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Using All About Spelling with Older Students

All About Spelling is frequently used with teens and adults. But sometimes parents and teachers aren’t sure how to get started with older students who need remedial work.

Here are four of my favorite strategies.

1: Adjust the First Few Levels to Your Student’s Needs

Most older children should begin All About Spelling with Level 1. The words in Level 1 are easy to spell, but many students have not learned the concepts behind them, and these concepts are crucial for success throughout the program. For example, most struggling students will know how to spell cat, but they don’t know why cat is spelled with a C instead of a K. They obviously don’t need to practice spelling the word cat, but they may need to learn the concept so they can apply it to words like emergency and concentrate. The beginning levels fill in important gaps like this.

Smiling teenage girl writing on paper

Here are some other Level 1 concepts that older learners may not be familiar with, but that will be a huge help when they get to higher level words:

2: Consider How You Present the Program

To help older kids understand why it’s important to start with Level 1, try comparing the program to something they can relate to, like video games or swimming lessons. Your child may understand that even though the first level of a game (or of swimming lessons) may seem easy, that doesn’t mean he should jump ahead to the fifth level. But it does mean that he can go quickly through the earlier levels, learning what he needs to know so that when he does get to the higher levels, he isn’t overwhelmed by having to learn too much at once.

Anna Gillingham, co-founder of the Orton-Gillingham approach, put it this way: “Go as fast as you can, but as slow as you must.”

With older learners, you will probably go much faster than you would with a younger child, but be prepared to slow down if you reach a concept that your child doesn’t understand. Your goal is to achieve mastery.

3: Teach a Concept and Have Your Student Teach It Back to You with the Letter Tiles

When your child can teach a spelling concept back to you, it’s a good sign that he or she has mastered a concept or group of words and is ready to move on. But if your child has to stop and think it through or seems challenged, spend more time on that particular lesson.

Teenage boy using letter tiles on board

4: Customize the Lessons for Each Student

Older children will need to have the program customized to meet their needs, with specific customizations determined by a child’s prior spelling knowledge. Merry Marinello, one of our customer service reps, encountered this situation with her own children. When Merry started using All About Spelling Level 1, her children were in sixth and fourth grades, well past the “typical” age for Level 1.

The PDF below explains how Merry customized the first sixteen lessons of Level 1 for her children. Of course, you may need to use different customizations for your children, but this may give you some ideas as you start out.

Download Merry’s PDF:
How I Customized the First 16 Lessons of All About Spelling for My Older Students

Preview of customizing lessons download

Do you have questions about using All About Spelling with an older student? Post in the comments below, and we’ll be happy to help brainstorm solutions!

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Gina

says:

My daughter is almost 13, dyslexic and has a hard time with spelling. We are on box three of the Barton program. How would this program differ from Barton? What level would we start with since we are in box 3 of Barton already!

Merry

says: Customer Service

Barton, All About Reading and All About Spelling are all Orton-Gillingham based, which is a proven method for helping students with dyslexia and other reading struggles. 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 video (4 minutes) about her son’s struggles, you may want to check out their story. Quite amazing!

So, there are similarities as you have guessed.

An important difference with our programs is that reading and spelling are independent of each other so students can move as quickly or as slowly as they need to with each skill. Kids generally move ahead more quickly in reading, and we don’t want to hold them back with the spelling. They will still get all the reinforcement of learning the spelling rules, but they don’t have to wait for mastery in spelling before moving on in reading. For more information, check out this article on Why We Teach Reading and Spelling Separately.

This means that you can work on each subject at her level, or just focus on spelling if she doesn’t need help with reading.

Another difference: With AAR and AAS, parents don’t have to go through a seminar or watch training videos to learn how to teach the programs. Everything you need is right there in the book as you go through the lesson, so it’s very open and go.

The rules in AAR and AAS are worded so they are as easy for children to remember as possible.

We recommend working for just 20 minutes a day with AAR (if reading help is needed), and another 20 minutes per day for AAS. We find that short lessons every day are more effective than longer, less-frequent lessons.

AAR and AAS both include customizable review as well. This way, parents and teachers can easily track what students have mastered and what needs ongoing review.

For placement, I’m guessing that she would be in level 1 unless she has completed Barton Level 3. 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. If the beginning lessons are easy, 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 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.

Feel free to email me at support@allaboutlearningpress.com if you want to discuss placement more, or if you have additional questions. I’d be glad to help!

Jessica

says:

Hi, appreciate your insight in understanding how to help older students who need to go back to the basics. Indo have one question: why doesn’t ABS use nonsense words to help reinforce sounds/rules. Without them I don’t know if my oder child knows words by sounds or by sight. Thank you

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jessica,
Nonsense words (or pseudowords) are used in some programs to help stop kids from guessing at words because they cannot rely on memory for them. All About Spelling doesn’t include these but does include the segmenting technique to help prevent guessing.

Nonsense words can help some kids, but overly frustrate others. It can take careful attention to the student’s responses to decide whether they will be useful. Marie likes spelling first and foremost to make sense to students and decided not to include nonsense words for these reasons.

You could add in occasional nonsense words on your own. However, with older students you want to move through the lower levels as quickly as they can master the concepts so that you can get to the higher concepts.

Please let us know if you have further questions.

Kristi Schiebel

says:

We are using All About Spelling with our dyslectic 15 year old son. It is working for him. We started with book 1 and he is remembering the rules that we have covered for the 1st time.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kristi,
We are happy to hear that All About Spelling is making a difference for your son. It is difficult to start at level 1 with a much older student, but it is best to lay a firm foundation in spelling.

Loreen G

says:

We are going to be starting Level 7 in high school. Some might think we are way behind, but I can tell you I am thrilled at the progress we’ve made and I don’t worry one bit about Level/age/grade comparisons. I believe it was 4th or 5th grade when we discovered AAS. My learner has some challenges and was having a tough time with spelling. We have worked our way through up to Level 7, usually taking a year for each book. That may sound slow, but I now have a confident speller who can often look at a misspelled word and figure it out based on the rules he’s learned or sight recognition. We love your curriculum!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Loreen,
Doing Level 7 in high school is not behind at all! All About Reading 7 covers high school level spelling, so doing it in high school is appropriate. While children that start All About Spelling in 1st or 2nd grade is likely to finish all 7 levels in junior high or maybe sooner, it doesn’t mean finishing AAS 7 in high school is behind.

We are thrilled to hear that AAS has made such a difference with your student. It’s wonderful that he is now a confident speller!

Joan Green

says:

Thanks so much for your comments on working with an older learner. I’m trying to help my granddaughter, age 11, who has great difficulties with spelling and I was reluctant to tailor the program for fear of missing something vital. Now I ‘m more comfortable in adjusting the material to fit her knowledge!! Having her teach me the concept after she’s learned it is a wonderful idea.

Melanie Nunes

says:

I’m not sure if this blog is checked regularly or not but I have a few questions. Fitst, with four kids, I am intimidated at spending more than an hour on spelling, which is what it seems it will take me to rotate 15 minutes of more per child one on one. Would it be possible for me to teach my struggling 5th grader alongside my 3rd grader? I read that we should start with level 1 but can they both do level one at the same time? Also, my first grader is very behind (by society’s standards) with reading. We are just now making some progress. I’m not sure if she can handle level one yet. I guess I need to take the pretest. She just left online public school where sight words were heavily the focus. How does your program implement sight words? In my own limited spelling knowledge it appears that sight words don’t follow rules and your program gives the rules for spelling, which I like. However, does that mean that words that don’t follow rules, such as sight words, will be left out if the program? I appreciate any feedback. Thank you for your time.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Melanie,
First, regarding your first grader: We recommend not starting All About Spelling 1 until your child has completed All About Reading 1, or the equivalent reading level. While learning to read, students pick up basic skills that will enable them to spell more easily.

You do not have to use All About Reading (AAR), but you can use the AAR placement tests to see if she would be ready for AAR 2. If she is not ready for AAR 2, then hold off on All About Spelling (AAS) with her for a while. If you would like more details concerning why we recommend waiting to begin spelling, this blog post may interest you. All About Spelling – The Right Time to Start

Second, All About Reading and All About Spelling do teach sight words. However, we do not teach unnecessary sight words. For example, some early reading programs will teach words like “going” or “has” as sight words. These words follow predictable patterns that students can easily learn to sound out.

In reality, there are very few words that don’t follow phonics rules and that must be learned by sight. The word “said” is one example. All About Spelling teaches these words as “rule-breakers,” and they get put in “jail” (a part of the program which most children enjoy!). But the majority of words actually do follow the rules and can be sounded out. AAR and AAS include all of the words from the Dolch Sight Words list, the Ayers List, and more.

This article and video discuss the Dolch Sight Word List, and the fact that 90% of the words on this list are actually NOT sight words. Rather, they follow standard patterns in our language. The remaining 21 true sight words still partially follow the rules, with only one or two letters making a sound we wouldn’t expect them to make. The word “very” is a good example. The v and the y both do exactly what we expect them to do. When AAR or AAS teaches a sight word, we pull the student’s attention to the letters that don’t behave. The entire word doesn’t have to be memorized, just the misbehaving part.

Third, you may be able to teach your 5th grader and 3rd grader together. You can definitely start them together, and you will quickly see if one needs to pull ahead of the other or if keeping them together will work out. This blog post, Can I Teach My Kids Together?, discusses the issues involved.

Fourth, teaching All About Spelling to multiple children each day can take some juggling. I understand; I have three students in AAS (levels 6, 5, and 3), plus one is also in AAR 3. I also have a high schooler that needs occasional help with Algebra 2 or essay writing.

I make mornings about all things English, Math, and Bible, covering reading, spelling, grammar, writing, math, word problems, mental math, memory verses, and Bible study. This takes approximately two and a half hours, and I am working with one of my children for almost every moment of that time. The kids have assignments and know what they need to do, so when I am working with a sibling they can be working on something else. We then spend another two to three hours in the afternoons doing project based learning together and me reading aloud to them for things like history, science, geography, and literature.

However, it took time, patience, and trial and error to find what works well for us. You can get there too, but understand that it will take time. The most important thing is consistency, as progress isn’t made in any one day, but the multitude of days added together.

Finally, I hope this has been helpful. Please let us know if you have any further questions, or if we can help in any way.

Heather

says:

Dear Robin,

I just read your “4th item” in your blog after Merry directed me to it. I am looking for help in handling multiple kids in AAR and AAS. I was struck that you said you had multiple kids and got done in 2-3 hrs in the morning. How do you do that? How do the kids do the lessons and you be available for all of them for what you’re covering? Are your older children able to do their own lessons on their own while you help with the younger? I have a 9 yr old in AAR 3rd level and AAS 2nd level and he is doing very well. I’m anticipating and trying to plan for my other son, 5 yr, who will be going into 1st grade in the fall and will be new to homeschooling. My morning with my 9 yr old takes 3 hrs and I’m involved in all of it. We like our curriculum and I’m struggling with wanting to homeschool my other because it seems that it will double my day since he’ll have similar time commitments. They do share Classical Conversations that we do together in the afternoon as well as read alouds.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Heather,
I emailed you a detailed and long reply. In short, however, the secret is to get one child started with a subject and then turn him loose to work on it for a few minutes while you get the next child started on something. Also, it will take some finagling, but you will find your groove for homeschooling two.

Linda

says:

Any suggestions if you were taught to read “whole language “, not phonics thus not having a good grasp on the sounds yourself!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Linda,
Our program assumes the parent/teacher has no previous knowledge, and there are notes and hints to the teacher built into each lesson. You can look through our Spelling Samples and see how incremental each Step is. We also have a free Phonogram Sounds app, so you can have no doubt what the sounds of each phonogram should be. Lastly, we offer lifetime support through Facebook, email (support@allaboutlearningpress.com), and phone (715-477-1976). If you need anything, or even have a simple curious questions, we are there.

KRISTIN

says:

Please write a post like this for AAR! :) If you have, I haven’t found it. Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kristin,
We don’t have a blog post about using All About Reading with older students, but I will make that suggestion.

I got Marie’s her feedback because she has done a lot of tutoring with high schoolers.
Here is what she recommends when working with teens:

– Follow the new-concept lessons in the Teacher’s Manual, which include flashcard review, “Change the Word” activities, 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 are essential for developing smooth, fluent reading, especially for older students.

– 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.

Laura

says:

My homeschooled son with severe dysgraphia is 17. Currently he spells at about a sixth grade level. Should we start him at level 1, and if so, how long will it take to complete the whole program? Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Laura,
We do recommend that all struggling spellers start with All About Spelling 1, however if he has had experience with phonograms before he may be able to start with AAS 2. Which Spelling Level Should We Start With? will help you determine if he would benefit from AAS 1 or if going right into AAS 2 is fine.

How long it takes a student to complete the entire program is dependent on many factors, and age is just one of them. A motivated older student working for 20 to 30 minutes a day at least 5 days per week can work through all 7 levels in two years, or even less. However, an unmotivated older student working just a few days a week might need twice that time.

I hope this helps. Please let us know if you have further questions or concerns. We have had great reports with teens and even adults using our All About Spelling program, and we can help you help your son become a successful speller.

[…] Simply put, my child is a “horrible speller.” Give your kid a hug for me! It isn’t his fault that he is a horrible speller. Most likely, his current spelling program has failed him. Maybe his previous spelling program wasn’t logical. Maybe it had big gaps that he couldn’t fill in on his own. Maybe it taught too many concepts at one time, or maybe it didn’t teach the spelling strategies that he needed. Most likely, his old spelling program taught a list once and then moved on, never to review it again. So now’s the time to fill in those gaps! All About Spelling makes that really easy to do, even for older students. […]

chathurika jayaweera

says:

Thank y so much.
God bless y.

Becky Kersey

says:

This is helpful.

Lisa

says:

Looking forward to starting AAS with my dyslexic 11yo.

Tamara

says:

Hi,
Would you please help me?
My son just finished step one in level one. He has six cards to review, most of them vowels. Do I wait until these are mastered before moving on to step two? I read in the teachers manual that we should work on one vowel at a time. What if he takes a week to master these cards?
Thank you for your time.
Tamara

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Tamara,
You can go ahead and work on the first four steps while your son is still reviewing the sounds. At that point if he has at least the first sound down for all of them, and only needs to keep reviewing the additional sounds for a few, then it’s fine to continue on and keep reviewing

You want him to understand that several of the letters/phonograms can have more than one sound, but if he still needs some review, that’s ok. If he is struggling with many of the letters, however, then I’d be more hesitant to continue on past the first four steps.

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

Millie

says:

This is awesome thanks!

Erica

says:

How quickly did your children complete level 1?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Erica,
It depends on the student, his age, his previous experience, and if there are any possible learning difficulties.

When my oldest daughter started All About Spelling 1, she was nearly 10 years old. She read above grade level, and wrote pretty well, but had struggled with spelling for years. She finished AAS 1 in just one month, but her spelling improved noticeably in that month.

In contrast, when my youngest daughter started All About Spelling 1, she had just turned 8. She had taken two years to complete All About Reading 1, was still struggling to read fluently at a beginning level, and had little to no previous experience with writing when she started AAS 1. She took 6 months to complete it, and her spelling, writing, and reading all improved a lot in that time.

As this blog post discusses, 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. 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.

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

Amanda Felton

says:

Hi! Would it be possible to teach a 6th grader, 4th grader and 2nd grader with level one at the same time?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amanda,
It would be possible, but it depends very much on your unique students. Also, with such a wide spread of ages it seems unlikely that you would be able to teach them together without holding one back or moving one forward faster than they are ready. This article, Can I Teach My Kids Together?, covers the issues involved.

I will add, however, that it isn’t difficult to teach three children individually. My three younger children are 7th, 5th, and 3rd grades and doing All About Spelling levels 6, 5, and 3. We recommend spending just 20 minutes a day on spelling.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any more questions.

Amanda Felton

says:

Thank you!

Jodi

says:

I have twin boys in 4th grade. It is our second year of homeschooling and we have been going through the spelling curriculum. Both of my boys can read well but one really struggles with spelling. One of my boys is ready for level 3 but I am not sure about moving ahead for my other son. I have begun teaching them separately so that they are not aware of the others progress. However, my son that struggles continues to struggle in words or concepts we have already covered. Should I return to level 1 to re-cover the concepts? He will not try to spell on his own and when I push some he usually spells the word incorrectly. For some reason it is just not making sense to him. Any thoughts you have would be appreciated! Thank you

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jodi,
Some children need a slower pace and much more review in order to master spelling. It does sound like you need to back track, but you may be able to simply go back to the beginning of AAS 2 and not necessarily restart AAS 1. Recall that AAS 2 spends a fair amount of time covering the concepts from AAS 1.

Take a look a this page and see how well he does. It will let you know if he does need to restart at the very beginning, or if restarting AAS 2 would be appropriate.

Then, as you begin again, move slowly through the steps and ensure that he is mastering the concepts and most of the words (including the “More Words”) before moving onto the next step. Also, consider reviewing the mastered cards regularly.

I use this method and am having great success with it with my struggling spellers:
I use an index card in the mastered section of each color. I shuffle all the cards, and then put the index card at the back. Each day I draw 2 yellow cards, 2 red cards, 2 blue cards, and 5 green cards from the front of the mastered sections. If my child gets them correct without hesitation they get filed behind the index card in the back of the mastered section. If he doesn’t get them correct they go back into the review section and get reviewed daily for at least a week. At the beginning of the next week I put them back in mastered, but mixed in in front of the index card so that they will be reviewed again within another week. When the index card works it’s way to the front, I know it’s time to shuffle the cards again and put the index card to the back.

I hope this helps. Let us know how it goes and if you have any further questions.

Jodi

says:

Thank you so much for replying. I will implement some of your suggestions. They were very helpful. I will let you know how it goes. Overall he prefers this program to any other program. We use to have lots of tears. Thankfully with this program he doesn’t feel as discouraged even if he is not grasping a concept.

Kelly

says:

I am homeschooling a 4th and 5th grader (well we are just finishing up 3rd and 4th.) They are both great readers, reading well above their reading level, but my 5th grader struggles with spelling, even though we have done spelling every year. Do you see this often? I am considering starting them both at level 1 but wanted to make sure that is the best choice. I don’t feel l can start my 4th grader at level 2 and not my 5th grader without having confidence issues. Suggestions would be great, thanks!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Kelly,
Yes, we do see kids in 4th and 5th grade (or even older) that read well but struggle with spelling despite having studied spelling for years. My 2nd child was this way, and I first started using All About Spelling with her in the spring of her 4th grade year because of it. It helped her right from the very first month!

It won’t hurt a student to start with level 1, even if he could start at level 2. Most people find it easier to have a student packet per child so that you can customize the review, but some people find it works just fine to have only one set. If you are planning to teach your children together, you could try one set and see how it goes. You can always pick up a second set if you find that you want to individualize the review. Here’s a blog article with a bit more info on teaching your children together.

Jo Ann

says:

Thank you so much for these ideas! My son is 15 and he’s a little embarrassed to be starting at the beginning. I’m happy to have some ideas to make it easier for us and go as quickly as possible to the higher levels!

Anna Zudell

says:

I am currently using Level 1 with a 2nd and a 3rd grader. They are not “older” students – but they still know most of the words in Level 1 in AAS. What is awesome is that because of the way the program is structured – their spelling is improving on words that aren’t included in the word lists! Because my students are being taught conceptually instead of by random lists of words – they are able to spell words they haven’t been explicitly taught. I recently had my 2nd grader get stuck on a word during dictation and I said “you have learned all the rules you need to spell that word” and with that encouragement – she was able to puzzle it out! What a look of joy crossed her face when she got it!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Anna,
Thank you for detailing how even an “easy” level is helping your children! You explain it so well.

Jennifer Carroll

says:

I am using this program with my High School freshman. We have just completed the first book and it is exciting to see that she is finally catching on! Thank you!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jennifer,
This is wonderful! Sometimes parents are nervous to start at level 1 with teens, so it is great to hear from a parent doing so. Keep up the great work!

