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How the “Funnel Concept” Affects Learning

You may think that a “good memory” is something that your child either has or does not have. If that were the case, there would be little you could do to help your child become a better learner. But fortunately, this isn’t the case! You CAN help your child with her memory if you begin with an understanding of something I call the funnel concept.

What Is the Funnel Concept?

When explaining new concepts and teaching your child, it’s easy to assume that there is an unobstructed pipeline between you.

You explain something—like the concept that every word has a vowel—and you expect that your child will automatically file that nugget of information away and remember it in the future. You assume that since you taught it, your child will “get it” and your work will be done.

For many parents, this picture is far from reality. Too often, it seems that lessons go right over the child’s head … that nothing sticks.

Instead of picturing information going through an unobstructed pipeline, it’s more accurate to picture information passing through a funnel, like this:

Water pouring from pitcher into a funnel

If you pour too much water into a funnel too quickly, what happens? The water overflows the top of the funnel, right?

A similar thing happens when we try to teach too much at a time. You can pour a lot of information in, but your child’s memory becomes overloaded and dumps the excess. You lose control over what actually makes it through the funnel.

This is what we call the funnel concept.

too much content going into a funnel

Now that you understand what the funnel concept is, let’s look at how to apply it to your teaching.

The Three Outcomes of Teaching

When you teach, there are three possible outcomes:

  • No learning—when nothing at all sticks.
  • Fragmented learning—when your child remembers some information, but just bits and pieces of the lesson.
  • Meaningful learning—when your child remembers and is able to use or apply the information that you taught.

To reach the goal of meaningful learning, you need to avoid overwhelming your child’s funnel.

How to Avoid Overloading Your Child’s Funnel

To apply this concept in a practical way, let’s take a look at a common spelling test that focuses on the sound of long I.

Spelling test showing multiple concepts

This list includes the following information:

  • long I spelled Y, as in cry
  • long I spelled with an I in an open syllable, as in item
  • the letter I sometimes says its long sound when followed by two consonants, as in kindness
  • long I spelled IGH, as in light
  • long I spelled IE, as in pie
  • the letter I can be long when it is followed by a consonant and Silent E, as in time

Getting confused yet? Has this list given you information overload? Wait—there’s even more!

This spelling list has two more curveballs:

  • The word timed has suffix ED added, so the child must determine when to keep the Silent E and when to drop it.
  • For the word cried, the child needs to know she must change the Y to an I before adding a suffix beginning with a vowel.

That’s a lot of information for just one spelling list!

Contrast that spelling list with this one:

Spelling test with one single concept

This is an example of the kind of list used in the All About Spelling program. Only one concept is introduced in this spelling list—long I spelled IGH. And that single concept is practiced using multisensory methods—auditory, visual, and kinesthetic.

Now ask yourself: Which spelling list is more likely to get through your child’s funnel and result in lasting learning? It may look better on paper to be covering twenty words at once, but the truth is that your child will achieve more permanent learning when you teach only the amount of information that she can process at one time.

So next time you’re teaching your child, think about teaching through a funnel and introduce just one main concept at a time. You’ll be pleased with the amount of meaningful learning that can occur!

Download This Free E-book to Learn More

Another great way to help your child learn faster is by using schemas. In this free e-book, “Help Your Child’s Memory,” you will discover…

  • What schemas are and how they help improve memory
  • Why information goes right over your child’s head … and what to do about it
  • More about how the funnel concept can improve your teaching and result in long-term learning
  • What simultaneous multisensory instruction is, and why it is such a powerful teaching method

Let me know if this post was helpful to you! Have you experienced “funnel overload” with your kids?

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Leave a Comment

Tara

says:

Good information!

Tara

says:

I’m beginning to think my 8yo, who struggles with spelling, may also be struggling with reading pronounciation. Is his age too old to do both aas & aar?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Not at all, Tara! All About Reading and All About Spelling are designed to be used with a wide range of ages and 8-years-old is a pretty average age for our products.

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

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. However, you will move through it at your child’s pace, moving quickly in the areas that he or she already know and slowing down for the concepts that need more work.

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.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Julia

says:

My 7 yr old son just started All About Reading Level 1
and has been doing well. He still rushes and tries to guess on words and we have to work on that. Everything I tried before this, sight word lists, word chunks, CVC words, word match and copy work didn’t work and he didn’t retain anything. Forget beginning reader books, too many unknown words. My reluctant student gets overwhelmed easily so I have realized to take each lesson slow but not too repetitive because he gets bored. He still needs the repetition just not all in one day. The practice pages we do over several days if there’s a lot of words. I let him choose a line from each group daily. His incentive to do more is getting to read the story in the book, which he loves. We’re only on lesson 10 but I’m so impressed so far. He’s actually reading a story and comprehending the story line and laughing at the content. I’m so proud of him and so thankful for this program. This program is like no other, I love how the content builds upon itself and totally prepares the student to successfully read the corresponding books, it’s a brilliant concept. Thank you

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Julia,
Thank you for taking the time to describe the ways you work with your son’s competing needs for review and not to be bored. It sounds like you and he are doing great!

Susan Goldberg

says:

This post is helpful. I tutor children who have had difficulty remembering concepts long-term. Your resources are s Godsend.

Jamie

says:

A good reminder!

I love your blogposts. Look forward to sharing this one with my student’s parents.

Jill

says:

I know I struggle with finding the balance on this one.

Shniece Madison

says:

I love this concept! Control the amount of information that is taught and ensure that that it’s being received, instead of just throwing everything all at once and seeing what sticks! Our family is currently using All About Reading; I think All About Spelling will be a great fit for us!

Alicia Langstraat

says:

Interesting idea. I was thinking that the idea of a funnel could also be used to advocate pouring in a lot in the hopes that at least a little would stick, but really that’s where the multisensory part comes in. So we need to control and limit the content we pour in, and vary the presentation…

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Alicia,
Great thoughts!

I see your point that a funnel could be used to pour in a lot so a little will stick, but the problem with that is you would lose any control over what actually sticks. Yes, adding multisensory aspects to reinforce the parts you want to stick will help, but that is a way to limit the funnel. You are pouring in less with your reinforcement and varying the presentation.

Thank you.

Melissa

says:

Great insight!

C Hubbs

says:

Both my children have been enjoying the All about Spelling program. I have a first and fourth grader and I started them both at level one. My fourth grader has been struggling with spelling but is improving with this program.

Sherry

says:

I’m sure the funnel concept is in play when we parents give too many instructions at once. For anything!

Nichole Tranguch

says:

I never thought of it like that! Love the funnel concept! I need to get this program for my kids!

Heather

says:

I believe that book might help my memory! Good info in the blog post about picking a theme for spelling lists.

Angela

says:

This is a good reminder, not only for concepts in spelling, but new subjects and new material introduced each day across all subjects.

Rachel

says:

Good information.

Lori

says:

This article is a good reason to try AAS & AAR gives defines goals and things to avoid

Deborah Dell

says:

Great reminder not to overload :)

Trisha Olsen

says:

This is such a great reminder! It is easy to teach too much with the goal of just “getting through it.” I love your mastery teaching approach!

Carrie

says:

I love the funnel images. Although I have been teaching for many years, I need lots of reminders. This article was a great one, especially since we are expected to teach so much so fast!

Sharon

says:

This is why other spelling programs didn’t work for my son. It was overload. Since we have switched, spelling is much easier and it sticks. When explained like a funnel, it is easy to understand why. Good article!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sharon,
It’s great that All About Spelling’s focus on one concept at a time is working so well for your son!

