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The “No Gaps” Approach to Reading and Spelling

Closeup of cartoon girl climbing ladder

Does your child have gaps in reading and spelling?

Hundreds of thousands of children struggle to learn to read and spell. They spend hour after tiring hour being fed information, only to eventually be tagged as “unable to read” or labeled with a learning disability that keeps them from being able to spell.

It’s hard to believe, but according to nationwide statistics, 64% of fourth graders read below proficient levels.1 2

That’s a staggering number.

Let’s think about that for just a moment.

If you lined up ten random fourth-grade kids from across the United States…

… only four of them would be able to read at a proficient level. Just four. Six of the children would only be able to read at a basic level or below.

Cartoon lineup showing 6 of 10 kids below proficient reading level

But if you live in certain states, it’s even worse: 72% of fourth graders in Michigan read below proficient levels. In New Mexico, it’s 77% of fourth graders. Among black students, it’s 81% of fourth graders. (Check out the reading stats for your state as reported by the U.S. Department of Education.)

However, these grim statistics don’t tell the whole story.

The Problem: Gaps

More often than not, the problem doesn’t actually lie with the child. Most reading and spelling problems are caused by gaps in the reading or spelling curriculum. Gaps are created when programs don’t follow incremental steps, or when information is taught in an illogical sequence. Such programs don’t build sequentially upon the information the child has already mastered. These gaps can cause lots of problems for kids. Here’s why…

Confused cartoon boy looking at ladder with missing rungs

Imagine Climbing a Ladder with Missing Rungs

You’re in front of a tall ladder, and you’re expected to climb to the top. There’s a reward up there, and you’re excited to grab it. You don’t know it yet, but this particular ladder has a few problems. In fact, the ladder has some missing rungs. But it’s your job to climb it, so you begin.

Climbing the first and second rungs of the ladder doesn’t present a problem—the rungs are adequately placed, and you can put one foot ahead of the other. But when you lift your foot for the next step, you hesitate…because there is a gaping hole where the third rung should be. In order to take the next step, you have to really stretch. You have long legs and a strong upper body, so you can do it—but it isn’t easy. You make that big step and pull yourself up the ladder.

But wait! When you take the next step, you realize that there is another missing rung in the ladder. Good thing you are up to a physical challenge! Reaching and stretching, you eventually climb to the top of the ladder and claim your reward.

But What If You Can’t Overcome the Missing Rungs?

What if your legs aren’t long enough to stretch over the gaping holes? What if you don’t have the upper body strength to pull yourself up to the next rung? You will likely become discouraged and defeated, and may eventually give up. Should you be labeled as having a ladder-climbing disability for not being able to climb the ladder?

You may think it’s your fault that you can’t climb the ladder, but it’s not. The cards were stacked against you from the very beginning. The ladder wasn’t well constructed, so the designers of the ladder are to blame for the failure. The problem isn’t with you; the problem is with the ladder and its missing rungs.

A properly designed ladder makes climbing to the top possible—even for a person with challenges that would make climbing a faulty ladder impossible.

Cartoon girl climbing ladder with no gaps

Learning to Read and Spell Is a Lot Like Climbing a Ladder

Each rung on the ladder represents an important concept that helps students get closer to the goal of fluent reading and spelling. If a rung (or concept) is missing, climbing (or learning) is harder than it needs to be. And as you can imagine…

…it’s much easier to climb a ladder that has all of its rungs.

For some children, a reading or spelling curriculum with missing steps is not a problem. Just as your long legs would help you climb a ladder with missing rungs, some children are able to intuitively fill in the gaps in a reading or spelling program.

But for many children, those missing steps present an insurmountable obstacle. Just like some people don’t have the physical makeup to climb a faulty ladder, some children aren’t wired to make the big jumps that many reading and spelling programs require.

Your Curriculum Choice Can Make the Difference Between Success and Failure

When I developed All About Reading and All About Spelling, I had a clear image of a ladder in my mind. I spent thousands of hours analyzing each and every step, making sure there were no gaps. I wanted every child to have the benefit of clear, concise, well structured, and fail-proof teaching.

(Click here if you’d like to view samples of my “no gaps” approach.)

All About Reading and All About Spelling teach through a research-based, logical sequence with NO GAPS. Both programs are “ladders” with precisely placed rungs that make it easy for your student to climb to the top, regardless of his age or ability. With this approach, kids can successfully climb to the top of the ladder—step by step by step—and reap the rewards of mastery in reading and spelling without all the struggles along the way.

We guarantee it!

Download my free e-book to discover twenty more tips for teaching reading and spelling!

Free report - '20 Best Tips for Teaching Reading and Spelling'

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1. nationsreportcard.gov. Accessed 12/4/2019

2. McFarland J., et al (2019). The Condition of Education 2019 (NCES 2019-144). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, page 91. Available: nces.ed.gov.

The No Gaps approach Pinterest graphic
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Leave a Comment

Christine Schendel

says:

great info , very helpful!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Glad this was helpful for you, Christine. Let me know if you have any questions or need more information.

Becky H

says:

I absolutely love this program. I’ve been homeschooling for 30 years. I bought this program to use with my youngest. I wish I had it for my other children when they were learning to read and spell. It is so much better than any other program we have used. He’s in 2nd grade and reading proficiently at a 4th grade level. It is easy to use and my child really enjoys the stories in the readers. He has a solid foundation that will serve him well for life.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for sharing this, Becky. With so much experience under your belt, your opinion means a lot!

Michelle Burke

says:

Thamks…vital informstion.

Lori

says:

I would love if you could develop a program online so kids could be taught and use the letter tiles on the computer.

msbolt24

says:

I love this concept of no gaps; I’ve been teaching for six years; three of those have been with two children ages 12 and 8. My eight year old can read well but the twelve year old struggles and I don’t know where to start! What level would benefit my kids the best level to start with for them both?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

We have placement tests to help you choose the best levels of All About Reading to start each of your students with.

However, if one of them struggles and the other reads well, it’s unlikely that one level will be best for both of them. Our blog post Tips for Teaching Multiple Kids Together covers the issue involved. If you must get just one level, use the placement tests to choose the one that will help the struggling reader since the younger is reading well.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Angelina

says:

I thoroughly enjoyed going through the program reading. I definitely can relate to the contents and strategies. My experience with struggling children see great improvement once the logical approach is applied. I see a boost of confidence being regained. I wish My region would begin to understand the issues and challenges that we set out for our children as we teaches them to spell thinking this will aid their ability to become better readers.. I began using the program with 3 pre- K students between 12 -6 months ago and I am so proud of the progress . All 3 are reading with confidence at their level and are enjoying it. The samples are very useful and I plan to purchase the program soon.

Elizabeth Be

says:

I love this curriculum! I have a younger girl (7) who is reading above her grade level and an older daughter (9) who is reading below. Both have been on this program, but because they are so different I would have been lost as to what I was doing “wrong” or “right” with each child had it not been for AAL. I have assurance that they do not have gaps, whatever their level, and I remind myself that each child learns at their own pace. I am very thankful I have AAL resources to encourage and guide me through this. :) Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Elizabeth,
I’m very happy to hear that All About Reading has helped you to have confidence in teaching your two different learners each at their own pace. Thank you for sharing this.

Amy

says:

Im so grateful for the resources here!

Amy Rapp

says:

Can these programs be used to fill in the gaps for a struggling reader?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amy,
Yes. All About Reading and All About Spelling have both been used successfully to help students that can read but struggle to become confident, successful readers. Often, when a student struggles it is because he or she is missing foundational skills. All About Reading and All About Spelling allow you to move at your student’s unique pace, going faster in the areas he or she knows well and slowing down when needed to master a concept.

We have placement tests that can help you determine where to begin in each program. If you have any questions or need more information, please let me know.

rachel Dupar

says:

I’m have to say this is all so true! I’m a homeschool graduate and dyslexic and using AAR/AAS for my four kids and it’s been a HUGE blessing. It’s the #1 curriculum I recommed! No Gaps, well scripted, easy to use, fun and all you need for teaching reading and spelling!!

Barbara

says:

As a license teacher I did months of research of the type of curriculum needed for creating a solid foundation for my child to use throughout his homeschool education. I found All About Reading and Spelling to fit the idea of a multi-sensory approach.

Tamirah Williams

says:

We love AAR and AAS. When I pulled my children out of public school and decided to homeschool I had researched many curriculums but quickly knew this one was going to be the right fit for my children and I wasn’t disappointed. My children went from not liking reading to now loving it. They have excelled in so many ways in reading and spelling since we’ve started this curriculum. Their confidence in reading is at an all time high and now writing has become something they have grown to enjoy due to their increased confidence in spelling.

Svetlana

says:

This helped me understand my oldest sons struggle . He is in 5 5th grade but his reading and comprehension is way below. Being a reader myself I never understood it. Thank you.

Lynette Hunt

says:

We love AAS. Rules go along with the lessons for a “no gap” approach.

Lauren M

says:

Thankful for this program!!

Shellie H

says:

I started a reading program with my daughter and quickly learned about gaps when I couldn’t answer why some followed the two vowell rule and why some didn’t I love this program so far

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Shellie,
I had a similar experience. It frustrated both my son and me that almost every story that came with the program we were using had a “rule-breaker” or exception that wasn’t taught beforehand. He did learn to read well, but what was frustrating for him was impossible to learn from for my younger children. All About Reading made all the difference for them!

Sally Rogers

says:

Such a fantastic program. The statistics are likely the same in Canada. I teach students up to grade 8 who can’t read, can’t write, can’t spell, can’t add single digit numbers … This is so sad! The school curriculum is focused on pushing students through to achieve expectations — doesn’t really matter what level they achieve at, so long as they have the opportunity to learn. No time to address gaps. I use AAR privately and I so like the step by step approach. My goal is to fill in missing gaps.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

A wonderful goal, Sally!

Shelli A.

says:

We love all about spelling. I started level 1 this year with my 4th and 2nd grader. My 4th grader flew through it and just started year 2. My 2nd grader i still working through it together. It’s great for filling those gaps!!

Sherry Fiscella

says:

Love using AAR for our elementary program at our classical academy! No gaps is our goal!

Jennifer Storey

says:

I love that you compare learning to read to a ladder. It makes the concept a lot more concrete.

Relene

says:

Great article!! I’ve always felt that the reading method they are teaching my child at school had gaps…

Stacy Wiley

says:

3 of my kids are in AAS! I learn from the rules myself as well

Kia Gaumond

says:

I am excited to try All about Spelling with my daughter and I’ve heard great things about the program!

Sandy Klocinski

says:

All About Spelling sounds awesome! Everyone could learn from this. Anything that can help kids with spelling and/or reading is a plus in my book

Megan

says:

We’ve been loving AAS!

Sarah

says:

I have been really enjoying the AAS and AAR! I think I’m learning just as much as my kids as this is filling in the gaps for me!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I know what you mean, Sarah! I was surprised about how much I didn’t know about reading and spelling.

Samantha J

says:

Thank you for the great resources! My older son has a few issues with reading. Love anything that can help!

wen budro

says:

That was a very helpful article. I love that it focuses on effective solutions rather than blaming the child. I will definitely be trying this with my own children.

Marianna Schultz

says:

Love the article and I love that there are great resources

Martha

says:

Thank you for sharing your great reading tips and information.

Susan Smith

says:

Sounds like a great program!

Britt

says:

Looks fun

Michelle H.

says:

I agree their are problems with gaps, and I feel there is also a huge problem in the area of math.

Kristine Malingowski

says:

This is helpful. Thank you for posting it.

Ranae Drane

says:

This is very interesting, I have 1 child that loves reading and 1 that struggles.. With this program I am hoping to help her so we can all enjoy reading together.

Teresa

says:

This is wonderful. Super interested for my toddler.

Ashley Smith

says:

No need for any supplements, this curriculum works!

Shahndi

says:

We like the activities in the activity book. The tiles are fun.

Jennifer Eda

says:

this makes a lot of sense. i would like to learn more about your curriculum. thank you.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jennifer,
We have a great video that overviews our programs. If you have specific questions or need more information, let me know.

Sophia

says:

This is a very alarming statistic! I too withdrew my children and began homeschooling for this very reason, unaware of the existing epidemic.

I am truly grateful to you for sharing this information and providing plausible solutions. We love AAS, and look forward to being a part of the community!

Leanne

says:

I like the example of trying to climb a ladder with missing rungs. And of course, I am interested in trying a program that can fill in those missing spaces for a few of my kids.

Kelly May

says:

My boys are naturally good spellers but we still use and Love the easiness of AAS. They are getting such a good foundation and understanding of spelling rules

Kerrin

says:

My 8yo has big gaps in reading, which were made worse by how her elementary school dealt with it. We are now homeschooling and her confidence is finally returning. I’m looking forward to getting her started on this program along with my 5yo!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kerrin,
I’m so pleased to hear that your daughter is gaining confidence!

Lynell

says:

Love this program!

Monica Coombs

says:

I have used the all about reading program for both of my kids and it was been great

April Briley

says:

I really like the ladder analogy. It makes so much sense. Thank you for talking about the gaps and working to prevent gaps in reading and spelling.

Dyanna Yarbro

says:

As a reading coach for K-5th grades I am doing my best to fill in those gaps. Thanks for help along the way!

Dawniece Derr

says:

Thank you

Sandra C

says:

Thanks

Marci

says:

This is great information

Suzy

says:

Good analogy.

Renae B

says:

Thank you for painstakingly developing this program to make it easy for me to teach spelling and reading.

Katie S

says:

This is a good analogy. Thank you.

Elicia P

says:

This breaks down well. I do like the ladder analogy.

Christy Tapper

says:

Great information. Thank you

Jessica Berry

says:

This sounds like great information.

Kathleen Denly

says:

I agree. Consistent and consecutive learning is key to reading success.

Avril

says:

As my learners are struggling with reading , I would love to use these valuable ideas

Lydia

says:

These are some good thoughts

Amy Heinle

says:

Love the AAR/AAS programs!

Danielle

says:

Looks like a great curriculum!

Julie

says:

Would love to win!

Kirsten

says:

So good!!

Sara Rojas

says:

I wish I had made a decision sooner about using AAR. I guess it’s never too late but earlier is better.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sara,
Yes, research suggests that an earlier start does help, but it’s definitely never too late. All About Reading and All About Spelling have been used to help adults succeed with reading and spelling!

This is why we came back to AAR after trying a cheaper option for reading….. Yall, it’s worth the extra money!!!

Carolyn Ruth James

says:

This is an amazing opportunity! My child could certainly use this program!

Jennifer L Fones

says:

I noticed my son has some gaps in his reading. This is part of the reason we like AAR

Deborah Iremiren

says:

Super helpful article and nice read! Thank you!

Susannah Kennedy

says:

So grateful for your content!

Meredith

says:

Great info! Thanks!

Meredith

says:

Thanks for the great article!

Valerie Groh

says:

This is so helpful!

Gwen

says:

Good info! Thank you!

Jill

says:

Great to know!

Elizabeth

says:

This step by step comprehensive approach is easy to teach and builds such a solid foundation.

Crystal

says:

So helpful! Thank you!

I am so excited to give this a try !

Tyra

says:

Great information! Thank you!

Daniel A

says:

This curriculum is amazing! My child loves to read thanks to these materials. We have had great success in jumping many reading hurdles because everything is covered. Thank you!

Mel Zadorozny

says:

I love this curriculum for this reason – it gives my kids a “complete ladder” to make their climb easier. Why would I want to give them a ladder with missing rungs (gaps) instead, making it very challenging for them to read/spell well?