Shahndi

says:

My 11 year old picked up a book to read by himself for the first time after I ordered All About Reading Level 1 and started him from scratch. It was a novel appropriate for his age level that I had been reading to him and his brothers and presented one of his greatest challenges: a lot of small words on several pages. Even though it contained words above his present reading level and this visual challenge, I stared amazed as he labored through most of the chapter before he stopped. Thank you Marie. We will continue to push through.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Shahndi,
This is wonderful! And good for him to persevering through most of a chapter before stopping. Keep up the great work, both of you!

Tania Witter

says:

Thank you for this article. I am thinking about using this in the fall since my 4th grader is not a good speller.

Marie

says:

We started my third grader last year with AAS level 1 after she was not learning through the traditional spelling lists. What a difference less than a year has made. We just started on level 4 after completing the three previous levels in less than nine months, including taking time for breaks in between. I am surprised at how much my child has retained from this program. This child has gone from not being able to spell well, to feeling more confident and enjoying spelling. We both love the spelling strategies chart that is introduced in level 4. After one session of level 4, my child was able to start applying the first two rules of this chart to help spell difficult words. The constant review, reinforces the concepts, and each level becomes appropriately, increasingly challenging for the student. I am really glad that we started at the beginning to give the solid foundation needed for spelling.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Marie,
Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us about the great progress your daughter has made, and how starting at Level 1 with an older student can lead to such success. Keep up the great work, both of you!

karla

says:

I never learned the rules and whys of spelling. Until I started using aas1 with my 2nd grader. It has improved my own spelling and understanding!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Karla,
Many parents report improvements in their own spelling after using AAS with their child. I know I improved!

Holly G

says:

Really great information. I’ll be using some of these ideas with my struggling speller. Thanks!

Karen

says:

After years of working with another phonics/spelling curriculum, I’m switching to AAS. I will be teaching this to 5 different students. I’m going to take my 10 & 13yod through to make sure these concepts are solid for them. My 13yod is a slower reader & a horrible speller. I’m excited to hear that others have experienced successful with this age. My 8yod has a pretty solid grasp of the phonics we’ve done with a different curriculum so I feel he will go quickly through level 1 & maybe 2. Then I have a 5 & 7yod just starting out. I’m a little weird about this, but I want to use the board & the tiles. My older children will obviously add the new concepts faster. Is it necessary to take the tiles down in order for my younger girls to build the board on their level & speed. I have no problem teaching 3 different lessons. I’m not sure I have time to rebuild the board for every child. The idea behind switching curriculums was to free time up for myself so I gave time for necessary lessons with my high school students.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Karen,
There is no need to reset the board for three different levels. I’m currently teaching Level 5, Level 4, and Level 2 (and I also have a student that graduated from Level 7 before my youngest started), and my younger students have never had difficulty with having the tiles they haven’t learned yet up on the board. I just try to keep the higher level tiles toward the outside edges of the board, so the younger students know to focus mostly on the tiles toward the center of the board.

Angela Helton

says:

I’ve been using Spelling Power with a 4th and 5th grader, but it just seems to frustrate my son. We will be starting in the New Year with a 1st and 5th grader!

Melana Salsbury

says:

I can’t wait to get both of my boys started on AAS and AAR.

Julie Shrake

says:

I absolutely love “All About Spelling.” I have a dyslexic 9 yo. She is doing so much better and she’s only in the second book. It has been a blessing for us to use this curriculum.

kerri

says:

This program has been very effective for a 14 year old boy. So thankful!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thanks for sharing, Kerri!

sherri

says:

I like the fact that this curriculum is listed by levels and not grades.

Camille

says:

I have a 5th grader with dyslexia. He has struggled with school, and was progressively regressing until we decided to home school him. We started with these programs because of a recommendation from a friend that uses it. I am so grateful we learned about it. We have only been using this program for a couple of months, and already he had nearly completed level one. He is spelling words like classmate without any trouble. This is something that he couldn’t have done prior to starting this program. It is truly amazing!! He was able to read, but he had memorized all the words, and would really struggle with new words, even smaller ones. He is now (after only a couple months) breaking words apart and sounding them out. I recommend these programs to anyone that struggles with reading and writing…..or if they just need a home program.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thank you again, Camille, for sharing how very well your son is doing after just a couple of months with AAS. What a huge difference!

Kelly Davis

says:

Thanks for sharing your ideas. Your program looks very helpful.

Amy Wilcox

says:

I love this program. It provides a great way in teaching reading and spelling to students.

Natalia

says:

I’m realy interested in your program! Hope, my baby will be happy to learn spelling and reading with your help! Thank you!

Barbara Barker

says:

I use this with my 7th and 3rd grader. This is the first spelling program that the kids and I love. I tried teaching the spelling rules before but it was always boring. My kids beg to do spelling and beg me to do it longer. Since trying and wasting my money on other programs, I am now completely satisfied. I recommend this to many other homeschoolers.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Wow, thank you for such an awesome review, Barbara! Love it!

Juanita

says:

Would love to give this a try!!!

Christie

says:

Thank you for the advice! I think I will grab the Level 1 materials, just to be thorough.

Laura S

says:

Thanks for this post and the tips!

Stacy L

says:

I started level one with my 4th grader and we love this. I did modify it to fit him a little bit but there were sounds he didn’t know. He has always struggled with spelling so I hope this will help him with that.

Kristin

says:

I would love to try this program with my older student!

IB

says:

The spelling rules that we have covered in the past haven’t been retained by my son…he still struggles with spelling (and reading, although his reading has greatly improved). I recently started AAS with him, and am hopeful that the spelling rules will “stick” this time. I look forward to seeing his progress!

Lynn

says:

My 8th grader was a late reader and still struggles with reading comprehension. A lot of it has to do with reading the longer and more complicated words, so we continue to do spelling and vocabulary very faithfully. He is reading at about a 5th grade level. I would welcome any suggestions on how this program may benefit someone in his situation. Thank you.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Lynn,
Parents commonly report to us that their student’s reading improves after the first two levels or so of All About Spelling. Level 2 and above work extensively on syllable division rules, and learning these rules gives students reliable tools for how to divide an unfamiliar word so they can more easily and quickly sound it out and read it. This in turn builds confidence, which encourages more reading.

All About Spelling has made such differences in the reading of students similar to your son, that we highly recommend starting it right away. Also, since he is older, he may be up to working for more than just the 20 minutes a day we typically recommend, so that he can make faster progress. Still, more progress is made from short, consistent lessons, so still keep it no more than 30 minutes a day. This article, Spelling: How much time should I spend?, has further information on this.

I’d like you to read this article about the Matthew’s Effect in Reading. It discusses how struggling with reading keeps kids from reading which keeps them struggling, leading to a downward spiral. However, the article also includes things you can do to help your student overcome the Matthew’s Effect and change the direction of the spiral. Have your student read daily from books that are on a level he is comfortable with, even if it is years below his grade level. And, just as important, read aloud to your son daily.

I also suggest you take a look at this article, Building Your Child’s Vocabulary. The article seems directed toward younger students, but the concepts apply directly to students of any age. Learning vocabulary in context, through literature and in conversation, has a much larger impact on the student than looking up words in a dictionary and other workbook type vocabulary learning. Well-read people have larger vocabulary, likely because well-read people have been exposed to more words. Reading aloud to them, having them read themselves consistently, and encouraging conversations that challenge them will improve their vocabularies whether young or old.

I think these suggestions will make a difference. However, please let us know if you have any further questions or concerns.

Rhonda Biroschik

says:

We have “fallen away” from AAS, and went back to workbooks this year out of desperation to balance homeschooling six children. My daughter misses it and I hope to return to it soon. Thanks for the encouragement.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Rhonda,
Finding balance and enough time with a houseful of kids isn’t easy; I know, I have 5 myself.

AbbeyW

says:

Having students teach concepts to demonstrate mastery is an excellent technique. I’ve seen it work at the college level, via assignments, and I’ve also witnessed my oldest explaining things that he has learned to his younger brother. It’s a great opportunity for us to provide valid and authentic assessments, but even more importantly, to give students the chance to make the subject their own. Ownership is so very, very important.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Abbey,
Yes! Thank you for making these excellent points.

Gina Stubbs

says:

AAS has really helped my dyslectic child. The why of spelling just make more sense to him than trying to memorize lists

Elizabeth

says:

I began Level 1 of AAS with my fourth-grade daughter earlier this year. My oldest (son) is a natural speller, but my daughter has really struggled. I felt that going through Level 1 to begin gave her an important boost in her confidence, not only that there are, actually, lots of words that she can spell without difficulty, but also that there are rules that make sense to use when she needs to figure things out.

As we went through it she would sometimes do two or three lessons a day, but the concepts taught were important. (Some spelling rules I had never heard before, having been a more intuitive speller, like my son.) She and I enjoyed going through these lessons at her pace, and she felt really good when I awarded her the certificate of completion. Now we are working through Level 2 a bit more slowly, but she still enjoys the work.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thank you so much, Elizabeth, for sharing what it was like taking an older student through AAS 1. I’m sure this will be helpful to other parents.

Stephanie Olmsted

says:

I love the idea of teaching a concept and having your child teach it back.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Stephanie,
Having the child teach something back to you is a wonderful learning tool in lots of areas, including non-academic areas like chores. It allows you to easily see what they know, and what they are possibly confused on. Plus, a person needs to solidify what they know to be able to put it into words, forcing them to think through it again in a different way that helps the student really retain the concept.

Stephanie

says:

We are really enjoying All About Reading Level 1 and can’t wait to begin All About Spelling 1.

Celeste

says:

We went through the early levels very quickly with my older son, but I had the same concern as other commenters. He already knew most of he words from memory. I think it would be helpful to have a supplemental list of more difficult words for each lesson for the older kids. Overall, we love AAS and AAR. Thank you so much for developing it!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Celeste,
I will pass along your suggestion. Thank you.

Jenn

says:

Looking forward to reading Merry’s pdf!
Thanks for the great advice. :)

Gina H.

says:

We have been using All About Spelling with my son who is 9 and currently on level 4. I’ve found that he already knows how to spell most of the words that go along with the lessons just from memory. I still do the lessons and have him identify why the words are spelled that way according to the rule that’s being taught, but sometimes I wonder if it would help him to have some words that he doesn’t already know so that he has to think more about how to apply the rules he’s learning. Do you think this matters?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Gina,
It sounds like your son would benefit from moving forward at a somewhat faster pace, so that he can get to the harder words of a higher level. Some have commented to us that AAS 4 seems easy for their student, although it certainly isn’t easy for all students. If he is getting the concepts easily, that’s great! Make quicker progress so that he can move into the harder AAS 5. Just be sure he is mastering the concepts along the way.

Teresa

says:

That was very helpful. I have a 7th grader who has the biggest spelling gaps. As suggested, I will start at level one and modify.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Teresa,
I’m glad this was helpful for you. Let us know if we can help any further.

S

says:

Thank you for your input and feedback. We can’t wait to begin AAR and AAS!.

Tasha

says:

We have the first 2 levels of AAS and AAR and absolutely love the programs!

Belinda

says:

We tried several reading and spelling programs. It wasn’t until we started AAR and AAS that my kids finally had that AHA! moment. They were finally understanding.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

This is great, Belinda! Thank you for sharing your children’s AHA.

Cheree

says:

We have purchased All About Reading and All About Spelling to start with in 2016! Two of our children (6.5 and 4.5) will be home schooled as we move to a Mission position in LAE, Papua New Guinea. I was planning to start my oldest n level 2 as he is a pretty confident reader already, but after reading this article, I think I may start both on level one, to make sure they both learn the ‘rules’!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Cheree,
We recommend starting All About Spelling at Level 1, but All About Reading is different. If your son is reading for All About Reading Level 2, it would be the place to start. You can look at our placement tests to further determine the correct starting place for reading.

And God bless your work in Papua New Guinea!

Jill Morris

says:

Love all your helpful posts!

Marie always has such useful and helpful hints. Thanks, Marie.

Lauren

says:

We are so thrilled with AAR and can’t wait to incorporate AAS!

Kim

says:

I love your all about reading course….it is really helping my daughter.

Lacey

says:

I would love to get started on this curriculum by next summer. I better start saving up so we can start with the kids when they’re little :)

Sheila

says:

I’m certainly liking this curriculum! I’m learning some ‘why’s’ for myself!

Karen Bailey

says:

I look forward to beginning our journey with All About Reading and All About Spelling!

Christy

says:

My daughter is 8 years old and struggles with spelling so we purchased All About Spelling at the beginning of the school year and started with Level 1. We are making progress and I like how the program is presented with the “why” behind the concepts of how some words are spelled. Thank you for a great program!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Christy, and it’s great to hear that AAS is working well for your daughter!

Angie

says:

Love your products, already using some of them in our homeschool curriculum.

Jennifer S

says:

So excited to get started with this program!!

Julie K.

says:

When we began AAS, we started with Level 1 so we wouldn’t miss any rules. It was the best decision.

Emily

says:

I love this program! My daughter started reading way before I expected with AAR. We are ready for the next level!

Melissa

says:

Rebecca,
I started AAS and AAR this year with my three children, ages 6, 10, and 12. I began the older two with Level 1 in September. Together, they quickly completed AAS Level 1 and we moved on to Level 2. My 12 y.o continued to grasp the concepts, but I needed to slow down for my 10 y.o. Now, one is in Level 4, one is in Level 3, and my 6 y.o. is in Level 1. In AAR, we began at Level 1 and they were able to learn together. They are now in Level 4. Your son may start on the same level as his sister, but may quickly pass her. My son, the 12 y.o., was also annoyed by learning with his younger sister. However, this was short lived and he was pleased with his progression. My daughter, however, was a bit disappointed! I had to remind her that she is two years younger and this separation is expected. Also, teaching independently helped suppress their competition and criticism of each other.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thank you for sharing your experience with starting sibling together, Melissa!

Rebecca

says:

Melissa,
I will pass this information on to my son and I know it will help!! Thank you for sharing it also helps me. I am excited to get started with it, I have a feeling I will learn a few things too:)

Rebecca

says:

We are looking forward to starting this program. This is our first year of homeschooling, so we need to start with level one and my son is a little concerned that he will be on the same level as his younger sister. I’ve told him to just give it a chance. Any ideas to help him understand that it will be ok?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Rebecca,
First, as explained in this article, tell him that it is like starting a video game. Level 1 is easy, but you need to master level 1 before you move onto the higher levels. Then, assure him you will move through Level 1 faster than his younger sister, because he is of course older. Knowing that he and his sister might start at the same time, but he will move onto higher levels faster than her will likely help.

Rebecca

says:

Yes, it will be helpful for me to explain that he will move into higher levels faster. Thank you!!!

Sarah

says:

My son has a tough time with retaining spelling – he seems to regress and I would love to be able to help him better by trying All about Spelling.

Christina G.

says:

We love All About Spelling. It is perfect for kids of all ages and abilities.

Charley Zirbel

says:

I could really use this program for all of my kids! I never thought about using AAS for older kids!

Elizabeth Beer

says:

This was helpful, since I have some older kids and younger ones. They can all benefit from this program!

Lisette Dionisio

says:

Thank you for the “teach it back” idea. I would love to try the tiles with my 1st grader. :)

Tessa

says:

Thank you for the ideas.

I. Ray

says:

Thanks for all the great tips.

Cassandra S

says:

I really need to try this with my 3rd grader he is struggling so much with spelling.

Juill

says:

I love the idea of having the child “teach it back”. Great post.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Juill,
The “teach it back” reminds me of the Army’s “see one, do one, teach one” approach to on the job training (I was Air Force but worked for a couple years under Army command). It’s a great way to measure how much someone really knows.

Nicole M

says:

This blog post has me thinking about going through this with my high schooler, who still has some trouble with spelling. And, yes!, I have learned so much going through Levels 1, 2 and now 3 with my 3rd grade daughter. Love this program!–thanks AAS & AAR team!

Stepheny Seabolt

says:

These tips are all great! Thanks!

Susan

says:

Thanks. This is just what I was needed for my 6th grader.

Carey H.

says:

Great information. My oldest is a great speller and would love to find ways to push him a bit.

Katrina Gailey

says:

Learning to spell is fundamental even in todays world of spell check. These concepts help grasp the reasoning no just the memorization of the spelling. I am learning so much.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Katrina,
I agree; I learned so much too my first time through All About Spelling.

Andrea

says:

Sounds Good!

This sounds like a really good spelling program to try with my kids.

Carrie King

says:

I’ve been wanting to try All about spelling with my 3rd grader!

Kirsten

says:

Looking forward to using AAS next year. We are in the middle of AAR Level 1 right now and enjoying it! I look forward to refreshing my knowledge of the spelling rules as well!!

Briggitte

says:

Can’t wait to try it! We are using Pre-reading pack and enjoy it with my son so looking forward to continuing with All About Reading and starting All about spelling.

Kala

says:

This year was our first year using AAS. We love it!

Jenn Khurshid

says:

I would love to try the tiles with my kids!

Crystal C.

says:

My son loves using the tiles! I can easily see him using things like the tiles no matter how old he is. Love the program!

Michelle Lipscomb

says:

I’ve just started Level 1 with my daughter. I am struggling to consistently incorporate the letter tiles, but I am still working at it. Excited to see how this works in the long run.

Laura Simpson

says:

So glad a friend recommended AAR….we love it!!

Veronica Cummings

says:

Thank you for the good ideas!

Nicole P

says:

This program has helped my dyslexic son so much with spelling and his overall confidence!

Harlena Dyer

says:

This curriculum seems to be just what I need to help my youngest two feel more confident with their spelling.

Lori

says:

I think these are wonderful ideas. Thanks for sharing.

Shelby

says:

SPELLING! UGH! I have one that just CANNOT SPELL! Will be checking out this program.

Heather

says:

Would love to try this program w/my kids.

Jennie

says:

I have read and heard a lot about your program. I looks wonderful. Thanks for the helpful ideas

Audra Bridgeman

says:

I’ve heard so many great things about All About Reading/Spelling.

Ashley

says:

I have been looking into this curriculum…it sounds fantastic!

K. Ishii

says:

A great analogy—you start at the first level in a video game, and if it’s easy, you progress quickly, but you don’t skip the level. I’ll use that! Thanks.

Ash

says:

This sounds like a grreat thing to use in my classroom for/with spelling

Jennifer

says:

Long-time user of AAP materials. I love the blog posts that give real meat to the materials and illustrate how even “use out of the box” materials can be tweaked and modified as needed.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Great point, Jennifer. Our materials are open-and-go, easy to use, but they are specifically designed to be used at the individual student’s pace with review customized to their unique needs.

Micha

says:

We are using AAS with my 8 yo and we just got the app for letter sounds. Very cool. Now he can just play with it and “quiz” himself. Thanks!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Your son’s way of quizzing himself sound like fun. Thanks for sharing, Micha.

In case anyone is wondering about this app, here is the link to your Phonogram Sound App.

Rebekah

says:

Thank you for this articles I have a couple older boys that really need help with their spelling.

Carrie Phillips

says:

I have friends that use AAS and AAR. I am thinking about using this next year with my kids!

Amy

says:

Spelling is extremely important and I am excited to use this curriculum!

Dana S.

says:

I am using AAS Levels 2 and 5 with my son and daughter. We love AAS and hope to make it through all the levels!

jeani b

says:

i loved spelling as a child. my daughter is only in kindergarten, but i hope that i can help her enjoy spelling as much as i do!

Michele

says:

I am looking forward to using this with both my girls!

Jessica boenick

says:

I can’t wait to get started with spelling next year!

Heather

says:

We used All About Spelling years ago but my kiddo was still really struggling with reading & it became too much for us to handle. We’ve worked through the reading issues, but it is definitely time to focus on the spelling again. I’ve been wondering where & how I should start him & these tips are very helpful. Thanks!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Heather,
You are welcome, but if you need further, individualized help with placement let us know.

K. Gee

says:

I really have found the material helpful especially the All about spelling for a child who struggles with dyslexia and ADHD.

Melissa Bennett

says:

This looks like something I would really like to try for my daughter.

shandy

says:

This looks like something I would love to use with my children. it looks easy to use.