Jennifer

says:

This explains a lot about how much my child knows. I feel like he has a fragmented learning knowledge. I’m so thankful someone introduced me to AAR and AAS. I think your materials will help fill in those gaps and help him really grasp and learn!

Brit

says:

I have experienced this with my kids and myself! Good reminder to keep in mind.

Cyndi

says:

Thanks for this article. I tend to forget this and often keep going even after I see they are done listening. I’m going to adjust my teaching plan to take this into account.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Cyndi,
Making adjustments for your student’s needs in learning is so important! Please let me know if you have questions or need anything.

Dave

says:

I like the funnel concept for reminding us not to introduce too many concepts simultaneously as a way of maintaining control of what gets through to long term memory. At what point would you introduce mixed practice tasks to ensure that the learner can choose the correct alphabetic code alternative to encode sounds in spelling (e.g. correctly coding the /er/ sound in words such as purse, chirp, pearl, journal, herder)?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

This is a great question, Dave!

All About Spelling accomplishes this by working on one spelling pattern for a long while before introducing the next. For example, the most common spelling of the sound of /er/, ER, is taught mid-way through level 2. Students learn the phonogram and spell words using it. It is practiced and reviewed again and again. The next most common spelling, UR, isn’t introduced until a quarter of the way through level 3. The goal is that by the time UR is introduced, the student has become very comfortable with ER words. Then UR is practiced and review, with ER still getting used at times. Then IR is taught in the last quarter of level 3. And so it goes. OR is taught in the first quarter of level 4 (that is the /er/ sound of OR such as in works), EAR is taught in the middle of level 4, and OUR isn’t taught until near the end of level 5. Along the way, there are many lessons that specifically review the ways to spell /er/ and a couple of Word Sort activities where students are asked to write words previously taught and sort them by which way the sound of /er/ is spelled. As soon as a phonogram is taught, it will be used in the dictation sentences scheduled in every Step (lesson) from then on.

So all 6 ways to spell the sound of /er/ (ER, UR, IR, OR, EAR, and OUR) are taught over a long period of time with plenty of time for review and mastering each new spelling before the next one is taught. Children that start All About Spelling from a young age of 7 or 8 will take years to learn all 6 phonograms, although older students without severe struggles can often handle learning them over a period of months.

Does this answer your question?

Sharon

says:

I might be different in my approach with my son when using AAS but I write some of the concepts he needs on the top of his page. I use a writing journal for young children that has blank space for a picture on top of each page. I put the rules he will need in the blank space. Like: a,e,i, o, u = ck. He understands our shorthand and can apply the concept. I also write -sh, th, etc. if we need those. Eventually we no longer need the notes and he has not struggled so hard day to day. This has made him feel so much more successful and not as overwhelmed. And his funnel works better. His spelling abilities are astonishing me!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

What an interesting approach, Sharon! And you are correct, if he is able to move away from the notes and still have mastery of previous words, it is obviously a great tool for his learning. Thank you for sharing this.

Laura

says:

We often have to take breaks in our schooling as my sons funnel fills quickly. This concept is so helpful to understand when teaching.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Laura,
It’s great to hear that remembering to “respect the funnel” has helped you in teaching! Thanks for letting us know.

Nery Payne

says:

Amazing !
Thank you.

Jessica

says:

I am definitely still trying to figure out how to best teach my 6 year old son. This is helpful, but I seriously hope I haven’t destroyed his love for learning by pushing too hard. :(

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jessica,
I know that feeling, but I promise it’s not too late! Aim to keep lesson time light-hearted and short. Even set a timer for each subject. We recommend just 20 minutes a day for reading. Include a variety of activities and be willing to “play” with subjects if he seems interested. For example, if he enjoyed mixing vinegar and baking soda for science and wants to see what happens when he mixes other kitchen items, let him! Just be careful with lemon juice and baking soda mixed in a small bottle with a cork. It might result in having to clean the mess off the ceiling of your pantry! (True story.)

I pushed my oldest too hard when he was little but I was able to help him love learning again with such play. It worked too, as he loves to learn new things now. (He is currently in his 3rd year of engineering school.)

Bernie

says:

I have a tendency to want to dump so much in teaching my child—Thank you for helping me see that I can overload my child with how I teach. I like the funnel illustration.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Bernie,
It is easy to get enthusiastic and want to share everything with children; I have done it myself so many times! I’ve learned to ask myself, “What is the most important thing?” and try to focus on that. That way I know the most important thing gets through the funnel.

Denise U.

says:

This information was helpful and provided insight in how to make learning more effective for children.

Cynthia Keenwr

says:

Can you help me with age appropriate info for a five – six year old?

I need multi sensory for some one who’s reading level is a kindergarten.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Cynthia,
Take a look at our placement tests. Some five or six-year-olds will need our Pre-reading level to build up their foundational Reading Readiness Skills. Others, however, will be ready for All About Reading level 1. It is possible that your child might even be ready for All About Reading level 2, but be sure to have the child read the level 1 sample stories before deciding. You want your child to be able to read the stories fluently with good comprehension before going to level 2.

I hope this helps. Please let us know if you need anything further.

Isolde

says:

I’m sure I’ve been guilty of funnel overload before. I’m sure this new program will help my son.

Michelle

says:

I have seen a lot of success with the All About Spelling directed lists. It has also helped me plan my day with this concept in mind.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Michelle,
Thank you for letting us know that the All About Spelling’s focused lists are helpful for you!

Cindy

says:

What a great visual way to explain that. Thanks!

Elaine

says:

Thanks so much. I will never forget this funnel concept when teaching.

Christy

says:

Great reminder. I feel like I don’t give too much information but based on the push back I get we either need to reduce information or reduce time. So hard to balance and keep kids motivated in the learning process!

Katy Lineberry

says:

Yes, this really helps to understand how we process information. Also, the first that comes to my mind as an example is when my child tries to explain Minecraft to me. Overflowing funnel on information haha

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Katy,
YES! What a great example. My eyes just glaze over when my son goes on and on about Minecraft and I know I am retaining nothing. Maybe we need to teach our children to respect our funnels! :D

Heather

says:

I can’t thank you enough for these tips. My oldest struggled with reading until we found this curriculum. There are times when I feel like I want to rush through so he can read as well as his friends. This article reminds me to follow the curriculum instead of trying to rush.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Heather,
It’s great that this article has helped you. Yes, there is a reasonable desire for our children to have complete success, but we also must keep their needs of today in mind as well. You may find our article on Avoiding the “Big Pit” of comparison helpful.

Carrie

says:

I love the visual of the funnel for learning! Over over filling the funnel is something I need to be more aware of.

Erica

says:

This is a great explanation. Bite-size concepts are so helpful.

Julie Summerfield

says:

This is something I have been trying to figure out with each of my dyslexic boys. All 3 of them absorb new concepts at different rates and in different styles. It is a challenge! These are some great ideas!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Julie,
Yes, learning to modify your teaching for each of your students can be a challenge, but it is so worth it!

Michelle

says:

I had not thought of learning in these terms but it makes a lot of sense. This would be one thing I love about AAS ….it reaches in a consistent manner that slowly builds. The example of the spelling list reminded me of my frustration with many “early readers”. They are not focusing on a specific small set of sounds and building on them, rather they seem to expect the child to know a lot of sight words…..which doesn’t make sense from my own learning or the way I am choosing to teach my children.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Michelle,
Yes, we have had similar experiences with early readers. That is one reason we chose to publish our own 100% decodable readers.