Julie Montemurno

says:

I had no idea that All About Learning Press offered so much specific help for reading!

Melodee

says:

Your program looks very good and thorough.

Sonya Allstun

says:

I have three grand kids that really could use this they are doing OK but of course we want more then just OK

Barbie

says:

I am thankful that AAR & AAS have provided gap-free mastery-based learning for my children.

Kayla

says:

As a homeschooling mom with a young one who is struggling to read, I was very relieved knowing I wasn’t the only one in this boat. After, reading how I can help my child succeed I’m ready to get started. Thank you for eliminating my fear and giving me a huge boost of confidence !!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are so welcome, Kayla. Many of us have taught students that have struggled to read and have succeeded. You can too. Please let me know if you have any questions or need help with placement or anything else.

Nicolle

says:

Great information, thank you!

Barb

says:

Thanks for the ebook and post!

Kristy

says:

This makes a lot of sense, thanks!

Laurel R

says:

Having the app is genius. I struggle getting out all the letters and keeping them in order. While I’m not keen on computer work either (internet based), apps, which are concise and confined, are great. I look forward to buying (or maybe winning? 🙏🏻) the spelling app and hopefully helping my third grader who spells completely phonetically.

Rachel

says:

Good tips!!

Leela

says:

I try to start teaching them as young as possible.

Joy

says:

I love All About Learning Press! I only wish I had used the programs with my eldest, who is an adult now. Sadly, he hates reading, though he does still love listening to a good story. My other children benefit from my mistakes with him, though, and are slowly but steadily improving in both spelling and reading.

Kori Villegas

says:

Thanks so much for this! Makes total sense. Came for an entry and found an awesome read.

Talia

says:

Finishing Level 1 and just bought Level 2 and AAS to keep those gaps closed.

Trisha

says:

Thank you for all your hard work putting together these wonderful articles and excellent curriculum!

Manisha Jesudasan

says:

I am always amazed by the wisdom and knowledge that you put forth in such a creative e way. Thank you for all ur efforts. It’s just perfect and so much useful for me in many ways in my homeschooling. The kids also like all ur activities

Lynne

says:

I used to teach 4th and 5th grade, and it always amazed me how kids were allowed to pass from one grade to the next with such large gaps in their ability.

Angy

says:

I hadn’t heard of your no gaps approach until reading this, but I can certainly vouch for the fact that it works – my kids were STRUGGLING with reading and then we switched to AAR in September and have seen a MAJOR improvement. Reading is suddenly not a painful task and they are even eager to read extracurricular material all day long.

Marina

says:

This is a very useful article. I like your visual presentation of the problem

Rebecca

says:

This is a great analogy! Thankfully, I have a child who loves to read but I will make sure to share this post with my friends too!

Lindsey VanCoillie

says:

These gaps are an ever increasing problem! What a great program for helping bridge that gap.

Kathleen Salter

says:

Love your blogs and free downloads. I work as an interventionist and try every day to fill in those gaps.

Crystal

says:

heard all good things about this program! can’t wait to use it for my kiddos :)

Faith

says:

Wonderful info!

Morgan Poston

says:

All About Reading. I’m all about Programs for building literacy skills! As an SLP, always researching products!

Sharon Helms

says:

The all about reading program worked great with my daughter.

Susan Cook

says:

So much great information and tools here! Very helpful to parents and teachers!

Debbie Wheeler

says:

My daughter and I knew we would be working as a team in homeschooling her children. The schools in our area just didn’t help her and we wanted better for her children. I spent two years investigating the many reading programs. AAR seemed to be our best bet. I haven’t been disappointed! It’s such a simple program yet my grandson is doing so well. I have gotten all four levels of the AAR, and we will use AAS as well. I couldn’t be happier.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Wonderful, Debbie! I love that All About Reading can be so effective, yet fill simply and enjoyable.

Nora Huggins

says:

AAR provides our teachers and students an thorough and easy to follow progression through the stages of reading.

Molly

says:

Why is it that most children are bellow level but we still say yhat is level why not lower the level so are children dont feel like they are failing reaching a goal set to high!

Carole Gallo

says:

The ladder is such a great analogy! While being a Special Education Teacher I had to fight to teach children at their individual instructional level as opposed to their grade level. If they are struggling in first grade and you don’t fill in what’s missing they will struggle again in second grade. I wish I had this analogy while I was teaching. Retired 3 years ago.

Joy McAlpin

says:

Can’t wait to read the ebook with the 20 tips. My little one and I could use all the help we can get through this learning process!

Abby

says:

This sounds like a great programme. I have a 7-yr-old girl who is battling a bit (mostly with confidence) and a 4-yr-old boy who loves a few of the letters and could be ready to start soon.

Brittany

says:

Very interesting. Great info.

Abiemwense Yaruegbe

says:

Thank you so much. This is an eye-opener to me.

Patrice Ashton

says:

This program is amazing in its thoroughness, I have learned things that never came up in all the other programs I have used.My daughter has learned the rules so easily and well without strenuous effort. We enjoy our time in the program!

Caron McCullough

says:

Great post! Needed for our older public schooled kids. I’ve downloaded your ebook as another resource for us to work on with the “Bigs” thanks!

Steph

says:

Incremental learning is so important for reading learning and comprehension! The interruption in learning by curriculum changes within districts or from children moving. Multiple times in childhood further exacerbated this often times. So grateful for the work this company is doing!

Shayne

says:

I really appreciate the simple, methodical approach to All About Learning’s curriculum. Thanks for helpful posts like this one to encourage and instruct as we guide our kids.

Elizabeth Whiting

says:

I’ve heard this type of thing called splinter learning. It leaves gaps in what they know. My oldest has struggled with spelling but loves using all about spelling and enjoys it now!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Elizabeth,
Interesting. I’ve not heard the term splinter learning, but it makes sense. I’m pleased to hear that All About Spelling is working well for your child.

Allison Warren

says:

This is very interesting. Thank you for your insightful information!

Jessica

says:

Reading was a huge problem for my daughter and all about reading helped so much. Spelling is our next battle and I’m looking forward to using your spelling curriculum along side your reading curriculum. Thank you for making such a great product that covers so many different learning styles

Diane

says:

This system makes so much sense. I plan to use it to help my older children that have ‘gaps’.

Andrea

says:

We don’t have any reading or see polling difficulties, but we love All About Learning for its fun and clear approach. My 1st grader really enjoys AAR and I am considering purchasing AAS when she enters level 2 in a few months. I’m using a 1st grade spelling workbook from another curriculum with her right now and she is doing ok, but I think it is lacking clear direction. Ultimately I think that it would be most enjoyable and effective if we used both programs.

Marike Mericle

says:

Loved this post!

Amber

says:

We tried another method, but my daughter got so discouraged as there were lots of gaps which led to her not feeling confident. All About Reading 100% helped my two oldest learn how to read so well. Now we are working through All About Spelling and it is also filling in so many gaps!

Lorri

says:

I really like that this program uses an explicit phonics approach to spelling and reading.

Amber

says:

My third child really struggled with spelling… to the point she stopped trying. I switched to AAS and, although she had to do some remedial work, she improved rapidly. The systematic approach of AAS worked far better than the random “spelling list” method. AAS was exactly what we were looking for and will be using from now on.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for sharing this, Amber! I love reading how All About Learning Press programs help to make such a difference for students.

Amy

says:

Love how my daughter is understanding and grasping the concepts of spelling now. Thank you AAS!

Tracie Parker

says:

:)

Christina Pesko

says:

I am so excited to start AAS with my kids. Both of my older students, 5th and 3rd, have many gaps. The programs we have tried has NOT worked for either of them. They would remember their assigned words for that week, but soon forgot them.

Evelynne

says:

This is why we chose all about reading! I can always supplement, but I wanted to make sure there we’re no holes.

Vanessa Wise

says:

Awesome information. Makes sense.

Sabrina Hutzler

says:

This would be great for my children

Sarah

says:

I am very grateful for AAS & AAR. My oldest has done very well with it, and my youngest has enjoyed starting his journey.

Allie

says:

This would be awesome for my two daughter! Thank you for creating this!

Melissa Burns

says:

I am excited that I stumbled into this site. I am a Canadian teacher supporting other classroom teachers with their phonics and reading programs. Literacy is my passion and I spend a lot of my time engaged in professional reading.

Ali

says:

What do you recommend for a child who may have experienced gaps about where to start to fill in the gaps and overcome the reading or spelling obstacles they may be experiencing? Would you recommend a full review so that everything is practiced in order, or just trying to target the specific “gaps” that are needing to be caught up on?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

That’s a good question, Ali. What we recommend is focusing on the gaps the child has but quickly, maybe even just a minute or two, going over things he or she knows to ensure it’s covered. We have placement tests that allow you to see where to begin with your child. It’ll help you to start where the gaps begin and then you will move forward from there, going quickly over the lessons that aren’t gaps. Does that make sense?

Let me know if you need more information or help with placement or anything else.

Amy

says:

So informative! Food for thought for sure!

Jen Jackson

says:

All About Learning Press helps me with tutoring of my OG students.

Tracey Jones

says:

We love working with All about spelling, my boys work with the letter tiles to create their words!

Melissa

says:

This is so helpful. Thank you!

Grace

says:

Thanks for the free download! Even with being on #5, I still need help teaching reading and spelling–they are all different!

Lauren

says:

Thank you for your free e-book!

Amber David

says:

I am so happy I found All About Reading for my youngest children. It was a real game changer.

Yesilernis Pena

says:

I searched through many, many homeschool reading programs, and none of them worked. Finally, I came upon All About Reading, and it was magic! My son is very active and programs that basically teaches him by reading and reading, does not work for him. All About Reading goes slowly, working on every step of the ladder with fun activities and, now, colored stories that keep my son’s attention for the whole 30-40 minutes of the lesson. I am confident that he does not have any gaps . Thank you All About Reading!!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m very happy to hear that All About Reading is working so well for your son, Yesilernis! Keep up the great work!

Latasha Murdo

says:

The curse of knowledge makes sense. Once you learn something, it becomes second nature. Sometimes making it harder to explain..Thanks for the free downloads.

Lesley

says:

My son is an excellent reader. However, his spelling is atrocious! He’s 10 and in the fifth grade. How do I get him on track with spelling?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lesley,
When older students struggle with spelling, it is because they have gaps in the foundational knowledge of the subject. The way to get your son on track is to start at the beginning and fill those gaps. If he has memorized how to spell the easy words but does not understand the underlying basic spelling concepts, you will “fast track” him. In this case, very quickly skim the parts that he already knows and slow down on the parts that he needs to learn. Pull out several words as examples. Make sure he understands the concept being taught and that he can demonstrate it back to you with the tiles or app, and then move on. This blog article on Using All About Spelling with Older Students has a good example of how you might fast track.

My older daughter was 10 when I started All About Spelling with her. She was able to complete level 1 in just one month, but her spelling improved noticeably in that month. Each level took a little longer than the previous one, but she was able to complete all seven levels, which cover through high school level spelling, before she was halfway through the 9th grade. Now I sometimes ask her how to spell a word I’m having trouble with!

Let me know if you need more information or have other questions.

Elisabeth Barras

says:

Thank you for providing research based information.

Jennifer Lathrop

says:

This makes it easier to think of gaps in a ladder like gaps in reading.

Craig Barnes

says:

Thank You for all of the very useful activities.

Barbara Pretorius

says:

I love this explanation and really find this en lightning. Thank you.

Crystal

says:

This has truly made a differences in my child’s reading proficiency and has even taught me a few things about our language as a parent/teacher that I never learned in school.

Mandy

says:

I have used all about reading for 4 of my children and they all love reading! I love teaching reading this way!

Adriana Arana

says:

I love the ladder explanation. It makes sense in all its parts. I didn’t try All about reading nor All about spelling yet, but it looks fabulous.

tootsie

says:

This is such a great approach to teaching and learning! Thanks for the guidance and the awesome curriculum!

Jolanta

says:

We have just purchased All about Reading program for our son who was diagnosed with autism. We have heard great things about it and can’t wait to start using it.

Apryl

says:

I have used your curriculum with four children! Thank you!

Rebekah

says:

Just got this program and can’t wait to start!

Molly

says:

I love this program and have used it with all 3 of my children!

Amratha

says:

All About Reading is our go site for all our questions about developing an interest in language in our child. The early years really do play a powerful role in shaping the potential of the child! Thank you Marie for this wonderful resource!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re so welcome, Amratha! It’s great to hear the website is helpful for you.

Katherine Rhodes

says:

Thank you! The All about spelling program has really helped my kids with their writing.

Derek

says:

Indeed all about learning is an amazing tool, it makes my children enjoy the process of learning and now my 10year old enjoys reading every moment she can find.
Thank you.

Kate S

says:

We’ve been doing the AAR (or ‘Ziggy programme’, as my children call it) for a few weeks now and it’s been brilliant. The tutoring he was getting from an external organisation was clearly pitched at much too high and level and not filling in the gaps that needed filling!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kate,
I love that your children call All About Reading “Ziggy programme!” 😊

Myiia "Sunny" Hawkins

says:

Totally agreed!

Ruth Ramirez

says:

I never saw it this way but it is soo true when the information is taught in an illogical sequence. That makes a gap and our kid progress in a slow paced.

Robyn Jamison

says:

Love All About Spellimg.

Deborah Bown

says:

Looks like a great program.

Renee Pierce

says:

Thank you for the countless hours of research you‘ve put into this. My sons struggle with reading and spelling. I love your step by step approach. It really breaks it down into bite-sized chunks that they can handle without getting overwhelmed or frustrated. Love it!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

So glad that All About Reading and All About Spelling are working out for your son, Renee! Thank you for sharing this.

Julie

says:

This program has helped us so much with our gaps! So thankful to have this.

Robin Leonard

says:

Really have enjoyed using the books with my daughter!

Marilyn Fellows

says:

As a former teacher, I am so impressed with your program “All About Speeing.” Most spelling curriculums are not organized in incremental and strategic steps. The “All About Spelling” program doesn’t try to confuse the students by having more than one skill taught at a time, like “all” words and “alk” words. The “All About Spelling” program list is not cumbersome. Many spelling programs will have a list of twenty or even twenty five words. The activities involve auditory, visual and kinesthetic learning. Thanks for providing a program that will help students succeed

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Marilyn, for this review of All About Spelling!

Michelle Batson

says:

Interested in learning more glad I have the resources now

Diana Flack

says:

Looking forward to start using All About Reading curriculum!

Lindee Scales

says:

Very informative article, thank you!

Holly

says:

I’m started my last kid–number 4–on the pre-reading level. Never have regretted AAR and AAS curriculum!!

Erin

says:

Love the visual to understand the necessity of a quality program

Cathy Lichtman

says:

I am a retired librarian and now volunteer as a tutor in a Detroit Public School. I really didn’t know what I was doing the first year or two, but have taken Orton Gillingham training and done a lot of reading including from All About Reading and All About Spelling since I first started. I remember when I found out that the “When two vowels go walking…” adage was incorrect. I stopped using it, but then heard an experienced English teacher use it with one of the kids she tutors. I was shocked.

Nicole

says:

I have loved that all about learning program for my fourth grader and a second-grader! We have used it since kindergarten and I will be starting another kindergartner in the program next year!

Nicole

says:

The all about learning company has been such a help to my two students! I will be starting my third student next year in the all about learning program!