Maurice Samuel

says:

This sounds so good. I am completely opposed to the “let’s just memorize a thousand words” approach to spelling used in most classrooms. If one teaches the underlying concepts, bad spellers can become good spellers without wasting time memorizing thousands of words whose spelling makes no sense to them.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Maurice,
Yes, we agree!

Kym E.

says:

I would love to try this with my little ones!

Heidi

says:

I would love to do this with my oldest!

CW

says:

I’d like to try this with my dyslexic son.

Cathy

says:

Hoping this is the answer for my struggling learner.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Cathy,
Let us know if we can help you with placement, or in anything else.

Angela

says:

The All About Spelling program is very good for building blocks in spelling in a way that makes sense. My kids love the program, especially because they can do it with me.

Amanda L Miller

says:

I’ve always wanted to try the All About Spelling! I love that even though we may not have started out on the program from the beginning we can still easily introduce it at an older age and achieve the same effectiveness.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Amanda,
Just to clarify, we do recommend most older students start at Level 1, although occasionally one can start with Level 2. The article Should We Start in Level 1 or Level 2? has more information on this. However, older students will progress through the lower levels more quickly.

Ginny

says:

We have enjoyed Level 1 and 2 so far.

Laureen

says:

What age is this typically best suited for?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Laureen,
All About Spelling is designed to be used at each student’s own pace and level. It has been very successfully used with children as young as 4 or 5 all the way through adult students that struggle with spelling.

Bev

says:

I’m so glad mine will be learning with your products from the get-go, but there are some great ideas here.

Wendy Clark

says:

We have been working through ALL ABOUT READING level 1 and I have to say I am a little nervous about adding ABS. He’s done great with AAR so I guess I just need to jump in.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Wendy,
We recommend starting All About Spelling 1 after completing All About Reading 1, or the equivalent reading level. Mastering beginning reading gives students the basic skills they need in order to be successful in spelling. This blog post, The Right Time to Start, explains further. Don’t be nervous about starting AAS. It’s as parent and child friendly as AAR.

Jenny

says:

I use this with my 9 and 7 year old boys. They actually look forward to spelling time. In three months we have gone through the first 3 levels. Spelling is so important and overlooked in our society. This approach is the only way to go!

Jessica

says:

This could be something both of my children could use together!

Kelly

says:

I love all about spelling.

Nancy

says:

I use AAS with dyslexic students which means that even more repetition is necessary. I appreciate these suggestions on adjusting lessons (love the suggestion to have students alphabetize the sound tiles) the for older students who still need so much practice.

Sheryl Long

says:

I enjoy using All About Reading and All About Reading with all of my children. Older, younger and special needs, they all learned with the All About Spelling and All About Reading products!

Jess

says:

Looks interesting!

CC

says:

It’s helpful to see photos of materials in use like this image showing the board set up. Thanks for including it. I hope you will utilize more photos like this in future posts.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

CC,
You are welcome, and I will pass your request on about future posts.

I will add that photo is of my board. Because of space considerations, I hand my board vertically instead of horizontal that most people do, so my set up is a bit different.

jennifer mathesz

says:

great tips thanks

renee

says:

My 5th grader is almost finished with AAS 6, and I am learning right along with her. Love AAS and AAR!

Deirdre

says:

This is a great article! I am going to start my girls on All About Spelling and going to have my 10 year old start in level 1 too.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Deirdre,
My first All About Spelling student was just a month or two from turning 10 when she started. It was GREAT for her. And now she is 16, completed AAS 7 a couple years back, and I ask her how to spell words occasionally!

Anyway, let us know if we can help in any way.

Heather B

says:

Since we are just starting out with AAL, it is nice to see how we can use the curriculum in a few years. Thanks!

Deann

says:

Very helpful, thanks!

Cindy N

says:

This would be very helpful for my 12 year old. Spelling is not a strong point for him.

Judith Martinez

says:

I have a 12 year old that still struggles with spelling so these are really helpful tips.

Suanna

says:

Thanks for writing about AAS and how to use it for older students. I’m considering using it with my older ones, because I know there are some things in this area that I probably didn’t teach very effectively.

Carissa Kemp

says:

I have used all about reading with my 5 yr old, he is in kindergarten and we are only a few lessons away from moving up to aar2. We love it!!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

It sounds like your 5 year old is very well! Thanks for sharing, Carissa.

Paula

says:

I’ve enjoyed the few free activities I’ve received. Hope to win certificate to be able to buy curriculum.

Lee

says:

We love all about spelling. Suddenly phonics makes sense!

Wendy

says:

My son (now 6, but we covered the topic when he was 5) had a lot of trouble with the /sh/, /ch/, and /th/ sounds. He could never remember the combination of letters that matched the sounds. The first he was able to remember was the /th/ because I had him remember that the voiced /th/ tickles the tongue, and tickle and tongue start with t. Then I associated /sh/ with a ship and sails, both verbally, and with a picture, which helped with that letter combination, which only theft the /ch/, which I used a church for. I wrote the letter combinations large on a sheet of paper, put the picture in the corner, then just had him point to, hold up, or jump on the correct sheet to match the word I said. We spent SEVERAL weeks on this. We occasionally need to go back to review, but he pretty much has it down now.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Wendy,
Thank you for sharing how you worked through this difficulty with your son. I had one that had trouble with these, and we used shush for sh, chin for ch, and teeth for th.

Joan

says:

I love this program! I have been teaching my 9 year old special needs son AAR and AAS this year. My only question is why don’t we give them the opportunity to ‘see’ the spelling word cards before the do them with the magnets?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Joan,
Feel free to allow your child to see the words before spelling them for the first time, if you feel that will help your student. However, in the lower levels of AAS, telling the student that all the words apply this one concept that they just learned is usually enough to allow them to spell the words correct without much trouble. In higher levels, many Steps will ask you to go over the cards with the student, working on analyzing the words for spelling patterns and such to note. I’m working in AAS 5 with my 12 year old, and we have found this word analysis to be very helpful.

dr yasser

says:

thank you very much for your great effort marry so can I work with you ?
my appreciation to you

Hannah

says:

Thank you so much for the customization pdf. That was very helpful!!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Hannah. Let us know if you need further help in anything.

Tamy Covel

says:

My son is Dyslexic and ADHD. When he was in school I hired a private tutor to help him with reading. She used the Orton-Gillingham method. It was the only method that seamed to make any real progress with my son. Unfortunately we were unable to continue with the private tutor. I talked to the different schools that he attended and most of them did not even know what I was talking about when I mentioned the Orton-Gillingham method. My son is now 21 and still struggles with reading. He dropped out of school because of it. I have been hoping to find something to help him that would give him hope that he might become comfortable with reading. I have seen a program advertised on one of the homeschool sites about “games” for dyslexics that could help “retrain” the brain so they would eventually read “normally”. Have you heard if this? If so, what is your opinion of this?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Tamy,
While games aimed at dyslexic individuals may be helpful, we don’t know of any games that are a solid alternative to learning with an Orton Gillingham based method. I’m also not aware of any research into the efficacy of any dyslexia games, but Orton Gillingham instruction has over 70 years of research showing it’s effectiveness.

It’s disheartening to hear of your son’s experiences through school. However, It’s not too late for your son if he’s willing to learn. Orton Gillingham methods were initially developed for adult learners, and All About Spelling and All About Reading have been used successfully to tutor adult students.

Let us know if we can help in any way.

Mardie Salas

says:

These type of books help me teach so that I understand what my grand children need to learn ,and how to learn it correctly.

Kathleen

says:

Two of my children have eye issues that have made learning to read challenging. I used AAS with my oldest (before AAR came out). He was spelling a level behind what he was able to read. It was fabulous – the spelling just reinforced his reading….and to this day, he can spell anything that he learned to spell in AAS! Thanks for a great program

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Kathleen,
Thank you for sharing how well your son has retained all he learned with AAS.

Valerie Cole

says:

I want to tell everyone that this program is beautiful, smart, efficient and worth more than what they ask! My child is aleady a good speller, but this program has rebuilt his foundation so his spelling is remarkable. Even I am learning new things-how wonderful is that!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Valerie,
Thank you for such a great review. (And I learned a lot my first time through AAS too.)

Stephanie Olmsted

says:

I like that you can customize lessons for your kids. Mine are in 7th and 1st.

Lesley

says:

Thank you for the tips.

Tracy

says:

This sounds like a great program! My child is an older student with learning challenges, and I think this would help him a lot!

Mulenga Katabua

says:

Good day. I have a 5 and 7 year old who have been learning a phonetic awareness curriculum called letter land. I would like to switch to AAR (they are both at level 2 /3 of AAR) & use AAS at which level should I start with AAS.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

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

All About Spelling is a building block program–each level builds 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.

Please let us know if you need further help with placement or anything else.

Sara

says:

I work with a young man in his early 20’s. He is gifted, talented and bilingual. English is his primary language, however, although he speaks well, his spelling is atrocious. He would like to attend medical school within the next two years and eventually hopes to return to his father’s home country. I would like to gift this program to him. Would this program help him distinguish between sounds such those words ending in d or k? I want him to be perceived as an equal in his professional class and to be well received in whatever community he serves.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Sara,

All About Spelling has been used successfully with adult students. AAS was designed specifically with older students in mind, so there is nothing childish about the design of the materials. Generally, adult students will move much more quickly through the concepts than beginning learners, because they are just filling in some gaps for the first level or two. Also, your student won’t need to use the letter tiles. You can use them for demonstrations only, and have him simply write words on paper or a white board.

When you say you wish to gift this program to this student, so you mean purchase it and give it to him, or do you mean you plan to gift your time in tutoring him? All About Spelling is not designed to be used independently, not even by adult students. All students would need someone to tutor them: to read the words so they can spell them without seeing them, to quiz them with the review cards, and so on in order to be successful with this program. If you do not plan to tutor him, maybe he can find someone else that can.

All About Spelling does help students to learn to differentiate sounds, but I suspect he will need to work at it continually as he moves through the levels. I have a student that struggles to hear if a word ends in n or nd, or s or st, and we still have to occasionally review that even though she is a level above that concept. Also, if he is struggling to distinguish the differences between ending sounds as different as d and k, he will likely need to spend a fair amount of time on the first few Steps of AAS 1.

Your desire to help this young man is admirable and wonderful. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Niki Powers

says:

Thank you for this great article. My son is 9 going into 5th grade and I’m getting ready to start AAS Level 1 with him but was concerned. This cleared things up!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Niki,
I’m glad you found this article helpful. It seems odd to start an older student at Level 1 of anything, but it really does make a huge difference. I started my own daughter in Level 1 when she was newly 10, and we saw improvement in her spelling right away!

Let us know if we can ever help in any way.

Melea

says:

As I am about to enter another year of homeschooling (a 4th, 2-5ths, and a pre) I am looking into starting this program along with AAR to help my 4th grader. I was excited to read that it is multi sensory and is helpful with those who have learning disabilities. I don’t know if he has any, but he certainly struggles. He is my very energetic one so I look forward to seeing how this program might help him. It may be something to even consider for my other kids. I just need to figure out what level is best for him.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Melea,
You can use the placement tests for AAR to 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 child) the following…

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

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

Kassandra

says:

Hi Merry,
First I want to thank you for the thoughtful advice you have provided me as I considered how I would use this program with various kids in the past couple of years. I have appreciated your help and how much time and thought you put into answering my questions.
This year I will have four of my kids homeschooling, including one who has severe spelling oddities (he is the one just coming out of school at 5th grade.) I looked at your placement guidelines, and although I’ll be homeschooling 9-13 year olds, I think I would start them all at Level 2. Even the older two are not great spellers so I think it would help them to back up.
What do I need to buy in order to work with all four kids starting out on the same level? (Ironically, the youngest of the bunch is the more intuitive natural speller.)
Thank you for your help.

Merry at AALP

says: Customer Service

Hi Kassandra,

Thanks so much for your kind note–you made my night!

Do you think you’ll teach them all together like a class, 2 and 2 by age or ability (faster ones together, slower ones together), or all 4 separately? (If you haven’t thought about it yet, you might like this article on teaching kids together: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/can-i-teach-my-kids-together/)

To get all of them started with AAS, you would need:

1-Basic Interactive Kit: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-interactive-kits/
1-Review Box (or use something you already have): http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-review-box/
1-Level 2 Set (has the Teacher’s Manual and Student Materials for 1 student or group): http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-spelling-level-2-materials/
1-Level 1 Student packet to get the phonogram and sound cards for review: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-spelling-level-1-student-packet/

If you will have more than one group, or plan to teach them individually, then you would also want:

1 additional Student Packet for each additional student/group doing the program: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/products/All-About-Spelling-Level-2-Student-Packet.html

1 additional set of Divider Cards for each additional student/group: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-divider-cards/

1 additional Review Box per student/group: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-review-box/

Optional: Stickers for each individual/group for marking the progress chart: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/wild-west-star-stickers-aas-level-2/

The materials packets allow you to customize the review, and practice the phonograms, sound cards, key cards, and word cards as much or as little as needed. Students who struggle with spelling tend to need lots and lots of review. If you have a student who struggles a lot, you may want to get separate materials for that student’s review, even if you do the lessons all together. When in doubt, start with just one packet and decide later if you need additional ones.

I hope this helps! If you still have questions, you can always email me at support@allaboutlearningpress.com, or give our office a call at 715-477-1976.

Lilly

says:

We’ve been using AAS in our homeschool for several years now- my 2nd born has worked his way up from level one in 1st grade and will begin level 5 for 3rd grade this year. He’s doing so well and we love the program! But the question I have is regarding my 5th grader. He is an excellent speller, so when we tried to start him with AAS too, he wasn’t learning to apply the rules well because the spelling words were too easy. He could spell them without ever applying the rule, and spout off the rule without really understanding it as a result. He was also miserable because he wasn’t being challenged. We used another spelling program with him (he tested two grades above and the words are a good fit there) but it doesn’t teach the RULES well- the reasons why- and I hate that he’s missing that in his education! The Level 5 AAS words don’t seem as though they’ll be challenging enough either. Is there a spelling list that follows the steps and continues the appropriate rule, but is more challenging than words like “back” so he has to actually THINK through the rule while spelling? Please help! I really want AAS for him in a way he’ll continue to love to spell!

Merry at AALP

says: Customer Service

Hi Lilly,

The issue with longer/harder words is that they tend to incorporate several patterns at once. It’s difficult to find words that only illustrate the patterns taught up to that point. A couple of options you could consider:

1, Fast track through the early levels–I’d start with level 2 (the highest level you can start in and still learn all of the rules). Challenge him to find a couple of words in his reading each day that illustrate the rule or concept he just learned, and then explain to you why that part of the word is spelled the way it is (restating the rule or explaining the concept if it’s visual–this is similar to the word-analysis exercises in Levels 4 and up, only he would only focus on the part of the word that illustrates the current lesson’s concept.) Ues the example above on how to fast-track. (This example shows how to fast-track through level 1, but you can use the same method to fast track through other levels.) Focus on the spelling concepts and rules, and just do a sampling of words to make sure he can teach the concept back to you.

2, If he’s a natural speller and doesn’t enjoy learning the rules, consider using an independent program with him instead. Some families only use AAS with their children who struggle or who benefit from this type of instruction.

3, If he’s spelling at a junior high level or above, consider using just Level 7. Older students who don’t struggle with spelling could potentially use AAS 7 without having used the previous levels. They would not learn all of the spelling rules and concepts that are taught in earlier levels (such as when to use C versus when to use K for the /k/ sound in a word), but they would have a sufficient base of knowledge to use and benefit from Level 7.

(For others who might read this conversation, please note that this wouldn’t work for struggling spellers. All About Spelling is a building block program–each level builds upon the previous level. 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. Struggling spellers should always start in 1 or 2.)

Here are the main determiners of whether Level 7 would work for a student:

1. Is the student spelling at a junior high level or higher?

2. Can the student hear the individual sounds in words? In the first half of the book, we wrap up the study of letter-sound correspondences, and in order to benefit from those lessons, the student needs to be able to hear the sounds in words. Many times, we say things like “Listen for the sound of /e/ in this word: deplete.”

3, Can the student accurately add suffixes to base words? For example, does the student know that “funny + est = funniest” and we change the Y to an I? And that “swim + er = swimmer” and we double the m before adding a vowel suffix? Level 7 assumes that the student already knows how to add suffixes.
In the second part of Level 7, the focus changes from learning letter-sound correspondences to learning morphemic (“word meaning”) strategies. In Level 7, the student concentrates on Latin and Greek word parts, as well as loan words from Spanish, French, and Italian. And in the final lesson, the student sets up a plan for lifetime learning.

Take a look at the online samples and scope & sequence charts for Level 7, and see what you think: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-lesson-samples

Lilly

says:

THank you! Those are great ideas!

amy

says:

I have a soon going into the 8th grade. He is a great reader and even loves to sit and read history books. He cannot spell even the most simple words. I would say that he is more than just a struggling speller. His 4th grade sister has good spelling and I know it is frustrating to him. We have tried different cirrriculum with zero success.I have tried to research different ones. It seems each year this is our biggest stress. We are now wondering if there is more behind his troubles. Maybe dysgraphia? His handwriting is very poor and rigid. Is AAS something that could work for him. I really want this year to be a year of great improvement and success for him but we are starting to worry that it is impossible for him to learn these concepts. Even words that he sees or reads everyday he can’t spell.

Merry at AALP

says: Customer Service

Hi Amy,

We have seen it help students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and other learning struggles. You might check out this post on dysgraphia: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/dysgraphia/

Reading words and being able to spell them involve different processes, so it’s not unusual for a student to have good reading skills but to struggle with spelling. This is one of the reasons why we teach reading and spelling separately: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/why-we-teach-reading-and-spelling-separately/

It can take lots of review, but even students with severe dyslexia have been able to make a lot of progress with a systematic, incremental, Orton-Gillingham based approach like All About Spelling. Here’s more on the Orton-Gillingham approach: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-orton-gillingham/

When I started my kids with AAS, my oldest made all kinds of mistakes. One day he spelled “ask” aic. He thought maybe the C could be both the /s/ and the /k/ sounds, but then it looked like it needed another letter–he often decorated with vowels. He’s heading to college next month and is much improved in spelling!

BTW, if you’ve never seen Marie’s 4 minute video, “Failure is Not an Option,” I encourage you to check it out. They were told their son would never read or write–and he certainly does! http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/about

Hang in there!

Mary

says:

My son will be a junior in high school this year. He is ESL, reads fairly well, but has always struggled with spelling (I’m sure some of it is definitely my fault). Anyway I’m planning to implement AAR and AAS with a younger brother (who has learning difficulties of his own) and was wondering if this program is something my older son could do on his own or will it require us working on it together? Scheduling and lack of consistency on a daily basis has been some of our problems in the past and I was hoping independent study with accountability would help here. Any thoughts?

Merry at AALP

says: Customer Service

Hi Mary,

AAS was designed to be used in a one on one or small group tutoring kind of situation, so it would require your input. We don’t advise going through it on his own. I do understand scheduling conflicts–I found I had to schedule it first thing or it would get put off and we wouldn’t get to it. For a high school student, we recommend working for about 20-30 minutes per day, so if you can squeeze that in somewhere, I do think it would help him.

JB

says:

Hello!
I have an advanced rising 8th grader, who is a terrible speller! Where should we start?

JB,
We recommend struggling students of any age start with level 1 to build a strong foundation in spelling.

All About Spelling is a building block program–each level builds upon the previous level. 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.

Level 1 teaches very important concepts, such as segmenting, the multiple sounds of the first 32 phonograms (o has 4 sounds, ch has 3, s has 2, etc.), and basic spelling rules: when to use C or K at the beginning of a word, when to use K or CK at the end, when to double F, L, and S at the end of a word, when to use S or ES to make a word plural, and so on. It is important that kids know why words are spelled the way they are. This information applies to more difficult words later in the series.

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.

You may have to be willing to adjust the first level or two to his needs because the words are easy to start. Marie, the author, 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. Here is an example of how you might fast track. http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

You also don’t have to use the letter tiles if your child would find these too childish (though some older students do still enjoy them). You can use underlining while writing on paper or a white board, or colored markers, to show when letters are working together as one phonogram. Or, use them for demonstrations only and let him choose whether to use the tiles, or to write on a whiteboard or paper.

