Both programs are used in a variety of educational settings, including general and special education classrooms in public and private schools. Many schools also use the programs in their RTI (Response to Intervention) programs, including Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions.
This post explains why teachers love to use the All About® programs and provides some tips for using the curriculum in the classroom and tracking student progress.
So why are so many teachers excited about All About Reading and All About Spelling? Let’s take a look.
Educators appreciate that the curriculum provides all students, including at-risk students, with the tools they need to break down literacy and spelling barriers. To do this, All About Reading and All About Spelling use very specific teaching methods.
This highly-structured multisensory approach uses multiple pathways to the brain to make reading and spelling accessible. Feel free to download our free e-book called The Power of the Orton-Gillingham Approach to learn about the hallmarks of the OG approach and how these proven methods are incorporated in All About Reading and All About Spelling.
All About Reading and All About Spelling thoroughly address the five essential components of reading identified by the National Reading Panel: Phonological/phonemic awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary, and Comprehension.
Direct instruction is a proven method in which students are taught exactly what they need to learn. With direct instruction, the information is presented very clearly through well-tested materials that rule out the possibility of misinterpretation and confusion. Language rules and patterns are taught explicitly, so students don’t have to guess or struggle. Download sample lessons here.
Incremental means that lessons start with the most basic skills and build gradually to more advanced skills. Each lesson builds upon previously mastered material and gradually increases in difficulty. This provides a “no-gaps approach” that allows students to learn one new piece of knowledge at a time in a well-developed, logical sequence.
Multisensory learning happens when sight, sound, and touch are used to learn new information. Children learn best when they can use all their senses. When students can see a concept as it is explained, hear about it, and then do it with hands-on activities, it is easier for them to learn and retain the new information.
Struggling learners often believe that reading and spelling are about memorizing strings of letters. But it’s difficult for most kids to memorize words this way, so they get frustrated and give up. Instead, we teach how each sound in a word can be represented by a phonogram, such as OA for the sound of /ō/. When students learn the phonograms and the sounds they represent, reading or spelling become much easier.
When too much information is dumped into a child’s mental “funnel,” his or her memory can only attend to a certain amount of the new information, and the rest gets “dumped” from memory. Teaching one concept at a time respects the limitations of a student’s short-term memory and allows concepts and skills to be more easily stored in the long-term memory.
Reading and spelling require different teaching techniques and different pacing. Reading is easier than spelling, and learning these subjects separately is much more effective for most kids. Separating reading and spelling allows students to progress as quickly as possible through reading while taking as much time as they need to become good spellers.
Spelling is much easier when children learn a small number of reliable spelling rules. For example, knowing the rules regarding the use of C and K can help children spell words like kitchen, acceptable, and automatic. When students learn trustworthy spelling rules—like the Kids’ Club Rule—they have guidelines to help them make the right letter choices.
Consistent review is the key to getting spelling facts and spelling words to “stick.” Teaching something once or twice does not mean students have mastered it. Mastery takes time and practice, and our lessons provide interesting review activities.
We recommend just 20 minutes a day for AAR and 20 minutes a day for AAS. Short lessons five times a week are more effective than longer, less-frequent lessons because you avoid overwhelming your students with new information and you can keep their attention more easily.
You don’t have to go through a seminar or watch training videos to learn how to teach our programs. Everything you need is right there in the teacher’s manual as you go through the lessons, so it’s very open-and-go, which cuts down on your prep time. And if you ever need a substitute teacher or paraprofessional to fill in for you, he or she can follow the scripted lesson plans.
Using All About Reading and All About Spelling in a classroom setting is not only possible, we’ve also done everything we can to make our programs easy for you to implement.
As you know, every student is more than just her “grade” or numerical age. A child’s unique experiences and aptitude play an important role in where she should be placed in the programs.
All About Reading and All About Spelling are “building block” programs. This means that each level builds upon the previous level. For example, the rules and concepts learned in Level 1 are applied in Level 2, and then those from Level 2 are applied in Level 3, and so on.
This also means that the level numbers you see on the book covers don’t refer to grade levels. This is good news for teachers because you can place your students in the levels they need, regardless of grade level.
All About Reading and All About Spelling are mastery-based programs that
You can find specific placement information here.
Although All About Reading and All About Spelling can be used in regular classrooms, they are especially valuable when used one-on-one or in small groups with “at-risk” children.
One-on-one instruction for struggling students is always the best option. Here’s why one-on-one instruction works.
If one-on-one instruction isn’t possible, we highly recommend that struggling students be taught in small groups of two or three students. Here’s why small-group instruction works.
When forming small groups, consider the following guidelines.
In many schools, teachers are required to track and report student progress. Here are some sample progress tracking documents that have been created for use with AAR. Feel free to adapt them for your own needs.
Guided Reading Notes:
Sight Word (Leap Word) Assessment:
All About Spelling Word List Assessment:
All About Reading Phonogram Mastery Record:
All About Spelling Phonogram Mastery Record:
Our downloadable placement tests can help you determine what level of All About Reading and All About Spelling will be most appropriate for your students.
All About Spelling is a building block program: each level builds upon the previous one. In order to build a strong foundation, most students begin in Level 1. Students with a strong phonics background might be able to begin with Level 2. The All About Spelling Placement Guide will help you determine the best placement for your students.
PLEASE NOTE: If you would prefer to use our online placement test, click here.
And finally, please know that we provide lifetime support for you as the teacher. If you ever need help, just email us or give us a call! We’re happy to help!