Lydia s

says:

The ‘funnel’ concept explains so simply why teaching can be so stressful for both children and adults. I’m so glad All About Spelling has designed their program to address that wide divide you can feel when trying to teach a child.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lydia,
Yes! You explain the feeling so well. Thank you.

Jennifer

says:

Very helpful post.

Patronilla

says:

I am learning alot myself as a parent that teaches my kids.

Georgette H.

says:

Thank you for this information! So helpful!

Christiana

says:

Makes perfect sense.

Samantha

says:

Makes sense, thanks for the information, very helpful for teaching my son.

Delmy

says:

Amazing information.

Chrissy

says:

All About Spelling and All About Reading have changed my son’s life. He no longer dreads either subject. Though he has been about 3 grade levels behind he’s catching on faster this year now that I’ve made the switch and closing that gap! Keep up the good eork! You all are giving so much hope and so many solid tools to the pressured and overwhelmed families out there like mine.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Chrissy,
Thank you for sharing how All About Spelling and All About Reading have changed your son’s life! It sounds like you and he are doing well indeed this year!

Christine

says:

I know there’s a better way to teach reading and spelling than what I’ve tried, and this explains why.

Beth

says:

Interesting!

Bethani

says:

Thank you so much for this info! I’ve been struggling with getting things to stick with my son. Very helpful

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

We’re happy that this is helpful for you, Bethani. Please let us know if you have any questions or need further help getting things to stick with your son.

Hannah

says:

Learning is just the best!

Amanda King

says:

That is so true!

Jane

says:

This idea makes a great deal of sense in terms of teaching methods and how the brain takes on new knowledge.

Alison O

says:

Totally makes sense. I hope I’m not overwhelming my littles!

Jessica

says:

This was a good reminder to keep lessons concise and on point. More concepts can be presented at another lesson. We should not feed them too much information or expect them to recall information from too many lessons at once. Thanks.

Michelle D. Esman

says:

Thank you for your visual presentation and also showing us examples to help us understand more so that we can better educate our children. I believe your programs both reading and spelling, will help not only my child and many children but also even parents. I know it sure helps me.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Michelle,
We are happy to be able to help you and your children! In fact, it is our honor to do so. Thank you.

Isolde

says:

I’m contemplating on using AAS for a dyslexic 27 yo. Any advise?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Isolde,
All About Spelling will work with little or no modifications for an adult student. If the student already knows how to spell some of the beginning words, the teacher can fast-track through focusing just on the concepts of the lesson (which will also apply to longer and harder words), until they reach harder words. This blog entry shows an example of how to fast track.

Please let us know if you have any further questions.

Christina Schneider

says:

This very well could be the issue with my son retaining what is being taught! Good info!

Laurie

says:

Lessons are so much better and less frustrating after following the funnel principle. Thank you!

Michelle

says:

I’m hoping this will help my son. He’s become a very independent reader. He still gives me a hard time on things but he tries very hard.

Deborah

says:

I’m excited to try this new program. My daughter started falling behind in reading and spelling after the Common Core was implemented in public school.

Dandi D

says:

This is very good to know and I can’t wait to try some of this with my son!

Maryline Diamond

says:

Wow. Definitely very helpful

Jennifer McVey

says:

This was really helpful. Thank you!

Judith Martinez

says:

This is really helpful! I think that I struggle with learning new things for the same reason. There is too much going on at once!

Carmen

says:

Really like this method to teach spelling.

Janet

says:

This approached has sooo helped my son finally catch the concepts of spelling. Thank you. :-)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

This is great, Janet!

Heidi

says:

So helpful, thank you!

Cassie

says:

Great information! Loved the visuals!

Lorena JeanBaptiste

says:

Good to know. Thanks for the information.

Jennifer

says:

This article is so helpful in understanding how to best assist my child. Thank you!

Wilma

says:

Thanks for helping us teach our children!

KBrown

says:

Going to book mark this one!

Cara

says:

Great info to remember. Thank you!

Amber Wood

says:

My child Jan learning to read beautifully with AAR

Laura E

says:

I love All About reading and Spelling for my four children!

Audrey Frazier

says:

THis is great information, thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Audrey!

Christine M

says:

Wow, this is a great method to think through when teaching.

Linda

says:

A much more focused approach! Thank you!

Julie

says:

Interesting!

Brittany Allen

says:

Great tips!

Heidi

says:

Great article! Lots to consider!

Gina Phillips

says:

This is great information. I needed this, it will definitely help with schooling my special needs kiddos.

Patsy Foy

says:

Great tips, as usual. Thank you!

Vcky

says:

I’ve heard good things about this curriculum and am looking forward to trying it.

Crystal Mckinley

says:

I can’t wat to try this out with my daughter!

Tyna Begley

says:

Interesting. Thanks for the info!

Chris

says:

I had not heard this explained this way before. Very helpful!!

Amy Butler

says:

This is a great way to visualize memory! Sometimes I get excited while teaching, and try to cover too much at once!

Carol

says:

I like your information on the Funnel Concept. I will definitely use it in my tutoring session. Thank you so much for all your tips, much valuable and easy to follow. Thank you.

Carol

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Carol. We are happy to be able to help in these ways!

Sacha Dietrich

says:

Amazing, never heard this before but it makes complete sense.

Jess Martin

says:

Thank you. This helps my mindset of slowing down!

Ann Hamer

says:

Thanks for the info!

Tara Bailey

says:

how intriguing

Emily Brian

says:

Great point!

Monica

says:

This concept helps me so much with understanding how to teach my struggling learner.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Monica,
I’m pleased that this has been helpful to you. However, if you have further questions or concerns, we are happy to help!

Carrie

says:

Wow, this is so helpful!

Tricia

says:

The funnel is such a good visual! Really good information to keep in mind!

Dusty

says:

This helps me reevaluate how I’m schooling my son!

Heather

says:

So helpful!

Jac

says:

Great concept, make so much sense

Alexandra

says:

So true! I see this happening in my own learning as an adult sometimes too!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Great observation, Alexandra! I have definitely noticed the same.

Kathe Himebaugh

says:

I love All About Spelling.

Kat

says:

Interesting.

Jill

says:

Very true!

Beth

says:

Love AAR and AAS!!

Kim

says:

This is extremely helpful for two of my kids! Thank you!

Deana Dyer

says:

This is very helpful!!

Leslie

says:

Thank you for the free e-book.

Betsey

says:

Very helpful! Definitely need to hear this for my 5yo.

Jen

says:

This is so helpful! I was using a different spelling program and the lists were long, with many concepts. Both me and my kids appreciate how quick and to the point AAR has them laid out.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jen,
Yes, there are many types of spelling lists that just don’t make sense. All About Spelling was written to have word lists that are centered on a single, well-organized spelling concept.

Thank you for letting us know that you and your kids are appreciating how our program is laid out.

Jayme

says:

Very informative! My 6 year old son loves All About Reading!!! We can’t thank you enough 😊

Kathy

says:

This explanation makes a lot of sense!

April

says:

This is good to know. Thanks!

Ashley Thompson

says:

This was very helpful and a great reminder. Thank you!

Audra

says:

This is super helpful!

Jill

says:

This is super helpful! This will help me to not try to cram too much in a lesson!! It won’t help anyway!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jill,
Yes, it is more effective to do short, focused lessons frequently than to do longer lessons with more content less often. More progress is made with the short, focused, frequent lessons.

Sarah Gentry

says:

This makes me feel so much better about having to cover things more than once! I love your program

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sarah,
We are pleased to know this has helped you to feel better about having to reteach things. Sometimes it just takes a few tries for something to get through a child’s funnel and stick!