If you’d like to see how the program works with older students, this blog entry demonstrates how my co-worker used the program with her 15-year-old son. http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-spelling-in-action-2/

I hope this helps, if you have additional questions, please let me know.

Daun Fiser

says:

Oops, forgot to say, “Yes, you may contact me via e-mail.”

Daun Fiser

says:

I’m not sure what to enter in the “website” box. Am just sending this ? via your “All About Learning” site fr/ my home computer.

My son is 17 now, & has struggled w/ reading, spelling, & writing since starting school. He’s been the most successful w/ Spell to Write & Read (SWR). I’ve been through @ least 2 of their seminars & have been so thankful for how much progress this program has brought. We haven’t worked/ w/ it in about 3 yrs., though. Is your program different/better for an auditory/kinesthetic learner my son’s age than SWR?

Thanks for your response.

Daun Fiser

Merry at AALP

says:

With older teens like your son, one important factor is his motivation–is he willing to work on spelling? We have had teens and adults use the program, so it can be very helpful even at his age. Here’s some information on some similarities and differences with SWR:

All About Spelling and Spalding both draw from the same research base: Orton-Gillingham. That’s why there are lots of similarities with phonograms and rules.

One of the biggest differences between our programs and SWR is that we separate the teaching of spelling and reading. Many students learn to read at a faster pace than they learn how to spell and separating these skills helps students progress at the right pace for them in each area. Here’s more information on Why We Teach Reading and Spelling Separately: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/why-we-teach-reading-and-spelling-separately/

You’ll find that the All About Spelling method is very easy to implement. It is designed to enable parents and teachers to teach their children without specialized training. Everything you need is right in front of you. You don’t have to figure out what you need to teach next—it is all planned out for you. Helpful notes are included along the way to maximize your effectiveness as a teacher. Your background in SWR will be helpful, but you won’t need to go through any new seminars.

The words in AAS are grouped according to spelling concepts and rules, not word frequency. For example, when the student learns the generalization about when to use K or CK at the end of a word, the spelling list contains words such as “black, clock, duck, ask.” This allows the child to see the patterns in the English language. After the child learns these words, they are mixed in with previously-learned words for mixed practice. This can make a big difference for kids who have struggled to remember all of the rules–in AAS they work on them incrementally, master one at a time, and build on that foundation. Coming from SWR, this would mean you could just quickly review rules, patterns, and words he doesn’t struggle with, but spend more time on the ones he does.

Letter tiles are used to demonstrate the spelling rules. Letter tiles make abstract concepts concrete — children can *see* what is being explained and can test out the rules for themselves. Sometimes even older students like the kinesthetic nature of the tiles, but if he doesn’t, you can just write on a whiteboard or paper, and use underlining to show when two or more letters are working as one phonogram.

The lessons also have built in review, and the card system makes it easy to keep track of what needs review and what is mastered.

There are a few differences in the phonograms in level 1 of AAS and how SWR teaches them. I and Y include the long E sound, and O includes the short U sound, plus AAS includes NK.

Later on, AAS also has OUR, for /er/ as in journey. SWR counts it as an advanced phonogram. We include it so children can learn all of the most common /er/ phonograms in Levels 1-6

We don’t use WOR, but SWR does. WOR is actually a combination of W + OR. OR says /er/ when it comes after a W, and in unaccented syllables.

Some people comment that AAS does more work with teaching syllable rules than SWR. They will often start in Level 2 to work more on those, but fast track through the easier lessons.

For other differences, you might like to check out this article in our FAQ file: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/spell-to-write-and-read

I hope this helps as you consider how to proceed with him.

Hello! I started AAS with my 2nd and 4th grader this year. So far we are doing it together. We will finish level 2 by the end of this year. My 4th grader is starting to get frustrated by how easy this has been this year. I would like to progress normally through level 3 for my younger son. How do you suggest I quickly move through level 3 to get to level 4 for my older son? He seems to have a solid background in spelling coming out of Christian school, but I wanted to make sure in our first year of homeschool and also use the easier words to reinforce speech practice for him. He is very bright and loves a challenge, but I don’t want to completely skip any steps. I would love to get him to grade level (5) at some point next year. Thanks!

Julia,
I think separating your children is a good idea. The way to go about it would be to simply move your older student along as quickly as he masters the information in each Step. You would do the same for your younger son as well. However, Level 3 is more difficult than Levels 1 and 2 have been, so it is quite likely your younger son will need more time, maybe as much as a week, per Step. Your older son will likely get the concepts easily and be able to do all of the pieces of a Step, including all the dictation sentences, in 2 to 3 days. The end result will be that your older son will finish it much quicker than your younger, moving into Level 4 that much sooner.

Just so you know, Level 5 is not the equivalent of 5th grade. Another spelling program lists the words cross, off, and plant on their fourth grade list, but these words can easily be spelled by a child completing the Level 1 book. That same program includes the words school and yellow on its first grade list, but expecting kids to spell words like those before mastering more basic syllable types undermines their future spelling ability. Level 7 of All About Spelling takes a student all the through high school spelling level, up through 12th grade words. Working on Level 4 before finishing 5th grade is a very respectable place to be.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if I can help in any further way.

Melissa

says:

Hi there. I have a 12 y/o daughter. I pulled her out of public school half way through 3rd grade. She had always struggled with spelling in school and since pulling her out. Recently, I took the advice of AAS and started at the beginning with Level 1 a few weeks ago and we are almost done with it. I asked her today how she was feeling about her progress and the new program today and she said “So much better. I actually wrote about how much easier spelling is for me now in my diary last night!” This is so huge!!! Writing has always been a struggle and I have suspected her lack of confidence in spelling as a big contributor to it. Not only was she writing, but she was writing about spelling!! LOL! So far, we are loving this program! Thank you so much!!

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Melissa,

That is SO sweet, thanks for sharing! I’m so glad it’s helping her and she’s feeling so encouraged about spelling!

Wendy

says:

Dear Merry, My son is just beginning Year 11 in Australia (16 years old) and finds it difficult to spell. He has made it through High School with little correction being done to his spelling.
He is a visual learner and when a word is called out for him to spell he tries to see it before he writes it.
He can’t recognise his own spelling mistakes in his essay work but he is very good with punctuation and grammar.
Some common spelling errors for him as exited for excited, infomation for information, hungery for hungry. His 2 page essays could contain up to 15 misspelt words.
I have just seen your blog All About Spelling where it has been used for Adults and Teens and would love to hear your thoughts whether the Program may be able to help improve my sons spelling.
He would like to try to improve his spelling as he is now completing Year 11 & 12 online and he understands that his spelling will be part of what his grades are.
Thank you for your assistance and I look forward to your reply :) Wendy

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Wendy,

I do think it could help, especially since he’s willing to work on spelling (sometimes with older teens, that’s half the battle!).

He would be able to go through the early levels quickly but there’s some important ground work with understanding how to hear every sound in a word (segmenting), and understanding syllable types that he would need from those early levels to lay the ground work for spelling longer words.

You might like to read the article: Which Level Should My Older Student Start With?
http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-level-should-my-older-student-start-with

It helps some kids understand if you compare to something like a video game or swimming lessons. Even though level 1 of a game or of lessons is easy to do, that doesn’t mean you should jump ahead to level 10. But it does mean that you can go quickly through the earlier levels, learning what you need to know so that when you DO get to the higher levels, you aren’t overwhelmed by having to learn too much at once.

He could probably do all 7 levels in 2 years if he works about 30 minutes daily.

One thing that AAS does is help students develop 4 main spelling strategies: Phonetic, rules-based, visual, and morphemic: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/effective-spelling-strategies

It sounds like he might be trying to rely mainly on visual strategies, and that can make it hard to see mistakes. (for example, visually the missing “r” in “infomation” could be easily missed–note how the r looks like the beginning of the m: rm. information. )

However, when you combine strategies, mistakes pop out at you. Here’s how I would help him think through the mistakes you listed:

infomation: Have him sound-out exactly what he wrote. See if he can “hear” what’s missing. If he pronounces the missing r, say, “actually, I would read this as in-fo-ma-tion.” See if he hears the missing sound then. The more accustomed he gets to using additional strategies, the easier it will be for him to spot errors like this one. Segmenting is covered in Level 1, and syllable instruction begins at the end of 1 and builds from there.

For hungry–he may be thinking of the word “hunger” and just adding y. I would check his pronunciation. Does he say “hungry” or does he pronounce 3 syllables–hun-ger-y? I would show him how the word changes and that there are really just two syllables in hun-gry.

For excite–has he studied any Greek and Latin roots? They would help with this word (we cover this in AAS 7). “Excite” is a combination of two word parts–ex, meaning out (like exit), and cite meaning to call. If he knows the word “cite,” that’s actually related to this word, excite, and that could help him remember how to spell the word. Here’s a link to the entry in the Online Etymology Dictionary: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=excite&allowed_in_frame=0

I hope this helps as you consider what to do! Let me know if you have additional questions.

Margret

says:

Dear Merry, do you know of any methode to inproof spelling by adult foreign students? I’m German. My English is not to bad, but my spelling is horrible. I want to do something for getting better. Till now everything I dried didn’t work! My main problem is has a letter to be doppled or not the dropping e, has y to be changed into ie or not, c or k and consonant clusters. Of course, the usage of a Dictionary helps, but it is time-consuming and does not always answere my questions.

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Margaret,

Yes, AAS would help with all of those issues. It’s used in ESL classes in the US and around the world. We recommend having a friend or tutor to help you.

The thing that sets AAS apart is the emphasis on the sounds of the English language. We approach spelling from sound first, and then we translate that sound into written letters. ESL teachers appreciate the fact that we teach the sounds, and we have the Phonogram Sounds Download, which is also helpful.

Our program is logical and methodical. The challenging part of English spelling is the different vowel sounds, and the many ways to spell a single sound. There are more than 250 ways to spell the 45 sounds in the English language! Many languages have a reliable vowel-sound correspondence, and students need to learn our many more vowel-sound correspondences. AAS teaches this in a methodical way.

Our lists are arranged according to patterns, rather than according to word frequency or grade levels as some lists are. For example, when kids learn that AW says /aw/, they learn a list of AW words all at once. Our brains like patterns, and AAS emphasizes the patterns of English spelling.

We break words into syllables, so that students can see how syllables affect spelling.

We have continual review built into the program, so that you can spend extra time on just the topics and words that are tricky for you.

As a side benefit, AAS has the structure needed to help ESL learners pronounce words properly, too.

I hope this helps; please let us know if you have additional questions.

Amy

says:

We began using All About Spelling in January of last year. My now 9th grader began with level 1 and has progressed to level 6 in one year. There were gaps in some very basic concepts of spelling. We are delighted with his success. When we started level 4 he said, “Mom, why didn’t you start with this program because it makes spelling easy?” We have been tear free for a full year. This program has healed a young heart and given him confidence in his writing.

Kathy

says:

That is a phenomenal story, Amy! How encouraging!

Michelle

says:

I have two high school age children who are not behind in spelling. They both test at their grade level using the Morrison-McCall Spelling Scale in Spell to Write and Read. Is there a placement test for older students who have a good foundation?

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Michelle,

Students spelling at the high school level may be beyond our program (our highest level focuses on many high school level words). However, you could take a look at Level 7 and see if that has some new content that might be helpful for them.

Normally, students start with Level 1 and work through the program. But students who are junior high or high school and spelling at grade level can sometimes just do Level 7. Here’s a bit more information:

First, know that All About Spelling is a building block program–each level builds upon the previous level. 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 others who might read this–Students who struggle with spelling or who are not spelling at a junior high level should start with level 1 of our program to fill in gaps with regard to spelling rules and concepts. The article Which Level Should My Older Student Start With? explains why: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-level-should-my-older-student-start-with )

Students who don’t struggle with spelling could potentially use AAS 7 without having used the previous levels. They would not learn all of the spelling rules and concepts that are taught in earlier levels (such as when to use C versus when to use K for the /k/ sound in a word), but they would have a sufficient base of knowledge to use and benefit from Level 7. Here are two main determiners of whether Level 7 would work for a student:

1. “Can the student hear the individual sounds in words?” In the first half of the book, we wrap up the study of letter-sound correspondences, and in order to benefit from those lessons, the student needs to be able to hear the sounds in words. Many times, we say things like “Listen for the sound of /e/ in this word: deplete.”

2. “Can the student accurately add suffixes to base words?” For example, does the student know that “funny + est = funniest” and we change the Y to an I? And that “swim + er = swimmer” and we double the m before adding a vowel suffix? Level 7 assumes that the student already knows how to add suffixes.
In the second part of Level 7, the focus changes from learning letter-sound correspondences to learning morphemic (“word meaning”) strategies. In Level 7, the student concentrates on Latin and Greek word parts, as well as loan words from Spanish, French, and Italian. And in the final lesson, the student sets up a plan for lifetime learning.

Take a look at the online samples and scope & sequence charts for Level 7, and see what you think: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-lesson-samples

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

Chris

says:

Hi My name is Chris and I would like to tell u about my life in the would of spelling It is a dark grim and humiliating it makes me feel stuped and very down on my self but o well what I truly would like,to tell u is if u helped one kid from having this experience God bless you it is so worth it.

Merry

says:

Hi Chris,

I’m so sorry to hear about your struggles with spelling and how they have affected you. We do hope to help many kids not have this experience!

It’s never too late to learn more about spelling and improve. But mostly I want to say that you are so much more than your spelling ability. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and it’s obvious even from your short post that you have a caring personality, a gift for encouraging others, and a gift for vivid description. I know God will use these gifts in your life to bless others as well.

Kathy

says:

Hello Chris,

If you haven’t already considered it, may I encourage you to begin using All About Spelling for your own personal growth? I have personal feedback from an adult who has done this and is now actively involved as an after school tutor for kids in his neighborhood who have been struggling to spell. As Merry said above, you just never know how your gifts can be discovered and blossom if you open yourself up to a new adventure!

Sarah

says:

I have 3 boys that all struggle with spelling and hate working on it. I feel like I tear my hair out every day when we have to work on it. I haven’t yet found the answer to our dilemma. I just feel frustrated and sad and I ache for my boys as they struggle with this subject. It makes me sad. I personally love love love reading and spelling but my sons didn’t get my fever for reading writing and spelling. What do I do now…
Sarah

Merry

says:

Hi Sarah,

I’m sorry your boys are struggling with reading, writing, and spelling. Have you tried AAR or AAS with them? How old are they?

What to do depends a lot on why they are struggling–you may need to do some investigating. For example, if reading is still “work” for them–if they have issues with fluency, have gaps in phonogram knowledge, don’t have good word-attack skills for reading larger words, tends to rely on word-guessing strategies, or have vocabulary issues, reading won’t be very fun or interesting. Working on those areas of struggle would be the way to help them in that case.

Kids generally start to hate a subject when they begin to think it’s impossible for them, when it just seems out of reach for them. Sometimes there can be an undiagnosed learning disability:

-dyslexia, vision processing issues, ADHD, dysgraphia, etc…

-auditory processing issues or working memory issues that could be affecting how they receive auditory input. The tips in this article on auditory processing disorder are sometimes helpful for other struggles as well. http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/auditory-processing-disorder/

We have a variety of articles on working memory, dyslexia and so on that you might find helpful if you suspect any of those issues. Marie did a series of newsletters on Helping kids’ memory issues–here’s the last one that also has links to the first 4: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/newsletter-february-21-2012/

Sometimes the issue is stopping phonics instruction too soon, or inconsistent lessons so that they don’t have a chance to master things.

All About Reading and All About Spelling can fill in gaps in what they’ve learned, and they also help with many learning disabilities as well.

If it’s more a matter of interest, look for books on topics of high interest, magazine subscriptions (kids love to get mail!) and the like. Make models together so they have to read directions. Bake or do science experiments and have them read the steps to follow. Play games that involve reading (my kids always wanted to play Monopoly, and we did that for “fun” school days–there’s math and reading both!).

Take some time to find out what excites them. Do crafts or clay projects. Find that excitement in learning again. And all the time, read to them. Read quality, exciting stories to them, or find books on topics they are really interested in. As you find their interests, you’ll be able to work in reading opportunities.

I used to let my kids stay up an extra 30 minutes at night if they read in bed–which they thought was a special privilege.

I know this is a lot to think about and consider, but hopefully you can get to the bottom of what’s going on, and then come up with a plan for helping them. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact us. We’re here to help.

Kara

says:

We are hoping to implement this as a ‘gap’ filler program this year with our 9th and 10th graders but want to be sure I do so in an age appropriate manner. They have both expressed the desire to be better spellers and I am certain that All About Spelling would do just that however it is difficult to know how to utilize the program without making them feel like they are ‘behind’. I would love some guidance in how to do this – thanks so much!

Merry

says:

Hi Kara,

We recommend that most students start with Level 1 to build a strong foundation in spelling.

All About Spelling is a building block program–each level builds upon the previous level. 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 this problem.

Level 1 teaches very important concepts, such as segmenting, the multiple sounds of the first 32 phonograms (o has 4 sounds, ch has 3, s has 2, etc.), and basic spelling rules: when to use C or K at the beginning of a word, when to use K or CK at the end, when to double F, L, and S at the end of a word, when to use S or ES to make a word plural, and so on. It is important that kids know why words are spelled the way they are. This information applies to more difficult words later in the series.

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 generally don’t recommend starting higher than level 2.

The article Should We Start in Level 1 or Level 2? will help you decide the appropriate starting level: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-spelling-level-should-we-start-with

You may have to be willing to adjust the first level or two to his needs because the words are very easy to start. 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. The PDF file in the above article gives an example of how you might fast track.

It helps some kids understand if you compare to something like a video game or swimming lessons. Even though level 1 of a game or of lessons is easy to do, that doesn’t mean you should jump ahead to level 10. But it does mean that you can go quickly through the earlier levels, learning what you need to know so that when you DO get to the higher levels, you aren’t overwhelmed by having to learn too much at once.

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

Lucy

says:

Hi Merry,

I am starting AAS with my 3rd and 5th grade girls. I purchased level 2 and level 4, but now, after reading more here, I am wondering if I need to get level 1 even if I just breeze through it. What do you think? Thanks.

Merry

says:

Hi Lucy,

Yes, this is what we recommend. Most students do have some gaps from Level 1 and it’s helpful to start there. All About Spelling is a building block program–each level builds upon the previous level. 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. Some students will also 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 this problem.

Level 1 teaches very important concepts, such as segmenting, the multiple sounds of the first 32 phonograms (o has 4 sounds, ch has 3, s has 2, etc.), and basic spelling rules: when to use C or K at the beginning of a word, when to use K or CK at the end, when to double F, L, and S at the end of a word, when to use S or ES to make a word plural, and so on. It is important that kids know why words are spelled the way they are. This information applies to more difficult words later in the series.

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

Michelle

says:

Hi Merry. I have started homeschooling this year for the first time and have a 5th grader who hasn’t had a lot of phonics in his spelling background. To that end, we began with AAS Level 1 to fill in the holes. We are very near the end of Level 1 and will begin Level 2 in the next week or so. Would you have any suggestions on how to go through Level 2 with an older student? Your plan for Level 1 was instrumental in teaching my son. Thanks so much.
Michelle

Merry

says:

Hi Michelle,

I don’t have a specific plan written out. What I would do is go through each topic. Do a quick demo, asking a question to see if he’s already familiar with the concept. Can he teach it back to you with the tiles? If he seems very familiar, do just a couple of sample words–whichever ones look hardest on the list. If those are easy, you could move on to the next lesson. If he doesn’t know the concept, or if he has to think a bit about the words as he tries to spell, spend more time. Go through a couple of demonstrations until he can easily teach it back to you. Do the full list of words and at least some of the dictations. If any of that is difficult–do the More words and the rest of the dictations.

So, pick and choose what to do from easier lessons, while doing most or all from the harder ones, until you seem to be more at his level where it’s beneficial to do the entire lesson.

Does this help? Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Monique

says:

I have a non dyslexic 5th grade that I am pulling out of public school. Would the system be too remedial for her. She is a good speller already but public schools don’t teach the “why” we spell words the way we do.

What do you suggest?

Thanks,
Monique

Merry

says:

It sounds like she is doing well with spelling! Hopefully this information will help you decide if AAS will be a fit for her.

All About Spelling is specifically designed to help these groups of kids:
– Kids who need remedial spelling help, whether they are behind or struggle to keep up in spelling
– Those who never learned the spelling rules
– New beginning spellers, to prevent spelling problems

Upper elementary students who spell at grade level, or children who are advanced for their age, can also benefit from AAS, if you don’t mind making some adjustments. Students who are curious about why words are spelled the way they are often enjoy AAS.

The levels and word lists in the All About Spelling program are arranged by concepts and spelling patterns rather than by grade levels. Each level builds upon the previous one. Your daughter would need to start no higher than Level 2 in order to get all of the rules and concepts taught in the program.

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 generally don’t recommend starting higher than level 2.

If you decide to go this route, you can work as quickly as possible through Level 2. Your child doesn’t need to spell every word — just choose a small sampling of words and make sure that she understands *why* the words are spelled the way they are. You may be able to go through Level 2 quickly, but it will lay the foundation for more advanced spelling.

In order to get the phonogram cards that were taught in Level 1, you would need the student material packet for Level 1. If your child already knows all of the multiple sounds for each of the first 32 phonograms (a – z, plus th, ch, sh, nk, ng, ck), you can skip this purchase. As an example, the letter A has three common sounds: /a/ – /A/ – /ah/, O has 4 sounds, CH has 3, S has 2, etc…. Your child will be drawing upon this knowledge throughout the series.

Amanda

says:

Hi,

I have a 1st, 3rd and 5th grader. I’m looking into starting this program with all of them. My question is.. If my 2nd & 5th graders have always been in an Orton-Gillingham program, what levels should I start them in?

Merry

says:

Hi Amanda,

In that case, you want to take a look at what areas need review or more work, versus what areas they have mastered.

There are a few differences between our programs and some of the other programs out there, and understanding them can help you as you decide what placement is best for each child.

One of the biggest differences between our programs some O-G programs is that we separate the teaching of spelling and reading. Many students learn to read at a faster pace than they learn how to spell and separating these skills helps students progress at the right pace for them in each area. Here’s more information on Why We Teach Reading and Spelling Separately: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/why-we-teach-reading-and-spelling-separately/

Also, the words in AAS are grouped according to spelling concepts and rules, not word frequency. For example, when the child learns the generalization about when to use K or CK at the end of a word, the spelling list contains words such as “black, clock, duck, ask.” This allows the child to see the patterns in the English language. After the child learns these words, they are mixed in with previously-learned words for mixed practice.

The lessons also have built in review, and the card system makes it easy to keep track of what needs review and what is mastered.

To get an idea of where to start, first take a look at the article: Should We Start in Level 1 or Level 2? Make sure your 2nd and 5th graders have mastered the content in Level 1 (which they probably have): http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-spelling-level-should-we-start-with

Most students don’t start higher than level 2, but occasionally someone who has used an Orton-Gillingham program previously will. Some people comment that AAS does more work with teaching syllable rules than other programs. If your children are very confident in syllable rules you may be able to start higher. If that’s an area of weakness, then you’ll probably want to start with 2 but fast-track through the easier steps. Use the examples in this article to give you an idea of how to do that. If you think they can start higher, look at the scope and sequence for each level to see what they have mastered and which concepts need additional work.

Here are samples and scope and sequence links for All About Spelling Levels 1-7: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-lesson-samples

If you do start higher: know that the Phonogram, Sound, and Key cards introduced in earlier levels continue to be reviewed throughout the program–so you would need the earlier student packets if you don’t have similar cards from your current program.

I hope this helps!

Kimi

says:

Hi, thanks for your post. I am starting homeschooling this year with 3 kids. Grades 2, 5 and 7. I will start them all in level 1. So, my question is: does each child need their own dividers, cards and file box? or is that part not a big deal?

Thanks!

Merry

says:

Hi Kimi,

The materials packets allow you to customize the review for each child. To get by without getting a materials packet for each child you could try one of these options:

1-teach some children together as a group (perhaps your 5th and 7th graders could work together?). All children in a “group” would review everything until it’s mastered.

2-teach students separately, at least 1 full level apart if your oldest memorizes quickly, otherwise at least 2 levels apart. The first step in each level will review all previously learned phonogram, sound, and key cards (plus any words you are still working on or want to review), so know that you will need to “borrow” the cards back for that step. There is also a mastered review during each level that reviews all of these mastered cards.

So in this scenario, you would take your oldest one or two through at least Level 1 first, and then start the program with your 2nd grader after the older ones have completed the first step in Level 2, or at a later point if they need more time to finish mastering some of the cards.

3-come up with an alternate method of tracking what they need to review.

If any child has dyslexia, vision processing issues, any kind of learning disability, or just plain struggles with spelling, that student should have their own materials packet and it shouldn’t be passed on to a sibling or shared until he or she has completed the program. These students tend to need lots of review, and may need to review cards weekly or monthly to retain concepts.

When in doubt, start with one packet–you can always order a second later.

Each student or group of students will need a set of Divider Cards to organize their review cards. This allows you to easily see what needs review, what’s new, and what’s mastered.

Each student or group will also need a box, but you could save some money here by using something you already have, or pick up something in the $1-2 range in the Sterilite box section of your local Walmart or other store. Look for something at least 4.5″ wide x 3.5″ tall. Ours is 8″ deep, but you could do okay with about 4″-8″ depth–anywhere in there.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions. Merry :-)

Robin Angier

says:

My son is going to be a senior this year.he has dyslexia. Spelling has been a struggle since elementary school. We have worked hard on spelling, but not over the past 3 years. I would like to work on spelling this year with my son. Would this program be helpful? If so, where do I begin?

Merry

says:

Hi Robin,

Marie has used these same methods for tutoring teens and adults, so it can be helpful. You have to be willing to adjust the first few levels to their needs because the words are very easy to start, but many students have not learned the concepts behind them, and these are crucial for success throughout the program.

Where to start depends on what kind of remediation he’s had for his dyslexia–if he has previously used Orton-Gillingham based methods, he will be able to start higher. If not, he likely will have some gaps from even the early levels and would need to start with level 1 or 2. Here’s an article that explains why: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-level-should-my-older-student-start-with

Students who do need to start at the beginning will typically “fast-track” through the early levels. Here’s an example of how to do that: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

If you think your son might be able to start at a higher level, please take a look through the scope and sequence links to determine where he might have gaps in concept knowledge. Just know that the student has to know all of the earlier rules and strategies to start in a higher level.

Here are samples and scope and sequence links for All About Spelling Levels 1-7: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-lesson-samples

I hope this helps as you consider what to do and how to proceed. Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Nikki

says:

Our family is facing a sort of double whammy. Our boys are both older, one in 7th grade and the other in 5th grade, and they both have learning differences (dyslexia & auditory processing delays) that have made teaching spelling very difficult. Would this program be affective to help them move forward?

Kathy

says:

Yes, Nikki! All About Spelling provides the necessary phonogram base, as well as structured, explicit teaching (amongst its many other benefits!) to make this effective in your situation. If you have specific questions about our program or how to get started with your sons, please let us know at support@allaboutlearningpress.com. or by telephone at 715-477-1976. We will be happy to assist you!

Kathy
Customer Care Representative

April

says:

Hi, I am looking at this program for my older student and myself, I have never had phonics in school, and I was wondering will I be able to teach something I have never had? I am a great and avid reader but and ok speller. I really don’t know sometimes what a sound should make when I good to write it. Would this help me and my older student?

Merry

says:

Hi April,

Yes, the lessons are laid out in an orderly form for the teacher, so that each day you can simply open and go. AAS is designed to be easy to do at home, and no prior training is needed. Each lesson time is simple and explicit, and will include 3 steps: review of what was learned the day before, a new teaching, and a short practice of that new teaching. The program is designed for you to move at your child’s pace, so you can go as quickly or as slowly as your child needs through each step.

The Phonogram cards and the Phonogram Sounds Download will help you with any sounds you aren’t sure of.

And, we provide lifetime support for all of our programs–you are always welcome to contact us if you have any questions. (My email is support@allaboutlearningpress.com). I hope this helps! Merry :-)

Christa

says:

I’m doing this with older kiddos and enjoying it. Thanks for the effort you’ve put into it!

MamaBear

says:

I have begun using the Barton system with my 6 year old due to signs of dyslexia. Will this program help or interfere with concurrent use of Barton? My 10 year old also has dyslexia and goes to a reading resource classroom a couple times per week (not enough help for her) so I am interested in trying this curriculum with her. Is there a trial period in which I can review the materials and return them if I don’t find it helpful?

Merry

says:

Hi MamaBear,

Yes, that can work. Both programs are Orton-Gillingham based, and will have similarities in that the teaching is based on learning phonograms. One thing about AAS that is a benefit–you don’t have to go through a seminar to learn how to teach it, or flip between a Teacher’s Guide and a Student book. Everything you need is right there in the book as you go through the lesson, so it’s very open and go.

We find that separating reading and spelling instruction can be helpful because many students learn to read faster than they learn how to spell. For more information, check out this article on Why We Teach Reading and Spelling Separately: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/why-we-teach-reading-and-spelling-separately/

So, if you want to continue Barton for reading and use AAS for spelling, that will work out fine. If your 6 year-old is just starting Barton, you may want to either wait a bit or take AAS slowly though. It helps if the student is already reading 3 and 4 sound words. I would probably start your 10 year-old first to get a feel for the program, and then start more slowly with your 6 year-old if he’s ready.

Here are some aspects of AAS that are very helpful to students with dyslexia:

1, The program is incremental and mastery based. Our sequence was very carefully tested to reduce confusion for the child. Students will master one concept at a time before adding in others.

2, The review is easy to customize. When a concept is introduced and taught through a lesson, it isn’t dropped after that. There are review cards that go into the student’s daily review to make sure that it’s mastered. Plus the concept is reviewed through dictations and other activities. Once a card is mastered, it goes to the mastered tab, but these are again reviewed later in that level to make sure they stay mastered.

3, Our rules are worded so they are as easy for children to remember as possible.

4, If mistakes are made repeatedly, we have methods to deal with the word. Words that are rule-breakers are thrown in jail, and the parts of the word that break the rules are discussed and highlighted to create a visual memory. Words are also placed back in review if they are forgotten later, along with any related phonogram, sound, and key cards that reinforce the spelling of that word.

5, In Levels 3 on up, we start teaching the student how to analyze words so that he can decide for himself which strategies are most helpful for remembering how to spell a word. (AAS teaches 4 main spelling strategies, here’s an article on that: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/effective-spelling-strategies.) This means that the program actively helps your child engage in thinking about words and why they are spelled the way they are, and how he can best master those words.

6, If you run across specific problems, you can always contact us for support.

We have a one-year guarantee when you order from our website. If it doesn’t work out for you, you can return it for a refund of your purchase price. Here’s a link to our Guarantee: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/guarantee

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any additional questions, I’d be glad to help. Merry :-)

Emily L

says:

I was thinking about having my 6th grader help ‘teach’ my 1st grader AAS level 1. I thought that it would be a great way to help her learn the basics that was missed in while at a brick and mortar school but not insulting to her b/c I would still let her do a higher level spelling on her own.

Patricia

says:

Hi! I just started All About Reading this year with my daughter and I was absolutely amazed at her progress. She hated reading! Now she’ll read something outside the home and it nearly brings me to tears.

Next year I will be continuing with the Reading and want to add the Spelling. She still struggles with spelling. We will soon be starting Level 3 Reading. Do I have to start with Level 3 in Spelling?

Thank you for such an amazing program!

~Patricia

Merry

says:

Hi Patricia,

No, you will want to start with Level 1 of the spelling program. This will teach her the spelling rules and other strategies that go along with the reading concepts she has learned, such as how to know whether to use K or CK at the end of a word, when to add S or ES to make a word plural, when to use C or K at the beginning of a word, when to double F, L, and S at the end of a word, and so on. The levels for spelling build incrementally, and each level assumes that the student has mastered the rules and strategies taught in the previous levels.

The AAR and AAS programs are independent of each other so students can move as quickly or as slowly as they need to with each skill. Kids generally move ahead more quickly in reading, and we don’t want to hold them back with the spelling. So, there’s no need to line up lessons or levels in any way–simply proceed through each one at your daughter’s pace. For more information, check out this article on Why We Teach Reading and Spelling Separately: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/why-we-teach-reading-and-spelling-separately/

I hope this helps! Merry :-)

Shawn

says:

Hi Merry,

We are new to All About Spelling & fairly new to homeschooling. I purchased the Level 6 materials, as well as the Level 5 student materials for the cards that need to be transferred. I am waiting for the Level 5 to arrive. I am worried that we will not have Phonogram Cards 1-72, Sound Cards 1-87, Key Cards 1-24 because we have not been working with all about spelling from Level 1. How can I get just the cards I need to start from where my student is at? I do not have the money to purchase each of the student material packages, from Level 1 through Level 4. Is that the only way to get the cards I am missing? Please help, I really want use this spelling curriculum.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Shawn

Merry

says:

Hi Shawn,

You’re correct that you won’t have the earlier phonogram, sound, or key cards, other than the ones introduced in Level 5.

Did you decide to start in Level 6 because of your student’s grade level? Placement for spelling is actually based on the student’s knowledge of spelling rules and concepts, rather than grade level, reading level, or even which words the student can spell.

Most students actually need to begin with Level 1. Level 1 teaches very important concepts, such as segmenting, the multiple sounds of the first 32 phonograms (o has 4 sounds, ch has 3, s has 2, etc.), and basic spelling rules. It is important that kids know why words are spelled the way they are. This information applies to more difficult words later in the series.

As an 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.

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 generally don’t recommend starting higher than level 2. (Generally, the only students who start higher have already used other similar programs and have all of the phonograms and rules memorized already.)

The article Should We Start in Level 1 or Level 2? will help you decide the appropriate starting level: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-spelling-level-should-we-start-with

You may have to be willing to adjust the first level or two to your student’s needs because the words are very easy to start, but many students have not learned the concepts behind them, and these are crucial for success throughout the program.

Marie encourages parents and teachers to “fast track” through the beginning levels if the student knows how to spell most of the words but does not understand the underlying basic spelling concepts. Work VERY quickly through lessons where your student knows the words. Pull out several words as examples. Make sure he understands the concept being taught, and then move on.

Bottom line: with older children, work quickly through the areas the child already knows, and slow down in the areas that need extra attention. “Fast track” until your child hits words or concepts he doesn’t already know. The above article has an example of how you might do that.

I think you’re probably going to want to start with 1 or 2. You could return what you have for an exchange. We have a 1-year, 100% satisfaction guarantee when you order from our website: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/guarantee.

I hope this helps! Please email me at support@allaboutlearningpress.com if you have additional questions. (You can post here, but I answer emails daily, and don’t always see the comments on older blog posts right away).

Kelly

says:

To add to my comment below, I just want to let you that my son is a half way decent speller. He has no learning disabilities, but he doesn’t want to take the time to think about the spelling of some words. Then at other times he can spell them. He just can’t do his spelling work for the week and know how to spell some of them. I have to use spelling city with him to get him to concentrate on the words. Would I start on level 2 or where?

Kelly

says:

To add to my comment below, I just want to let you that my son is a half way decent speller. He has no learning disabilities, but he doesn’t want to take the time to think about the spelling of some words. Then at other times he can spell them. He just can’t do his spelling work for the week and know how to spell some of them. I have to use spelling city with him to get him to concentrate on the words.

Kelly

says:

Hi Merry, I enjoyed your article about using All About Spelling with an older child. I have thought about using it with my 11 year old son (will be 12 in May). It sounds like a good program. Can you give me a little more information on the new words presented? Is there a test on the new words? If not, could I still give my son a test over them at the end of the week? Can you give me more information on what is on your dry erase board? For example, what is that picture of the jail about? I guess I just need more information on everything that I can’t find elsewhere. Your article was very good, but I guess I still need more info., or more convincing. Thanks.

Merry

says:

Hi Kelly,

AAS actually doesn’t use tests. We find that tests are better used as a diagnostic tool. Teachers can look at the errors that the students are making, and then teach them the spelling concepts that they are missing. The list on Monday, test on Friday type of approach doesn’t tend to produce good long-term retention. Some people do use our word lists as tests, so you have that option if you want.

We teach a concept, and then show students words that follow that concept. Students practice those words with the letter tiles and on paper first. Then they will have those words appear in dictation phrases and sentences so that they get practice in a writing scenario. The words are also on word cards so that you can track what your student has mastered (which words he can spell quickly and easily, without having to guess or self-correct), and which ones need more review. The review cards stay in daily review until a student has mastered them.

Here are samples and scope and sequence links for All About Spelling Levels 1-7: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-lesson-samples

Looking at the samples might help you to see how the lessons are done.

The jail in the picture is introduced in Level 2. When a phonogram doesn’t make one of its normal sounds in a word, that word is considered a “rule-breaker,” and rule-breakers are put in jail. For example, the phonogram AI usually says the long A sound as in rain. But the word “said” is a rule-breaker–the AI doesn’t say long A there. So “said” would go in jail. Some people keep their words in jail long-term by posting them on the wall, while others just do it temporarily. It’s just a tool to help your children with some of those words that can be tricky. Most kids have a strong sense of justice and like this aspect of the program!

The letter tiles that you see on the board are the phonograms–1 or more letters that work together to stand for a sound. They are grouped according to type–the alphabet, vowel teams, consonant teams, sounds of /er/, sounds of /sh/, and other sounds.

Then there are prefix and suffix tiles for building longer words. At the bottom, you’ll see the syllable tags. There are 6 syllable types, and learning these types can help students with both reading and spelling. The symbols help kids remember and label them easily–open, closed, vowel-consonant-E, vowel team, r-controlled, and consonant-LE. Here’s an article on syllable types for more information: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/how-to-teach-syllable-types

AAS directly teaches “word analysis” skills (and in the upper levels, you can see the sections labeled that) to teach students how to think through the words they are learning. In the beginning, we tell them how, and then gradually hand over more and more of that responsibility to the student until they know how to do it effectively on their own. Thinking about words doesn’t come naturally to students, but we help them to develop those skills so that it will seem natural to think about spelling.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions. Merry :-)

Betty

says:

I am teaching a 10 yr old who thinks she’s very grown up, AAR 2. Sometimes we skip an activity or I have her draw the word on a dry erase board with blue and red markers. It is surprising though that most often she does want to do the activities.
I do have a suggestion. It would be so much easier for the activity book to be available as a download. I like to print out the pages on card stock to save them for my other child and it is a lot of work to tear out pages or fold the book over to make copies.

Melissa

says:

THANKS for posting this. I just purchased the AAS program yesterday for our 8.5 yr old and that very questions was on my mind, especially since he’s been through 3 years of spelling at public school already. The post and pdf clearly communicated just the sort of tips I needed to take a positive approach with Level 1 so he doesn’t feel bad about himself for reviewing things he already knows. (Yet, I know there are concepts that haven’t stuck so Level 1 is where we need to start.) Love the idea about comparing it to the levels in a video game. He’ll totally get that. And also love the idea about teaching back. THANK YOU to you and your company for being so encouraging and enabling parents to teach!!

Renee'

says:

I was wondering if you can recommend a grammer program? Thanks we love this program!!

Merry

says:

Hi Renee,

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 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.
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 multi-sensory and incremental program that is very easy to use.

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.

I hope this gives you some places to start looking! Merry :-)

Cristina

says:

Great PDF information.
Thanks!

Shannon Hummer

says:

I just started using level 2 with my nine year old, and I have loved watching him regain some confidence in his ability to spell after completing level 1. He used to feel he was “bad”at spelling, but that is changing and I couldn’t be happier!

Brandy

says:

We have been using a different spelling program this year. There have been many tears and spelling skills have not improved as much as I think they should. I think All About Spelling may just be our answer.

Nicolette

says:

We are just starting out on our homeschooling journey but I have read nothing but great things about this program. I can see how this program can help an older student improve their spelling abilities.

Carrie

says:

We’ll be finishing the last level of AAS this summer. It’s been extremely successful in helping my dyslexic 5th grader with both his spelling and reading.