Raquel Cook

says:

Would love to be able to teach my little one properly

Britney Hazy

says:

Interesting

Jennifer

says:

I just wish I’d jumped in sooner with this approach.

Sonia

says:

That was such an interesting article and explains so much about what’s going on. Thank you!

Joy

says:

This is such a great way to explain the gaps. Thank you for a very helpful article!

Stephanie

says:

Very informative , thank-you!

Jennifer

says:

Finding and filling gaps makes a world of difference for kiddos! Thanks for doing the heavy lifting!!

Jennifer

says:

Looking forward to reducing the gap.

Kathy

says:

Great article.

Hannah

says:

I’ve heard so many good things about this program and am very tempted to switch!

Magela Gonzalez

says:

All About Reading has been so beneficial to my daughter. She is becoming a better reader every day. I very thankful.

AJ Eubanks

says:

This is very impactful information. As a mom striving for homeschool success this helps understand the importance of pacing and taking it slow. Understanding where my kid is and what he needs from me. Can’t win the race if the track is missing pieces!!!!

Jaycee Moulton

says:

I am new to All About Reading and Spelling and look forward to using it.

Melissa W

says:

This has been such a blessing to our family! My 9th grader will finish level 7 this year. She has dyslexic tendencies and it has helped her tremendously! I was also labeled a “bad speller” in grade school. My own spelling has improved SO much by my teaching it!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

That’s great, Melissa! Isn’t it such a wonderful feeling when your child masters something that she once struggled with? 😊

Deena

says:

This program sounds like what I am looking for. I like your approach and have 5 children I would like to work through it with

Melissa

says:

We LOVE AAS! It has been such a blessing. My 9th grader will finish level 7 this year. She has very mild dyslexic tendencies and the incredible teaching in this method has helped her tremendously over the years!

Kay

says:

This is the very reason we struggled through other reading curriculums and are only now finding success through All About Reading. It’s been the program that’s turned my 8 year old son into a reader. So thankful this exists!

Kricket

says:

Thank you! I love Learning Press. So many great resources.

Bethany

says:

This is the reason we love this program, it leaves no gaps in the foundation of reading and really creates strong readers

Emily

says:

Great ideas!!

Melissa

says:

Very useful article!

Eboney

says:

This is a great analogy!

Kim Fielding

says:

Both my children started reading late. Both were in 2nd grade before they could read fluently. One is now finished with all 4 levels or AAR and is highly proficient. The other is starting level 3, but can read so well now. I am so grateful that I found AAR early in our homeschool journey.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for sharing your children’s success, Kim. They’re doing so well!

Angie

says:

I have found so many of your tips and resources to be helpful while tutoring my primary age students. Thanks so much.

Kath

says:

Another wonderful and informative article. Thank you!

Kathryn

says:

Thanks for the info! Love your curriculum!

Jessica Brammer

says:

That is a very good analogy. Thank you for sharing.

Ellie Harrison

says:

I am considering using this program for my struggling first grader. I would love to win the tablet and letter tiles app! I think he would love it!

melissa

says:

Thank you for sharing these thoughts.

Rose

says:

I am a new homeschooling mum and Reading and Spelling are a Huge must so AAR is so key for us!! Thank you for this article: good food for thought!

Carol Kumataka

says:

Thank you a lot for this advice. It is so true. I especially like your Tips on Reading and Spelling. By segmenting the word and learning it at an early age, it will be a big help in spelling. Very, very true. I wish schools will stress this and teach it more in a child’s early years of learning.
Thank you.

Ahriel

says:

Reading and spelling have been hot button topics lately, especially this school year, in my district. There have been a lot of students with suspected or diagnosed dyslexia and reading and spelling are a huge concern for parents. It’s been hard to navigate through different options to help with these students. This article gave me something else to think about!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad this article was helpful for you, Ahriel. Let me know if you have questions or need more information.

Sarah

says:

Great way to explain!

Maja

says:

Thank you for the explanation!

Julie

says:

Thank for this explanation. The no gaps approach has really helped my son with reading & spelling.

Jennie Milstein

says:

Thank you so much, I am finding it challenging to build lesson plans that work for my son and this has helped a lot.

Monica B. Excited Parent

says:

This was such an eye opener! Although our girls are in “top rated” schools, we have found that the reading curriculum has quite a few gaps. We are so thankful we heard about All About Reading Press. We are looking forward to working with a program that doesn’t have missing rungs.

Mandy

says:

I have found this to be true with my children’s learning in reading and spelling. AAR and AAS fill in the gaps!

Nancy

says:

As a granny of a Homeschooler, I see so much more in learning. And she is doing quite well. Socialing with Teachers & kids in school has become a problem. She had tried twice now. So it’s Homeschooling for now. Love your site.

Claudia Matthews

says:

We have used a few approaches in our homeschool when it comes to teaching reading and we love AAR – kids are engaged, it is easy to set up as a teacher and mastering each little step adds up to reading proficiency

Natalie Bechard

says:

I love this about AAR and I wish I’d started with it at the very beginning of my homeschool journey! My firstborn jumped to the top of the ladder with ease despite the missing rings – my second had a much harder time and we’re seeing so much progress now that we’re filling the gaps with the help of AAR!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad that All About Reading is helping your child fill in the gaps of reading, Natalie. Some kids do make jumps very easily, but others don’t and need the step-by-step learning that AAR provides.

Amanda

says:

Thank you so much for this site! I love reading these little articles as they can provide new ideas!

Mara

says:

I really love using our Pre-Reading AAR curriculum in our homeschool. This is our first year homeschooling at the Kindergarten level and I have found that the kids look forward to doing our reading lesson each morning and have so much fun with the little phonics games associated with each lesson. I am very impressed with how the curriculum builds upon itself. I had thought about skipping the Pre-Reading and trying to hop into the Level 1 but I am so thankful I did not (it would have been like taking off the first rung in the ladder!) This curriculum has been exactly what we needed to begin our homeschool journey.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m so happy to hear that the Pre-reading level of All About Reading is working out so well for you, Mara! My children and I enjoyed it so much too and it does build an amazing foundation for success with level 1 of AAR and beyond.

DEBORAH LUTZ

says:

WE ARE USING THEM AT OUR SCHOOL THEY ARE AMAZING………….

Barb

says:

Thank you for the All About Reading and All About Spelling programs! They are fantastic!

kelly thompson

says:

I love reading these little articles and sharing them- it is like missing rungs on a ladder…so sad some kids have such trouble with it as well.

Amanda

says:

Thank you so much for this site. I have been struggling in finding a site that is open minded and I’m glad I found it here.

Jessica Parsons

says:

My son had a rough start to school after finally getting him diagnosed with Anxiety and ADHD and put on the proper meds he is doing so much better in class, but now he is far behind on his reading. So anything I can do to help him I’m interested in.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jessica,
I’m sorry your son had such a rough time but am happy to hear he is doing better now.

You may find our placement tests helpful, as well as this video that overviews our programs. Please let me know if you have any questions or need more information.

Bonnie

says:

Hi, I am a retired teacher who is tutoring a 3rd grade boy through Skype. He is reading at a 2nd grade level. He knows his sight words in isolation, but misses them in his reading. He can decode about 75 % of his words. He knows his beginning sounds, but has difficulty with middle and ending sounds. Please advise.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Bonnie,
It may be helpful to work with this boy on the blending procedure to help him learn to pay attention to each phonogram in each word. It sounds like he starts with paying attention, but as he gets to the middle or end of a word it trails off. Check out our blog post Helping Kids Sound Out Words blog post for a detailed explanation of the blending procedure including free downloads.

“Sight words” means different things for different people. If you mean high-frequency words that your student is expected to know on sight but are phonetically regular so then can be sounded out, then allow him to sound them out. Because such words are so high-frequency, he will learn them by sight soon enough by sounding them out each time he sees them.

If instead, you mean words that are not phonetically regular, take a look at our Sight Words: What You Need to Know blog post. It discusses how All About Reading handles “leap words” (as we call them). A very effective method for such words is to study each one (and not too many at one time), pointing out that most the letters say exactly what we expect them to say. Typically, only one or two letters are “breaking the rules”. By stressing that it isn’t the entire word but only one or two letters, it is easier for students to learn them. They can sound the word out as far as the other letters go and only need to remember the troublesome letters. You could even use one of the ideas we use for spelling such words and throw them in jail! It’s explained in our How to Handle Spelling Rule Breakers blog post.

I hope this helps, but let me know if you need more ideas. I’d love to hear how it goes over the next few weeks.

Rachel Margaillan

says:

One of the best programs for reading and spelling I’ve seen

T Wolf

says:

Thank you for your wonderful work!

Serena

says:

Would love to get to true All about Reading!

Kyla

says:

Since starting this program, it is clear that we are filling in the gaps that my son does not know. Thank you for a wonderful approach!!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kyla,
It’s wonderful to hear that this program is helping your son! Thank you for sharing this.

Heather Romito

says:

This is the best reading program I’ve found. I love the activities and graphics and so does my daughter.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Heather!

shana levy

says:

I really like the no gaps approach. My fifth grader hates to write because he has a hard time with spelling, but he is gaining confidence with AAS. Even though he doesn’t particularly enjoy doing spelling, he is eager to do his lessons because he wants to be a good speller and he sees how the curriculum is helping him.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I love that your fifth grader is motivated in spelling because of his desire to be better at it, Shana. Motivation for learning is so important!

Amy

says:

I’m still trying to get my little interested in sounding out letters to get to the basics. We read every night and I try to get her to sound out every 3 letter word and she is just not having it.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amy,
Maybe try a different approach. First, don’t ask her at night. She is likely tired and sounding out words is hard work when you are very new to it. Let nighttime reading just be fun together time with no pressure.

Then, try some games with her at a time of day she is more willing. Our Fun Ways to Develop Phonological Awareness blog post has some fun printable games and the “In the Kitchen with the Zigzag Zebra!” one includes some oral blending activities.

Let me know how it goes. However, keep in mind that blending sounds into words is a skill that some children simply need to be a bit older before they are ready for. You don’t mention your child’s age, but it may be that she simply needs to be a little older.

Regina

says:

Having a spelling program that teaches without gaps sounds like a winner! I’m looking forward to trying it with my son – hopefully spelling stops being his most disliked subject!

Lisa W

says:

The gaps issue is one reason I’m really confident using AAR. A lot of friends told me it was more thorough than anything else they’d used!

Caryn Gillette

says:

I tell all the moms I know about AAR and AAS. It has been such a blessing to teach my kids knowing they will grow to be strong readers and spellers. I love how it’s all laid out and simple enough for anyone to use. Thank you for creating such an amazing program!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for recommending All About Reading and All About Spelling, Caryn!

cheryl

says:

thx for the great info

Katie Sexton

says:

Thank you for the information on gaps.

Leela

says:

Thanks for all the info!

Danielle

says:

Have added AAS and the lower levels ASR to my sonlight curriculum because I love how they teach spelling and reading :) Now I am re-ordering the consumables for little sister and soon little brother too

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Danielle,
Sonlight is known for its amazing books! All About Reading and Sonlight seem to be a great pairing. 😊

Joy H

says:

Such a great program to avoid gaps!

Deanna

says:

No gaps sounds like a great idea.

Looking forward to using AAS for my 13 yr old and AAR for my 5 yr old.

Michelle Slack

says:

Thank you! I am eager to explore this program.

Michelle Slack

says:

Can teachers use your program without training?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Michelle,
Yes! All About Reading and All About Spelling are laid out in an orderly form for the teacher and takes just two or three minutes of prereading before each day’s lesson. They are easy to use without special training or previous experience. The lessons are scripted and the script is very clear, without excess verbiage.

You may find it helpful to look over our Samples to get an idea of how the Teacher Manuals make teaching the material easy.

Please let me know if you have further questions or need more information.

Granddaughter nine years old having difficulties spelling and reading

says:

Granddaughter nine years old having difficulties spelling and reading

Cynthia Pinto

says:

Hi, I’m a Kindergarten teacher. I love your your blog for the amazing amount of invaluable information especially for beginner teachers like me. I also love the presentation of your information, simple and easy to follow, great font, ample spacing, easy on the eyes. Thank you for the free resources. I’m so glad I bumped into your site. I’ve book marked it further reference.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re so welcome, Cynthia! I’m happy to hear that our blog is helpful for you in your work teaching. Let me know if you need anything.

Margaret Fussell

says:

Hi
Some good and simple ideas, love the colour coding for the letters. I am involved in an outreach support/remedial program for children who are being taught in English but that is not their home language. I am teaching in Johannesburg, South Africa. I am working with groups of Gr 1 children, some of whom are alreading repeating Gr 1 and their sound/symbols are still not good. Our academic year finishes in early December. I was using RAVE-O, that was good for some but generally not as effective. It is better for the Gr 4 learners. Next few weeks are going to be using games to hopefully consolidate sound/symbols. Some of your ideas about sounds is similar to THRASS.
I love your analogy of the laddder for learning. I will use this when I spend some time with the Gr 1 teachers guiding them towards a more logical and effective strategy for teaching spelling , reading and handwriting. Hold thumbs

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Margaret,
Yes, All About Reading and All About Spelling do have a lot in common with THRASS. I cannot tell for certain, but it seems that AAR and AAS may be a bit more incremental which is very important for those students that need it.

We do have a South African distributor of our products, The Book Connection.

Please let me know if you have any questions or need anything as you help students succeed with English.