Alicia

says:

Great post!

Angela

says:

Great information to keep in mind for all subjects.

Jess

says:

Great points! I’ll definitely keep this in mind from now on.

Loreen G.

says:

Great post! Love the visual reminders, too!

Alli May

says:

As a new homeschooling mom of 2, I really enjoyed this post. It is definitely important we remember not to overload. Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Alli!

Sherrie

says:

This is something I love about All About Spelling! The spelling lists focus on one concept helping to cement that concept in my daughter’s brain.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sherrie,
Yes! But then the dictation includes the most recent concept plus all the previous ones so that it mixes the review and stretches the student to put it all together. It is the best of both worlds. Focused learning with comprehensive review!

Nancy smith

says:

I’m really impressed with how all about reading level 1 is going with my 4 year old. Each lesson is very focused and he is retaining the information and showing so much improvement. We start the lesson with a short time frame in mind and go as long as he can before he even gets close to burning out or frustration. It’s great that some lessons are long and some are short. The focused lessons seem to help avoid the funnel concept.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Nancy,
Thank you for taking the time to let us know how well your 4-year-old is doing with All About Reading 1! We love hearing such feedback.

Shona Bevan

says:

This post makes so much sense. My daughters definitely find it hard to retain alot of information at one time. I have used All About Spelling for one of my children and have loved it for that exact reason, it teaches one thing at a time. Loving your blogs and all the extra free information that you share.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Shona,
Respecting a child’s learning funnel is important, but sometimes we forget because of the Curse of Knowledge. Sometimes we understand something so well that we forget all the little steps of learning.

Tara Bailey

says:

very informative

Lindsey Drake

says:

Your stuff is so highly recommended! Cannot wait to try it.

Cartie

says:

Very interesting! I get so much insight from these posts!

Caroline B.

says:

Ah this makes so much sense! Thank you for the helpful info!

Ann

says:

Thank you for your fabulous resources. We have been struggling to bring our reluctant reader up to grade level. Your program is the best we’ve found. Came wait to get started with it!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Ann,
As you begin with our program, please ask if you have any questions or need help for anything. We are available by email at support@allaboutlearninpress.com and by phone at 715-477-1976.

You may find our blog post on Avoiding the “Bit Pit” helpful.

Melussa

says:

Thank AAR, can’t wait to start my daughter on it!

Misty

says:

Awesome, thanks!

Melinda Penfold

says:

Thank you for the great information. This is good to think about each day while I’m teaching.

Leila

says:

This seems like a great way to learn and a great program.

Robin

says:

Thank you, AAR!

Brandy thompson

says:

My boys are doing awesome with AAR and AAS! I love how the spelling lists makes sense. Once they know the spelling rule the words are easy!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I like how you put that, Brandy. “Once they know the spelling rule the words are easy!” That is a great way to learn to spell.

Megan McKee

says:

AAS has helped my son so much!

Laura

says:

Love this, thank you!

Sarah W

says:

Love AAR!

Melanie huttner

says:

Wow great information!

Denise

says:

Very helpful. Thank you.

Kelly

says:

Great way of visualizing how memory can work..thanks

Tina

says:

Because of the way All About Reading focuses on very few new skills each lesson my 6 year old autistic son is learning to read! We’ve tried other curricula without success.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Tina,
This is wonderful! A great example of the funnel concept at work. Thank you for sharing this.

Kristy

says:

That’s really interesting. Something good to keep in mind,

Bekah

says:

This is amazing, I didn’t know sensory memory was unlimited!

Heather

says:

Such good info!

Laura

says:

Very informative!

Mindy

says:

Great concept!

Ule

says:

Getting ready to homeschool, I think this will be so helpful to my 9 year old daughter.

Carmen Olfert

says:

This was a great read, thank you!

Tammy

says:

This program has really helped my child with spelling. Look forward to teaching my younger to read using All about learning.

Shelly Miller

says:

Love AAR!

Sigrid

says:

Great information! This is a helpful way to think about teaching any subject.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sigrid,
Yes! Remember the funnel concept is helpful for any teaching, even non-school things like teaching a child how to cook.

Lee

says:

This really make sense why things have to be constantly repeated to stick!

Angela O'Brien

says:

We have improved memory immensely with Classical Conversations and the tools it instill a in my kids!

Cristina

says:

This makes so much sense! Thanks!

Carol H

says:

Very helpful info.

Bonnie

says:

We’ve been using AAR, AAS and All About Homophones for years. My son is thriving with these programs. A fellow homeschool mom commented on what a great reader and speller he is. I have no doubt that his success is directly attributable to these programs. He loves to read and reads at least 2 grade levels above his current grade level. Thank you Marie & Company.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

This is wonderful, Bonnie, thank you. Yet, I’m sure his caring and dedicated teacher had a lot to do with his success in reading and spelling!

Donald Knight

says:

Interesting!

Jill

says:

Thank you for your thoughts provoking blog and emphasis on the importance of focusing on Memory!

Stacy

says:

I really need this. When we do our spelling review (we use AAS level 3), my daughter does very badly. She does great on the tests, and if I ask her to tell me, for example, the different ways to spell the sound of I, she can do it, but she doesn’t seem to remember to apply that knowledge unless I specifically ask her what the rules are.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Stacy,
You may need to slow your forward progress in All About Spelling until she has a better mastery. When you do the dictation sentences with her, how does she do? We expect her to be able to write the dictation without help and with a high level of accuracy. Children often have a lag between what they master in All About Spelling and what they apply outside of spelling, but if she is struggling with dictation and the word cards she needs to stop and review or even go back somewhat until she does well with them.

Please contact us with more information about what kind of errors she is having and how you approach them. We would love to help you help her have success with spelling.

E

says:

Very useful information! I look forward to trying it with my children across all subjects. Thank you!

Heather

says:

I am new to homeschooling my 12 yo (high on the spectrum, as well as ADHD) and will begin with my 6yo in the fall. I myself have ADHD and, after reading this post, have realized that I’ve been throwing too much at him. I feel terrible. Just today I gave him a spelling test with 4 different concepts (what was I thinking?!) because he has fallen behind because.. well public school’s just don’t do the job. I will be changing the way I teach him: smaller bits and shorter time frames of learning. He struggles with spelling and, although he can read well, he comprehends very little. I am eager to start him on both AAS and AAR in hopes that his comprehension will increase and he can learn to love reading the way I do.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Heather,
I think you will All About Spelling a welcome change, as it is designed to be used at each student’s unique pace so that they can move as fast as they can but as slow as they must.

Let us know if you have any questions or need anything.

Amber Arthur

says:

Great information.. Will order in the near future for my 3rd grader and kindergarter.:

louis shaneley t. bareng

says:

pls send me copies of latest way of learning in spelling

Betty S

says:

Thank you!

Sparki2003

says:

This IS So very true ! And, it is very sad . . .

Stacey

says:

I enjoyed this article , but i think you may have omitted a visual or picture of YOUR version of the AAS test:)

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Stacey,

We did include one of our typical word lists above–Did you mean you would like to see a visual of that page?

Here’s a link that has lesson samples for all of our levels: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-lesson-samples

However, AAS doesn’t use tests. We introduce a concept, and have the students practice words that use that concept with letter tiles and in writing. Then the words are used in dictation (and will continue to come up occasionally in future dictations as well.) We use a flexible review card system that allows you to track what your student has mastered and what needs ongoing review, versus a testing system that moves on and never reviews previously learned words. We find this more beneficial than the traditional “list on Monday, test on Friday” type of approach–here’s an article that explains why: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/list-on-monday-test-on-friday-spelling

I hope this helps!