Amanda G

says:

Can’t wait to get started with All About Spelling! Very exciting! Thanks for creating and sharing such a wonderful educational tool! :)

Danice

says:

We have LOVED using AAS Level 1 and 2 this year with my 7 year old! he loved it so much, he flew through Level one and was SO excited to go to Level two in the same year! We can’t wait to start Level 3 next year :)

Tracie W

says:

Spelling in our house is currently going well, if for no other reason than that my eldest is only preparing to complete her “kindergarten” year. I look forward to using AAS as she gets older to make it easier on us both!

Lisa Young

says:

Looking forward to using some of these techniques as we move to AAS!

Karen

says:

When my children are in lower elementary, I just focus on word families. As they get older they are able to use those skills to help in their spelling and reading, but there are always those words that don’t follow the pattern.

For my older students, I use games such as banagrams, boggle, and scrabble along with various online games. I also have them learn spelling by increasing their vocabulary. As they learn new words, they gain spelling skills.

Laura

says:

Spelling with my older daughter has been a challenge b/c she was not taught the basics when she was in public school. Can’t wait to try this!

sherry

says:

All About Spelling has been great with my 12 year old! I see more accuracy in spelling, writing and reading!

Marlo

says:

Love all about spelling!

Kim Dismukes

says:

Love this program, fast n easy!

Kim did mikes

says:

I have used level one and two with my children. I love how much I have learned about spelling and I’m excited to get level 3!

lynn

says:

Looks like a great program! Can’t wait to try it!

Chandra

says:

We are in search of a program for my ds 8 who struggles with spelling.

Audrea

says:

We went pretty quickly through the first two levels of spelling with my 10-year-old and that alone gave her a boost of confidence after struggling so long. Love learning by rules not just lists!

Sherry Clifton

says:

Started this year with AAS level 1 with my 5-6 year old. He is doing great with it. I love it.

Amanda

says:

We haven’t started spelling, but we will definetely be using AAS when we do. :)

Tauna

says:

Would love to win! Haven’t started spelling yet but will be soon.

Kerri Walker

says:

Just purchased AAS for my recently diagnosed visual processing disorder/dyslexia daughter…looking forward to seeing if it is as good as others say!

Christie Anne

says:

AAS is such a great program. It really helps my son to understand the rules of spelling. He tends to leave vowels out sometimes in his words and learning that there is a vowel in every syllable of a word has really helped his spelling to improve!

Molly

says:

We don’t have any older spellers in our house, just a 4 year old. She has started spelling out words she has learned from All About Reading, so I can’t wait to see how she’ll do once we start All About Spelling. I, myself was amazed after reading some of the spelling rules in AAS, I was never aware of some of these & I think knowing the rules would make such a difference in so many children’s ability to spell.

Teri

says:

Spelling instruction has just started in our home with my 1st grader. It is going well so far but I am looking into All About Spelling for next year.

Abigail

says:

We’ve only just recently started level 1 for our 7yr old. Its going really well, he enjoys the hands on approach. I am learning alongside him too the concepts behind why words are spelled a certain way something I never learned at school myself. I’ve mentioned AAS to two friends and they are both now using for their sons too.

Laina Y

says:

I started both my third grader and first grader at Level 1 at the same time. My 3rd grader was able to brush up his skills, and we’ve gone through 2+ levels in one year while the younger is working diligently in conjunction with AAR 1.

Cindy N.

says:

I have recently purchased aas level one. I plan to use it for my 8 and 10 year olds. I have not officially started it yet so I have no tips, all I know is they both need a boost in spelling and reading :) I cannot wait to start soon and would love the next level waiting when we get through this one.

Sloan B

says:

I have used Phonetic Zoo in the past.

Amy

says:

We have used AAS Levels 1 & 2 with our son, and his spelling has improved drastically! It helps that he is learning “rules” for spelling, and not just lists of words.

Becky

says:

Not sure if my 10 year old counts as an older child when it comes to spelling, but he is quickly learning to spell learning the AAS way. I will also have him identify the parts of speech we are working on using the sentences he is writing in his AAS lesson. Two birds with one stone.

Amy G.

says:

We have yet to start a formal spelling program. Looking to start AAS 1 for first grade in the fall.

laurel

says:

spelling is going slowly… my daughter loves to read, but needs help spelling.

britt

says:

My first grader is learning very quickly. We live in Chile and she mostly speaks Spanish and has surprised me because she gets it so fast and we move right through the lessons.

Becky H.

says:

My fourth grader is almost ready for Level 4. AAS has made learning to spell a breeze for him. I keep the spelling tile board nearby when he is writing and then refer him to the tiles to work through the spelling of any word he is unsure of. Usually by the time he is labeling the syllables he has figured out where his error is.

Beth C

says:

My 1st and 2nd grader have moved through AAS with ease. Their growing confidence amazes me!

Staci McGovern

says:

My children are younger and I do not currently use a spelling program. I would love to try AAS though. It looks very thorough and what my younger son needs.

Carrie

says:

We are just starting with AAR but would love to try AAS!

Jessica

says:

I am just starting to homeschool this year with my 8 and 5 year old. (and 2 year old) Eeak! I am really hoping this will help my oldest catch up and fill in the holes he has in reading and spelling!

Becky

says:

I am so excited to order and start this curriculum in the fall!

Amy W.

says:

I don’t really have any tips. Spelling is just one of those boring subjects in our house right now. I’d love to try All About Spelling.

Natalie Y.

says:

I would sooo love to win the next level! Thank You!

SusanH

says:

I am using it with all 4 of mine – I love the simplicity.

Katrina

says:

We are on level 2 and my daughter has become a very good speller!

Sarah

says:

I go at the speed of the child, no matter the age. If I see the child is “getting” it, we move fast. If not, we slow down. With older children, this can make going through the first few levels in a matter of weeks instead of months. Great! They’ll learn a thing or two, review, and build confidence. Great time spent.

Cari

says:

I used AAS with my daughter when we homeschooled in 1st and 2nd grade. She LOVED it and applied the rules and strategies she learned even in her reading. This year she has been back in public school for 3rd grade where they memorize spelling lists. I have noticed a significant regression in her spelling, even with basic words. We are excited to get back into AAS over the summer!!!

Trisha

says:

We have recently learned that my 6 yr old son needs a visual hands on curriculum in order to learn. As the curriculum I use with my oldest daughter is not like that at all I’m looking at buying all new curriculum for him and researching ones that fulfill our requirements.

Patty

says:

I use AAS with all three kids, the oldest is 10. I think it is a great program, I have used it for 2 years and when we started my oldest really struggled with spelling. He would ask me how to spell every word he wrote, but now he is writing paragraphs without much help at all. I think having rules for spelling like having rules for reading gives the kids the tools they need to spell well. We love it and would love to win the next level! Thanks

Karis

says:

Spelling instruction isn’t going at all yet… We have a couple more months before we gat started! But I would love to win AAS!

Beth Buster

says:

Since we have older kids and younger kids, we can have the bigs teach the littles, or just listen in tolerance the concepts.

Briana Eibest

says:

Love this program!

Jamie

says:

I love AAS because it teaches rules and sounds not memorizing words!

Kim

says:

I really wish I had had All About Spelling for my older children. My 18yo who is dyslexic would be able to spell. I love this program and will use all 7 levels with my younger two.

Christa H

says:

Everything I have seen or heard about this program has been great. I have read so many great tips on this post, thank you. Thank you, spelling is not our families best subject.

Karen

says:

I sometimes have my older student teach the content of the earlier steps to my younger student. It helps the younger student, and also reviews the earlier content for the older student.

Heather Y

says:

No older children here, but my son is doing fabulously as we’ve finished AAS1 and just starting AAS2 – he’s a natural reader, but his formal spelling skills could use some work. LOVE IT!

Tara S.

says:

We have not yet started a formal spelling curriculum and are definitely looking into this one.

Nicole Walters

says:

My girls are only 3 and 6 so I don’t have a lot of experience with older children. However, as my daughter is learning phonics and is reading, I’m absolutely seeing the need for a comprehensive spelling curriculum in addition to a reading program.

Meg

says:

My 9 year old son really struggled with spelling. After trying and discarding many programs, we found AAS. He has completed levels 1-3 and he his spelling has improved so much.

Becky H

says:

I am currently using a similar spelling program with my 1st- and 5th-grade children, but it is extremely complicated to implement and takes well over an hour a day! The kids are burnt out and so am I… AAS seems to be just what I’ve been searching for. So excited to begin using it in the fall! :-)

kiley

says:

We started using AAS this year with our 5th, 3rd, and 1st graders. I love the logical approach to learning how to spell. I love that if my child has spelled a word incorrectly, we can refer to the “rules” to explain why it is incorrect and think of the rules to help him spell correctly. I am so pleased with AAS. It is a keeper for sure! In fact, I like it so much, that I purchased AAR pre-reading for my preschooler for this fall. I’m sold on this company and approach to teaching/learning! Thank you!

Elizabeth

says:

My oldest is 6 1/2 and right now we add 5 new sight words to memorize for the Dolche list and we place games with those. Alot of my son’s spelling skills are just coming straight from reading reading reading.

Tricia

says:

We are using this with 6, 11, and 15 year olds. The oldest has a lot of trouble spelling, so we are hoping that some of these techniques stick with her. Glad to have this from the beginning for my youngest.

Virginia

says:

Love AAS! We are just finishing up level 1. My 6 year old son and myself have thoroughly enjoyed it; I love that I am learning right along side of him!

Julie K

says:

I just purchased level 1 and can’t wait to start. I have a 10yr old that is a severe dyslexic and she is excited to try this! Spelling has been such a problem and this looks promising. I am also doing review with it for my 8 yr old. Winning the next level would be such a blessing!!

Phil

says:

Our kids are younger but have been enjoying using All About Reading. We’re looking forward to trying All About Spelling next year!

Angie Walters

says:

Now that we are using AAS, our spelling instruction is going MUCH better! LOVE IT!

Patty Cline

says:

I just bought level 1. I’m going to do it with my 7 year old and my 14 year old. My 14 year old struggles with spelling the simplest words. I hope it helps.

Beth

says:

I’m going to start using All about Spelling/ reading with my kindergartener this fall. I’ve heard good reviews. Can’t wait!

Becky

says:

Once my older kids have the segmenting step down pat, I will sometimes let them do their spelling on the computer. They enjoy highlighting the various rules we are working on by using different fonts or colors.

Jen

says:

Great post! I’ve only used Levels 1 & 2 with my kiddos, but I feel like it’s helped me improve my spelling. I wish I’d had AAS when I was in school, then maybe I wouldn’t have failed my spelling tests!

silver

says:

We’re still in phonics phase over here. So right now we incorporate spelling in with phonics using AAS. If I had an older child I think that I would have them not only spell the word, but explain to me any rules that apply to the rule, which sounds the vowels are making, etc.

Robin

says:

We’re going slow and steady with my 2nd grader and Kindergartener, but I’m amazed at how they remember the rules work hard at spelling! w00t!

Rebecca

says:

We tried using Logic of English for about a wee because it was a much faster pace program for my 4th grader. It was a failure; she cried everyday we did it. I came back to AAS and she is now doing 1 to 2 steps a day and very happy when it comes to spelling. Thank you again for such a wonderful product!

Rebecca

says:

Great advice. The beauty of homeschooling is the ability to customize to wherever your child actually IS, without worrying so much about where she “should” be.

Kelly P

says:

I’m so glad to have started AAS with my now 14 year old son when he was 11. It’s really helped his spelling ability. We do use the word list a bit differently because he can spell all the words easily in isolation, those are only done orally, and his “test” for the week is the dictation sentences. For him spelling in the context of a sentence is where the “rubber meets the road”.

Michele

says:

My kids are still young but I’m looking forward to starting All About Spelling level 1 next year. We’ve been using All About Reading and LOVE it!

Chandra

says:

We have used AAS with my oldest two kids and have seen great success with them. I really like the program and started using AAR with my youngest.

Sara

says:

My children are younger but I was wondering about how AAS would work for them when they get older. Thank you for the article!

Sabrina L.

says:

I do not have older children, mine are almost 4 & 5. We gave been using AAR PreK and live it. Next year we will use level 1 with my oldest and look forward to using AAS. I love how easy it is to use and implement with my kids. Not a ton of prep work but good lessons!

Jessica

says:

I am so looking forward to using this program with my two daughters!!!

Marci

says:

We’re just starting homeschooling but my daughter does well sounding out words and my son has been asking how to spell words and trying to teach himself before he starts in the fall.

Amie

says:

I am using AAS with my 7 year old but I have also already learned a lot. I am glad that I am able to teach him this way now.

PrairieMom

says:

I can’t tell you how much this program would be an asset to our teen’s home education. We have used various “spelling” workbooks but haven’t really found ONE system that works as nice as All About Spelling appears to work for all ages.

Shannon G

says:

No older kids here, but I love how AAS allows us to go at whatever pace works for the child!

Elisa

says:

Good to know that this can be used with older children as well.

Ginny B

says:

I am just beginning to homeschool, so I appreciate the advice and will file it away to use in the future!

Leah

says:

My oldest is 6, we are looking forward to starting a spelling program next fall!

Kelly Sanders

says:

Great article, we are just entering our spelling journey with my 4 year old and can’t wait to use AAS.

Alexia

says:

I guess I’m the older student, learning along with my kids ;-)

Salina

says:

I use AAS with both of my older kids and it has been very successful.

Katie

says:

We just finished all about reading 1 with my 5 year old and started all about spelling, he is loving it!

Angela

says:

This is GREAT news – that it’s never “too late” or a student “too old”. My 14 yo could use some spelling help and it’s just impossible to expect that she will memorize a visual of how to spell (even tho that’s how I do it!) It’s good to know the ins and outs of the English language, to make sense of it. Thank you!

Brianna

says:

Thank you, Merry, for always doing such a great job in sharing with others how to get AAS to work for them! We started AAS with our first child when he was in first grade. I really believe that he would have really struggled if we had chosen a different program. He struggled as it was with AAS, but it made sense to him and he finally “caught” it. We’re about to finish level 2 and I’m so proud of him. My second son started with AAR a year and a half ago. We started with pre-level 1 and are currently working on level 1. We hit a bit of a wall when we got to words that had more than three sounds. He would sound out the four or so sounds, but them mix them up when he tried to put them together–it was too much for his brain to remember. So, for the time being we’ve moved over to AAS level 1 and he is doing SO well! It is amazing to me how quickly he is flying through the spelling lessons because of the foundation afforded him by AAR. I think AAS is helping him cement further how words are built, sounded out, look, etc.

Cara

says:

I have been using another program with my 7-year old, but he really doesn’t like it, so I have been looking at AAS for a while now!

LJ

says:

Excellent program. Love the way the levels are laid out and the 2 sounds for each letter is taught together.

Michelle

says:

I have been using level 1 AAR with my struggling ready, it is going great, slow but steady. I think we are ready to start AAS.

Angela

says:

I just finished level 1 with my 3rd grade daughter and my 5th grade son (he has language delays), and we all love it. They were begging to start level 2 before I was ready! We have all learned so much. Looking forward to doing all the levels and AAR with my youngest!

Becky Le

says:

I use AAS with my dyslexic 13 year old. I chose it because it is based on sound O-G principles, it is easy to use and it is a fraction of the cost of the more expensive O-G programs out there!

Monica Shinbara

says:

I have young children, but I would love to try the all about spelling program!

Colleen Connelly

says:

I have a kindergartener, a 5th grdr & 6th grdr. The 6th grdr is struggling! Transposes letters. Anxious to try a program that helps him solidify the correct mechanics!

Cindy green

says:

I have a younger child with which I have started using AAS and he is not dyslexic. My older dyslexic son I have not used it with because I thought he was too old but now I am going to try it. Thanks.

Paige

says:

Thank you for this post. I have a child that reads well, but has difficulty with spelling.

Ayrielle

says:

Spelling instruction at our house right now is just very minimal. Our boxed curriculum uses 5 CVC words a week that I dictate and DS sounds out to find the middle vowel and then write the word. I can’t wait to start AAS1 next year with him.

Katie H

says:

We are loving AAR and planning to continue on with AAS. I don’t have any older students for experience with teaching them spelling. For me, spelling and reading came easy. I know it’s not for my daughter and love you products for the help she needs.

Mrs. Warde

says:

My students are still young, but I expect to be learning quite a lot *myself* when we do this. I only recently learned the rules concerning soft and hard c and g! Talk about gaps!

Alyssa

says:

This is very interesting and some good info to know. Our oldest was 7 when we started using AAS level 1.

I loved that he was learning the why and how to spell, not just memorizing how words are spelled.

gina Mize

says:

We are struggling with spelling with our 10 year old. I’m trying to decide what is the best option for next year.

Angela N

says:

I actually have a 6 yo. She began reading at 3 1/2, and fortunately, spelling has come pretty naturally to her. I haven’t begun AAS with her yet, but I purchased both level 1 and 2, because I anticipate she will fly through the 1st level. She is spelling so many words correctly on her own without even asking for my help! That’s encouraging and exciting, however my second daughter isn’t following in her footsteps, and I anticipate that AAS will play a much more critical role in the spelling development and success with my now 4 yo when I begin it with her in the future. Thanks for the opportunity for winning a free level of AAS! That would be fantastic!

Jolana C.

says:

I still have littles in the house (age 4) (starting homeschooling for pre-school in the fall)) Both have speech delays and we currently seek therapy for. I am believing that this program along with All About Reading will help to conquer and overcome what reading/spelling challenges we might have in the future. I hear such amazing things about both. It was be a truly fantastic to win the giveaway!

Ashley

says:

My oldest is 5, so we are just now ready to study spelling. She has taken off on reading this year and loves to write, but needs much help in that area. I am so glad I have heard so many wonderful things about All About Spelling so I can start it with my children now, building a great foundation, while they are still so young. Just browsing the website has already encouraged me so much.

Jaime

says:

Thank you so much for this article. It really helped to decide where to start and how to start with my oldest who has always struggled with spelling.

JenRay

says:

DD will be 6 next week, so I don’t know much about using it with older kids. We started with AAS, and are finishing level 2 soon. It isn’t her favorite subject, but it absolutely works! Many times, when she is trying to spell something or correct a misspelling, we review a rule, and she figures it out. But honestly, even at 5, she doesn’t misspell much, thanks to AAS!

Jeannette B.

says:

We are new to homeschooling this year and I am looking into switching to a new spelling program for next year. All About Spelling seems to be a good choice for us. :o)

Tabatha Martinez

says:

As a mom of littles, I have not had the opportunity to use this program with older children, but I am looking forward to continuing the program consistently through the older years.

Denise Taylor

says:

Love All About Spelling and most importantly my children do also!

Brandy Hopper

says:

My kiddos are young right now, but they both have speech difficulties. All too often, that translates into reading and spelling difficulties. I am crossing my finger we get to escape that problem.

Kimberly

says:

My 9yo ds is still not reading. I’ve been researching and this company has come up a few times! I’ve yet to hear of anyone using All About Reading, but I’ve run across several who used AAS to teach dyslexics.

Kathy

says:

Both programs are Orton-Gillingham influenced which is known for being a successful approach to teaching dyslexics. Let us know if we can explain more about All About Reading, or check out our Forum on Allaboutlearningpress.com.

Kathy
Customer Care Representative

Jenny

says:

My 9 yr old loves to write his own silly sentences with the spelling words and to practice typing them on the computer or in any of our drawing apps on the ipad. We practice the rules when we edit content area writing and it is great to see him finding mistakes and telling me the rules on his own!

Jennifer W

says:

We’re just getting started this fall so I’m looking forward to see how my kids respond!

Madonna

says:

I only have little ones, but the PDF is a great resource I will make sure to share.

Dolly

says:

My colleagues and I have been searching for a better way to teach spelling to our older students….. this may just be it!!

Tammy

says:

I plan to focus on spelling over the summer and will be using the program with a variety of ages. I look forward to using some of the suggestions.

Kathryn

says:

We haven’t done spelling formally. I am looking at getting this program for all my kids…11, 10, 8, 5 and eventually the 3 year old will use it. I think it is just what we need.

Anne

says:

We are looking at starting a spelling program and looking at using this one!

Laura

says:

We don’t have older students yet, but plan on using Spelling Power.

Tiffany P

says:

Spelling is tedious for my oldest who is in sixth grade. We have thrown it out of our pan more than once.

Cathy

says:

To fill in spelling gaps for my older child, I have him teach spelling concepts to my younger child when she is ready to learn it. This helps him to review what we learned earlier in the year, helps me to see how well he has learned and retained it, and builds his self confidence as he is able to teach his younger sister.

Amy

says:

I am beginning homeschooling my 6yo in the fall and looking forward to it! I’ve been looking at this program and keep coming back to it. I’m hoping to be able to afford it this summer so we can use it. I would LOVE to win it in the giveaway though! I don’t have any tips for using it with older kids though as my 6yo is my oldest.

Angie

says:

Simply…my children set the pace. Some days we are able to complete a whole lesson in one sitting and on other days more practice/review is required.

Nichole

says:

Just ordered AAS 1. excited to get started with my 6 year old.

Tonya

says:

I have one child that is just horrible at spelling, and she’s almost 11, so I don’t even know what spot to put her in. I’ve heard great things about AAS, though, hopefully we can try this.

Joyce

says:

I have a 5th grader who struggles with her reading/spelling. I have tried different approaches, but so far, nothing has really helped. I will research this more, but it looks to be what we need.

Michelle V

says:

I am always amazed when my 1st grader applies the phonetic rules while she is reading; ie c says /s/ before e, I or y. We have other homeschool friends that read well but do not know why or when the c says /s/. They memorize words but are struggling spellers. Thank you for offering such a wonderful tool in teaching all the “rules”. Looking forward to starting on AAS 3.

Lisa

says:

this program looks wonderful!

Sheryl

says:

Thanks for the great pdf! My little ones are loving their time with AAS, but I know my dyslexic daughter will be on this road for a long time. It is great to gather information about how to use our favorite program as she gets more mature.

Andrea

says:

I am considering using this for my young daughter. However, I am also very interested in using it with a teenager I tutor. Her spelling skills need significant improvement and this may be just the thing!

Dawn

says:

We do all the teaching activities and most of the practice words & sentences, but we don’t use tiles; we write it all out in the notebook. Then, instead of using all the word cards, we just write the ones they misspell the 1st time on index cards and repeat them daily until they can spell them correctly 5x in a row.

Stephanie

says:

Started level 1 with my 4th grader this school year. We have progressed to level 3 throughout the year. It is a slow process but I see some results!

Dag

says:

I started this program with my 5.5yo son 3 months ago. He is a very good reader but get easily frustrated when it comes to any writing. We are on level 2 right now only because he really enjoys this program. Great investment!

Lisa

says:

We just started using AAS level 1 with my 4 older kids, it’s working great so far and they all love it! I think we FINALLY found something that works for us!

Kate

says:

Great advice. My little guy is only 4 but we look forward to using AAS in the future.

Naomi

says:

Thanks very much for the advice! This will come in handy for me this year since we just purchased All About Spelling Level 1 to use with my fourth grader. He is reading at a grade 6+ level, but his spelling could use a bit of work, especially with the rules. I was wondering how to adapt it and know I know ;)

Kerry

says:

I just recently heard how great All About Spelling is. My 6 year old first grader tries so hard to spell phonetically but words like “chicken” “ticket” and “kitchen” are tricky to learn (and teach for that matter). I would love to get him started on this program.

Sara Peterson

says:

I’m on the lookout for a spelling program for my oldest, 11 years. He hates spelling and groans and complains constantly. He doesn’t like rote fact and rule memorization. It would be nice to try out this program with him.

lauren caggeso

says:

My son loves your spelling program. we do about 3 days a week here/one lesson per week :) thanks for everything!

Shelley S

says:

Spelling is not going well for us. We were delayed in Reading and Spelling due to a vision problem. I will hopefully be able to try AAS this year.

Sarah C

says:

I have not done spelling with an older child as my oldest is five. We are almost finished AAS Level 1 and have loved it. She enjoys using the tiles and writing the phrases (in multiple colors :-). Thanks for your wonderful products!

Roseann

says:

never heard of it, but checking it out now , Thanks

Pei

says:

We tried a couple spelling programs and finally found the one that works for us-AAS.

Debra

says:

My son is reading and writing well at 4 1/2 and I have had my eye on these books for some time. I think he would be ready for a level two since reading and writing have become a favorite past time for him and he is soon to start preschool classes. He corrects me these days when I pronounce and word incorrectly (Dr. Seuss sometimes stumps me) or skip a word while reading to him, yet he still enjoys my reading to him :) Not a day goes by when he isn’t enjoying a good book on his own or writing something creative.

Dawn

says:

When my kids ask how to spell a word, I will very rarely spell it for them. I make them figure it out for themselves – step by step. I will assist with the sounds and ask them questions to get them thinking.

Kristi

says:

my kids are still little so we have not done any spelling work so far, but looking on to next year I would love to use AAS. I have heard nothing but great things!

Sarah

says:

I am a brand new homeschooler and am looking for a good curriculum to follow for my daughter who will be in K/1st grade this coming year.

Nina

says:

I am new to this program and I’m just trying to learn it. Do the levels correspond to grade levels?

Merry

says:

Hi Nina,

No, actually the levels and word lists in the All About Spelling program are arranged by concepts and spelling patterns rather than by grade levels. Though many of the words presented in Level 1 are found on typical first grade lists, other words in the same book can be found on typical fifth grade lists. The method we use defies normal grade level classification.

For example, another spelling program lists the words cross, off, and plant on their fourth grade list, but these words can easily be spelled by a child completing the Level 1 book. That same program includes the words school and yellow on its first grade list, but expecting kids to spell words like those before mastering more basic syllable types undermines their future spelling ability.

All About Spelling groups words in a logical manner based on similar rules or spelling patterns regardless of their supposed grade level, which allows students to progress quickly and confidently.

HTH! Merry :-)

Rose

says:

We haven’t started spelling yet, but I am excited about using this program to teach it.

Cara F.

says:

We have not used a spelling curriculum up to this point in our homeschooling. Spelling was one of my strengths, and I want that for my kids also.

Lucynda

says:

AAS has been wonderful in our homeschool. We have completed levels 1-3 and love it!

Jen W.

says:

I have used Levels 1 & 2 with my son. I love this program and think that it makes so much sense to have these spelling rules instead of just memorization. He is doing great and I will use it with my daughter soon too! I wish I had known these spelling rules when I was in school.

grace

says:

We are about to finish level 2 with my 8 and 7 year old and the rules are sticking much better with your program.

Jessica

says:

My daughter is just starting jk and We have really been looking into AAR. Haven;t tried it yet but we are planning to buy it in the fall!

Michelle

says:

I’m a certified teacher currently homeschooling my own kids. I’ve tried AAS before and loved it, but for various reasons had set it aside for other less teacher-intensive things as my naturally good spellers got older. Now, I’m in a professional development class on reading. Wouldn’t you know it, AAS fits EVERY recommendation for what a complete reading and spelling program should be. AND, I’ve learned that all the latest research shows older students who are struggling in reading comprehension can greatly benefit from this kind of spelling instruction…it actually boosts their reading skills!! So for those who wonder if their older children will benefit, YES! Now I just need to add some of the upper AAS levels…. :-)

Melissa Mullins

says:

We are using AAS level 2 right now and it has been fabulous! I keep telling my son that I am learning new things along side him. His spelling has improved dramatically already.

Kat R.

says:

We have 7-year old twins and are just starting to look at a formal spelling program. I’ve heard tons of great things about AAS!

Jen

says:

My boys are still little but so far spelling has not been easy. I’d love to start with Level 1 soon!

Lynette

says:

I have younger children, and I can tell they are going to need help. That’s why I want to use Level 1 next year!

Amanda

says:

We are starting AAS with my 2nd grader. I haven’t had a formal spelling program with my 6th grader in about 3 years. I’m curious if this is something we can use.

Mel

says:

I have been considering AAS. Right now I’m using Sequential, not very fond of it.

Cassy

says:

We too, have approached spelling in a natural way, through extensive reading and writing, but my plan for this year is to start a formal plan and All About Spelling is THEEE program I’ve decided on! :)

Jackie

says:

I have yet to use AAS with my students. I would like to get it for my youngest child as I feel it will be better than the program I have been using…

Brittney

says:

Spelling has been approached naturally as we write, but I think we’re ready to start a formal program.

Melissa

says:

My oldest struggles with spelling, and I would love to try AAS.

Judith Martinez

says:

With my older kids I mostly let them learn by correcting their writing. Now that they’re adults they use spell check and dictionaries to check their own work but they still aren’t great spellers. I need to do something more intentional with my younger kids.

Samantha

says:

This is good information, seems like it would be really helpful to have if you had an older student!

Rebecca S.

says:

Spelling is going only “OK” for us. We are neither thrilled nor terribly disappointed, but I feel like it could be more fun!

Anne L.

says:

I have 1 and 2nd graders. Spelling is going well. We have been using Saxton phonics, but I have been looking around for next year!

Angela

says:

My daughter is just getting started with spelling. She gets easily frustrated when she doesn’t get it right. Inventive spelling stresses her out! I am very interested in trying all about spelling with her!

Peggy

says:

Love AAS for my dyslexic son. Works so well.

Jennifer

says:

I generally pull spelling words out of my students’ reading assignments, but would love a more comprehensive approach that is user-friendly.

My daughter NEEDS a new spelling program. Spelling is so hard for her so I have been looking for a New Thing! Bought an AAS level one book at a used book sale just to check it out. LOVED IT! Now I just need to figure out what level she is at!

Tyra

says:

My 9 and 7 yr old are both good readers but aren’t totally up on their spelling like they could be. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about this program and would love to be able to use it to get them “caught up” so to speak.

Wendy Pierce

says:

We have been using AAR with much success for both my soon to be kindergartener and my 3rd grader who was in public school until this year where he was tried to guess at the words. He was already reading fairly well….just on the edge of “grade level.” I opted to take him through AAR 2 anyway to retrain how his mind processes reading. He has enjoyed the program and is guessing a lot less on words he doesn’t know and utilizing those phonics rules. I look forward to adding AAS to our studies.

Cheryl L

says:

My 10 year old son struggles with spelling. I have a couple of friends who use this program, and highly recommend it. So, I look forward to trying it with my son this summer.

Jenna DeMaria

says:

I have been very interested in this program for a few years. Would love to try it out with my 13 year old. She is currently using an online program for both spelling and vocabulary.

Christine

says:

After I pulled my son from public school and struggled at home for a year with the same results, I realized he never learned his phonics! We saw immediate results when we switched to All About Spelling. He was in 3rd grade, but I started him on level one. He blew through it, but with an understanding he hadn’t had before! He is now “up to grade level.” Thank you so much for your program! Spelling is one of his favorite subjects!

Carrie Loring

says:

I’ve got some natural spellers and some not-so-natural spellers. I’ve never tried AAS, but have heard lots of good things. I have found that repetition works best.

Dani

says:

I am looking forward to using this program with all three of my children, all at different ages and spelling levels. Somewhere, the basics were missed before we began our hs journey, and somewhere the love of learning the basics got lost! All three of the kids and I will get back into the game this year and have fun doing it together! This program seems very thorough and it is just what we need! Thank You ALL ABOUT SPELLING!

Lisa

says:

I have not started spelling instruction with my daughter yet as she struggles with reading, but this is the program I have been planning to order very soon!

Cindy

says:

I love all about spelling!

Merissa

says:

I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about All About Spelling. I love using this as a foundation for reading better. My children are young but wanting to get them started now.

Valena

says:

I’ve been using AAS with my 10-year old son for several months now. He has mild dyslexia mixed with dysgraphia. We’re now on level 3, and this program has been amazing! He’s a kinesthetic learner, and manipulating the tiles has helped him remember how words are spelled. He loves having “rules” to follow, so when he encounters a word he hasn’t seen before, he’s able to make a much better educated guess. I just ordered levels 4 & 5 as we will continue with AAS through the summer. Thanks for the incredible program!

Krista

says:

I am so excited to try this program! I want to buy it today, but since we are almost ready to start summer holidays I had better wait and buy it in the fall or I’ll make my boys do school all summer because I’m so excited to try it! :)

Amy

says:

We started using the AAS program when my daughter was in the 3rd grade. At first she felt the words were too easy in level one, but I think it was great for her to finally spell some words right. Now she is much more confident in her spelling, and has made many improvements.

Felicia

says:

I have a younger student but am very encouraged by this post! Spelling is going great so far this year and we are looking forward to the next level!

Carol S.

says:

For anyone that’s “on the fence” about whether or not to use AAS vs. the traditional workbook approach to spelling: don’t waste your child’s time (or your money) on the workbooks. AAS is far superior. The ungraded nature of it is great as well for older students, or kids that may need some review work.

Liana

says:

I look forward to using the program with my kids!

Stefani

says:

These are really good tips. I will definitely keep these in mind.

Jennifer

says:

We LOVE your All About Spelling! My daughter, 9 years old, has been struggling with Spelling and we started and finished your Level 1 in just 4 weeks. It gave her confidence and she is excited about using your product. We are currently on Level 2 and looking forward to continuing! Thank you!

mjsmom73

says:

Right now we are using My Catholic Speller. My daughter is finishing second grade right now and is currently using the Level B book. She has done well with it so far, but I am thinking of switching over to All About Spelling to ensure that she is not just memorizing spellings but also understands the rules of spelling and why the words are spelled the way they are. This looks like a great program to use with her.

cindy

says:

I love the multisensory approach! I am “allowing” my 11 year old to teach his younger sibling using the AAS. (I supervise) He is helping but is also filling the gaps in his spelling knowledge. Thanks for a timely article. I am sure he will grow tired of “helping”!

Kate C.

says:

Reading, reading, reading is one of the best ways to learn spelling.

Deana

says:

We have not started a formal spelling program yet but I would love to use AAS when that time comes!

Jill

says:

We have been using AAS for three years now and we love it!

Toni B.

says:

Interested in checking out this program for my 5th and 2nd grader.

Michelle W.

says:

We’ve loved using All About Spelling Level 1 this year. I’m amazed at how well my kids are learning to spell. It’s great to finally find something that we enjoy and that works!!

Ralene

says:

I still have younger children, so I don’t have any advice for working with older children. However, I would like to say that AAS has been working really well for my girls. They love spelling and learning new words. I have a feeling we’ll be going through all 7 books!

Sandra Ford

says:

We are just completing Level 1 with our 9-yr-old. This is the fourth spelling program we’ve tried and the only one that has actually worked!!

Alana

says:

Have been looking at AAS for a little while now….thinking this might be what we need to make spelling more interesting.

Catherine

says:

I like comparing it to doing the first level of a video game – this will be used!!

I haven’t had an official spelling program & I’ve had my eye on this one for quite awhile!

Thanks for the PDF! We started my daughter at level one a couple of years ago when we discovered that she hadn’t grasped some of the basic rules, and we were delighted by the near-instant improvements. We also started my then-4 year old with the Pre-level and he has almost caught up to his sister now at age 5.5. What a difference it would have made for my daughter if we’d started her on them sooner!

Karyn

says:

I just started using All About Spelling with my kindergartner & it is going great. I love the tips for older kids!

SheliaD

says:

AAS has been such a joy in our homeschool day. We thoroughly enjoy using it and have seen great improvement in our sons handwriting and spelling in just a few short months. I love that the lessons are scripted but allow for the freedom to customize too.

Lynn

says:

My six yo enjoys AAS. He loves the multi-sensory program.

M Almon

says:

Thank you for all the ideas and advice. I can’t wait to get started.

Jenni Peters

says:

I started out with another program but switched after 2 years when I saw that my son struggled with spelling. Even with using this program, he still struggles. I do feel though that this is giving him the tools he needs in order to do well. I like the tip above about having your child teach it back you to. My plan for next year is to have my oldest son, the one who has difficulty, help teach his younger brother. I think it will help him to cement the rules in his head.

Holly Assi

says:

I am using AAS with my 9 year old daughter and 12 year old dyslexic son. It is working well for both, and although my son takes longer, he still gets the concepts. He just told me today that he thinks AAS is helping him and he likes that it explains “why”…he struggles particularly with visual memory, so having the rules really helps him. Of course the magnetic letter board helps his visual memory too. AAS is a breath of fresh air for me as a teacher!

Tara G.

says:

Interesting. Thank you!

Trinidad

says:

I am using AAS with my 8 year old and 10 year old and while they find it easy so far, I am seeing a noticeable improvement in their spelling and reading.

shelly

says:

I currently use another spelling program, but am going to switch to All About Spelling.

Danielle

says:

We just started using level 1 with my eight year old son, and what an improvement! Not just in his spelling, but in his confidence as well. With constant review and small steps, this program has helped him tackle a subject that once seemed too daunting.

Marci

says:

Planning to start my daughter in Level 1 soon. Really think she will like it!

Roseanne W

says:

Would love to implement these ideas for my 6th grader who still struggles with spelling!

Tracy

says:

We haven’t started spelling with my 6 year old yet, but we are planning to soon!

Karla

says:

My daughter is 11 and we did just as you suggested in your post. We went through the beginning levels fairly quickly, concentrating on learning the rules, until we hit the level where she was “balanced”. All About Spelling has been a wonderful program for us. It has been so helpful for me to learn the rules so that I can help my children learn to spell effectively.

I do think a comprehensive index of the spelling rules would be helpful though. Sometimes I need to remind her of a rule that might have been covered in an earlier level where it is hard for me to look back through the cards to find it. Overall, I’m thrilled with the program. :)

Emily

says:

We have not been happy with the spelling curriculum we chose for this year so we are definitely going to be checking out AAS.

Sandi W

says:

I’m starting level 1 with my 9 year old daughter– we’ve been going through it fairly fast, but building on these concepts is beneficial. These are EASY words for her, but she never learned spelling this way.

Alicia M.

says:

I would love to be able to use All About Spelling with my 13 year old 6th grader. She has never been a stronger speller and I would really like to change that. We have tried having her write her spelling words x amount of time, spelling them aloud, writing sentences with the words, etc.

Bonnie

says:

We have been using this program for 4 years now, and we love it! Both my younger kids and my older kids all enjoy this approach and it works!

Cyndi

says:

I started using All About Spelling with my 2nd child because no other spelling program was working for her. After seeing how amazing it is, I made my older daughter start doing the program with our 2nd child. the words are too easy for her, but the spelling skills are helping all of us become better spellers (yes even me!). She is a 6th grader and doing level 3, but she is learning a lot!

Kori

says:

I just began my third grader with AAS this year and kindergartener with AAR. They have loved it and I’ve seen great improvements over our third graders previous program. My daughter stayed with our old program since she was not having trouble. But she thinks AAS looks way more fun and has begged to begin AAS next year even though she’ll be n 7th grade!

Amy M.

says:

My 6 year old is doing well with spelling but I have been looking for a program that is based on spelling rules instead of just lists to memorize. We would love to use AAS!!

Natalie Y.

says:

Thanks for the interesting article! I always learn something new!

Linda

says:

I teach 5th graders at school and have a 2nd grader of my own. I was first introduced to AAS by my principal who has seen fantastic results with her own daughter. I’m going to use this program with my child in the summer. I can’t wait to see how he grows!

Barbie

says:

Thanks so much for this post. I’m using AAS with my 9, 10, and 16 (ld). We do the lessons all together and easily complete a lesson a day. This works great for us, because my 9 yo is very competitive and so is always trying to keep up with the 16 yo. The 10 yo is kind of bored right now, but she really needed the foundation of the first few levels. We’re in mid-Level 2 right now and looking forward eagerly to three in about a month.

Debbie

says:

Thank you for the information on using this program for older students. My daughter has always struggled with spelling. I am planning on using this program next year!

Sheri

says:

I started using AAS 3 years ago with 2 older students and one on track. It has worked great with all three, did what your blog said to do. It works for us.

Lilia

says:

I don’t have experience with older children but I know that I love to use AAS.