Nicolette Hall

says:

Hi I am new to all this and have become quite overwhelmed, feeling helpless & hopeless at times, as well as guilt from feeling that ive let my child whom I love so much down. We live in California, and I am not a fan of the way the school system here has utilized the common core curriculum. Aside from the fact that upon the start of teaching it, the teachers themselves were still receiving the training for it! My daughter started school in the 1st year they started the “transition” to common core. I beleive this may have been a contributor to all the “gaps” she rdemonstrated in her foundational reading skills. She has struggled since 1st grade, reading below grade level & despite my extra effects top work w her at home, as well as supposive “tiered intervention methods” (afterschool EDRP, pulled out of class for special word work instruction, etc.), a previous years session of district funded outside tutoring, and now in her second session of outside help through a local reading recovering program; she still struggles as a 5th grader at a 2nd grade reading level. She had previously done well still in other areas, particularly math, but now w the implementing of integrated learning, she has become below grade level across the board. She has remained at 2nd grade reading level for atleast the past 2 years despite all these “resources” given to her. Weve had several RTI meetings w the school, who after administering testing, found her still to be ineligible for IEP or special services, since even w the years consecutively demonstrating a huge discrepancy between her assessed abilities and her actual achievement, scored really high on all the evaluated test and wasnt shown to have any processing problems. Oddly enough, her scores showed high on many subjects she lacks in: phonics, comprehension, decoding, etc. And lower in the fluid spatial stuff and working memory, which at home atleast she has always had a great memory (can give directions at night how to get someone we drove to w her only once during the day kinda thing), and has always been good at puzzles, mazes, and patterns. At home we read w her every night, and notice a huge difference in decoding, sounding out, fluency, etc. But apparently its still within grade level. At one point she hit a wall and gave up basically. But the past few years has had such a great attitude, showing modivation, eagerness and desire to read, and self correction and awareness of her own reading. The thing I notice most is her foundational skills, such as vowel patterns, word families and word chunks, sound rules…are very poor. But upon doing individual practice of these things, they seem to be too easy for her. Shes also shown reversal problems consistently w b & d, in both reading & writing, lower & uppercase. This is still exsistant after years of different strategies to correct it, though it has improved. She also randomly sometimes does rueversals w other numbers & letters, none are consistant though and not the usual ones. She will just suddenly do a backwards lowercase r, or e, or a 4 or 6. And she does it so naturally though, not even realizing it and continuing on with her writing. She also has trouble sometimes with “th” and “wh”, & after I point to it to signal it to her and she goes back to read it right, sometimes she stumbles repeatedly, like as if she just can’t get the correct sound to come out of her mouth. I have questioned whether its possible that she has dyslexia, which could explain the several types of intetvention failures and the only thing I can think of for still struggling with letter reversals. Her handwriting and spelling is also very poor. She starts writing far away from the beginning of the page, which line by line indents further and further, creating a diagonal line from top to bottom of where her words start. She often spells w beginning and end sounds, yet leaves out vowels, or switches them, or using the incorrect vowel. She also is struggling with word endings and the rules of them. She is progressing, but its at such a slow pace that it doesnt help her in meeting grade standards, keeping her further behind each year. She now is having the new problem of figuring out multisyllabic words, and not doing well thus far. She is a shy girl, atleast at school or in any new or unfamiliar social setting. Shes never been the type to make friends on her own initiative, however she has tons of friends and is well liked and gets along w others, but avoids those she doesnt already know. Shes like 2 different people between home and school, as she isnt even half of her talkative, crazy, playful self there as she is at home. These traits I believe also allow her to just drown in the background at school. She doesnt ask for help or say if she doesnt understand something, I don’t know if its out of social anxiety, fear, embarrassment. But she also lacks in paying attention and dazing off when shes not directly involved in things, which I could totally see her possibly doing in class. At this point, we just had another RTI w school, and although they acknowledge all her hard work, efforts, participation, and attempts to improve without much for results, they anticipate her to again have high scores leaving them limited to what services they can provide for her. The principle actually told us “she just might be one of those kids that just never learn to read well”! Which then put her dad in a state of guilt since he remembers not being a strong reader as a kid. Then the principle, after me asking if he would feel comfortable sending his own child off to jr high for 6th grade w only a 2nd grade level of academics, and he told me ” as bad as it sounds, atleast 50% of the kids who go off into jr high, here and nation wide, are not up to grade level reading when the go”. Like were suppose to just accept this! We were so upset, words can’t describe it. And it is the worse feeling to have such a good child, who has overcome so much in life already (10 years old and shes been there when we lost our home, stayed in hotels, now sleep in grandmas livingroom just to keep a roof over our heads. Shes experienced the death of several close family and friends and), and to see her trying (mind you there was a years of nothing but tears and quitting awhile back), and working hard at getting better, and getting better…yet hearing its still not good enough, and yet still staying in track and continuing to try without discouragement. And ive read of people getting help for their children, but at great cost. And if I could I without a doubt would, but currently having to also care for my 93 year old grandma at home, I can’t work. Her dad works a minimum wage job and side jobs just so we dont have to get gov. Assistance to get by…so it limits our options at that point dramatically. I’m literally in the bathroom hiding and crying daily from the heartache and stress of it all and I’m at a loss of what to do to help her without overworking her or discouraging her or pushing her to the breaking point again. Sorry so long, I guess I just needed to vent alittle and well there is so much to the situation it cant be capped into summary. Any suggestions on anything that might help would be greatly appreciated…thank you

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Oh, Nicolette! You and your daughter have so much going on, it is completely understandable you need to vent. I want to send hugs to your whole family!

First, take a look at this video of Marie as she tells her son’s story. Marie’s son is severely dyslexic and being told by experts that he would never learn to read led directly to her creating All About Reading and All About Spelling. Their story is amazing!

I think you may find our Symptoms of Dyslexia Checklist helpful. While this checklist isn’t diagnostic, of course, it can give you an idea if your suspicion is on the right track. Check out our blog post on Dysgraphia as well, as a few of the things you mentioned suggest that the tips in that post may be helpful.

We have a blog on Reversals that can help. Please know, however, that long-term problems with reversals as you describe her can take months of very consistent work to overcome. My co-worker Merry spent a few minutes on reversals with her daughter every school day for almost a year during fourth grade before her daughter mastered them. The air writing may seem silly, especially with an older student, but it is very effective and I recommend doing it daily. Focus on just one letter or number at a time.

Her difficulties with TH and WH can be worked on the same way, even though they aren’t really a reversal. My son had the hardest time with L and N and it took daily work for months before he finally stopped confusing their sounds.

Sadly, I am aware that more than 50% of students move on to the next grade not proficient in reading. In fact, one study found that 64% of fourth graders are not proficient in reading, as we discuss in our The “No Gaps” Approach to Reading and Spelling blog post. Yet this horrifying statistic doesn’t make moving struggling students on okay. Rather, it should be a wake up that we should be doing something very, very different.

I think All About Reading could help your daughter; it has helped so many similar students including my own children succeed in reading. You don’t need an expensive diagnosis or private tutors to get started either. I can help you with placement and provide as much help as you need to work with her daily. AAR is designed so that you can move quickly through the things your daughter already knows but slow down and focus on the gaps she needs to fill. And if AAR doesn’t work, you can return it for a full refund up to a year later with our “Go-Ahead and Use It” money-back guarantee. Marie doesn’t want anyone stuck with a program that isn’t working!

I really don’t know what to think about her test scores showing such contradictory results to what you see at home. It makes me suspect your daughter is highly intelligent and can compensate for her gaps so that the tests aren’t showing her true ability.

I am pleased to hear that she still has a great attitude, however! Attitude goes a long way and will be a help to her.

Please let me know how I can help you help your daughter. My heart goes out to you both.

We had already decided to us this program. For the very reasons given. As a military child, the switching from school to school, left me with many gaps. So I’ve over come some not. Why my daughter who spent most of her life in one school system had so many gaps I’ll never know. We don’t want that to happen with her children and therefore they are being homeschooled. We plan on using AAW and AAS along with MathUsee. I will be checking the reviews for both The Sentence Family and IEW, as you suggested in one of your comments below. I love your posts they are very helpful.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Debbie,
I’m glad you find our posts so helpful!

As always, let me know if you have any questions or need anything. I have personally used the Sentence Family, IEW, and Math-U-See and think they are great choices.

Hollie

says:

I’ve been researching the All About Reading/Spelling program for a while and I am truly ready to purchase (as I can’t seem to win the lottery!); I teach a fifth grader and a first grader and my first grader seems more eager than the ten year old to read but she is a girl, I’ve heard this makes a difference. Anyway, they what would be the best level to start at to engage both students?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Hollie,
I’m not sure one level of All About Reading will be the best fit for both of your children. It depends on what level each of them needs.

We have placement tests for All About Reading to help you decide which level would be best. Also, have each of your kids read the sample stories from the previous level online as a further confirmation. You want them 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 children) for the following…
Their ability to decode the words in the story.
Their ability to comprehend the story.
Could they fluently read the story with expression?
Did they understand the words from a vocabulary standpoint?

I hope this helps you choose the right starting level for each child, but let me know if you have questions or need more help.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sheila,
I’m so sorry your daughter is struggling with memory. I think you will find our report Help Your Child’s Memory helpful.

For math facts, consider allowing her to use a multiplication chart. More than one of my children struggled with math facts, so I allowed them to use charts. Over a few years, their reliance on the charts became less and less as their use of the math helped them to master most of the facts painlessly.

I’d love to help you more. How old is your daughter? Are you using All About Spelling? If I had specifics about her struggles I could offer you specific ideas on how to help.

Surekha Morankar

says:

It is a treat to read the reflection of my thoughts and concerns in your All about reading…..I have developed modules to teach English reading step wise….step 1 is phonic progression….thank you

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Surekha,
You are welcome. And our methods are based on the Orton-Gillingham approach that has more than half of century of proven effectiveness!

Sara

says:

Have you considered making an all about math and english/grammar set with the same teaching concepts; no gaps in learning and the 3 ways of teaching. I would be greatly interested in that. As a mother of two boys, 9 & 14, both with dyslexia, auditory processing and short term memory issues, that are both behind in grade level, I am struggling to get them caught up and teach them in a way they can grasp and retain.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sara,
I’m sorry your boys are struggling in this way. I understand, as my 14-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter have very similar issues. We are have considered expanding our All About … line, but have decided to maintain our focus on high-quality reading and spelling products.

However, we may be able to help you find other products that can help your boys in these other areas.

For Math, Math U See is multisensory and mastery-based, and it is open-and-go for parents. It has been a game changer for my 14-year-old that has struggled with math. He will finish Math U See pre-Algebra this week with a high grade and move right into Algebra I.

Marie, the author of AAR and AAS, had one student who struggled with math, and one who did well. Teaching Textbooks worked well for her struggling student, so that’s one you might look into. Abeka Consumer Math also worked well for her struggler. Her student who did well in math used Aleks.

Marie always liked Singapore because it fit her style, but not her kids’ as much. On the other hand, all five of my kids have used Singapore, although my one that struggled stopped using it before 5A.

There are SO many options out there, it can be overwhelming! When I evaluate programs I look at several things:

What worked about what we used previously? Did we like anything?
What didn’t work and why?
What do I need as a teacher from a math program? (Do I need scripting, examples, teaching helps etc…?)
What do my students need? (Think about visual layout, color vs. black & white, mom-taught vs. computer or DVD teacher, manipulatives, and so on.)
Look at samples online (or in person if possible), and let your kids look at them. Even young students can have opinions on curriculum that can give you insight that can be very helpful in your decision making.

For Grammar, there are a number of grammar programs available that have either multi-sensory components or an incremental approach. Some of the programs focus exclusively on grammar, while some include writing as well. Here are a few suggestions:

Winston Grammar is a hands-on program with color-coded cards, and is generally aimed at students in 4th to 7th grades.

Easy Grammar features an incremental approach and includes topics such as usage and punctuation, for 2nd grade and up.

Essentials in Writing is described by author Matthew Stephens as a Math-U-See approach to writing. In the elementary levels, this program incorporates grammar with writing. The lessons are presented in short video segments of 3 to 5 minutes and then the student works on the concept that was taught. This is a multisensory and incremental program that is very easy to use. There are levels for 1st-12th grades.

Hands-On English with Linking Blocks is an intriguing program that uses wooden blocks and flashcards for a truly hands-on approach.

Analytical Grammar teaches a mastery of grammar by working on it for short grammar focused units once a year for 2 to 3 years. Junior Analytical Grammar is for 4th or 5th graders, with Analytical Grammar for 6th to 9th graders.

The Sentence Family is a simple and fun program aimed at 3rd through 6th graders. The program uses drawing along with a storyline to teach the nine parts of speech and how they relate to each other. This is more of a beginning grammar program that will need to be followed up with something else. Still, it is very fun and is sort of a jump start on grammar. I used this with my kids when they were 12 and 8. It took us only a month, but they had the nine parts of speech down pat by the time we finished. They still recall it fondly.

Fix It Grammar is incremental and uses short lessons. Each level teaches grammar using sentences from a single story, so there is the added fun of seeing the story slowly unfold. The teacher’s manual is very comprehensive and even includes advanced concepts so the teacher can answer questions a curious student may have. The youngest the program is recommended for is 3rd grade, although it is appropriate for older students as well. After finishing The Sentence Family, we started Fix It Grammar book 1. We are now more than halfway through Fix It Grammar book 2. It isn’t always easy, but the short daily work and repetitive nature has made a huge difference for my children. One change I made was to have my kids underline the parts of speech in the color they learned from The Sentence Family instead of writing n, or adj, or prep above the word. The color-coding of the parts of speech made it more fun and more visual for them.

For Writing, you will want to look for programs that are incremental or mastery-based or programs that are specifically recommended for students with learning struggles and disabilities. Some to consider:

Writing Skills by King, who has worked extensively with dyslexic students.

WriteShop has incremental lessons, and some multisensory components. They state they have experience with various learning disabilities.

Writing Strands’ author was dyslexic and it also provides an incremental approach.

Jensen’s Format Writing is incremental.

Essentials in Writing is both multi-sensory and incremental. The author describes it as a Math-U-See approach to writing. It also has grammar included for 1st-6th grade levels, and optional grammar dvd included in Jr. High levels.

Institute for Excellence in Writing. IEW had an incremental approach, and the author’s son had learning disabilities. We started this last winter, and at that time my 14-year-old struggled to write a single paragraph and had trouble knowing where one sentence ended and the next should begin. After six months with IEW, he wrote his first 5-paragraph essay and it was good! While IEW may not be for everyone, I do recommend at least taking a long look at it because of the success we have had with it.

Hopefully, this gives you some places to start looking. This list is by no means exhaustive, so if you come across another program that uses a similar approach or that would be good for students with learning disabilities, please let us know.

sara english

says:

Oh wow, that is so much information. Thank you so much. I will look into your suggestions, especially for math. I just ordered AAR and am hoping that an improvement in reading ability and comprehension will help with other subjects as well. Thank you for all that you all at AALP do to help us parents and students. I am very excited for my books to come in and jump into it with the boys.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sara,
We are glad to help. Let us know how All About Reading goes or if you have any questions or concerns along the way!

Molly

says:

Can you jump a child that hasn’t used your program at the fourth grade level right into your program? I would like to use this on my son that is in Kindergarten, but I really see that my 4th grader could use this breakdown of a program.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Molly,
You can start our All About Reading program at whatever level your student needs. We have placement tests for All About Reading 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?

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

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.

We encourage you to “fast track” if the student knows how to spell most of the words but does not understand the underlying basic spelling concepts. In this case, very quickly skim the parts that he or she already knows and slow down on the parts that he or she needs to learn. Pull out several words as examples. Make sure he or 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.

Molly

says:

That was entirely and wonderfully helpful! Thank you for taking ALL that time to answer my question. God bless you.

Hollie

says:

Are there any free spelling downloads?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Hollie,
We have a number of free resources for spelling and many include downloads.

The Power of the Orton-Gillingham Approach [Report]
20 Best Tips for Teaching Reading and Spelling [Report]
Six Ways We Make Spelling Easy [Report]
Help Your Child’s Memory [Report]
Symptoms of Dyslexia Checklist
Winter Practice Activities [The Banana Splits Game, Bake the Cookies, Fun Penguin Facts]
Teaching Latin Roots with Word Trees
Spelling Rules Posters
Encouraging Words Poster
How to Teach Homophones
Polar Bear Pack [Winter-themed reading and spelling activities]

Please let us know if you need anything further!

Hollie Seabolt

says:

Robin,

Thank you so much for posting those links; I assessed my ten year old and based on the dyslexia checklist, I can diagnose him as such. Where do I go from here? I’ve broken reading down to building blocks on my own, meaning I have hand made letter tiles and he makes words to read but he still struggles.

Thanks,

Hollie

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Hollie,
The gold standard for reading and spelling instruction for students with dyslexia or dyslexia tendencies is the Orton-Gillingham approach. This report details what makes something Orton-Gillingham based, but in short, it is multisensory, sequential, incremental, cumulative, individualized, teaches phonograms, explicit, and mastery-based.

This is also the approach that the International Dyslexia Association recommends. The author of All About Reading and All About Spelling (AAR and AAS), Marie Rippel, is a member of the International Dyslexia Association and has instructed graduate-level courses in Orton-Gillingham Literacy Training offered through Nicolet College in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. 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.

The good news is that All About Reading and All About Spelling are based on the Orton-Gillingham approach and were specifically designed with struggling learners in mind.