Rebecca

says:

I appreciate all of your helpful articles about learning and particularly spelling. My son is a strong reader but spelling has been eluding us.

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Lynn,

The series is now complete! You can link to the next four articles by clicking their titles in the white box at the bottom of the article–just above Marie’s bio.

I hope this helps!

Lynn

says:

I am anxiously awaiting the rest of the memory series! I have been checking back often hoping to discover the next lesson. I just started noticing some memory issues in my child and am hopeful that this info can give me some insight to remedy the problem.
Thanks – I Love love love AAS!!

Renae

says:

Reading this article has been very helpful as I start to teach my 3 year old.

Vicki

says:

This is sooooo true for my 3 dyslexic kids, who overload quickly. This is why the organization of the AAS system or the OG approach really sticks for them. Thanks for a great explanation of the funnel concept!

Rachel

says:

Wonderful information!! Thank you!

Christine Fehr

says:

Definitely know now to slow down to avoid information overload.

Kellie Duggin

says:

I love this approach. No more overload!

Nancy T

says:

Great information presented, gives a whole new insight into how we can teach!

Donna Louis

says:

Thanks for very helpful information.

renee

says:

Great information, Thank you!

Linda

says:

I like the visual idea of the funnel. Neil Moore of Simply Music puts it this way; learn faster by learning slowly. It is so true.

Anita C

says:

My daughter has had an easier time with spelling than my son. Both have done great learning to read although they occasionally miss on a pronunciation which I hope they will both benefit from the phonogram work. My son is a very rules-based type and English spelling has been a great frustration with all of the vowel options/sounds/homophones, etc. to wade through. (If he could spell sans vowels, he’d dance a jig). I hope that he’ll be able to start recalling more and I’ll keep the funnel model in mind for each lesson. Thanks for the learning!

Rebecca

says:

I don’t have the ability lately to remember things too, mommy brain has hit hard this time around. I look forward to reading the series when I don’t have the distractions of the music going for the kids and the baby hitting me in the back of the head. :)

sarah smith

says:

I bet this will help!

Susan Bohannon

says:

As a fairly new homeschool mom, this information is so valuable to me. I get so frustrated when I teach something and then immediately they can’t remember! I am learning to see things through their eyes and not expect them to do it how I do.

Montgomery

says:

Thank you for the insight. I have one child in particular who seems to constantly forget what I have ‘taught’. I need to try the less is more approach in my teaching with her and see if that improves that amount of retention.

K Thomas

says:

I really had a hard time with this approach mentioned in this post at first. I thought, “the child will just remember the ending for today and not the individual words when they need them for application”. Here is the long story that I hope helps others. I was ready to stop AAS, oh 100 times, just because I don’t personally know anyone who has used it, but I knew I couldn’t truly evaluate something unless I had seen the processes through and also because I know that quitting when something is hard or I don’t understand it is never the answer. I am very glad I have continued. We are half way done with level six and I am understanding the overall vision of the program so much better. There are still some things I note in my books that are confusing as I learn, but I am excited to give a thorough review when we complete level seven. Note: Level 1 is tricky for impatient moms whose kids have not had a good foundation of writing (lots of practice and strength). Level 2 for me is always the one that requires the most patience and persistence so I take that slower than I do the other levels since there are many more words and we don’t want to get frustrated. I think this company is very smart how they run things, are very generous, and truly seek their customers success. Marie seems to always come out with a post that answers my concerns at that time. I still am amazed at the patterns and discoveries she has made. I admit to doubting before, but so far there are reasons she structures things as she does. I have started the AAR program (now in the middle of level 1) with our third son who needs that repetition and multi-sensory even more and we are enjoying it (which is amazing for him). I like that I can save lesson prep time for other subjects that needs more energy and creativity. We use the Charlotte Mason approach pretty heavily. I am a huge fan of copywork, but I use copywork more as a memory tool, spelling application opportunity, a great foundation for grammar instruction and beautiful meaningful writing. I personally think spelling is too important in communication to not have concrete tools and skills from which to build (even if auto correct seems created to undermine our efforts). Thanks Marie for your work. It is fun to discover the things you have. Also, I personally hesitate to hire people who have a hard time spelling or who don’t care enough to know the difference between due/do; to, two, too; etc. If they are careless in this where else will they drop the ball? (I cannot believe I just typed all this on my phone! This could be a problem, for auto correct could have really could have an upperhand in such a long comment. Oh well, no time to edit with 6 children waiting. Marie, if you want I can edit and repost when I am at a computer.

Julie B.

says:

This funnel concept is interesting to learn about. I like the visual too. It helps me to feel good about some of my kid’s lessons being in small pieces. Good to know that’s how it needs to be presented for best retention.

Katrina

says:

I hope to have a chance to read this whole series!

Julie Adams

says:

Thank you for taking the time to do this series! This information is so helpful! We use both AAR and AAS and love both!!

Mrs. Minarik

says:

My children come to understand the spelling rules with AAS. Even when I get to the review and the words come from multiple lists, the children still remember the correct spelling.

Sara

says:

This makes sense. AAR has totally changed my daughter’s opinion about reading! Neat to know why it works.

Celia

says:

This is interesting. I’ll have to be sure to read the entire series.

Kim Ayers

says:

Interesting

Maria

says:

Great information!

Kimberly

says:

I have used that all about spelling for two years now. We have had success with it,. It is nice to read a bit about why it works.

Monique

says:

It’s always great to be reminded of different styles of learning. Remembering that each child is unique is important to their success.

Sara

says:

Very interesting, makes a lot of sense.

Amy Meyers

says:

I’ve studied these concepts on memory before, but not put them into practice in my homeschooling! Thank you for the clear, helpful reminder. I like that AAS doesn’t mix up all of the different spellings. That is one main reason why we switched from a different spelling program that wasn’t working for my son.

JP

says:

Very interesting. Like the examples.

Jenna

says:

This is so helpful and interesting! I can’t wait to learn more.

Anne Marie

says:

While pregnant, I read or learned somehow, that taking phosphatidyl choline from 5 months pregnant on until at least one year postpartum while breastfeeding could both improve a child’s working memory and lower their chances of having a learning disability. I wonder if it’s true. Memory is key to a successful life for the entirety of life. I think of older people with dimentia and wish/pray for a cure. Thanks for your helps. If any of this has long term effects on the memory of individuals, your time invested in this material will be well invested indeed. A big high five!

L van Heerden

says:

As a remedial teacher, I am so thankful for all this info that you give. Thank you!

Mel

says:

Great curriculum and great articles! Not just solid education, but also tips for teaching. Thanks!

Terri Baehr

says:

I just came across this series, I am going to set aside time to read each and every one of these. I teach three little ladies ages 5, 8 and 10. This will be very helpful.

Myra

says:

Great explanation! That makes a lot of sense.

Shelly Moorhouse

says:

Very interesting concept! I think the all about spelling strategies for teaching spelling would be very effective for my daughter, who is an ELL home schooled student.

Amanda

says:

helpful.

Dana

says:

I can see how new information presented in AAR also follows this method. It has been very effective.

Nadia

says:

Wonderful post!

