. With 1,2, even 4 kids, my relaxed hs style was fine. But with 6….I am really wishing I found a good schedule and set the boundaries earlier. Now while I know 10-15 minutes of hard work can really move us forward, I am having a hard time convincing some of the children.

Hélène

says:

You nailed it. While an inconsistent, touch n go style mite work with a small family of the rite type of learners, the majority wont succeed with this.
Set structure and routine early, moms :)

Holly

says:

I lov this! Thanks! In my 3rd year of homeschooling I am finally realizing this. I often try to push too hard or for too long, often trying to play “catch up” because *I* got behind or *I* myself wasn’t disciplined or consistent. I am striving to be consistent this year- homeschool short and sweet lessons every day and rest in the fact that over time he will learn. It is a marathon, not a race. Thank you!!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Holly,
Yes! Homeschooling is a marathon, not a sprint.

Laura

says:

Thanks for this. We LOVE AAR and AAS. Using it with my 4 kids.

MBraselton

says:

Interested to learn more about this program

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Here is our general overview of All About Spelling page. You can see samples of each Level of All About Spelling here. Please let us know if you have any specific questions we can answer for you.

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