Here are some ways that All About Reading and All About Spelling can help kids with dyslexia or other learning difficulties:

– Each lesson time is simple and explicit and will include 3 simple steps: the review of what was learned the day before, a simple new teaching, and a short practice of that new teaching.

– Incremental lessons. AAR and AAS break every teaching down into its most basic steps and then teach the lessons in a logical order, carrying students from one concept or skill to the next. Each step builds on what the student has already mastered.

– AAR and AAS are multisensory. Research has shown that when a child is taught through all three pathways at the same time, a method known as simultaneous multisensory instruction, he will learn significantly more than when taught only through his strongest pathway.

– AAR and AAS use specially color-coded letter tiles. Working with the letter tiles can make the difference between understanding or not understanding a concept, such as syllable division rules.

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

– AAR and AAS have built-in review in every lesson. Children with learning difficulties generally need lots of review in order to retain concepts. With AAR and AAS, your child will have Review Boxes 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.

– All About Reading has lots of fluency practice. One of the things that Marie noticed when she was researching reading programs is that few programs have enough review built in for kids who struggle to gain fluency. AAR has fluency sheets or a story to be read with every lesson, so children can practice reading smoothly with expression and confidence.

– All About Spelling has a gradual progression for increasing the student’s stamina and fluency in writing, from words and short phrases in Level 1, to phrases and short sentences in Level 2, to 12 dictation sentences per step in Level 3. Partway through Level 3, the Writing Station activity is introduced. In this exercise, students write sentences of their own that they make up using some of their spelling words. In this way students have begun to use words in a more real-world context through dictation and writing, to help them transition to longer writing assignments.

All About Reading and All About Spelling have a one-year “Go Ahead and Use It” guarantee. You can try them, and if for any reason you feel that they aren’t the right match for your child, return them for a full refund.

As we discussed yesterday, I recommend starting him with All About Reading level 1. Once he has completed All About Reading level 1, move onto All About Reading level 2 while beginning All About Spelling level 1.

If you need anything further, have more questions or concerns, or have any problems at any time, please let us know!

David Robinson

says:

I`m an English language teacher in Beijing, China. I decided a few years back to teach the little kids to also read in English, as opposed to focusing on oral English. I can across a program called I See Sam. It is based on the alphabetic code principle. It is very easy to use and works like a charm. Have you heard of it? What do you think about it?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

David,
We are aware of the I See Sam readers and recommend them as an option when asked for supplementing reading for children in All About Reading 1 and All About Reading 2. The series is mostly phonetic but does introduce “sight words” that are really phonetic that All About Reading teaches later. For example, series one focuses on short vowel words but teaches “see” and “what” as sight words. Both of these words follow phonics rules and aren’t really sight words.

More than what phonics reading books you are using with your students, it is very important to increase their English vocabulary beyond what they can read themselves. The easiest and most effective way to do this is to read aloud to them daily in English.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Cathy,
Thank you for this information. It is good to know that these books don’t teach words as sight words that can be phonetically read.

Christina

says:

I’m looking into finding what I can do with my daughter after we finish the TYCTR book. Would you recommend starting with level 1 Spelling and progressing? Or doing both the spelling and reading at level 1 and going on from there?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Christina,
While Teach Your Child to Read does introduce some higher concepts than All About Reading 1, some children finishing it aren’t yet reading fluently at that level yet. Rather than just assuming your child needs such and such level, we recommend using our placement tests for All About Reading to help you decide which level would be best. Also, we recommend having your daughter read the sample stories from the previous level online as a further confirmation. You want her 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 daughter) for the following…

Her ability to decode the words in the story.
Her ability to comprehend the story.
Could she fluently read the story with expression?
Did she understand the words from a vocabulary standpoint?

As for spelling, we recommend most students start at All About Spelling level 1. However, some students can begin with level 2. 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.

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

Katherine

says:

I have found the tips to be very helpful and encouraging at the same time. The generosity of this author makes me want to try the products!

Merry

says: Customer Service

I’m so glad, Katherine! Thanks for your kind note :-).

Vidhya Narasimhan

says:

Is the program teaching only American way of spelling?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Vidhya,
All About Spelling does focus only on American spelling. However, the changes needed for British spelling aren’t extensive or difficult to make. We have a document we can email you, if you are interested, that details the changes you would need to make to All About Spelling for British spelling.

Lauren M

says:

We LOVE this curriculum!! I recommend it to everyone as it provides fun, short lessons that keep my fidgety little boys engaged. I am so impressed regarding my kids’ ability to read along with their growing love to read. Thanks All About Learning!!

Diana Hansen

says:

NEED SOMETHING TO REMEDIATE WHAT HAS BEEN DONE (RATHER POORLY) IN PUBLIC ED. MY SON HAS ADHD, DYSLEXIA, AUDITORY PROCESSING DYSFUNCTION etc. HE IS IN 8TH GRADE WITH A 5TH GRADE PROFICIENCY IN READING AND PROBABLY LOWER IN COMPREHENSION AND RETENTION OF INFORMATION. I WANT TO GET HIM UP TO SPEED WITH TOOLS AND STRATEGIES TO HELP HIM TO HANDLE THE NEXT PHASE OF HIS EDUCATION IN HIGH SCHOOL. DO YOU HAVE SOMETHING FOR THIS TYPE OF STUDENT WHO DOES NOT WANT TO SEE TEACHING MATERIALS THAT APPEAR SO BELOW HIS AGE. (PICTURES OF ANIMALS AND VERY YOUNG CHILDREN).

Merry

says: Customer Service

Hi Diana,

We have had teens and even adults use the reading program with modifications–it’s possible to use just the word cards and fluency pages for practice along with the lessons, for example. Students can start in a higher level as well–they don’t have to start in level 1. Here’s placement information.

Here is what Marie recommends when tutoring teens:

– Follow the new-concept lessons in the TM, which include flashcard review, “Change the Word,” Activity Sheets, Fluency Practice, and reading aloud to your student. Approximately every other lesson is a “new concept” lesson, and every other lesson is a “read a story” lesson.

– In the Activity Book, you can skip the activities that your students might think are too young, but some of the activities in the upper levels would be age-appropriate–you can evaluate as you go. They are there to provide fun review activities for those that would need and enjoy them. As we state in the Teacher’s Manual, the activity sheets aren’t necessary for older learners; however, the fluency pages in the activity book will be very helpful.

– Marie and many tutors include the readers, too. The Level 2 readers aren’t baby-ish. With regard to the Level 1 readers, sometimes it depends on the student. We’ve talked to tutors of adults, and the adult students are so happy to be able to read a story that they are thrilled to read the Level 1 readers. They don’t mind the content. But if you are dealing with a “cool” teen, you might want to stick with the fluency pages and wait until you get to the Level 2 readers. If he never connects with the readers in the upper levels, you could continue with just the fluency pages–though most of the time, students will find the upper level readers palatable and don’t mind the line drawings in the readers.

The spelling program generally needs little or no modification. You may have to be willing to adjust the first level or two to his needs because the words are very easy to start (and students do need to start in level 1 for spelling). Marie encourages parents and teachers to “fast track” if the student knows how to spell most of the words but does not understand the underlying basic spelling concepts. In this case, very quickly skim the parts that he already knows and slow down on the parts that he needs to learn. Pull out several words as examples. Make sure he understands the concept being taught, and then move on. This article has an example of how you might fast track.

I hope this helps as you consider how to proceed. Please let me know if you have additional questions, or feel free to email me at support@allaboutlearningpress.com.

Julie

says:

I wish I had known about this my first year of homeschooling. I pulled my daughter out at the end of 2nd grade. I knew at some point I was going to homeschool, I was just waiting on God for when. At the end of the school year He said, this was the year, pull them out! I’m so glad I did, it was the year Common Core was going to be introduced the following fall! Anyway, may daughter had so many holes in her reading and writing that I didn’t know about. By then end of our first year of homeschooling, I realized I had to go backwards in her reading before we could move forward. I then spent the second year patching them up. She had concepts from Kindergarten that I had to re-teach like Long Vowels with silent E. I started with a classical Kindergarten reading & phonics curriculum I bought for my son, that went in a sequential order and repeated and built on concepts previously taught. I then pulled together a number of other curriculum and resources to plug up the gaps. I basically created my own curriculum for her (and my son) using multiple resources. I certainly would have used All About Reading & All About Spelling from the beginning if I had known about it then. You have done what I’ve been trying to do by myself for the last 3 years. Thank you! I’m hopeful for the first time with teaching my children.

Lindie

says:

We have just started with All about reading and already we are loving it. Very detailed and complete

Wendy

says:

I’m really excited about the progression. Can’t wait to use this with my son.

ashley wakefield

says:

Looking forward to using this with my Kindergartener next year!

Lee

says:

We love using all about reading and all about spelling for our kids!

Amy

says:

Great products! easy to use!

Kaile R

says:

Our oldest completed Level 1 of AAR and AAS and is currently making his way through Level 2 of both. Our youngest is working her way through AAR Level 1. We have truly enjoyed this curriculum and found it to be easy to use and fun as well!

Melonie

says:

We are currently using AAS levels 3 and 5 with older sons (and LOVE the method). Thinking of starting AAR soon with special needs 5yo daughter. This blog post was helpful, thanks! :)

Cathy

says:

How similar are AAS and AAR? Can I just take either one and use it to teach both reading and spelling, as long as reading and spelling are taught separately at different speeds?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Cathy,
For some children it can work to use All About Spelling to teach reading and spelling. However, many children need additional support in reading than All About Spelling provides. Here’s more about the programs and how they are designed to work:

Both are complete phonics programs. All About Spelling and All About Reading both use a similar sequence and the same phonograms, so they are interrelated in that way. AAS teaches words from the spelling angle (encoding) and AAR teaches words from the reading angle (decoding).

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

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

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

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

And here’s an article that illustrates What’s the difference between All About Reading and All About Spelling and includes samples of the same concept taught in both programs.

I hope this helps as you decide what is best for you and your student(s). Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

Mary Nease

says:

I love how your programs helps me relax and be patient with my kids, encouraging mastery so I know ultimately moving slower will pay off with no (or fewer!) gaps :)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Mary,
Yes, this is a beautiful way to look at it!

Aimee Wutka

says:

We love AAS and AAR. I have seen so much progress and enjoyment from my children with these programs. I wish I had started with them sooner.

Amanda

says:

My kids have gaps in reading and spelling. They weren’t catching up in public school, so we brought them home. This looks very promising for them!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amanda,
Please let us know if you have any questions about our programs.

Megan

says:

All About Reading has helped my daughter make a break through in her reading. She loves reading now, and we are leaving no gaps.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Megan,
It’s great to hear that All About Reading has helped your daughter have a breakthrough in reading. Thank you.

Maria T.

says:

I like the clear instructional method this program offers.

Kelli C.

says:

My girls are doing great with the AAR reading program and I am hoping this program will prevent those gaps! So far we love the program and will start AAS in the fall!

Katelyn

says:

I was a very intuitive reader from a very early age, but I know not everyone is the same. I’m so glad that such care was put into the All About Reading program. I am enjoying watching my son learn to read with it.

Michele

says:

Love All About Reading. My little one with Down Syndrome is learning! It is awesome!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Michele,
It IS awesome! Thanks for letting us know how your little one is doing.

Katie S

says:

My oldest Ian now in second grade. We moved and he attended a new school between Knand 1st grade and I’m noticing major gaps in his reading, phonics and spelling abilities. I’ve started AAR with him and noticing big change so. I’ve also started AAR with husband little brother to help prevent these struggles in the future. Thank you for these amazing programs.

Ashley Pittman

says:

AAR and AAS has been such a blessing to our family. Thank you!

Christine

says:

We are loving our first year with AAR (level 1!) It’s been so easy to teach so far, I’m excited about starting AAS and level two next year!!

Cindy

says:

I love teaching aar L2 and aas L1 to my first grader. Reading isn’t easy for him, but he is slowly and steadily progressing. We just started aas level one this fall and I love how it reinforces what he learned in aar level 1. Just a great program.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Cindy,
I’m happy to hear that AAR and AAS is working well for your son. Thank you.

Gail Timmer

says:

I love this post, the ladder is spot on! I would love to win the give away! 😊

Mary Schramm

says:

I have really enjoyed teaching with AAR! Not only is my child learning completely and quickly, but I am too.

Kimberly Weese

says:

I’ve had older children who struggle with gaps in both areas. I’m excited to see the difference in my younger children who are not having to struggle through the same issues because we are getting them started right. Loving AAR!

Genevieve

says:

My littles are enjoying AAR pre-reading. They ask for “Ziggy” and get excited about our lessons. Looking forward to Level 1!

Jen

says:

We have enjoyed All About Spelling and would love to give All About Reading a try! Already my daughter’s reading proficiency is above grade level but I’m always nervous that I might be missing something along the way. I love that your programs aim to close these loopholes.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jen,
It is possible that those holes will be filled with All About Spelling. Not every child needs All About Reading.

Crystal

says:

I would love to try the spelling we have enjoyed the reading!

Courtney S

says:

My oldest daughter had many gaps in her spelling. Her school allowed the kids to spell phonetically in the lower grades, and didn’t teach the rules and generalizations, at least not well. She developed some very bad habits. After I stumbled across and began using AAS, her spelling began and continues to improve, but she has had to work very hard to overcome her bad habits! She is currently working through AAS4. My 5 yo is working on AAR1, and I plan on starting AAS1 after she completes it. We are so thankful for All About Learning! I only wish we had found it sooner.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Courtney,
Overcoming bad habits in spelling can be difficult. Just keep at it! It’s great to hear that All About Spelling and All About Reading is working so well for your children.

Sasha

says:

Yes!!!! I should have started with All About Reading from the begining. I thought that what I had cover in Kinder was going to be enoght for first grade. That was not the case. I will be getting AAR Kinder.

Narae

says:

True true! This is why I love AAS! :)

Lauren

says:

We’ve loved using spelling and I want to starting with the reading soon.

Sarah Ter Maat

says:

Where do you start with an older child who has gaps? Do you start at the beginning? My hesitation with this would be that she would quickly get discouraged and think she was “dumb” because the work would look or feel too “babyish”. Any advice on this?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sarah,
If you are asking about reading, we have placement tests for All About Reading 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…

Her ability to decode the words in the story.
Her ability to comprehend the story.
Could she fluently read the story with expression?
Did she understand the words from a vocabulary standpoint?

However, if you are asking about spelling, we recommend that most students start with level 1 to build a strong foundation in spelling.

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.

We encourage parents and teachers to “fast track” if the student knows how to spell most of the words but does not understand the underlying basic spelling concepts. In this case, very quickly skim the parts that 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.

How old is your student? Is she struggling with reading, spelling, or both? What aspects does she struggle with?

Sarah

says:

Thanks for such a thorough explanation! She just turned 14 and was in public school for those foundational years. I have found that they seem to teach sight words only, but not really the phonics and/or rules that go along with the spelling.
I should have clarified, she mostly struggles with spelling, but also somewhat with reading I suspect. She absolutely loathes reading. I am not sure if she really just dislike reading, or if it is because she struggles with comprehension or a little of both.
I will try the placement tests with her. We have tried a few different spelling curriculum and have been using Spelling Power. It just isn’t working with her. Everything we’ve tried seems to rely on memorization.
Thanks again for the reply!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for the additional information, Sarah.