Karen Henry

says:

Thanks for sharing this series. It seems to me that Kindergarten has become the new First Grade. I can see a huge difference between my son and daughter when it comes to readiness and learning styles. My daughter picks up concepts easier and quicker. My son is in Kindergarten and daughter is in second grade. Learning new concepts is coming fast and furious for both. My kids are overloaded and I love that homeschooling allows for me to pause and repeat concepts with out feeling the pressure to double down on concepts to keep up with the pace of the curriculum. I noticed when my oldest son was in public school, he was not able to grasp concepts before moving on. It felt like everything was piled on to the next. I would rather add on an extra day or week to our homeschooling year than experience my children struggling at learning. I believe that less is more. Why the need to complete 25 math problems when 12 can do the trick. Kids shut down after a certain time and I watch for that with my children. The pressure to keep up with these new standards is concerning. Are we overloading our kids?

Marie Rippel

says:

I agree with your comments, Karen. As you point out, it is critical to move at your child’s individual pace instead of the pace set by a school system or curriculum. I think you’d appreciate this blog post about individualizing your child’s education: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-individualized/

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Karen,

Homeschooling certainly does give us many advantages, and I too love that I can teach at a pace that’s right for my kids–not too fast and not too slow. Good for you for making the adjustments that work for your kids!

Wendy

says:

Good read. I often times want to flood my kids with info. Simple is best! Thanks for the reminder.

Andrea

says:

I loved reading this post! I was very encouraged (as I am so often) by this post. I think I have been feeling in such a rush lately, that I’ve been throwing too much info at my kids all at once. I love the way AAS has smaller spelling lists focused on one spelling rule at a time. My children always seem to succeed with those lessons. This post was a great reminder to me to carry that concept to our other subjects, keeping everything simple and sweet! Thanks!

Bethany

says:

I’m seeing this concept sometimes in my daughter just as a glazed look. Then I know we’ve gone long past her ideal level of retention.

Marie Rippel

says:

Yes! I know that glazed-over look you are referring to! Thanks for commenting! :)

Christine Nadolny

says:

It’s easy to think that special needs kids have a great memorization skills because of the technique we need to use to get them to remember material and mastering. But when presenting the information the way your program is. It’s mastering it in all levels of learning types.

cnybeth

says:

I see a lot of education as placing hooks in our child’s brain. As we go back to that hook, more will get affixed there permanently. And if I don’t go back there for several years, well, there isn’t going to be a whole lot there permanently. Little bits done regularly tends to get the best results.

Angela

says:

Reading the entire series on memory! Thanks for great information!

Maureen

says:

I love this post. The funnel illustration made sense to me and I will now be selective with the information I present. We are currently working through AAR level one and I have been delighted with the material and how it is introduced.

Janet

says:

Less can be MUCH more. Thanks for the help!

Kjirsten

says:

I like the thought of the unobstructed pipeline. Sometimes I can get so frustrated that they just don’t “get it”. Stepping back and finding a new approach always helps. My child was getting frustrated at the end of AAR level 1. She didn’t know how to read at all and it moved a little too fas for her. I was able to take a deep breath and start the program over. She loves it the 2nd time! She is doing really well with it and excited to do reading every day.

Tammy

says:

Sometimes as parents we want to give our children all our knowledge at once. I agreedwith teaching one concept at a time and what is most important.

Kelli

says:

I love AAR and all of your helpful articles!

Kathleen

says:

We just did Step 21 from Level 2. And there were 2 kinds of words on the spelling list. Some with -ve at the end and some with -ue at the end. Would you suggest doing these 2 parts of the list separately then?

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Kathleen,

If your student seems to need things broken down more you could split them up. Both the words ending in -ve and the words ending in -ue demonstrate the concept taught in the lesson. And, since they have different types of sounds, it’s unlikely that the “u” phonogram would be confused for the “v” or vice versa. It wouldn’t hurt anything though, and you know your student best.

Sarah Brown

says:

Great reminder to keep on topic and try not to stray on tangents when introducing new information.

Angela Paul

says:

This is excellent. This sets the learner up for success rather than failure.

Taisha Devanny

says:

Thanks for this post. This is why I love and will continue to use AAR and AAS with the rest of my kids.

Kim Barnes

says:

Keep it simple! A very useful concept that often gets overlooked when there is so much to teach. Thanks for the funnel visual

Linnette

says:

This is so helpful. This is a primary reason we switched to AAR!

Laura Blackman

says:

Thank you for this post. It makes such great sense. I appreciate how approaching learning in a way that introduces information in a few chunks can help demystify memory work. It actually makes the teaching process more manageable too.

Candace

says:

Always interesting, clear and focused blog articles. Very helpful.

Mary

says:

Thanks for the interesting post. I need to remember to not overload my son!!!

LaDonna

says:

Thanks for the good info.

Jennifer

says:

This reminds me not to overload my son with work in an effort to help him learn. Sometimes less (of the right thing) IS more.

CW

says:

This is helpful information. Thank you!

Kirsten

says:

Thank you for this series! I think I am tempted to fill up that funnel too much! I need to hold back and help my children use their long term memory by not overloading them!

Joshua Ladd

says:

Thank you for sharing this. I believe this will be helpful for both my children and myself.

Candy Delao

says:

Thank you for sharing this great information. It makes sense, and I’m excited to implement this concept when working with my children. The ‘funnel’ illustration is a great visual which will help me in my memory retention!

Fiona

says:

This was very interesting to read & has been very helpful. I look forward to reading the rest of the series. Thank You!!

Amanda K.

says:

This is very helpful. Thank you for sharing!

Stephanie Huss

says:

This is interesting because my oldest remembers EVERYTHING. She’s the only one I’ve started teaching so far. My younger children will, I think have a bit of a harder time with things.

J782

says:

Really looking forward to this series!!

Momstarr

says:

It is comforting to know that memory is one of those things that can improve with the right exercises.

Jen

says:

I really appreciated this post and especially the “unobstructed pipeline” which is so true and often hard to remember as a parent!!
Thank you for all the encouraging and helpful posts and for great products.

Kim

says:

This makes SO much sense. Thanks for sharing:)

Sonia

says:

This is spot on. This is why we LOVE All About Spelling! My son was so confused with other spelling programs, but AAS he gets…I mean really gets. It’s translated to his other writing, and his reading has improved dramatically. We was so ready to learn and is so confident spelling now, and we are very thankful to be rid of that frustration!

Sarah Marie

says:

The timing of this article is perfect! Thank you! I’ve been pouring much, too much into the funnel!

Liz

says:

Great information.

Tabitha B

says:

I am just now seeing these blog posts for the first time today on your site! Love it…now I have some new lunch time reading to do!

Melissa

says:

This is why I am so thankful for the All About Spelling set up. I REMEMBER those IE spelling test lists where they mashed up every rule follower and breaker together and even remembered thinking that doing so was NOT helpful.

Hannah T

says:

Thank you for this. I was aware of limiting information, but this post helped clarify some questions!

Michelle

says:

Great concept. I tried to explain to my daughter using post it notes..you can only put so much information on one.

Gina Hilton

says:

This makes total sense, glad you included the example of the “I” spelling list.

F.C.

says:

I appreciate this insightful post. Covering a lot of the curriculum certainly does not guarantee that the little ones are learning.

Joede

says:

This is a great blog post. Great information

Mallory Powell

says:

This helps a ton I started with sight words and one day my son would know it and the next nothing

Angela Barnhart

says:

this was so helpful! I have struggled with how to navigate through my son’s memory struggles! Thank you!!

Marguerite

says:

Wow, that was an interesting read! I look forwards to the next installments. Thank you :)

Nancy S.

says:

I find that my dyslexic son’s memory is greatly affected by emotions at the time of learning. I can be teaching with all the “right” variety of methods, and being positive myself, but if he is feeling overwhelmed with the challenges of his process of learning, nothing sticks. I try to remember at those times that it’s better to stop and deal with his anxiety and upset (which is not always a direct dealing with it, but often ends up being playing something together, taking the dog for a walk, etc) I have had him “pull himself together” and we march through the lesson and, from the external perspective, it seems like the lesson is successful, he doesn’t retain the information. It has been a learning process for both of us!