Beka

says:

I am very excited to begin this program with my 7 year old!!

Liz

says:

My 6 year old son has been doing quite well given his age. I am surprised that at his age he is grasping concepts. I do expect that by age 8 he will be an excellent speller! One thing I’ve learned, kid’s brains are sponges and telling them the rule to go by is much easier to refer to as to why we spell the way we do. Really, I can’t imagine teaching him any other way. :)

Darla

says:

As of now there is no structured spelling going on in my house :( been looking for something, I have a kindergartner and a first grader!

Kelly Bennett

says:

My children are still young, but this is great info!

Kelsey

says:

My kids are still little so we haven’t done official spelling yet. I plan to start AAS next year.

Melanie

says:

My daughter is struggling with spelling, especially vowel sounds. I am planning to start using AAS with her next year and am hoping this will help.

CeAnne

says:

We have only used level one at this point so we haven’t entered the ‘teaching older children’ realm yet but we are looking forward to everyone’s tips and using them when we get there.

Nicole

says:

I use AAS with my 5th grader who has always struggled with spelling. Just like I did! I started her with level 2, as she listens in to me work with the younger kids work through level 1. So, without feeling like she has to start all over, she is still learning things she needs to as she sits with us.

Kelly

says:

For those that haven’t tried and thinking about the program. WE LOVE IT!!! I used other methods and resources, but this program is very easy to follow. All your WHY’s are answered regarding the English language/spelling, which doesn’t always follow it’s own guidelines. I recommend this program to all I come across, especially for children that have difficulties reading and spelling. My son is 7 finishing up book 1, my daughter just turned 9 finishing up book 2- I love that each moves at their own pace and when we are doing grammar or language arts and come across something that has us puzzled we reference our All About Spelling books.

Kelly

says:

Just what I needed. This was a timely and very insightful post.

Leslie

says:

Spelling is so important. Looking forward to raising a great speller!

Christina Vickers

says:

We are just getting started on our road to good spelling. AAS would be a great tool for us!

Mary W.

says:

We have used levels 1-3 of All About Spelling, and Level 1 in All About Reading. Both of our children enjoy spelling and are doing well thanks to this program!

Morgan L

says:

I don’t have any suggestions for using it with an older kid, but the spelling in our household has been going great, mostly because we’ve been going very slowly and trying words my kids are interested in.

Shelly Matthews

says:

So thankful for AAS…have been using it for years with all my kiddos! Great for laying a foundation of principles for spelling application. Thanks!

Jessica

says:

We’ve only just started our homeschooling journey with my daughter in kindergarten this year, but she is very eager to start spelling, and I’m really excited about using AAS!

Suzanne

says:

I have a dyslexic daughter (and husband) and hoping AAS would help them both with their spelling struggles.

jen

says:

we haven’t started using aas yet but look forward to starting in the near future!

Lori S.

says:

Looks like a great program. I have 3 kids, ages 8, 4, and 7 months.

Laura

says:

I’m looking forward to doing AAS with my 7 year old this summer!

Tammy Jones

says:

We have not had a formal spelling and this would be wonderful!

Linda Sarna

says:

Using this with my 15 year old learning disabled son, 13, year old son, and 12 year old daughter. Everyone has made so much progress and 15 yr old has gained confidence in reading. I’m very happy with the program. Easy to use!

Daphne La Rosa

says:

I am using All About Spelling with my 10 & 8 year old. I am planning to use with my other 4. We are also getting ready to use the All About Reading :)

Beth

says:

We haven’t started a spelling program yet, but are strongly considering AAS.

Missie

says:

I have an older student who could use the help in spelling. It has fallen by the wayside and we need to get back to it.

ashley

says:

I have older kids using the all about spelling and it’s going great!

Harriett

says:

Spelling is very hard for my dyslexic son and AAS seems to compensate for the difficulties he has. Everyone I know who has used AAS has always been pleased!

Rebecca

says:

I do not have a tip for spelling with older kids as my oldest is 7. We just finished AAR1 today – YEAH!! and we will be starting AAR2 and AAS1 hopefully tomorrow or Friday. Can’t wait!

Maria

says:

Spelling is going slow in our household, I’m hoping this system will help us get on track.

Ligia

says:

I started AAS Level 1 with my fourth grader this year. I was worried that he would find it babyish, but we managed go get through 3 levels! I have allowed him to do a combination of tiles, writing, and using a whiteboard. I do give him choices and sometimes we have not done all the tile work and sometimes just tile work. I also adapted the dictation and only make him do 1 sentences BUT I look at neatness, punctuation, spacing, and spelling. We also only do one sentence for the writing station.

sarah mattison

says:

I have been using Level 1 with my youngest that is in school(8) and just started Level 4 with my 2 oldest (10, 12). We are all enjoying the program and the hands-on activities. I like that it includes learning the rules of spelling as opposed to the memorization of a list that some programs use. I actually started the oldest 2 part way through the Level 1 book at the beginning of the year and moved them quickly through it. They knew how to spell the words, but didn’t know the “why” behind it. Even though they are fairly good spellers, they are benefiting from learning the rules in the lower levels. We love the program!

Renatta Welsh

says:

I love that I can “customize” AAS for each of my children. My son loves the tiles, and the entire process. My daughter (older) much prefers to use the white board and markers to write each word, rather than use the tiles. AAS and AAR have both impacted my children’s education in unbelievable ways. Thank you so much!
Renatta

Misty

says:

I use AAR with my 5-year-olds but we haven’t started any spelling program yet. We’re loving AAR so I’m sure we’ll be ordering AAS eventually. I’d love to win!

Heather D.

says:

I’m glad this isn’t a babyish program. I’m starting to plant the idea in my son’s head that he’ll need to continue working on spelling in highschool and beyond. (Spelling is very difficult for him.). He is willing to work on AAS despite the difficulty.

CCB

says:

Would love to use is with my 5 Yr. old daughter!

Deana

says:

I have a 1st and 2nd grader this year and I think we all could learn something from this program. I have read many positive comments about this program.

Charis

says:

I’m using AAS with my oldest, 6 years old. We are almost finished with AAS level 2 and love it! It’s working great for us.

Hollie

says:

My oldest homeschooler is 8 in the 2nd grade. He’s advanced in some subjects, yet struggles with others. Common right? He and his two younger sibs love doing things together for the most part, so why fight it? I’m the one who gets a little antsy wondering if I’m holding him “back” so I try to do some 1:1 time to “catch up”. My husband and I both wonder if he’ll feel belittled by doing Level 1 along with his younger brother who’s going into 1st next school year. This post makes it seem like it’s not that big of deal, 8 will move through it faster. Worst case scenario I’ll have to buy level 2 sooner!

Merry

says:

Hollie,

If you think it will bother your oldest, you could start your 8 year-old first–take him through Level 1 and then start your younger one.

As for holding him back, we often find that moving ahead too quickly leaves gaps that take more time to fill in later–better to establish a solid foundation now–that’s actually a “quicker” way of helping them to catch up. I also often tell friends–when our kids are grown, no one will care when they learned to read or how old they were when they could spell certain words or do certain math facts. The only time those things have been important to me is when I was trying to compare my education with my kids’! (And then I was really more interested with *how* I mastered some of those things than when!). Go at his pace, he’ll be fine. Merry :-)

Erin B.

says:

Spelling has been a struggle for my DD. We switched to AAS last school year. The results have been amazing. Thank you for such a great resource!

Amy Mac

says:

I’m very interested in AAS as an option for us!

Kat

says:

We are looking for a good program to use with our son, we are interested in All About Spelling as an option!

Laura

says:

This next year will be my first year homeschooling my son. I’m so excited to see all the wonderful items available

Rebecca

says:

I don’t have older children and have yet to start any formal spelling program at home. After hearing great things about AAS and AAR I am very interested in using the program next school year.

Sally

says:

We have used Math-U-See for our math lessons for many years, so the AAS program (with the letter tiles) looks like it would be a good fit for us. I can’t wait to try it!

Chipaquita

says:

Ive heard this program is the best!

Donyel

says:

We use AAS 1.

KJ

says:

I started ASS with our teenage boys last year. Even though I saw improvement, they wanted to try something different this year. It is going okay for our younger but not for our eldest. Since he gets easily overwhelmed with his schedule I have decided to wait until summer and have him do just spelling. We will see how it goes :) I love ASS because of the way it incorporates the rules which is what he needs.

DeeAnn

says:

Started All about Spelling last year with my then 4th grader and went through the first 3 levels. I love the program and will begin the program with my teen student this coming year. She has always struggled with spelling and I am looking forward to working through the program with her. Thanks for the pdf. Will be using it soon.

Alexandra David

says:

My 5 kids work on different levels. What seemed to work with the older children was having them spell out loud.

Michelle

says:

I’m still deciding on a spelling curriculum, so this was very helpful. The biggest thing I’ve done to help my son spell is to let him write lots of fun things (wish lists, grocery lists, directions on how to play a video game). He is writing and spelling, but doesn’t think he’s doing “work”

Ellen

says:

I will be starting homeschooling next year with my 2nd grader. She is an amazing reader but her spelling is nowhere near her reading ability. I am excited to starting using AAS to help bring her spelling skills up.

Monica

says:

am using a different program, but looking for exactly this to help with understanding why a word is spelled with specific letters!

Jessica

says:

I’m hoping that by starting with AAS in 1st grade that we won’t have any problems when the kids are older, but it’s so nice to know that if we still need additional help from AAS, that they are actively offering plans & solutions!

Julie K.

says:

We are finishing up AAS level 2. I am telling everyone I know about AAS, and 2 other moms are adding it to their curriculum. And one of those moms used different programs for her oldest kids, but will be using AAS with her youngest. I like that it gives direction, but I can modify it however I need with my son. And I am learning all these rules that I either forgot or never learned in the first place! :)

Angela

says:

We are new to homeschooling, so this will be our first year doing spelling!

Melissa S

says:

We are just starting spelling with our oldest (6) and this would be a wonderful program to start her with. =) And it would be used many times over for the younger little ones.

Kristyn

says:

Have used AAS for 2 years with my daughter, it’s her favorite subject!

Julie

says:

My daughter is 7 and started with Level 1 about a month ago. She’s almost done and can’t wait to get Level 2!. Her reading has improved and she loves spelling so much now that she tells anyone who will listen that All About Spelling is the best program ever (even the cashier at the grocery store!)

Katy S

says:

Our 11yo daughter is a highly “creative” speller. Regular spelling lists, dictation & at least one other spelling program did not help very much at all. They really just added to her frustration. All About Spelling has made spelling more fun for her & I don’t have to worry about whether or not I’m missing any steps or rules. This has truly been a blessing to our homeschool. :)

Beth

says:

Oh, we had to do this with Handwriting because my son has really struggled in this area. He was shocked when he saw the word Kindergarten on the spelling materials because he’s almost a 3rd grader. I pointed out that a lot of the materials we use are “level” rather than grade and used All About Spelling as an example. He remembered that he started level one this year and that actually helped him A LOT. Because he’s still so young it didn’t require a great deal of modification, but I have been recommending this curriculum to some of my college students with significant spelling challenges. I’ve showed them that with some basic modifications, they can use this curriculum to help with their native spelling abilities and not simply rely on spell check.

Christie

says:

I’ve been using AAS since 2008. I started it when my son was in 1st grade and started with Level 1. I LOVE IT!!!!! And my son loves it – which is probably the most important thing. He’s NEVER whined or complained about spelling. He’s finishing 4th grade and we just completed Level 5. I started allowing him to type out his spelling (words, sentence dictation, and writing station ideas) in MS Word this past year. He really enjoys it and we plan on finishing out the Levels.
THANK YOU – THANK YOU for such a wonderful product!!!!!!!!

Amber

says:

Started using AAS when my oldest was in 4th grade. He was a good speller but had not learned many of the rules. So we are going through the lower level just to make sure he has the rules and basic concepts down, he is able to get through quite a few lessons each day. Will take a closer look at this PDF to see if I am missing anything important. Ready to start using it with my beginning reader and am anxious to see how it helps her with her reading as well as spelling.

Crystal

says:

I have been looking for a new spelling program for my 7 year old, what we use now is just not working,she is having a hard time.

Jacque

says:

My oldest is 6 and we are just starting out with spelling. AAS looks wonderful and I’ve heard really good things about it!

Jenni

says:

I don’t have an older child, my oldest is 6. This is our first year with AAS and we LOVE it!!!! Almost finished for the year =)

Cherie

says:

I don’t have an older kid. My oldest is 6. Her spelling is OK but she gets confused with spelling patterns. I have read so much about AAS that I hope I win so I can try it out!

Kelly O

says:

We are fairly new to All About Spelling, but so far my kids really like it! They both struggle in spelling a little, so it’s nice to have a great program to help.

Ashley

says:

I am going to be a first time homeschooler this fall! I plan on starting my 2 boys with AAS Level 1. I’ve done so much research and even tested out a few products and this one wins! I am EXCITED about this! I think spelling is so important (a lot more important than it is sometimes given credit for!) and I think this program is going to be awesome!

Kelly

says:

I think repetition is helpful for older students.

Grace

says:

Love AAS! On Level 2,Almost Ready For 3 And Even I Am Learning Things I Never Knew!

Jennifer Valko

says:

My son is only 4 but his spelling of CVC words has been pretty good. Looking forward to starting AAS1 soon!

Jodi

says:

My older students have been going over tough words, they are words that they have been working on for some time. they still struggle! looking for help!

My daughter is six. We are focusing on “chunks” and word families. She is learning to sound out words.

Sabrina K.

says:

Spelling in our house is running a little rough. We’ve done eye tests, Irlen screenings, the whole nine, trying to figure out some “other” reason why he can’t “Get” the reading and spelling. He is 9 and this is his toughest subject, poor thing cries like crazy… It’s heartbreaking!

Kathy

says:

Oh, goodness! So sorry to hear about his struggle! Let us know if we can help encourage you both in this process. Email and telephone support are available and we’d love to hear from you!

Customer Care Representative

DeeAnn

says:

Check into Learning Rx. We used them for my daughter who struggled with dyslexia and we saw huge improvements in her skills. It is a cognitive (brain training) program. They have a one on one trainer with a program specified to her needs. They test the student to find weakness and train that area to strengthen it. My daughter had an average of 5 year gains and reached college level in some areas. It changed her life. She now loves to read and learn new things. Great opportunity to make a long term difference in your child’s future.

Merry

says:

Sabrina,

My oldest also has several additional learning struggles like this (including vision processing issues), and Marie was actually told her son would never read and write (he not only does now, he’s taking college classes!) Here’s a link to their story if you haven’t seen it already: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/our-story

AAR and AAS are based on Orton Gillingham methods that can help with many learning disabilities. Anyway, please do feel free to email at support@allaboutlearningpress.com any time, we’d be glad to help.

Leslie

says:

We are using AAS level 2 right now and I’m so impressed with the tools my daughter now has to figure out how to spell words she hasn’t seen before. AWESOME curriculum!

Gina

says:

I am a new homeschooler and was told this is the best program out there!!

Desirae

says:

We are loving All About Spelling. It integrates so well with the reading program we are using. And since we do so much of it verbally, the preschooler is catching on, too!

Jo Edmonston

says:

I am still learning about ways to help my 4th grader be more confident in his spelling. I am wondering if this is the answer!

K Brooks

says:

I’ve tried a number of programs and books–some so technical it’s actually painful to remember how complicated they were. But the way AAS is set up the parent-teacher-coach learns along with the student. This makes such a huge difference for those of us who are intimidated by the whole, mysterious “Okay, so exactly how am I going to teach my own kiddos how to spell?” question.

Gail

says:

I have a struggling reader who is finally taking off in that area, so next year we start All About Spelling to get him going in spelling and reading! cant wait!

Chantae

says:

We just started AAR which we are loving! My son is not complaining when I say it is reading time!!! We will start AAS next year! So thankful we found this program!!

Amber

says:

Just finished level 2. THis program is a blessing!

Carrie

says:

Hope to try this with my son. :)

Brandy reed

says:

My oldest son is unable to do other spelling programs. We love this program because it’s the only one that not only teaches the rules and makes them easy to understand. This spelling program has made words uncomplicated for a child who struggles with phonics and slight dyslexia.

Janet Andrews

says:

We love spelling the accumulated words on our last day of the week. I’ve been thinking about using them as alphabetizing projects too. Owen is on level 4, and he really responds well to the multi-sensory program.

Nancy

says:

My 10 year old twins just started this program this year and LOVE it. They were able to breeze through a lot of the earlier levels, but learning how to spell by syllables has hugely improved their spelling

Darcy

says:

I have used All About Readig with my kindergartener and will start in with All About Spelling next year – looking forward to it.

Debbie

says:

I am looking forward to teaching my 8 year old All About Spelling. We are considering getting her tested for dyslexia, and are excited to learn that your spelling program is designed for kids with dyslexia. Thanks for making this resource possible for us.

Cyndi N

says:

My 9yo dd could barely read or spell before starting AAR1. Now we are several lessons into AAS1 and I am SO amazed by her progress! Even though our lessons have been sporadic at best (life has been difficult lately) she has gained years of phonics/spelling ability.

I do not know what we would have done with AAR/AAS. It has opened the exciting world of reading for my little girl AND she no longer has to feel embarrassed by her inability to read or spell when playing with her friends.

If you are a fence sitter, I say SIT NO MORE and come over to fun & exciting side of the fence!!!! :)

Vina

says:

Thankyou so much, it’s just what we needed.

Rebecca

says:

I found out about your spelling program because I have been using IEW with an older child, who has always done well in spelling. Level 1 came in the IEW-PAL packet for child3. I knew I had to remediate child2, who struggles with spelling. He did well in level 1 and is midway through level 2. He enjoys spelling now, and he is doing so much better. I’m very glad we found your program!

Amy

says:

This looks like it might work. I have a middle schooler who just keeps “forgetting”. She memorizes great, but unless she actually learned the word, she has trouble. She just had a hard time with the follow through on some of the spelling rules. I think a review of the sounds/phonics might be in order. She was in PS when she was younger and they didn’t concentrate much on this.

Susan Walasek

says:

Can I be that older student :-)!?

Angie M.

says:

This was very helpful to me. My son who is in 2nd grade is ready to learn spelling rules, but so is my daughter in preschool/kindergarten. I’ve been trying to think of how to start both. Obviously, he’s ahead of her, but needing some spelling help. Also, I know what level to get, Level 1, the beginning.

Becky

says:

I love AAS!!!! My kids were 2 grade levels behind in reading and spelling. A year ago I found this program and we have completed level 1 and 2 in spelling and level 1 in reading. We are half way through level 2 in reading. Thank you so much for such a wonderful way to teach reading and spelling!!!

Julie R.

says:

I am needing a good spelling curriculum and have heard some good things about this so am very interested.

Shelley

says:

We have just started using All About Spelling, but its going great and the techniques are working well for my son.

Juliett

says:

Two if my daughters have childhood apraxia. AAS and AAR have given them the tools they need to be successful and confident. Thank you.

Deanne Smith

says:

I have a 15yo who struggles with spelling. We have tried several programs with little success. When I got AAS with IEW’s PAL program for my 5yo, I knew I had a great resource. Now I have some ideas of how to use it with my 15yo as well!

AMy

says:

love AAS – using level 4 with my 4th grade daughter & 6th grade son – he struggles with spelling and really benefits from the systematic approach.

Chrissy M

says:

Great resource for teaching older children with this program. Just getting started with 1st grade here though!

Pam W

says:

Especially appreciated the download! Love AAS!

Nicole

says:

My six year old wouldn’t be considered an older student, however he’s reading chapter books well on his own, so he is not appreciating the back to basics of AAS Level 1 we started last week. I found a good solution though. He is permitted to teach his younger brother skills he has mastered himself. He is now motivated to work through his tasks so he can be the teacher. He’s realized that there are things he didn’t know (like the many sounds of “y”) about the letter sounds which has softened him a bit. I hesitated for months about this and just wish I’d ordered it sooner. I decided to give this a go because he reads well but lacks confidence in his spelling/writing.

Jen

says:

This is an amazing program…..wish I would have learned spelling this way instead of memorizing it. I’m continually recommending it to others.