With what you described with your daughter, I would recommend starting her on All About Spelling only. Do look into our Which Spelling Level Should We Start With? article to see if she has enough phonics background to start with AAS 2, but be willing to start at AAS 1 if needed.

Older students like your daughter typically progress through the lower levels quickly, but make noticeable progress in that short time. You may have seen our Using All About Spelling with Older Students blog post already. All About Spelling is in no way “baby-ish”, but does start with the very basics as to ensure there are no gaps to hinder future progress. Just explain to your daughter that, like starting at the beginning of a video game even though level 1 is easy so that she can learn what she needs to know for the more difficult levels later, she also needs to start with level 1 of All About Spelling so she can learn what she needs to know for the more difficult words later. Also assure her that you will move through the lower levels as quickly as you can, so that you get to the more difficult words as soon as possible.

As for reading, as she moves through All About Spelling, especially as she learns about the syllable division rules in AAS 2 and 3, she will find reading easier. However, in order to really get a clear idea of what problems she is having with reading you need to listen to her read aloud. Often you can pinpoint her exact problem by listening to a student read aloud for 10 minutes or so a day for a few days. For example, is she guessing a long words and therefore the sentences she is reading aren’t making any sense? Or, is she reading without any expression at all, ignoring punctuation, and reading in a flat monotone? It’s really, really hard to understand what is being read if there is no expression. After you have listened to her read for a week or so, let us know what you discovered. We can help you so that you can help her.

She should be reading herself for at least 20 or 30 minutes a day. She may need to read “easy” books, maybe even well below her grade level, but it is the reading that is more important than the level at this point. Allow her a lot of say in what she reads, but keep her reading. This is important as the Matthew Effect does play into reading.

Most importantly, she needs to be listening to books each day. Reading aloud to her is probably best, as she can ask you questions and discuss the literature with you in the moment. However, you can make use of audiobooks as well. Since she is 8th or 9th grade age, you can start studying literature and literary analysis with her through audiobooks or reading aloud. Even if you choose not to do literature study at this point, do keep having her listen to books. There is a direct relationship between reading comprehension and listening comprehension, and listening to books is also very helpful in developing enjoyment with books.

I hope this helps. Please let us know how it goes or if you have any further questions.

Mikki Larch

says:

We love AAR & AAS. They have been especially beneficial to my outside-the-box kid :)

Emily

says:

This is a big reason I chose to do this program. We are in a Spanish immersion school so will not start with English for a couple years. I was trying some other pieced together things but it wasn’t clicking I think because of missing some basics. Although I have to say Spanish is so much more straight forward than English. Our multiple sounds for letters is so much harder to learn!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Emily,
Yes! Languages that have a one sound to one phonogram correlation are much less difficult to learn, and problems with dyslexia are less common.

Katy

says:

Insightful article!

Kelsey Ricci

says:

Thank you for creating a no gap program that we are loving!

Megan

says:

We are using both AAR and AAS and I appreciate the confidence I have that we will not have any gaps in my son’s learning.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Megan,
We are happy that we could help you have that confidence in your teaching.

Heidi

says:

Great programs!

karen

says:

Thanks so much for this article as it really encouraged me as a homeschooling mom!

Ryann

says:

I would love to try AAS with my 9 year old son. He is a strong reader and we are looking for a next step for spelling after this year.

Kristina

says:

Thank you for the wonderful program.

Davelle

says:

My nine years old struggles with reading. These books would be great.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Davelle,
Please let us know if you have any questions about All About Reading, if you need help with placement, or if there is anything else you need help with.

Mia

says:

My oldest daughter struggles with reading. We are working on reinforcing her ladder and fixing her gaps. She struggles with remembering the “basics” as she reads.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Mia,
We are sorry to hear your daughter is struggling. Please let us know if you have any questions or need any ideas on how to help her fill her gaps.

Misty

says:

Really helpful article, my son is 4th grade and is a struggling reader. We have seen lots of improvements since starting AAR

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Misty,
Thank you for letting us know that All About Reading has helped your son improve in reading!

Tony Kerr

says:

These blogs and each persons experiences make great reading and provide great encouragement for me and I am looking forward to receiving my order of pre-reading program. I recently downloaded the Penguin pack as a trial on how this could work and my son and I spent some fun filled hours with the similar sounding words and making up words for him to select the letters in upper and lowercase to spell. So I really appreciate all the sharing that is available here.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Tony,
It sounds like you and your son are off to an excellent start in learning!

Tabitha

says:

We love the program. It has even filled in a few of my own gaps in spelling!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Tabitha,
I had the same experience! I’m a better speller now that I’ve been through All About Spelling with one of my children.

Lexi

says:

This is so true! I have loved the incremental approach with these programs. My son has had to take it very slowly with reading and spelling and if he were using any other program I know he would not have any success. He has to carefully walk through the steps to experience success. He is slowly and steadily learning to read.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lexi,
Slow and steady is an excellent way to learn! Keep it up.

Kristin Evans

says:

I’ve heard this before about your program – parent’s testify that it leaves no gaps. Look forward to using it!

Erma

says:

Trying to decide which level to use on my son.

Bonnie

says:

Great analogy. We just started the program but so far so good.

Cheri

says:

My son, 9yo, is still reading on a K/1st grade level. It is so frustrating for him AND for me as I watch him struggle. I think I’d like to try AAR since it comes highly recommended from other homeschooling moms.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Cheri,
Please let us know if we can help with placement or anything else. My third child didn’t get above a 1st grade reading level until he was about 9 years old, but now at 14 he is reading on grade level or even a bit higher. You can help your son get there too.

Marie, the author of All About Reading, was told by experts that her son would never learn to read. The experts were wrong! If you haven’t had a chance to watch their story about her son’s struggles, you may want to check that out. It’s inspiring!

Katrina R.

says:

I like the analogy. Luckily my 5 year old has picked up reading really easily at this point, but I think my 3 year old will need more structured learning once she reaches that point.

Jade

says:

I like the analogy. And love the step by step approach aal provides

Heather

says:

I’ve been using Spell to Write and read, but this program looks much easier to implement.

C. E.

says:

Love this no gap approach! My son hardly needs spelling help, he gets most everything he needs from just the reading program!

Claire Levesque

says:

Thank you for creating AAR. It is helping my child learn to read, and from what I’ve seen so far, without any gaps!

Lois Bannon

says:

Looks to be just what we’re looking for.

Jessica Hamer

says:

I am just so very grateful my friend told me about AAR and AAS! We love the no gaps approach and my boys are soaring! ❤

Lindsey

says:

This was helpful. I can’t wait to try AAR.

Leslie

says:

I can’t tell you how excited I was when I discover AAR and AAS! My 8 year old and now one of my 5 year olds are “no gaps” sort of readers, and I just was not finding anything that had a specific set of next steps. Then viola, there was AAR and AAS. Heck, I would even be reading some of the lessons thinking, “Is that why we do that?” I wish I would have had this 11 years ago teaching in the Public School System. I can think of so many kids that would have benefited from it. So, thanks Marie and all of you All About Learning Press employees for giving so many children a chance!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Leslie,
We are so glad that All About Reading and All About Spelling are filling in the gaps for your students. Yes, a lot of learners would benefit from having an incremental education.

The more I read about your program the MORE excited I get that this is going to be amazing for my sweet son! I can’t wait to purchase it and start with it this coming fall! Hearing your story about your son sent me to tears! Thank you so much for sharing this with others and developing this curriculum.
Blessings,
Tamijoy Sisemore
http://tillGodbringsthemhome.blogspot.com

jacquie

says:

wondering if this is an orton gillingham approach?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jacquie,
Yes! Both All About Reading and All About Spelling are Orton-Gillingham based. Marie is a member of the International Dyslexia Association, and has instructed graduate level courses in Orton-Gillingham Literacy Training offered through Nicolet College in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. If you haven’t had a chance to watch their story about her son’s struggles, you may want to check out their story. Quite amazing!

You might also like to visit our Dyslexia Resources Page.

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

Amanda F.

says:

I always enjoy reading your posts. :D We use and love All About Spelling! I am wondering, do you know of any way to check a fourth graders reading level? My daughter is in fourth this year, I feel like she reads well for her age. I would like to be able to check it though. Any ideas?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Amanda,
Here is a very simple online assessment. It has lists of words by grade level. However, this isn’t a full picture of what constitutes reading. It is one thing to read a list of words well, and quite another to read the same words buried deep in 20 pages of small text in a chapter without any pictures.

I think a better assessment of what grade level your child is reading is look up the grade level of a book she is reading. I like to use the Scholastic webpage for that, not because Scholastic is necessarily the most accurate but more that they make the grade levels easy to see along the left size of the page. So, for example, if your child is reading, enjoying, and comprehending Treasure Island well, then she is reading on a 7th grade reading level.

Emily Urban

says:

My son has been struggling since kindergarten. He’s in 4th grade now still at 1st grade level. Very painful.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Emily,
What curriculum has he been learning with? Can you describe the specifics of his struggles? How can we help you help your son?

Kelly

says:

I am wondering about my daughter who has struggled for years with reading and was recently diagnosed as being dyslexic. She is 16 now. What are the steps or levels of learning that she would need if she were to use OG procedures or All About Learning? PS Kelsey loves horses! :)

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Kelly,
For reading, we do have placement tests for All About Reading to help you decide which level would be best. Also, we recommend having your daughter read the sample stories from the previous level online as a further confirmation. You want her 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 daughter) for the following…

Her ability to decode the words in the story.
Her ability to comprehend the story.
Could she fluently read the story with expression?
Did she understand the words from a vocabulary standpoint?

Note: choose the level for All About Spelling independently from the level she needs for All About Reading.

With spelling, we recommend that most students start with level 1 to build a strong foundation in spelling.

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 Should We Start in Level 1 or Level 2? has more information on the concepts taught in level 1 and will help you decide the appropriate starting level.

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.

We encourage parents and teachers to “fast track” if the student knows how to spell most of the words but does not understand the underlying basic spelling concepts. In this case, very quickly skim the parts that 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.

All About Spelling isn’t “young” at all, but if she places into the lower levels of All About Reading she may find some of the activities to be too young for her. If she does place into AAR 1 or 2, let us know and we’ll give you information on some minor adaptions you can make so that it is better received.

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

KRISTIN

says:

Thank you so much for your question & the answer! I’ve been contacted regarding beginning a remedial reading program for high school students at a local private school and this post helps answer many of my questions!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kristin,
My reply above applies specifically to All About Spelling. If you were interested with All About Reading for your students, we don’t recommend starting at level 1 unless the student truly needs to start at that level. Rather, we have placement tests for All About Reading to help you decide which level would be best. Also, we recommend having the student read the sample stories from the previous level online as a further confirmation. You want the student to be reading fluently with good comprehension before going to a higher level.

Level 1 sample story
Level 2 sample story
Level 3 sample story
Level 4 sample story

Evaluate (without correcting the student) for the following…

The student’s ability to decode the words in the story.
The student’s ability to comprehend the story.
Could the student fluently read the story with expression?
Did the student understand the words from a vocabulary standpoint?

Let us know if you have further questions. I have also emailed you our pdf document that discusses the concerns of using our programs in a classroom setting.

Alisa

says:

This program has been amazing for my boys…my third grader went from being embarrassed about his reading in public school in kindergarten to reading and spelling way above average by using AAS and AAR. I love how both the reading and spelling programs work so well together and reinforce phonic rules.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thank you for sharing your son’s great progress with us, Alisa!

Tanya

says:

Looking forward to trying All About Spelling with my newest kindergartner. I agree, many program leave gaps.

rosemarie riosa tio

says:

Super! Now i can make sure we avoid these gaps

Schelly P

says:

Would love to try this.

Sabrina

says:

I always love hearing about how children learn with their parent’s involvement. Thank you for sharing!

Chelsey Stafki

says:

Great information. My son has been reading just fine, but after several spelling tests, I have learned that there are definite gaps that need to be covered.

Sherry

says:

This is the first time any of my students actually enjoy spelling. I am sure it is because it is finally making sense to them!

Great ideas and explanations about filling in the gaps. Great visuals as well!

Miranda

says:

I think this program looks fantastic. I can’t wait to try it.

Charlene

says:

We love AAS and AAR! My son attended Kindergarten at a public school and by the end of that year I realized that he had some missing gaps in reading and spelling. He was great at reading sight words but had no clue about phonics, I was stunned. We decided to pull him from the public school and homeschool him. After lots of research I knew AAS and AAR would be the perfect curriculum for him. We are 4 months into the school year and he has improved dramatically, he has finished Level 1 in both programs and we are ready to order Level 2 – I have no doubt it is because your programs have closed the missing gaps for him. We feel so blessed to have found your programs! We love it, and highly recommend it!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Charlene,
Thank you for sharing how your son has progressed this year. It sounds like he is doing very well!

Georgette H

says:

Thank you for this analogy! Our oldest was able to go back and pick up his missing rungs as we switched to All About Reading a few years ago.

Rachel

says:

This is such a great post! Thanks for helping me on my journey to teach my kids to read! I highly recommend AAR!

Juill

says:

My ds5 was reading pretty well after finishing TYCTR but we started All About Reading Level 1 this week to fill on the gaps. I love your approach. Thanks!

Kristin A.

says:

This post gives the best visual description of the issues our 10 yr old son has faced learning to read and spell. Our son has struggled in spelling and reading throughout school. He has used various curriculums due to the different school’s he’s attended. It has made school incredibly discouraging for him. As his parents watching him struggle without the tools to help him has frustrated us as well. This gives us hope!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Kristin,
Let us know if we can help with placement or anything else!

Lee Ann

says:

Thanks for the information.

Nancy

says:

The ladder analogy is so helpful when working with parents of students with dyslexia. Parents often want the work to be “harder” thinking that their child should be doing grade/age level work. This analogy helps them understand that I need to have the students build a solid foundation or a strong ladder in order to get to that work.

Megan

says:

We love AAR and AAS!! I am learning so many wonderful things too!! Our favorite is onomatopoeia a word that imitates sound!!!

Celeste

says:

I hav used all about spelling with a son who has processing and writing difficulties. I have easily been able to adapt it for him to learn. My spelling has improved as well!

Marietta

says:

I use your program in a pull-out classroom setting. This analogy is so helpful. I will use it to explain your program to parents and administrators. Those not familiar with a systematic approach are often unable to judge the type of reading material appropriate for struggling readers. I can glance at a piece of writing and immediately identify the words that will be very problematic for my students.

Christie

says:

We are loving our all about reading and all about spelling programs!! Both my kids are excelling and both are excited about reading and writing!!

Margaret G

says:

My daughter loves All About Spelling. We are working on Level 3. I tried other curriculums, but they just didn’t work. My daughter likes to know and apply the rules. It makes sense to her. We haven’t tried AAR. My daughter started reading on her own when she was 3, but I’m starting to think that maybe we should incorporate a reading curriculum. We currently use a Reading Comprehension workbook and we read out loud. We homeschool and we say she is third grade since she is 9 years old. If we were to begin AAR, would we start at the beginning?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Margaret,
We don’t recommend starting AAR from the beginning if a student doesn’t need to do so. Rather, we have placement tests for All About Reading 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?

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Margaret G

says:

Thanks! This helps.

Krystal

says:

I can’t wait to try these with my kids.

Renee Smith

says:

I use both AAR and AAS with several of my tutoring students. Today one of my mothers, who also uses the products in home schooling, asked me what I used for grammar. I realized (to my personal horror) that I don’t really have one!! I adapt regular programming as best I can. Is there a grammar program “out there?”