Kkm

says:

Your site is a heaven sent give love it!!!!!’

Michelle

says:

This is so interesting. Looking forward to the rest of the series.

Kim

says:

I love the All About Spelling Series and have had all 4 kiddos start from the beginning even though 2 of them had over 4 years of public school. I love that this blog idea can also be transferred to other areas of learning though – math, history, science. Give out information that relates to each other and then once mastered – focus on and build on that learning. Great stuff. Thanks!

kelly g

says:

Thank you this post is extremely helpful. I have struggled with remembering things and making them stick long term. I can apply this to so many areas of our school day.

Kristi

says:

This is really something i am trying to work on with my son. He just cant seem to remember things. But even if he does he doesnt apply it. Ie passing his spelling test, but spelling the same words wrong in an essay.

Laura Kramer

says:

Wow! So much to figure out with teaching!

Courtney Spaeder

says:

Interesting read! I am often guilty of info overload.

Laurie

says:

This is great information! Going to make a couple of changes tomorrow!

Diana

says:

I’ve always believed we should keep words/information/things that we are teaching or discussing in small, related bits. It makes sense to me that these will stay better in our memories. Now, how to convince school boards and curriculum materials of the same?

yumi

says:

This overview was really helpful. Sometimes I am overloading my kids w too much. I will be more careful!!!

Karen

says:

I was thrilled to see you write exactly what I’ve been doing with my struggling son. To know that I was not holding him back, but helping him as I thought makes me feel more secure! He is 8 and I noticed early on that he was not the average learner. My saying this does not mean that I think only struggling children need this method. I often see parents on homeschool groups ask for help & tips on spelling tests with their kids. When they give an example of the spelling lists but can’t figure out why their kids are having a hard time it makes me want to do a face slap to myself. But when I mention how I do spelling with my son I’ve gotten comments ‘you baby him” & “how would he ever learn enough words using that method”. I’d love to post a link to this the next time it comes up!

Merry at AALP

says:

I’m glad that was helpful, Karen! Feel free to link to the article any time. It is amazing how difficult spelling can be. English is hard enough on it’s own. And AAS does include mixed practice–but that comes AFTER the student has had a chance to master a concept, pattern, or rule first. They do master over 3000 words, up to 12th grade level, over the course of All About Spelling. And, if they are struggling to master words through another approach–they really aren’t “learning enough words” that way, are they? Keep doing what’s working for your son!

Nancy Barth

says:

“And, if they are struggling to master words through another approach–they really aren’t “learning enough words” that way, are they?”

That, right there!!!

Rachel C

says:

I love that All About Learning programs are set up with small chunks of new information in each lesson! We are currently using AAR pre-level, AAR 1, and AAS 1 in our home and have had great success with remembering every lesson.

Sherry

says:

This is a hard thing for most adults to remember when working with young children. It is hard for us to break information down into small enough chucks that it will be easy for kids to remember.

Natasha

says:

This is a very helpful article! I will definitely keep this in mind as I plan lessons. It also makes me feel better about our short lessons. Sometimes if feels like we aren’t getting a lot done (as with the short spelling list above), but actually we are working more intelligently and accomplishing more!

Paula

says:

This makes perfect sense!

Kathryn

says:

The funnel concept is very apparent in the organization of the All abour Reading series. We also appreciate the simplicity of the graphics, so that our son is not distracted from the main idea.

Judith Martinez

says:

The contrast between the two spelling lists is a very vivid example.

melissa dykman

says:

I love this memory funnel concept!

Niki P

says:

Great information! Thank you!

Elaine

says:

Thanks so much! Very helpful information!

Laurie Hanson

says:

Very interesting. Love your spelling program.

Julie

says:

Thank you so very much for these interesting and helpful articles! This helps me to teach better.

Jennifer

says:

This is so hard for me to remember. I am a fast learner, and our oldest daughter is too, but our next 2 (twins) are the “slow and steady” type as well as being very easily distracted. I have to keep reminding myself to slow down and not try to do too much. But then they start getting distracted and bored and antsy…

Gwen

says:

THANK YOU SO MUCH! You have given me an excellent visual of what I know, but did not understand why. The funnel makes perfect sense. My child has DiGeorge Syndrone. The learning disabilities are exactly as you describe with short term memory.
I read kids with short term memory difficulties seem to be able to retain more info if there are symbols involved i.e. She does well in Algebra/Geometry nowhere near the struggles as with… multiplying/adding multiple numbers. (too many numbers just becomes a jumbled up pile of numbers)The computer is a breeze (mostly all symbols) Teaching different types of Literature was a mess…sooo…I allow her to make videos with themes add music, act out stories with different scenarios to convey the type. She loves it.. We sometimes make a guessing game of it. Keeping up with grade level to determine the intelligence of a child is such a mistake. Comparing kids to each other is like comparing apples/oranges. Everyone has their own unique gift.

Christine Dingeldine

says:

I just want to say Thank You Marie for writing this curriculum! My 5th child struggles with spelling, we have tried numerous approaches to teach her these concepts, by far this one has had the most success! Every school day when I say it’s time for spelling she runs over to get her “sounds board” so we can get started! My heart is filled with joy to see how her confidence is growing in spelling. We are currently finishing up level 2 and she is eleven years old. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Christine! I am so happy to hear that not only is your daughter feeling more successful and confident, but she’s having fun!

DMel

says:

Very useful reminder. Thank you. Often, we forget how much we are actually introducing because we already know the concepts and it seems the connections are clear and straightforward. We must remember to view concept from where the learner is and how we plan to get them to the next level. A question for you: in reviewing the concept, do you agree with ‘fill in the missing letters’, changing those letters given each time? Eg. S_ igh_ then sl_ _ _t. How about unscrambling familiar words where a cluster of letters represent 1 sound? Eg. Slight given as lihtsg, reminding them to keep ‘igh’ together. I have found both useful with students who struggle to remember the sequence of the letters in a word.

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi DMel,

Thanks for your comment–very true that it’s important to think about a concept from the student’s point of view, to see if we are breaking it down enough for their needs.

If your student enjoys and benefits from word scramble activities, these can be a lot of fun! Make sure the student understands the underlying concepts first, and you should be fine. Also, when there is a homophone, make sure to define the word you are teaching them (slight versus sleight, for example). Have fun!

Renee Lamoreux

says:

Thanks for this blog! The funnel method makes so much sense.

Sadie

says:

I wish I had know about AAR and AAS when I was teaching my oldest how to read! I have 5 kids and one on the way. I started using AAR with my 6 year old and she really doing well. I can see how this approach is working right from start! I’m not saying we don’t have days when she doesn’t want to do the lessons (especially the fluency pages) but she is moving in the right direction.

I’m spread thin throughout the day and find that when I work individually with each child I often cram as much in as I can. Of course, this doesn’t work. It results in a confused child whose short term memory is so crammed they can’t remember any of it. Thank you for giving me the image of the funnel!

Marie Rippel

says:

Sadie, this post has ideas on how to make fluency pages more palatable for students: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/5-tips-for-practice-sheets/ . I hope this helps!

Brandi

says:

I am really looking forward to these posts. This is where my 10 year old is Struggling. I think she has words mastered but as soon as we learn a new way to spell the same sound she starts to spell them with that new sound. I look forward to getting some ideas on how to help her remember how to spell previously learned words. Thanks!

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Brandi,

This happened with my kids too, and I would go back and review the previously learned words for a time, to solidify those. If there are specific words your daughter is struggling with, let me know–I’d be glad to walk through some solutions with you. I think you’ll really enjoy this series of posts by Marie!

Berhane Ghide

says:

Thank you very much and God bless you.

gabriella angela vigh

says:

Thank you verry much.

Emily

says:

I’m so glad someone else is saying what I always thought. :-) Plus the review part too. I have wanted to use AAS for a while, but don’t have the funds. However, I’m seeing how this concept is working in my oldest. She is 10, and we’ve had to stop math and go back and re-learn some of her skip counting and spelling. She has been doing the spelling lists with her younger sister (8) and is doing much better this time around, as well as with her skip counting and speed drills for multiplication.

Marie Rippel

says:

Good for you for going back to re-teach your 10 year old! Mastery-based teaching is so much more effective than grade-level-based teaching. You’re definitely on the right track. If you’re ever looking for reassurance that you’re doing the right thing for your daughter, check out this post, which points out the benefits of what you are doing: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-mastery-based/.

Laura

says:

I am looking forward to future posts on this topic. I struggled with thoughts of combining concepts on one exam and I am so happy to read the approach I chose is a better one!

Nancy Barth

says:

six year old grandson: so it’s like your brain is saying “delete it, delete it, delete it, and sometimes it deletes the wrong thing or too soon.” So I told him yes, and if the brain wants to remember it, it has to save it in long-term memory, like I save Minecraft videos to ‘history’ for him.

Stacey

says:

I have a student that is at the level where nothing sticks. I am excited about learning something through the Memory Series that may help!

Lori M

says:

I teach 4th grade and we tend to forget that even students at this age have a hard time with memory and retaining information. I wish I could get my hands on this to give it a try with my students! I have at least 4 students that could use both the reading and spelling because read on a 2nd grade level and struggle so much.

Nancy Barth

says:

1st grade grandson’s current spelling list:
whip, whale
catch, match
chin, chop
like, ride
your, from
every, into
people, soon

‘I’ know why he can only spell like and into (repeats from prior lists) and ‘I’ know why he doesn’t remember the others. Every week has a list similar to this one. And the homework is picking which of three versions of a word is the correct one. And a word search. SUCH poor teaching techniques. But it’s the curriculum the school chose. He’ll be going to a new school next year—no idea if they have a better program. But he’ll be getting a crash course in AAR and AAS this summer from me. I hope that will set him up for success, whatever they are doing.

Marie Rippel

says:

That’s a difficult list for most first graders, and the fact that there is such a disconnect between the word choices makes it even more difficult. There are quite a few parents and grandparents who use AAR and AAS to afterschool (supplementing in certain academic areas after school or during the summers). Let us know if you have any questions after you get started–we have lifetime support, and we’re here to help!

mariA

says:

Like reading my mind…exactly what im going through lately….thank you!

kristen

says:

thanks so much for this reminder. I had two very quick and easy learners who were a breeze to teach and then my third is a struggler. This funnel concept fits him to a T and less is more in regards to information to teach him goes much farther!! Love your curriculum!!

Ingrid

says:

need some tips for memory for a not too distant exam

Angela

says:

Trouble committing information to long term memory is one of the associated difficulties for people with dyslexia. This was certainly true for my youngest who is quite high on the spectrum. Trying to learn the days of the week, months of the year or to tie shoe laces were years in achieving. This also applied to giving multiple instructions for him to complete, he would remember the first and one other and that was it. One thing that changed how I approached teaching him was based on what his dyslexic tutor told me – no more than 3 to 5 bits of information at a time. So to learn the days of the week and months of the year he learnt the first three first and we approached it from multiple directions. Once he had those down pat, we added to them, always revisiting what he had learnt (this way he also had success even if he mucked up the new learning). It was slow but he achieved learning both, and with a lot less frustration, tears and steps backwards. Breaking down the learning to manageable chunks was the key to his success and still is :)

Marie Rippel

says:

Your son’s tutor had it exactly right! Especially for dyslexics, learn just a few chunks of info at a time, and then review, review, review. Thanks for sharing these examples!

Emmalina

says:

Yes! This is why I love the step by step process of AAS and why we are really beginning to see results with my eldest son. The logical nature of the programme allows him to assimilate rules in a way that works for him, review his knowledge and apply it. I can’t imagine how we would have taught spelling without your programme. I was an English teacher and I have never heard of most of the rules you outline so clearly. Thanks for a great post : )

Marie Rippel

says:

You bring up a good point, Emmalina. Consistent review is another important part of improving retention. We’ll be covering this in more depth in an upcoming post in this series. I’m so glad to hear that AAS is helping your son!

Debbie

says:

Thanks for sharing! I found this very helpful.

sheila

says:

wow…I think a light just went on! Thank you for sharing!

Marie Rippel

says:

You’re welcome, Sheila! :)

Lori P

says:

I have always believed that introducing too many concepts is too confusing for children but afraid to voice my concern. I am so glad that technology has provided a means for parents to search for wisdom from other educators and sources than just what is down the block from us in our own little towns (or big ones). Thank you so much for your wisdom and sharing.

Marie Rippel

says:

It does feel counter-cultural to limit the number of concepts you present! But we need to do what is best for our kids. Trust your gut!

Becky

says:

Thank you for this. I love the image of a funnel. I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge, experience, and insights. I will certainly do my best to store this information in my long term memory and be kind to my children’s short term memory!

=)

Allyson

says:

Wonderful information. Confirms what I’ve seen in my children all along. Although outside of the spelling list and dictation sentences, I haven’t been giving regular tests. Other than recalling out the words before moving onto the next level.
Thanks for a wonderful program

Dave

says:

I see how focusing on the ‘igh’ pattern for long i is preferable for teaching/learning the application of that pattern to the words it applies to. Is there an appropriate time or procedure to include mixed patterns in a test to ensure that the child applies the correct pattern to represent the long i sound? e.g. pie, cry, high

Marie Rippel

says:

Great question, Dave! After the student has mastered a particular spelling for long i (such as the “igh” pattern), I suggest doing mixed review. Dictate a variety of words, including words that contain other spellings for long i. By mixing in words with the various spellings for long i, you make sure that the student has actually learned the words and isn’t just following a pattern.

In summary:

1) Teach words with a single spelling pattern,
2) then mix in a variety of other spelling patterns for mixed review.

Penny

says:

That was a really helpful article. It is so tempting to stuff their little heads with knowledge! I needed to know to slow down and be more patient. Thanks.

Julie

says:

Thank you! This fits with what I have heard through Charlotte Mason…short lessons! This year our spelling (and other areas of school) has improved dramatically with the use of a timer! We only work for 10-15 minutes and then stop! Makes a big difference and the funnel concept explains why! We LOVE all about spelling!

Marie Rippel

says:

Timers are great for this!

Tammy

says:

Thanks for this information. My son is in Level 5 AAS and my daughter is level 1 AAS (lesson 20) and AAR (Lesson 37). She has a much harder time remembering information. Slow and steady. She never misspells a word on her final word list. I don’t give “tests” at her age. Plus, it is much easier for me to remember the rules when they want help spelling a word.

Marie Rippel

says:

Right, Tammy! Slow and steady is perfect for kids who have a harder time with reading and spelling! Sounds like you are doing a great job!

kelly

says:

very interesting! I have taught my 3 out of 4 kids to read and there is always something new to learn, Thank you!

Andrea Rubio

says:

This was very helpful!

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