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Renee,
There are a few grammar programs available that have either multi-sensory components or an incremental approach. Some of the programs focus exclusively on grammar, while some include writing as well. Here are a few suggestions:

Winston Grammar is a hands-on program with color-coded cards, and is generally aimed at students in 4th to 7th grades.

Easy Grammar features an incremental approach and includes topics such as usage and punctuation, for 2nd grade and up.

Essentials in Writing is described by author Matthew Stephens as a Math-U-See approach to writing. In the elementary levels, this program incorporates grammar with writing. The lessons are presented in short video segments of 3 to 5 minutes and then the student works on the concept that was taught. This is a multisensory and incremental program that is very easy to use. There are levels for 1st-12th grades.

The Sentence Family is a simple and fun program aimed at 3rd through 6th graders. The program uses pictures along with a story line to teach grammar concepts and how they relate to each other.

Hands-On English with Linking Blocks is an intriguing program that uses wooden blocks and flash cards for a truly hands-on approach.

Analytical Grammar teaches a mastery of grammar by working on it for short grammar focused units once a year for 2 to 3 years. Junior Analytical Grammar is for 4th or 5th graders, with Analytical Grammar for 6th to 9th graders.

Hopefully this gives you some to consider!

Renee Smith

says:

Wow! Thank you so much for these recommendations. I will check them out to see which fits my various students the best!

Jessica Brown

says:

I couldn’t agree more! I just started the Level 2 AAR with my 7 yr old, and I love it so far. When we first started, I thought it was too simple for him, but as we plugged away at the lessons, I learned where a few of his gaps were. It’s really been enlightening!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thank you for sharing your experience with AAR helping to fill gaps, Jessica.

melissa

says:

My twin girls are 10, we’ve been working on reading for 5 years and they are at a 1st grade reading level. This is our first year using your materials.so far so good and wishing i had found you earlier. Praying our efforts and your materials will lead them to become the readers they desire to be!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Melissa,
It’s great to hear that things are going well so far. Please contact us if you get stuck, or need help in any way.

Abbi Cord

says:

I love AAR and AAS for this very reason. I am excited to start my subsequent kids out on this program to avoid the gaps my older son faced!

Belinda

says:

It was amazing to see the gaps in my 9 yr old daughter’s phonemic awareness when we started all about Spelling a few weeks ago. The first couple of lessons she dragged her feet and complained about it, but now SHE begs ME to do it.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

What a turn around, Belinda! Thank you for sharing.

Aaron

says:

Just starting home school and would love to start this program for kindergarten next year!

Angie

says:

I just received the pre-reading program last week with my 3 year old. She loves it! We are having so much fun. I can not wait to continue with the program. I love the easy to follow instructions.

Jo

says:

One of my kiddos is an avid reader but really struggles with spelling and writing. Am really interested in finding out more about whether this programme could help us :-)

Laura Brown

says:

Jo, you should google “stealth dyslexia.” I, and many others, learned to read well, but struggled with putting those sounds back into written form — in fact, many reading teachers consider difficulty spelling to be as much or more of an indication of dyslexia than difficulties reading alone.

I am sure that you and your daughter could benefit from All About Spelling. Also, help her learn to use the mental images of what she has been spending time reading to detect if a word “looks right.” That is a key ingredient in recognizing when you have spelled a word incorrectly. I’d begin with a few sight words she can read easily (who/what/one/two — that sort), and make a card with a correct spelling, and a page with several similar spellings (the sort of error she might make) mixed in with as many that are spelled correctly, and have her cross out the ones that are incorrect. I say to start with those, because with the rules in AAS, she’ll pick up the more regular words more easily, but may need extra practice on the ones that aren’t spelled the way they sound.

Best wishes!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jo,
This sounds like my 2nd child. She learned to read easily and early, and read at an advanced level. Yet she was in the 4th grade and struggled to spell simple words such as back (she’d try to spell it backe). That is when I researched spelling options and found All About Spelling. We started in level 1 and she finished it in just a few weeks, but her spelling improved immediately. She completed all 7 levels before finishing 9th grade, and now I occasionally ask her for spelling help!

As for writing, when children become more comfortable and confident with spelling, they will naturally take more risks with writing. However, All About Spelling won’t teach more complex writing, such as paragraphs and essays, but it will lay the foundation that will prepare them to learn such things.

Please let me know if you have further questions or concerns I can address. I do see that you are in New Zealand. We do have two New Zealand distributors, Writing Excellence and Engaging Minds, Ltd.

Rosa Robinson

says:

My son is five and has started reading and spelling but needs more help. I am glad that I found this site.

Shannon R

says:

My oldest struggles with reading and I’m looking into AAR for my youngest upcoming student. I’m hoping this will be a great start for the youngest while a great help to the oldest who could use some encouragement.

Amy S

says:

Both of my boys struggle with spelling. One has been diagnosed with learning disabilities and I’m concerned that the other may have them as well. They are starting to hate school and we are thinking of homeschooling this fall. Even if we don’t, I plan on using All About Spelling to help them catch up.

L Gunter

says:

We started out Kindergarten with a state home-school. It was a struggle from day one with the phonics and spelling program they used. We were dealing with dyslexia and dysgraphia and no accommodations were made. He was just supposed to “get it” within their time parameters. It was so stressful and frustrating for both of us! Finally after 2nd grade I realized this wasn’t going to work and we went to independent homeschooling and started using your curriculum which I found after doing a search on dyslexia & dysgraphia. I had a new child on my hands! He actually (sort of) enjoyed spelling :) Now he’s in 9th grade and we are working our way through Book 6 and he has made steady progress climbing up the spelling rungs. No more tears and constant success with AAS. Thank you!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

This is such a great success story, thank you!

Shelly

says:

This is sooooooo encouraging! We homeschooled from K-3 and my son never could grasp phonics – despite trying multiple curricula. He wanted to go to school this year, and we finally got a diagnosis of Dyslexia and Dysgraphia. They’re not doing much for him to remediate it. I am seriously considering pulling him back to homeschooling and using AAS and AAR. :D Thank you for sharing your success story. It gives me hope!

Victoria Carnes

says:

I’ve got some great ideas from this site. I was homeschooled my 11th & 12th grade year and I have to say I learned more them 2 years then I did when I went to public. I love teaching and learning so that is why I homeschool.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Victoria,
I was never homeschooled, but I too love learning (and later found I love teaching too) and that is one of the many reasons why I homeschool. It’s fun to struggle through a challenging word problem together with your child, and to solve it together. Some people think I’m weird to say something like that, but whatever. It is fun.

Sarah Hull

says:

My son has picked up reading quite naturally. But, I am hesitant to have him go to quickly so that he doesn’t get discouraged or miss key learning steps. I had never heard of the idea of gals before and it definitely makes sense! I have heard such good things about your program!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Sarah,
Some children will just naturally pick up reading as if they flew up the ladder and didn’t need any rungs at all. With kids like this, some parents find it beneficial to allow them to go ahead with reading and to fill in any gaps through spelling.

Katie

says:

I agree that your approach is very beneficial to students of any age or ability. I have been able to use your program with my very young children and have them read without tears or complaining and they soar through because it is so carefully laid out! Thank you for all the time you put into developing these programs, they are remarkable!

Amy Sommers

says:

my daughter is simply enjoying reading and spelling, i could almost push her faster, but i just do a level each year and it’s simple no burn out, my sun started the pre reading and loves his letter pages.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Amy,
All About Reading and All About Spelling are designed to be used at the pace of the individual child, not necessarily at a level-per-year pace. While there is not problem with spending a year on a level, there is no real benefit of stretching a level out that long if a child is ready to move forward faster.

Betty

says:

I recently ordered the pre-level all about reading for my grandson. He lives with me and is six years old. We homeschool because of him being on ASD scale, and he also has ADHD. I began a reading program when he was five. Needless to say, I have tried several reading programs which ended in tears for both of us. I am so happy to report that he loves your program! He evens wants to school on the weekend! Words are not adequate to express how much this program means to me. For the first time, I have a child who is excited to learn to read!!!!! Thank you!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Betty,
This is wonderful! Thank you for taking the time to share with us the difference the Pre-Reading program has made.

Gina

says:

We are so glad to have found AAL. Both the spelling and reading programs are so easy to use for both the parent and student. My daughter loves the reading games.

Sandra

says:

My son has been using the AAS program, and using it at a good pace, it has alleviated much of my son’s frustrations, and given him great spelling tools to use. My daughter just started AAR, but I’m thinking of trying it out with my son as well. Thanks for a great program.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thank you for sharing how AAS has helped with your son’s spelling frustrations, Sandra.

Laura

says:

Thank you for the great information.

I was unaware of the concept of gaps, thank you for the awareness about this.

Amanda

says:

This looks exciting. Thank you.

Raquel

says:

I started my daughter on another reading curriculum in preschool and kindergarten and she did ok. We started the All About Reading Level 1 and she has gone through it. We are re reading the books. We just started the All About Spelling Level 1 and I like how the approach from the spelling overlaps with the reading. It gives her some reinforcement. I am excited about staying the course with this program. I have a 3 year old and I will begin him on the pre reading curriculum soon.

Kristen

says:

We homeschool and last school year I was so frustrated with the nonsensical order in which the words were introduced in the spelling program we were using. The kids were having a hard time learning them and we only got about eight weeks worth done. Last fall we started with level 1 of All About Spelling and are going to finish it this week! We should be able to finish level 2 before school finishes for the summer. I’m so happy with it. It’s logical and the kids are catching on easily now. I’m also excited to be starting the Pre Reading level of All About Reading with my 5 year old daughter. Today was our first day and it looks like it will be lots of fun.

Bethany Ryan

says:

I would love to try this reading curriculum. Thank you for having a giveaway!!

Kira

says:

My son has definitely suffered from this. For this reason, we are truly enjoying your straightforward program. Thank you!!!

Amber

says:

I have tried so many things to help my struggling reader. He has special needs and has been labeled unteachable by our local public schools. We are in our third year of homeschooling. He should be in middle school this year and we have only made our way up to fourth grade and reading is still a struggle but if you read to any test to him, and let him answer verbally answer he KNOWS it all! He just can’t read or write, but I know he is smart! It’s so hard! I would love to try this!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Amber,
If you haven’t had a chance to watch the video about Marie and her son’s story, you may be interested in it. It’s inspiring. They were told that he would never learn to read.

Let us know if you would like help with placement or any other questions or concerns.

Emma R

says:

I was debating between starting my Kindergartner in All About Reading or another program. The “other” program didn’t seem as sequential or complete as All About Reading; this post confirmed to me that All About Reading is definitely the way to go!

Holly

says:

Would love to win this for two of my children who struggle with reading!

Shelby

says:

2 of my children are dyslexic and I am homeschooling 5 of my 6 so far soon all 6. We have tried all about Spelling and I have wanted to try All about Reading. It sounds like a fantastic program. Thanks for this amazing giveaway!!

Tiffany Rider

says:

This is very interesting. Thanks for the post!

Jennifer

says:

Guaranteed! Wow! Sounds great.

Katie Alves

says:

I have a 3 year old that is just starting to show interest in learning how to read…….I would love books that will help her learn

Paige

says:

All About Spelling has given us hope that our daughter can excel in Language Arts. Would love to try All About Reading with her.

Delia Smith

says:

New to homeschooling and would love to try this curriculum

Jen Rothmeier

says:

Thank you for providing a spelling curriculum that my daughter understands! We’re going back and erasing all her gaps. Her spelling has improved incredibly.

Kim Slease

says:

I sure do appreciate having a spelling and reading program that I can trust! Thank you for your hard work to ensure no gaps!

Otonya Alison

says:

I started All About Reading with my daughter when she was four, because she told me she was ready to read. Due to her young age, we’ve moved slowly through the curriculum. It took us a full year to complete level 1. Now we’re just beginning level 2. I’m amazed by how well she’s doing! The curriculum has worked well for us because it is very gentle, but thorough, and allows us to customize the time we spend each day to our own needs. I also did the first two levels of All About Spelling with my son (3rd grade) at the beginning of this school year. We then moved on to another spelling curriculum because he claimed to be “bored” with AAS. Now, after a month with the new curriculum, he’s asking when we’ll be able to return to AAS! I hadn’t focused on spelling with him until this year because I wanted to let him get a couple years’ experience reading and writing, first. His spelling has improved dramatically in the past six months. I think learning the spelling rules has made a tremendous difference for him!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Otonya,
Thank you for sharing your experiences with AAR and AAS. It sounds like your children are doing great!

Karen

says:

I’m hoping to try this for my daughter soon! She really struggles with reading, but this looks promising.

MELISSA WIENKE

says:

All about spelling worked for my son when other things weren’t sticking. Would live to try the reading program too.

Kimberly

says:

This is the best curriculum of all the ones I have looked into for my son. I can’t wait to get started with him.

Jessica Witherspoon

says:

I would love to try this out! This sounds perfect for my daughter! I wish we could afford to try it!

Jane

says:

This looks like great material!

Stephanie

says:

I think this would be perfect for my child.

Sherri Mansfield

says:

I have loved the pre-reading level!

Kodi K

says:

Two children with dyslexia has made me gun shy about teaching my third child to read. Your program would help immensely!

Kariana

says:

This sounds like a great program. I have been looking for what to use next with my daughter.

Tritia

says:

After trying 2 separate curriculums I still have huge gaps in spelling. No matter how hard I try to supplimemt. I’m anxious to look more into this one.

Amy

says:

Have heard of this program. Interested to see what it’s like.

Erin

says:

This approach makes so much sense! It allows children to take the steps in reading or spelling as they are ready for them, and not worry about supplying for missing steps.

Jennie

says:

Heard good thins about AAR

Jodi

says:

I was amazed how many gaps I had with spelling and reading. I’m so thankful I was introduced to these programs so I can now confidently guide my children through the learning process-without fear of gaps! I enjoy learning along side them, as well!

Ivy Engel

says:

I can’t wait to try! How exciting

L Smith

says:

My ten yo has been a struggling reader from the beginning. Nothing has worked until we started using All About Reading two years ago. She’s just starting level 3 and is finally confident. She still has always to catch up, but there’s now hope where there was none. The program works. And is very teacher friendly. Thanks AAR!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

But she is doing very well too! Keep in mind that after AAR 4 students have the phonics and word attack skills necessary to sound out high school level words.

Thank you for sharing her success with us!

Lindsey

says:

My oldest is a proficient reader, but I’m struggling with my youngest and the program we’re using. Maybe this would be a helpful program for her.

Kim

says:

This makes sense – I am having to correct gaps with my daughter.

Darla

says:

My 4th grader definitely has some missing rungs in her reading “ladder”. She tested 2nd grade level and struggled with reading. As a homeschool mom, I have been looking for just the right curriculum. She started out great with great phonics skills, but about second grade, I could not find the right fit for her. Now she does private tutoring, but I would really like to find something that blends reading and spelling together and grow a love for reading in her.

Lynnsie

says:

I’ve heard so many wonderful things about this program. Can’t wait to try it!

Adrien

says:

Thankful for all about reading!!

Tiffany Boles

says:

I love this program! We just started the pre-reading with my youngest!

BN

says:

As a new homeschooler, this will benefit my 5 year old daughter into starting a curriculum that I know it works.
Thanks.

Jessica

says:

This is great information

Carol

says:

I’m anxious to have my daughter take the placement test to see where we need to start.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Carol,
You likely have found the placement tests already, but just in case here are the placement tests for All About Reading. 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
http://downloads.allaboutlearningpress.com/samples/AAR-L2-QueenBee-2ndEd-Sample.pdf
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?

Please let me know if you have any other questions!

Nikki

says:

I am really excited to start “All About Reading” with my 5 & 7 year olds. My 7 year old is way behind (I believe he has dyslexia) and hates reading. I am really hoping I can turn him around and help him love reading as much as I do with this program!

Sarah moore

says:

I would love this !

Alice Manville

says:

I’m just exploring doing homeschooling with my son, or filling in the gaps of where he seems to be lacking st his current school. This program looks wonderful.

Sheila

says:

Excited to try these for who reads but it’s just not as easy for her as it was for my first two kids

Melissa

says:

I am so happy with your curriculum. After going through the Pre-Reading level and now slowly introducing the Level 1 material, I shiver when I see some of the reading “games” available to children now. There are so many leaps and stretches thrown into programs labeled for children ages 4-5. My 4 year old loves playing with Ziggy and I love that the steps are so simple that he feels the joy in his accomplishments. Win-win for us all!

Amber

says:

That’s why I love this curriculum. Thanks for your wonderful product.

Catherine Victor

says:

AAR & AAS has helped my daughter soooo much! She started out at public school and fell behind immediately. Thank you for your no gap curriculum!

Ruschelle Gunlock

says:

We have LOVED All About Reading all year this year. We started in Level 1, and whizzed through it because my daughter already had a solid start. I was so surprised that, even in this first level, I learned several things I didn’t know about the English language. Level 2 is going strong, and we have just begun All About Spelling…loving it just as much!

Kathryn

says:

As a former middle school Language Arts instructor turned homeschooled, I can attest to the horrible effects of gaps in education. In elementary school, lack of proficiency in reading and/or spelling is often excused, but by middle school it is devastating to the confidence of the student at an already fragile time in their development with effects across all areas of study. Only rigorous remedial work can get a student progressing again to restore confidence and enjoyment of learning.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Kathryn,
Thank you for sharing your professional perspective with us.

Sara

says:

AAR and AAS are awesome! This approach makes so much sense. You’ve made it easy to learn and to teach. Thank you!

Kimberly

says:

We LOVE AAS!!! :)

Amanda

says:

Due to some job related moves, my son has been in public school, private school and now finally homeschool in the past year. He has very clear gaps in a few areas! Excited to try to help close those gaps!

Shanna

says:

I have read and heard wonderful things about AAR. I would love to try your program for my kindergarten with developmental delays.

Jennie

says:

I Love AAR and AAS! We use them both. I home school my child. I also substitute teach in the school 1 day a week. I see gaps in the children at school compared to my daughter where there are no gaps. It make me even more grateful for AAR and AAS.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jennie,
Thank you for sharing your unique perspectives on this.

Brittany

says:

This program is the first that I have found that addresses all of my concerns that I have for my daughter. I am anxious to start to increase her comfort level with reading!

Andrea

says:

I have a child who was struggling with reading last year in 1st grade. He wasn’t “at level” on his reading skills, and I became concerned something wasn’t clicking. He had some problems with phonemic recognition, so we’ve been working on that this year. He’s doing much better, but I think a program like this would be very helpful to him.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Andrea,
Phonemic (aka Phonological) awareness is, as you have found, essential for reading success. We have some ideas for working on phonological awareness in this article. Let us know if we can help further.

Ann

says:

I love the AAR and AAS programs. I wish I would have known about them with my four older children. I have homeschooled since 1996 and have tried many, many different curriculums and AAR and AAS far exceed my expectations. Thank you, Marie, for sharing your expertise in this area.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Ann,
Thank you for these comments. It really means something when a 20 year veteran of homeschooling says your curriculum far exceeds her expectations.

Lacey L Smith

says:

I love all about reading and your blog posts. I am not surprised with these percentages. I hone school my son and I see the gaps between his cousin who is in the same grade as he is.

sarah kelso-thompson

says:

I think AAR & AAS would be a great home ed tool – my kids have plenty of gaps from their time learning in school.

Heather Hutchinson

says:

My son’s proficiency has improved dramatically since we began AAS and AAR 8 months ago. I am thrilled and blessed to have found this spelling curriculum! I can’t wait to see what the test scores show!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thank you for sharing your son’s success with us, Heather! Keep up the great work.

Valorie

says:

We would love to try AAR and AAS! Sounds like a solid plan to avoid gaps.

Tristan

says:

We have been using AAS & AAR and we love it! My son has improved on both reading and spelling!

Wendy Whitifield

says:

We love using All About Spelling. It is so user friendly and makes spelling fun and easy for my son.

Amy

says:

Have loved using AAS this year with both my girls. Would love to try AAR as well!

Janee

says:

I used AAS with my oldest children (now teens) for several years (they were older and needed help from poor teaching in institutional schools) and we loved it. My oldest who had major spelling issues improved tremendously. My natural speller became even better. I have been using AAR and AAS with my youngest from the beginning. We are now on AAR level 3 and AAS level 2. While he struggles some with spelling and still has to decode more than some at his age I can see how a lesser curricula would have been a real struggle for him. I recommend these to every new homeschool parent I know. Thank you for an amazing curricula that works with all children no matter their learning style or right/left brain dominance. It works for kids with learning disabilities and just as well for those with advanced abilities. I love the fact I can use it for all of my kids. Thank you so much for an awesome curricula!!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Janee,
This is such a glowing review! Thank you for sharing your experiences with AAR and AAS with your many children.

Lisa C.

says:

My son has been categorized as “learning disabled” since he was in 3rd grade, because he was having trouble in all areas of literacy. Over the years, as I have worked with him at home while he attended public school, I discovered that the issue wasn’t a disability – he absolutely has the capacity to learn – but a difference in the presentation of the information. He needs things that are not natural to him (like math is) to be broken down into small steps and to be instructed in those steps sequentially. If the information is not presented in this very specific way, he is unable to learn it.

Because the public schools were not teaching him logically and, as I think of it, algorithmically, he has huge, massive gaps in his literacy related abilities. We are starting book 4 of AAS, and he is just doing so well with it! I would like to do AAR with him as well to help him decode multisyllabic words. I’ve had to start every literacy area from the most basic level and I’m discovering gaps everywhere. It’s scary.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Lisa,
I am unsure. Are you just now starting book 4 of All About Spelling, after having completed the earlier books, or are you beginning All About Spelling for the first time at book 4? If you are starting AAS for the first time at book 4, I beg you to reconsider starting at a lower level. We recommend that most students start with level 1 to build a strong foundation in spelling.

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 Should We Start in Level 1 or Level 2? has more information on the concepts taught in level 1 and will help you decide the appropriate starting level.

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.

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

Lisa C.

says:

We started in Book 1. He did Book 1 in summer 2015 with my mother. Since we started doing AAS again (it is very hard to fit it in after school) in early October and he has blazed through it. He is doing very well. We always take the time to review and go over troublemakers.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

This is great, Lisa. It sounds like he is really getting it. Don’t be surprised if he slows down a bit in AAS 5; it seems to be a common occurrence as the difficulty increases there.

Keep up the great work, and how wonderful that your son can find the type of teaching he needs from you and his grandmother!

D

says:

This looks like a wonderful program for hands on learners-we have loved the sample activities!

Mandydmngz

says:

We have just completed level 1 of all about spelling, and wish I had it in the budget for all about reading. My son has flourished with this program!

Amy Larkin

says:

I think this program is just what I need for my struggling dyslexic kindergartener!

Berta

says:

The statistics are sobering!

sue lamb

says:

Hi just found you. Thinking your work may help my kindergarten and first grade special needs students.
Thank you

Dee Anne

says:

We love AAR and the multi-sensory approach used. My only regret is not having started my son with the program sooner. We look forward to starting AAS. So thankful that we don’t have to worry about missing gaps!

Karen

says:

I’m so grateful that we use AAR and AAS so that I don’t have to worry about gaps! But what are the most common gaps? My 5 year-old is doing AAR3 and AAS2. He really loves the reading. The games in reading really make it fun. I wish they were in spelling too. He says he doesn’t like spelling but he prefers to spell words to me than to just talk in everyday conversation. So I think he likes it more than he wants to admit!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Karen,
Your question about what are the most common gaps is a good question. I’m not sure, and don’t have a ready answer. I do know that most people have no idea that phonograms like o and ou have four sounds, or that the reason we sometimes use a c at the beginning of a word to make the /k/ sound and sometimes we use k is that c says /s/ before e, i, or y. Most people just assume that English is just arbitrary and without reason, when in fact there is a rule, pattern, or reason for most everything (including many, if not most, “rule breakers”).

Carolyn

says:

I really like how my son is doing with he second year of All About Spelling – I would be interested in trying out the AAR for him and my soon to be kindergartener.

Christy

says:

Love your curriculum! It’s amazing to see how my active 4 year old boy is picking up on reading! He asks to do school he likes it so much. :)

Jennifer Proctor

says:

I really like how thorough AAR is. It is helping my boys become strong readers, and I am most thankful!

Julie

says:

Can’t wait to try this program with my first grader and soon to be kindergartener!!!!

Rhonda G

says:

Makes a lot of sense – Thanks for your posts.

Annette McClenahan

says:

I ordered the Level1 Reading program before Christmas for my grandson who is struggling In first grade. His class is moving faster than he is. He is having trouble sounding out words and learning the weekly spelling words. I am hoping this program will help. His grades are falling and he is getting frustrated and upset in class when he can not perform well.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Annette,
I’m so sorry your grandson is struggling in this way. Please remember that we offer full support, so let us know if he needs further help.

JoAnne E.

says:

YES, I am struggling with gaps and choices. I home school my adopted six-year-old son and finding a language arts program that suits both of us has been a nightmare. I finally bought All About Spelling late last semester and this works!! This has been such a delight and I don’t hesitate to tell other home school families how much this program makes sense and is so easy to implement. I have considered buying All About Reading and the reasons preventing me from doing so are 1.) the lack of space on my shelves, 2.) introducing yet another possibility to my son (he struggles and I fear that he thinks this is his fault), and 3.) shelling out more cost.

Thank you for your passion and dedication. I love the articles and inspiration. It gives this mom hope!

Much Joy!

JoAnne

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

JoAnne,
Regarding reason #3: The majority of All About Reading (the Teacher Manual and Readers) are reusable, so you may be able to find those parts of the program used. Or, you could buy them new and resell them for a good percentage of the used price. Also, we offer a one year guarantee.

Regarding reason #1: As a homeschool mom that has been at this for 14+ years, I can confidently say more shelving is, or will be, an absolute need. I finally had “enough” shelving when my husband built in cabinets and shelves on a 17 foot long wall of our home. Three and a half year since he completed them, and they still make me very happy.

And lastly, regarding reason #2: All About Reading was specifically designed with students that struggle in mind. Here are some ways that All About Reading can help kids with learning difficulties:

– Each lesson time is simple and explicit, and will include 3 simple steps: review of what was learned the day before, a simple new teaching, and a short practice of that new teaching.

– Incremental lessons. AAR breaks every teaching down into its most basic steps and then teaches the lessons in a logical order, carrying the students from one concept or skill to the next. Each step builds on the one the student has already mastered.

– AAR is multisensory. Research has shown that when a child is taught through all three pathways at the same time, a method known as simultaneous multisensory instruction, he will learn significantly more than when taught only through his strongest pathway.

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

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

– AAR has built-in review in every lesson. Children with learning difficulties generally need lots of review in order to retain concepts. With AAR, your child will have a Reading 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.

– AAR has lots of fluency practice. One of the things that Marie noticed when she was researching reading programs is that few programs have enough review built in for kids who struggle to gain fluency. AAR has fluency sheets or a story to be read with every lesson, so children can practice reading smoothly with expression and confidence.

All About Reading has a one-year guarantee. You can try it, and if for any reason you feel that it isn’t the right match for your child, return it for a full refund.

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

Bobbie

says:

I love all about reading. My child in 1st grade is reading so much better than I expected. I wish we would have used this program with my older children when they were younger.

Audra

says:

We love both AAR and AAS! The have been perfect fits for our two daughters. Totally love your “no gap” approach and we can see the fruits of your labor in our kids’ reading and spelling abilities! Thank you.

Penny

says:

Makes perfect sense!

Pammy

says:

Those are some sobering statistics.

Tracy Weeks

says:

Thank you for this article! My child will make be starting your program in the fall and I want to do everything I can to help her be successful!

Dawn

says:

My 6 year old is using AAR level 1 and is really taking off with his reading. We love that the lessons are varied so he doesn’t get bored and I especially love the peace of mind I feel knowing that your curriculum will give him a strong foundation in reading!

Regina

says:

I agree, learning to read, spell and even write is a struggle for some children. Having a mom, (mine), who is an early childhood educator, has provided me with the opportunity to see the unfortunate statistics within the public school system. I have used a couple of the packets from this program with my toddler and she is well on her way to developing a love of reading and learning.

Stacey

says:

A friend lent me her level 1 book & from the first day after going over the letters he read the first chapter Jam. He said Pam had ham and i cried and said yes, yes she did, she had ham. Thanks for making this so easy and so fun, I haven’t tried any other program but I’ve heard from other parents that the program they use is very dry and frustrating but this is not the case with AAR. Thank you Marie

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Stacey,
What a GREAT first day of reading! Thank you for sharing it.

I use your readers frequently. My kiddos love them!

Laura in Tx

says:

I have 4 kids, two of which are struggling readers. We use both programs for the kids and they are making great strides. The struggling readers are going through the books at a much slower pace and I have one advanced reader/speller that has gone through each book quickly. That is one aspect I really love about the programs. It is not difficult to use them at different paces with multiple children. I am very thankful for All About Learning. I am hoping you decide to create AA Vocabulary and AA Grammar. 😉

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Laura,
I’ll pass along your recommendation for an All About Grammar, but have you seen our blog post on Building Your Child’s Vocabulary?

Betty

says:

Would love to try this program! I’ve heard many good things about it.

Erica Danforth

says:

This is definitely one of my fears when it comes to homeschooling in general. What Gaps Are We Leaving IN My Daughter’s Education?

Amanda W.

says:

This is one of the main reasons we are homeschooling, so that we can move along at an individual pace, working for mastery. AAS fits perfectly with our method of instruction and the results speak for themselves. We didn’t find your program until my firstborn was already in second grade and she is a naturally avid reader well ahead of her grade level, but I expect to be using AAR too when my other daughter starts her formal schooling.

Michelle

says:

Thanks for your insights and for sharing!
Mom of ten

LR

says:

We started AAS this fall, and my 4th grader really improved her spelling. I’m starting it with my 1st grader, too. I wish I’d used this system from the beginning! But I will be able to use AAR and AAS with my toddler right from the beginning when he is ready to start.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

LR,
I started All About Spelling 1 with a 4th grader too, and she was able to finish all 7 levels before mid-year 9th grade (and that was with a break between AAS 6 and AAS 7, because AAS 7 wasn’t published yet). And now my daughter is 11th grade and I ask her for spelling help on occasion!

Jolene Fisher

says:

I am a family child care provider and would love to bring this material to my young charges

Heather Bates

says:

I would love to try this program

Shelley

says:

My son is doing great with All About Reading, and Ziggy Zebra. He is always excited when I tell him that it’s time to learn to read. The rhyming is his favorite! Thank you!

Chantel

says:

Ready to start AAR 1 with my youngest !

Hilary

says: