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What’s the Difference Between AAR & AAS?

What's the Difference Between AAR & AAS

One of our most frequently asked questions is “Do I need both All About Reading and All About Spelling? Can I choose just one of these programs to teach both subjects?”

At first I was baffled by the question, but then I started to understand the underlying questions.

“Aren’t reading and spelling basically the same thing?

“Do I need to teach both subjects?”

“Can I just use the spelling program and assume that my child will learn to read as he learns to spell?”

“How much overlap is there between the programs? I noticed that both AAR and AAS use phonogram cards and letter tiles.”

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How Our Programs are Similar

How Our Programs Are Different

1. All About Reading teaches words from the decoding angle.

Can your child accurately decode a word? Can he look at the word and figure out its pronunciation (and its meaning) by breaking it down into its “parts”?

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Accurate decoding is great, but there’s much more to reading than just decoding words. That’s why All About Reading also teaches:

  • fluency
  • vocabulary
  • comprehension strategies
  • reading practice with short stories

2. All About Spelling teaches words from the encoding angle.

Encoding is a set of skills that enables a child to start with the building blocks of letters (sounds) and words, and successfully “build” words…and eventually sentences. All About Spelling also uses:

  • reliable spelling rules
  • spelling patterns
  • homophones
  • strategies your child will need to know in order to spell even the most complex words
  • dictation sentences and writing prompts for spelling practice

3. Reading and spelling each require a different set of skills.

For example, the end goal of reading is comprehension, and for optimal comprehension, it’s important to work on fluency, vocabulary, and processing strategies. Spelling, on the other hand, requires a deeper understanding of the phonograms and how letters represent sounds.

Consider the letter K. In a handful of words, K is silent when it is part of the phonogram KN, as in the words knight and knee. But in the vast majority of words, K is pronounced /k/ as in kitchen. From the reading angle, the letter K is pretty straightforward. But from the spelling angle, the student must memorize the words in which KN is used for the sound of /n/, and learn when to use C, CK, or K for the sound of /k/.

Take a Look Inside Two Actual Lessons

Let’s take a look at the lessons where KN as in knight is taught.

Reading Lessons

In All About Reading Level 3, Lessons 45 and 46, your student will learn how to read words such as knight, knock, and knot. You can follow along by downloading these pages.

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Lesson 45 in the Teacher’s Manual walks you through teaching words that use the KN phonogram.

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Here is the corresponding Activity Sheet for Lesson 45. This activity gives students extra practice reading words with the KN phonogram.

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Now students are ready to read a short story containing the newly-learned words. Lesson 46 in the Teacher’s Manual guides you in presenting vocabulary, comprehension skills, and a fluency exercise.

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This “Warm Up” sheet contains phrases students will encounter in the upcoming short story. “Warming up” before reading helps improve fluency.

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The short story “Cedric the Brave Knight” contains the words and concepts taught in Lessons 45 and 46. Enjoy!

Spelling Lessons

In All About Spelling Level 4, Lesson 13, your student will learn how to spell words such as know, knee, knot, and knife.

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In this spelling lesson, students learn that KN is only used at the beginning of a base word, and will learn common homophone pairs such as knight and night. Students write sentences from dictation and compose original sentences using the Writing Station prompts.

As you can see, there’s a big difference in the approach to reading and spelling, even though they share the same phonetic code.

Reading and spelling are different…

…so we teach the two subjects separately.

Instead of combining the two subjects in a single All About® program, we’ve kept them separate. Reading and spelling each have their own ideal teaching sequence and teaching methods, and in order to help your child master each subject, we teach them independently from each other. And by teaching reading and spelling separately, you can progress at your student’s pace until both skills are mastered.

All About Reading and All About Spelling are designed to be used independently of each other so students can move as quickly or as slowly as they need to with each skill.

Do you have any other questions about the differences between AAR and AAS?

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Brittany

says:

Thank you. This helped me understand perfectly.

Nicole Cohoon

says:

This is a good comparison of the two programs. We love using AAS. I have very proficient readers, but it is good to see where AAR would be a benefit to them as well.

Joey Wouters

says:

Good Morning Robin.
We have recently relocated to Gaberone Botswana. We are a South African family who have lived all over Africa and Asia for the last 14 years. Our children has always slot into schools wherever we were. We have a 12 year old boy and 10 year old girl who is behind in their reading ability. Two International schools have showed us away due to this concern. How can your program make a difference in our lives and where should I start? Looking forward hearing from you. Kind Regards

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Joey,

Here are some ways that All About Reading can help children that are struggling with reading:

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

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

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

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

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

– AAR has built-in review in every lesson. Children with learning difficulties generally need lots of review in order to retain concepts. With AAR, your child will have a Reading Review Box so you can customize the review. This way, you can concentrate on just the things that your child needs help with, with no time wasted on reviewing things that your child already knows.

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

– All About Reading is designed to be used at the individual student’s unique pace, allowing you to progress as quickly or as slowly as the student needs. As Anna Gillingham once said, “Go as fast as you can, but as slow as you must.”

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

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

Evaluate (without correcting your student) for the following…
Your student’s ability to decode the words in the story.
Your student’s ability to comprehend the story.
Could your student fluently read the story with expression?
Did your student understand the words from a vocabulary standpoint?

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

Jessica

says:

My daughter used AAS when I home schooled her. I donated it to the independent/private school she transferred into. This year she is graduating this school and entering a college preparatory high school at our local college campus. Anyways… I am going to start teaching at S.C.C.S and we are considering using the AAS program. It is a K-6th school. Would we be able to use AAS and AAR programs in a school setting? We have about 20 kids and 3 teachers to split into grade or skill levels. After reading some posts I thought this might be extremely helpful for a couple of our students, one is ADHD with dyslexia and the other struggles with spelling. I have started working on my class schedule and have a 20 minute slot for spelling/vocab and 45 minutes for reading (three groups with 30 minutes out loud reading and 15 silent)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jessica,
Yes, lots of schools have used this approach for group instruction! I have emailed you a pdf document that outlines the option and considerations with using AAR and AAS in a classroom.

Maria

says:

Can I use my Reading Interactive Kit for the All About Spelling program? Do I need to buy a new set of letter tiles?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Maria,
The Basic Interactive Kits for reading and spelling are almost identical (these have the letter tiles, magnets, Phonogram Sounds download and divider cards). So, if you purchase a reading kit, then the only items you would need from the Spelling Interactive Kit are:
Spelling Divider Cards
Spelling Review Box (or a card box you find locally)
Optional: Bee Stickers (for the progress chart).

I hope this helps!

S. Barnes

says:

I have been looking for a program like this for two years now! I am a homeschooling mother whose son will be in third grade next year and reads at an early first grade level,yet he excels in every other subject. I was so desperate for help,yet I can’t afford a tutor,so I looked up on google,and there was a story of a woman whose granddaughter was a third grader reading at an early first grade level also,and a woman had suggested All About Learning Press to her so I looked it up,and absolutely love what I see so far. I just ordered the materials so i look forward to telling about my son’s progress after a few weeks!

ErinFontenot

says:

hello, I was inquiring about the All About Reading program for my 4 year old. I do own the IEW PAL program that I had bought for my 7 year old and my intention was to use this and transition into AAS. What is the benefit in using AAR instead? I am super confused now. Thank you, erin.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Erin,
Institute for Excellence in Writing’s Primary Arts of Language (PAL) does have a very different approach from All About Reading (AAR) because of its blended sound-sight method. It is not systematic in terms of teaching decoding skills in an Orton Gillingham way (this article talks about Orton Gillingham in terms of spelling, but it applies to reading as well) However, students will learn all of the phonograms through PAL as well.

AAR is a mastery learning program where one or two skills are taught and mastered before moving on. AAR 1 teaches all the alphabet sounds and short vowels first along with many of the consonant pairs (th, sh, ch, ck, nk, and ng).

In PAL, phonograms are introduced as they appear in common words, such as “green” and “yellow” (ee says long /e/ in green, ow says long /o/ at the end of words.). Children learn to look for the “helpers” (phonograms) that help us to read. One of the first games is matching the names of the colors with the colors. The first stack of words to decode contains words like “light” and “shall.”

PAL starts with some sight-reading skills and blends in the phonograms along the way hoping to get children to fluent reading more quickly, whereas AAR starts with the phonograms and builds to fluent reading.

According to IEW, the “Primary Arts of Language provides the information and materials you need to start your primary grade students (K–2) confidently reading and writing.” By contrast, AAR moves beyond early reading and progresses to teaching students the phonics and word attack skills necessary to sound out high school level words, though they may not know the meaning of all higher level words.(Word attack skills include things like dividing words into syllables, making analogies to other words, sounding out the word with the accent on different word parts, recognizing affixes, etc…)

Both PAL and AAR use All About Spelling for spelling and early writing.

34% of children struggle with learning to read, and continue to struggle with reading. Marie Rippel did a lot of research to learn the things that children need to get past those struggles. You might be interested in seeing a free webinar that Marie did, How to Make Sure Your Child Is Not Among the 34% That Struggle With Reading.

Both programs have worked well for various students, but hopefully this will help as you evaluate and decide the best fit for your family. Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Amy Torpen

says:

Hi! I have done the AAS Level 1 with my daughter (an older, fluent 1st grader) and am about to order AAS 2. We currently use a different reading program but would like to try AAR. Should we do the corresponding Level 2? If so, what do I need to order so that I don’t overlap in materials (e.g. another set of letter tiles). Thank you!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Amy,
We recommend choosing the level of All About Reading you use independently of your student’s level in All About Spelling. Students are often further along in reading than spelling.

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

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

Evaluate (without correcting your daughter) for the following…
Her ability to decode the words in the story.
Her ability to comprehend the story.
Could she fluently read the story with expression?
Did she understand the words from a vocabulary standpoint?

The Basic Interactive Kits for reading and spelling are almost identical (these have the letter tiles, magnets, Phonogram Sounds download, and divider cards). So, since you already have a spelling kit, then the only items you would need from the Reading Interactive Kit are:
Reading Divider Cards
Reading Review Box (or a card box you find locally)
Optional stickers to match with the level of AAR she needs (for the progress chart).

I hope this clears things up for you. Let us know if you have further questions or if we can help in any way.

Nikki howell

says:

I just started using AAR and AAS this year with my son. He was diagnoses with dyslexia and ADHD this summer. We are both loving the program so far and I can already see my son is learning more this year then last with our old programs.
Thank you for this post. i have noticed (at least with level 2 that we use) that the two programs kind of line up. (teaching for example y saying long i at the same time.). I was wondering if the other levels line up similarly?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Nikki,
There is a lot of line up with AAR and AAS 1, and some line up with AAR 2 and AAS 2, but it becomes more and more separated as you progress. As the sample KN lessons in this blog post show, some of the phonograms taught in AAR 3 aren’t covered until AAS 4. At the end of AAR 4, students have the phonics and word attack skills necessary to sound out high school level words, but they will not reach that level of spelling until AAS 7.

We actually recommend allowing the student to progress at their own pace in each program separately. It is not only okay if they stop lining up, but it is even beneficial. Most children will move ahead in reading, and the the spelling lesson on the same topic will serve both as review and the deeper learning required for spelling. This article, Why We Teach Reading and Spelling Separately, explains this further.

Marie

says:

I have the AAS deluxe interactive kit. Do I need to purchase a separate kit for AAR? It looks to be the same thing or am I missing something? Please help :)

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Marie,

The Basic Interactive Kits for reading and spelling are almost identical (these have the letter tiles, magnets, Phonogram Sounds download, and divider cards). So, since you already have a spelling kit, then the only items you would need from the Reading Interactive Kit are:
Reading Divider Cards: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-divider-cards/
Reading Review Box (or a card box you find locally): http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-review-box/
Optional Smiling Star Stickers for the progress chart: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/smiling-star-stickers-aar-level-1/

I hope this helps!

Allison

says:

This article really helps a lot. My son really struggles with language arts and is dyslexic. We have been focusing on reading, thinking that was where he struggles. He is progressing at a pace that is good for him. Yesterday, I dictated some sentences he had just read for him to write down and he couldn’t do it. Words were spelled wrong and that led to tears and frustration on his part and a wondering of what I am missing on my part. I encouraged him that reading and spelling are two different subjects and now I know why, encoding and decoding. So my question is do I work with him on both subjects on the same day, alternate every day (spelling one day, reading the next), go ahead a long way with reading then go back to spelling to show why the words work that way, or go a long way with spelling then go back to reading to show how the spelling rules apply? I really want to teach my son in the way his brain learns best so he can be a proficient reader and writer. Any suggestions or input would be greatly appreciated.

Angela

says:

Hi Allison, I just wanted to make a little comment as a parent who has been on a similar journey as yourself (although I am further along the path), although I cannot help in regards to the best way to use the program one thing that stood out to me is the dictation spelling problems. I see you said your son is dyslexic but has he been looked at for dysgraphia. Dysgraphia is writing based as apposed to dyslexia which is reading based (although there is a cross over of issues). A child can be both (my son is) and dysgraphia represents itself hugely as not been able to spell on paper a word he may otherwise know (along with other issues). For us my son could read a word and even spell it out loud to me, but for the life of him he couldn’t spell it on paper (even after he had just said it out-loud). It would be worth looking into as there are additional approaches to make (lots of info on line too) and dictation maybe something that will not work for him. Hope this is of some help, on congratulations for being a fab involved mom.

Allison

says:

Thank you for your input. I looked up dysgraphia and some applies but most does not. My son has good handwriting, can copy sentences put in front of him, can tell me orally what he wants to write, can read what I write, but if I ask him to write what he just said or what he just read, the words are spelled with basic phonetics. For example, yesterday he wrote “Can u git … (Left out the word this) jr fr me?” He had just read the sentence “Can you get this jar for me?” We review the phonograms, review that every word/syllable needs a vowel, he can say the rules but has a hard time taking all that information and applying it to his writing. Maybe it is a specific type of dysgraphia? Maybe it’s a memory issue? I had him tested with a private learning instructor but I felt the testing didn’t really show his issues and it seemed that the instructor just kept testing and working on non issue things just to get money. I showed him the AAS/AAR that we use but he was not interested in even looking at it and wanted to “drill and kill for skill”. All that to say I’m not to sure it really is dyslexia but that was the diagnosis given. I do know my child better than anyone so I will continue to find what works for him. My son is 10 and in 4th grade just for reference.

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Allison,

On your first question, we recommend working on reading and spelling daily, especially for kids with any kind of learning struggle, whether it’s dyslexia or something else. Kids who struggle with reading and spelling tend to need lots of review, and working every other day, or taking long breaks from one or the other can make it a lot harder to make progress.

Instead, we suggest short, daily lessons. For an upper elementary aged child, you might do 20-30 minutes per day on reading, and 15-20 per day on spelling. You could do two shorter reading lessons, if his attention span isn’t up to a longer lesson–I’d follow his pace. You want him to be fresh during the time–if his attention is wandering or he’s starting to shut down from too much information, switch things up, do a bit of review or a game he likes, and end the lesson on a positive note if at all possible.

On the sample sentence he wrote: We find that most kids advance more quickly in reading than they do in spelling. If he’s still in Level 1 in spelling, his mistakes are not at all surprising. Being able to read a word is not the same as being able to spell it. If you have not directly taught those words and concepts yet, then he probably wasn’t ready for them. Here’s more on Why We Teach Reading and Spelling Separately: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/why-we-teach-reading-and-spelling-separately/

If you have already taught him these words and patterns in spelling, let me know and we can talk about other ways to help him. Let me know what lesson you are on in reading and in spelling.

I do see that he struggled with the short E in “get,” and many children do confuse short E and short I (Linguists have even given this confusion a name! The “Pin-pen merger.”) If that’s common for him, check out this video Marie made for some help: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/short-e-short-i-confusion/

I hope this helps some–please let me know if you have additional questions. We’re here to help.

Nichole

says:

Allison. You’re story sounds just like mine!! My son is 11, in 5th grade and reading at a 1.5 level and spelling even at a lower grade level. We have him in tutoring that frankly is breaking the bank. We have seen some progress with him and THIS tutor and she is using an Orton Gillingham based program. We have had him tested by several people and have completely different results. We are looking into AAR for some help! We have used AAS when he was younger but he was just not ready. His memory is very weak so I worry about the mastery portion of this program. I know AAS did a lot of reviewing and I’m pretty sure that’s what he needs. Does AAR have that as well?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Nicole,
All About Reading uses the same sort of review card system that All About Spelling uses, so your son will be getting the on going review through that. In addition, All About Reading either has fun game-like activities and fluency pages or 100% decodable stories scheduled in every lesson. In general, one lesson is new teaching with activities and fluency pages then in the next lesson a story scheduled.

You may be interested in our report on Methods for Making Learning Stick that deals with five aspects of memory and how you can help your child remember better.

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

Jhuana Hale

says:

I have always admired your All about Reading. We are using your All about Spelling.
We’ll see if we win one and maybe it will help me purchase the rest. Thanks.

Lori Scitern Scherbel

says:

I love the All about reading level 1. My girls love it too! I will be looking into getting All about spelling in January, sometime after Christmas.

Natasha

says:

This makes the difference between the two programs much clearer, thank you!

Alise Pereira

says:

Hello! I am looking into your program and got some free downloads for Reading Level 3. I can not download the short story of “Cedric the Brave Knight”. My student is probably more of a level 2 but i wanted to try this out on her.

Thank you!

Merry

says:

Hi Alise,

I’m sorry for the frustration. You can try this link: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/content/samples/AAR-L3-Shipwreck-Sample.pdf

First, make sure that you have downloaded the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. If that’s not the issue, here are our suggestions:

1. Try opening the link in a new window. Right-click on the link and you should see a menu pop-up–choose open link in new window. (This seems particularly helpful with Internet Explorer.)

2. Restart the computer.

3. Only try downloading one file at a time, being sure to give it plenty of time to download as some of the files are rather large.

4. Check your internet connection. If you have a weak wireless signal, it could cause problems with downloading files.

5. Try downloading the file in a different internet browser. (I often find if one browser isn’t working properly that another one will open the link quickly.)

Let me know if you continue to have trouble with it.

Shayla

says:

Thank you for the comparison, it really helped.

Emily

says:

Does AAR teach reading by word families? Are phonograms included in that? Or vice versa?

Merry

says:

Hi Emily,

Great question! No, AAR does not use word families. In the word family approach, words are presented with the same ending and only the beginning letter changes. For some kids this leads to guessing. They ignore the end of a word and just focus on the first letter and really don’t think through the word.

Now, AAR does include rhyming words at times and also words that begin with the same sound. For example, one type of exercise with the letter tiles has you change one letter at a time and then your child reads the resulting words: hit-sit-pit-bit-fit-fig-big-bid-did-hid-rid-rip.

Sounds and words are taught incrementally, then gradually more practice is added reading them in phrases, short sentences, and in stories.

Have you seen the online samples? That might help you to get a feel for the program. This page has links to samples for the Teacher’s Manual, Student Activity Book, and 3 readers (scroll about half-way down the page to see sample links).

http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/All-About-Reading/All-About-Reading-Level-1/

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

Hollie

says:

Do you need to buy the reading interactive kit if you have the spelling one or vise versa?

Merry

says:

Hi Hollie,

The Basic Interactive Kits are almost identical (these have the letter tiles, magnets, Phonogram Sounds download, and divider cards). So, if you already have a Spelling Interactive Kit, then the only item you would need from the Reading Interactive Kit is the Reading Divider Cards and the Reading Review Box (or a 3″ X 5″ index card box). Optional item: Smiling Star Stickers for the progress chart.

I hope this helps!

Hollie

says:

yes, thank you!

Cristina

says:

I do have a question.
So you said they are designed to be used independently of each other. But could I teach reading and spelling for my 2nd grader? Not back to back, but I was thinking of including it on our schedule. 3 days reading.. 2 spelling… I will be using AAS1 and AAR2.
Do you think is too much? He’s a good reader but needs practice.

Merry

says:

Hi Cristina,

Yes you can! In fact, that’s the progression Marie recommends–finish AAR 1 (or the equivalent) first, then move on to AAR 2 and start AAS 1. By “independent” we just mean that you don’t have to line up lessons and concepts–most students will progress more quickly in reading than in spelling.

We recommend working on both programs daily, or at a bare minimum, 3 times per week for each. Most students retain more with short, daily lessons rather than longer but fewer ones. When you do lessons less frequently, they tend to forget things and have more gaps, leaving both of you frustrated. Spend about 20 minutes on reading instruction, and 15-20 minutes on spelling. Each day in each subject, start with your daily review cards for a couple of minutes, and then pick up in the book wherever you left off previously.

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

Merry

says:

Oh, and this article about planning language arts might be helpful to you as you decide which topics to cover this year: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/language-arts-in-my-household/

Cristina

says:

Thanks so much Merry!
Yes, it helps a lot!
I’m excited to start this program w my youngest :)

Joy

says:

I actually have a real question now that I have my hands on both programs! Whoo hoo! We’ll be starting AAS1 and AAR2 with two of our kiddos in the very near future. Since they don’t correspond, I’m thinking about jumping in with AAS1 now, and doing AAR2 closer to the fall. In the teacher’s manual for AAS, it says to only put A-Z on the board at the beginning, and add the other components of the letter tiles AFTER they have been taught. What do you do when you’re teaching both programs and they are in different places? Set up the full board and only refer to the top A-Z when doing spelling? Does my question make sense? Thanks!

Merry

says:

Hi Joy,

Great question! You can modify this according to your child’s needs. Some children would be distracted by other tiles, and if you find that’s the case for your child, put the tiles that are for both programs at the top, and then the tiles that you are using just for reading at the bottom. This way, they’ll know not to pull from those other tiles yet for spelling.

I think your approach is a good idea since they haven’t done AAR 1 yet–this way they’ll get used to the tiles and phonograms with AAS 1 this summer.

Let me know if other questions come up! Merry :-)

Laura

says:

Hi Marie,
Good post! I agree that they are different. My son who is now 13 and entering into the 8th grade this year will be finishing up your spelling program with book 7. My 8 yr old daughter is on level 2 reading (also level 2 spelling) and I can already see what you mentioned in your blog. So, what would you reccomend for someone like my son who is just finishing up AAS but has never had a formal reading program?
Thanks for your help.
Laura

Merry

says:

Hi Laura,

That’s great that your son will be on the final level of AAS 7 this year! If he struggles with reading and isn’t reading at grade level, take a look at our placement tests to see which level would be good for him: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

If he isn’t struggling with reading, just keep going with AAS.

Have him read aloud to you periodically, and help him chunk longer words into syllables if he has trouble with any words. (You can always go to the letter tiles, or show him on paper or a white board how to break down a longer word into syllables).

Make and use flashcards for review (this helps quite a bit, especially with learning new/unfamiliar words!).

study of Greek and Latin roots can be helpful.

Complete the All About Spelling program, which supports reading.

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

thong

says:

hi teacher I am thong

Kacie

says:

Thank you for clarifying! I am using AAR level 1 with my son. We are midway through and it is going really well. I plan to start AAS later on.

I just wish you offered a math program :)

Laurie C

says:

I’m confused where to post for the latest giveaway entry that I saw on Facebook. I would love level 1, but not sure where to add.

Sarah D.

says:

These look like great books! I’d never really considered the difference between spelling and reading.

Susan

says:

Just found this site…looking forward to learning more!

Staci bullock

says:

So happy to have found a program that differentiates between reading and spelling!

Rebecca E.

says:

Great explanations, thank you!

Kim

says:

Looking forward to using AAR and AAS this year, I have heard great things. If your doing both at the same time, do they tell you how to work them together so it feels like it flows?

Merry

says:

Hi Kim,

Actually, Marie recommends completing All About Reading Level 1 first, and then adding in the All About Spelling program. This way students get a solid start in reading first, and have a strong basis for spelling as well.

AAS and AAR both use a similar sequence and the same phonograms. Both are complete phonics programs, so they are interrelated in that way. AAS teaches words from the spelling angle, and AAR teaches words from the reading angle.

All About Reading includes research-based instruction in decoding skills, fluency, automaticity, comprehension, vocabulary and lots and lots of reading practice. AAS focuses instead on encoding skills, spelling rules and other strategies that help children become good spellers.

For this reason, the programs are also 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. 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, there’s no need to line up the lessons in any way; work through each program at your child’s pace.

Lucy

says:

Looking forward to AAR 4 this fall!

Liz

says:

Should I expect to use reading level 1 about the same time as spelling level 1 or are expected age/grade levels offset in some way?

Merry

says:

Marie recommends completing All About Reading Level 1 first, and then adding in the All About Spelling program. This way students get a solid start in reading first, and have a strong basis for spelling as well.

AAS and AAR both use a similar sequence and the same phonograms. Both are complete phonics programs, so they are interrelated in that way. AAS teaches words from the spelling angle, and AAR teaches words from the reading angle.

All About Reading includes research-based instruction in decoding skills, fluency, automaticity, comprehension, vocabulary and lots and lots of reading practice. AAS focuses instead on encoding skills, spelling rules and other strategies that help children become good spellers.

For this reason, the programs are also 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. 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!

Jacklyn

says:

My family and I are starting our homeschool journey th is coming August. Im so excited to try out AAR and AAS

Sam

says:

Are the programs meant to work in conjunction with one another. Or do you start with reading and then add in spelling later on?

Merry

says:

Hi Sam,

The latter; Marie recommends completing All About Reading Level 1 first, and then adding in the All About Spelling program. This way students get a solid start in reading first, and have a strong basis for spelling as well. The 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. 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/

Should I use one program before the other? I was thinking of doing AAR 1 first and then add AAS 1 later. Would that work?

Merry

says:

Hi Melissa,

Yes, that’s exactly what Marie recommends. Add in the spelling program when your child is ready to do AAR 2. I hope this helps!

Hannah Day

says:

I have been teaching one of my children with AAR Level 3 and AAS Level 2. He is naturally not a good speller and has struggled with reading. It seems like he has more trouble with spelling now that he knows more phonograms through the reading program. So my question is, when teaching reading and spelling separately at different levels, how can I help my child to keep them separate in his brain until he can catch his spelling level up to his reading level?

Merry

says:

Hi Hannah,

Can you give me a bit more information about what’s going on? It sounds like he’s trying to spell words with phonograms he has learned in AAR, but hasn’t yet gotten to in AAS, is that correct? Can you give some examples of the types of misspellings and when they occur–is this happening when he is learning the new words in AAS, when he’s doing word cards or dictation that review previously learned words, or in outside writing?

Please let me know; I’d be glad to help get this sorted out for him!

Hannah Day

says:

Merry, thanks for your response! He is trying to use phonograms he learned in AAR to guess at words he is trying to spell in AAS dictation or in outside writing. Some examples are using “ee” to spell long “e” sounds in VCE words, using “ch” for the “sssssshhhhh” sound, using “oa” for a long “o” sound, or “ea” for a short “e” sound. He’s trying to make his spelling harder than it is and is very insecure in his ability to spell anything, always second guessing his spelling.

Merry

says:

Hi Hannah,

Thanks, that helps. Most of these are common spelling errors that kids who struggle with spelling make. Until they solidify the way to spell a word in their minds, they will pull out any pattern that comes to mind–sometimes they’ll even pull out a different pattern every time they spell that word! I would slow down his progress in spelling and spend more time on the individual word lists and skills taught there. Sometimes it’s easy in the context of a list to feel like a student is solid on a word or pattern, but later on in dictation you can see that it’s really not mastered yet. Here’s an article on Helping Kids Achieve Automaticity in Spelling that has some tips for you: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/helping-kids-achieve-automaticity-in-spelling/

General tips for review: Make sure to review word cards daily for 2-5 minutes. Mix the word cards from the most recent step with either other cards in daily review, or alternate them with a few mastered cards. This way he won’t just spell 10 words in a row that all use the same pattern, and he’ll have to think a bit more.

Don’t move any card to mastered until he can spell it quickly and easily, without having to stop and think about it or self-correct. Review new words for several days before moving them. I liked to wait until a Monday to move cards–that way my kids had to remember them over the weekend, and the word was more likely to be truly mastered.

Any time your son misses a word in dictation or outside writing and can’t easily correct it, put the word and any related phonogram, sound, and key cards back in daily review. Review it for a week or so. Have him explain to you how he knows it’s spelled that way (is there a rule that applies? have him tell you. Does paying attention to sounds or segmenting help–have him demonstrate how he segments it with tiles. Does he have to learn it visually–which part of the word could be confusing, and how is that sound spelled? Have him use tiles to teach the word back to you).

Some specific ideas (go back and work through his trouble spots one at a time–don’t do all of these at once. Make this your spelling time for now, rather than moving on in the lessons just yet. Solidify these, and then pick back up with new lessons. If you are breaking for the summer now or soon, you may also want to review these trouble spots in the fall to see what he retains and what needs more work, before moving on.)

Using EE to spell the long E sound in VCE words: Pull out the word banks for VCE words (and if you aren’t to the step in Level 2 on EE yet, you will be soon–make sure you spend a lot of time on the EE word bank when you get there, to solidify these in his mind). In the lesson on VCE, we had a tip that E_E is not a common way to spell the long E sound; there are only a few common words that use this pattern–see the gray box in Step 8 of Level 2. Have him memorize the few words that use E_E. Put these word cards in daily review, and if there is another common E_E word that you don’t have a card for that he has been misspelling, use a blank card to add that in. (I often kept blank cards in the back of my box for just this purpose. I used them for some of the “more” words too.)

using “ch” for the “sssssshhhhh” sound: Explain that there are very few words that use CH for the /sh/ sound, and he’ll learn those later on. If he’s interested, you can tell him that they are all words that we borrowed from the French. Or, if he likes numbers, tell him that there are 10 times more words that use SH than CH for the /sh/ sound (literally, there are 40 that use CH as in chef, and over 400 that use SH as in ship).

using “oa” for a long “o” sound – Long O sounds are tricky. We have “roam” and “home,” or “boat” and “rote” and no rule to tell us why we use either one! Here you will really have to focus on the visual of learning that vowel-consonant-e pattern for O_E. Have him read the word banks for O_E daily, or use the word cards for those words like a word bank. Make the word with tiles and have him teach it to you. How is the long O sound spelled in these words? What is the job of the silent E? and so on are questions you can ask to get him to teach it back to you. Sometimes I had my kids read the word cards daily for a week, and then the next week we went back to working on spelling them again.

“ea” for a short “e” sound. Again, let him know that E for the short E sound is going to be the right guess most of the time. Tell him that later on, you’ll work specifically on spelling words with EA, so he doesn’t need to guess that pattern for now (and if he misses words in his writing that you haven’t covered yet, either ignore them or say, “You wouldn’t know this because we haven’t studied it yet…” and fix it for him). If he likes numbers, you can let him know that more than 2000 words use short E spelled with an E, and only about 150 use EA–so, more than 10 times the number of words will use just an E.

Put any recently missed words in his daily review tab. Let him read them for a few days, noting how the short E sound is spelled. Then let him try spelling them again.

“He’s trying to make his spelling harder than it is and is very insecure in his ability to spell anything, always second guessing his spelling.” I had two students this way! They do learn, it just takes more practice and more review along the way. I hope this helps! Merry :-)

Hannah Day

says:

That is extremely helpful. You included many wonderful suggestions and I realize I haven’t been leveraging the power of the word card enough. Thank you very much!

LeaAnn Nichols

says:

So excited to begin our home school journey with AAR and AAS!

Sherri

says:

we love both programs. The AAR defiantly can be started earlier than AAS :)

Jenifer

says:

We are using Pre Aar this year. My daughter will be in K next year. I am not sure when to begin AAS 1.

Merry

says:

Hi Jennifer,

Wait until after your daughter completes AAR 1, and then you can add in the spelling program. I hope this helps!

SHELLEY SUMMERS

says:

I have wanted to AAS with my son who is currently in vision therapy. He can read but some but I think he struggles with decoding. Would I start with level one? He is six

Merry

says:

Hi Shelley,

Did you mean that you would like to start your son in AAR (All About Reading)? That’s what we would recommend for a student struggling with decoding. For reading placement, check out our placement tests: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

After he’s through AAR 1, you can add in the spelling program. I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Heidi Smith

says:

I would love to try both All About Reading and All About Spelling. I think they would both be beneficial to have in our homeschool next year.

Jennifer J

says:

I’ve been reading reviews on both and would love to try them both!

Teri P.

says:

Will just using AAS help with reading or do you really need both programs?

Merry

says:

Hi Teri,

Using AAS to teach reading can work sometimes. Here’s more about the programs and how they are designed to work:

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

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

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

Many students need more support in reading, though, and that’s where AAR comes in. AAR includes research-based instruction in decoding, fluency, automaticity, vocabulary, comprehension, and phonemic awareness, and it is truly a complete reading program. These students benefit from going through AAR to get complete reading instruction. Additionally, about 34% of children struggle with learning to read. They need a lot of help with reading, and will greatly benefit from using AAR.

Most students progress more quickly in reading than in spelling, and those who use AAS to teach both literacy skills may need to work at two places in the program–one for reading and one for spelling. (The first time through, the dictations and word cards would be used for reading practice rather than for spelling practice. It’s not much practice compared to what is included in AAR, so know that you may need to add in additional practice.)

AAS and AAR are designed to be independent of each other so students can move as quickly or as slowly as they need to with each skill. For most children, Marie recommends completing All About Reading Level 1 first, and then adding in the All About Spelling program. This way, students get a solid start in reading first, and they have a strong basis for spelling as well. You are free to progress in both programs at your student’s pace until both skills are mastered.

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

Kim Courville

says:

We use both programs side by side. They compliment each other so well. Because we do both, we are reviewing and really solidifying all the phonograms and rules. I love it!

Danielle

says:

I love AAR and AAS. We had to use a different curriculum for 1st grade as part of our UMS school a d it was horrible. The creators didn’t seem to understand the difference in young children’s abilities to decode and encode. So glad to be using AAS this upcoming year!

Jessica

says:

I really love both AAS and AAR. I haven’t used them together yet, because my son who uses AAS is an excellent reader and my son who uses AAR is just beginning to read. The son learning to read loves the activities that go along with some of the lessons, which is great because he’s not so thrilled about school and learning in general.

Jade

says:

This program seems wonderful. I really would love to try it.

Jen silvester

says:

My son quickly fell in love with reading and developed skills from using your program. His younger brother noticed him reading everything in sight and has requested to learn to read. He, too, is enjoying learning to read following your All About Reading.

Jennifer

says:

I love how the two programs go hand in hand. I have been able to turn my dyslexic daughter from a child who hates reading and grumbles anytime we mention reading to a child who picks up books and reads on her own since using AAR. And my other daughter absolutely loves the AAS program and it has really improved her spelling abilities.

Myra

says:

I don’t think I have any questions, but I’m excited to try AAS!

Erica_C

says:

Over what time period do you recommend each book take?

Merry

says:

Hi Erica,

We recommend working for about 20 minutes per day on reading and 20 minutes on spelling. Work through each program at your child’s pace. Some lessons might take less time, and some might take more–that’s perfectly fine. Beginning readers and spellers might need a year per level to work through the program, though some are able to go faster. Older, remedial readers and spellers sometimes go through it faster. The important thing is not how long you take to get through the program, but that you lay a solid foundation for reading and spelling for your child. I hope this helps!

Gabriela M

says:

What is the main difference between the two?

Merry

says:

Hi Gabriella,

All About Reading includes research-based instruction in decoding skills, fluency, automaticity, comprehension, vocabulary and lots and lots of reading practice. AAS focuses instead on encoding skills, spelling rules and other strategies that help children become good spellers.

For this reason, the programs are also 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. 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/

Donna

says:

As a homeschooling mom and private tutor, I love AAR and AAS!! AAR is a great curriculum that encourages fluency and AAS teaches kids how to use the phonograms to excell in spelling.

allison b

says:

I get the difference. I am excited to get started.

Rachel Wylie

says:

I’m super excited about starting AAR in our house next school year.

Cindy N

says:

From the article I understand the differences and really have no questions. Thank you for the opportunity to win the gift certificate!

Heather

says:

My daughter is becoming a good reader, but is a hesitant writer. Hopefully AAS will help with that!

Haley Aldrich

says:

We have loved using AAS and AAR. My son has become proficient in both decoding and encoding. Although it does seem that spelling has been slightly more challenging to him than reading.

Amber

says:

We use both programs and I believe that gives a well rounded coverage for reading and spelling.

Adrienne Fiedler

says:

Game changer at our house. My 9 year old is finally reading.

Christie

says:

When would one start with level one AAS? When already using beginning AAR?

Judy Iverson

says:

Decoding vs. encoding..2 different skill sets

Sheila C

says:

My son was a very good and early reader but not so much with the spelling. AAS has been great and he’s really understanding why the words are spelled certain ways. We will use the entire series. I don’t know if AAR would be of that much help to him since he reads years above his age already. I will do some more checking on it though!

Karen

says:

I used AAS with my older children and started with my middle. He was such a late reader that I put him and his younger brother in AAR and dropped AAS. I’m not sure where to pick it up again and when to begin with the youngest.

Merry

says:

Hi Karen,

if your middle child has started AAS, I would go back to the point where you dropped it and do a review of previously covered phonogram, sound, and key cards. See what he remembers, and what might need review. Do a selection of word cards and dictations from various lessons and see how he does with that. After a week or two of review, you should have a good picture of whether he’s ready to continue on, or if he needs to re-do some of the AAS lessons before continuing on.

For your youngest son, if he has never done AAS, he would start in Level 1, to make sure he knows how to apply the words to spelling. (For example, knowing how to read “bell” doesn’t mean a student knows when to double the L at the end of a word. Or, knowing how to read “clock” doesn’t mean the student knows whether to use C or K at the beginning of the word, and whether to use K or CK at the end. AAS will show the student how to apply the rules and spelling concepts to his writing.)

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

Caroline

says:

Do you usually suggest to begin with one or the other between AAR or AAS? I was planning to begin with AAR, then pick up AAS later on. Does it work better if both are started together?

Becky Bowers

says:

Do both programs start at kindergarten level?

Merry

says:

Hi Becky,

Not necessarily. The Pre-reading program is for preschool and kindergarten aged children. After that students move into All About Reading Level 1. Marie recommends completing All About Reading Level 1 first, and then adding in the All About Spelling program. This way students get a solid start in reading first, and have a strong basis for spelling as well.

So, we have had Kindergarten aged students who used both programs–but not every K student is ready to learn to read and write. It’s best to decide based on your child’s skills and readiness signs. If you have any questions, I’d be glad to help!

April

says:

Next year will be our first year homeschooling our 2 kids: K and 2nd grade. We will be doing much of their curriculum together (Bible, Science, SS, etc.). I was definitely planning on using AAS 1 with our 2nd grader (already have it and prepping materials), and we think we’ll be using AAR 2 with her. My question is, would there be major issues with keeping my Kindergarden aged daughter with her in spelling, even though she has not completed AAR1 (or the equivalent) yet? Sounds like everyone starts in AAS1, so I just thought it might make one more thing simpler.

Merry

says:

That might work. Some families find that students who are working on a similar skill level do combine well in the reading or spelling programs. Other times, an older student gets frustrated because he or she is ready to move on, while the younger student needs more practice. You can always try it and see how it goes.

One reason why we recommend completing AAR 1 before starting spelling is that the AAR 1 program teaches the multiple sounds for the phonograms gradually, and AAS 1 quickly reviews them at the beginning. So, you may need to spend more time on that step for your younger daughter. Also, many children do better with the “scaffolding” approach of AAR 1 where they learn just the first, most common sound first, learn to use that in words, and then learn other sounds. Other children are fine with learning all of the sounds up front. So that’s something else to be aware of. If your K student seems to struggle with AAS, or your oldest seems to want to move faster, then you might find it easier to teach them each separately.

My kids are 2 years apart as well, and we combined content-oriented subjects for years. Most of the time we found it easiest to do skills-based subjects separately. Sometimes you just don’t know until you try it though–as I said, combining does work in some families. I hope this helps!

Molly

says:

My daughter uses AAR 1, we really like it. Hoping to be able to try AAS 1 soon. Thanks for this post, it explains the differences very well & in ways I had not thought about before.

Martha

says:

I can see that this would be a good program for my granddaughter to start with.

Lashae

says:

Are the different levels for both AAS and AAR levels from grade school to high school?

Merry

says:

Hi Lashae,

Great Question!

The levels in All About Reading and All About Spelling actually don’t correlate to specific grades, because the order of the words in them is not “grade-level” order. As an example for reading, in one simple online reading assessment, a child completing AAR 1 would be able to read most of the words on the 1st grade list, about half of the 2nd grade list, and a third of the words on the 3rd and 4th grade lists. There are even a couple of words on the 5th and 6th grade lists that they would have the skills to sound out, though they might not know their meaning yet.

At the end of AAR Level 4, students have the phonics and word attack skills necessary to sound out high school level words, though they may not know the meaning of all higher level words.(Word attack skills include things like dividing words into syllables, making analogies to other words, sounding out the word with the accent on different word parts, recognizing affixes, etc…)

Similar examples can be found in spelling. 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. In AAS Level 7, students are spelling high school level words (we use all of the modern Ayers list words which ranks up to 12th grade, and other various lists that rank words between 9th and 12th grade).

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

I hope this helps!

Nikki Welch

says:

My little guy has been doing amazing with AAR. His reading has just taken off and he is loving every minute of it. I really wish this was around, or I was aware of it, when my oldest was his age since she still struggles to read… While I understand the difference between reading and spelling, it was actually working with AAS with my little guy that got him interested in reading, and it was also AAS that has helped my daughter with her reading. She remembers her spelling rules (sometimes..other times I remind her…) and applies them to how the letters sound in a word she is having difficulties with.

Andrea D Shaw

says:

It is amazing how different reading and spelling truly are! I know many people that can read just fine but cannot spell. I hope to teach my children both! Yay for maybe winning a gift card to start my journey!

Gloria Montgomery

says:

I would love to start using AAS. I’m looking forward to winning the gift certificate.

lisa

says:

I plan to begin AAR and AAS. I am deciding between level 1 and level 2 in AAR for my son. If in doubt about only a couple of points on the level 2 placement test for AAR, should I err in favor of level 1, or would it be better to give level 2 a try? I understand I need to purchase level 1 in AAS. Should I begin AAR first and add AAS in after getting into a routine with AAR?

Merry

says:

Hi Lisa,

It really would depend on which parts of the AAR 2 placement test he struggled with. For example, if the only thing he missed was the multiple sounds for a few of the phonograms, you’ll be able to fill that in as you do Level 2. Send me an email and I’d be happy to help you evaluate. support@allaboutlearningpress.com.

I personally do prefer to start my school subjects gradually, especially when I’m starting a new program. Your idea to start AAR first and then add in AAS is exactly what I would do.

If we do find that he should start in AAR 1, complete that level before starting AAS.

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

Lisa W.

says:

All About Spelling is my favorite program I’ve found, can’t wait to try All About Reading!!

Deb Hickerson

says:

I would love to win the gift certificate and use your curriculum

Wynter Ogilvie

says:

I love all about spelling!

Elizabeth L.

says:

Should a child do spelling and reading together during their day, or should you space them out and put a different subject/activity between them?

Merry

says:

Hi Elizabeth,

Either way is fine. As I taught my kids, I found that some years it seemed to help to get everything skills-oriented out of the way first. Leaving a subject like math for later in the day tended to lead to my kids dragging everything out. Other years, I found that doing skills-based subjects in a row was tiring for them, and that they benefited from having less intense subjects in between, along with some outside play and a snack or even lunch between some things. Experiment and see what type of routine works best for you and your family.

Rebecca

says:

I have been seriously considering both programs for my little guy. I was wondering how they work together if a child is at different levels. Say level 2 in reading, but level 1 in spelling.

Merry

says:

Hi Rebecca,

That’s actually when we recommend starting the spelling program–when a child is ready for AAR 2. AAS and AAR both use a similar sequence and the same phonograms. Both are complete phonics programs, so they are interrelated in that way. AAS teaches words from the spelling angle, and AAR teaches words from the reading angle.

All About Reading includes research-based instruction in decoding skills, fluency, automaticity, comprehension, vocabulary and lots and lots of reading practice. AAS focuses instead on encoding skills, spelling rules and other strategies that help children become good spellers.

For this reason, the programs are also 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. 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, there’s no need to try to line up lessons or concepts in any way. Work through each program at your child’s pace.

I hope this helps!

Sarah

says:

If your child is good at spelling but struggle with reading, do you suggest using both curriculum.

Merry

says:

Hi Sarah,

You are free to use just one or both curricula; they work independently of each other, so you don’t have to use both or line up the lessons in any way. Feel free to focus on the area your child is struggling with (reading), and see how it goes. You may decide later that you’d like to add in spelling, or you may decide it’s not needed. It’s very unusual for a student to struggle with reading and not with spelling, so I wouldn’t be surprised if spelling struggles show up later–most students find reading easier than spelling. But if not, that’s great!

Samantha Tjoelker

says:

This is a very helpful description of the differences between the two programs. I had kind of figured it out just be using them both but good information anyway.

laura

says:

i don’t have any questions, but i just want to say how this reading and spelling program has been such a huge blessing to our homeschool journey! I am so glad it didn’t take long before we tried out your program and we’ve never looked back. thank you for all your hard work!

Twyla

says:

Hello! I am about to embark on the AAS journey. What I am wondering, though, is if the programs (AAR/AAS) are interactive, building on each other as the child travels through the English world. For example, do Lessons 1 in each compliment the other’s learning? Or are they entities unto their own?

Thanks!!

Merry

says:

Hi Twyla,

Spelling does reinforce reading, but the programs do not specifically line up. AAS and AAR both use a similar sequence and the same phonograms. Both are complete phonics programs, so they are interrelated in that way. AAS teaches words from the spelling angle, and AAR teaches words from the reading angle.

All About Reading includes research-based instruction in decoding skills, fluency, automaticity, comprehension, vocabulary and lots and lots of reading practice. AAS focuses instead on encoding skills, spelling rules and other strategies that help children become good spellers.

For this reason, the programs are also 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. 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!

Gloria

says:

I don’t have any questions but I must say that I LOVED watching my son actually get excited about school work. He just finished up first grade and we did level 1 and he will tell you he hates school but he improved so much in his reading and spelling once we introduced both the reading and spelling midway through our school year. I can’t wait till next year. :-)

jennifer

says:

Finally something to help my struggling reader.

Sheryl

says:

I use and love both programs! Both are wonderful ways to teach phonics!

Paola Garrison

says:

I’ve curious about AAS and AAR programs for quite sometime now, having kids both on the spectrum and some with dyslexia has me always on the hunt for materials to help our homeschooling..just haven’t gotten around to getting the program.

Meg

says:

I started using AS this school year with my first grader after trying out a few other programs. I love the easy to follow, simple lessons and he loves the hands on approach that the letter tiles provide. I am a former public school teacher, so I have enjoyed this program and how it teaches all of the rules of spelling – things I never learned about when I learned to spell!!

Shari

says:

Using both programs and liking them very much. My biggest challenge is teaching multiple children and having time to do the lessons. (Their skills are not close enough to teach together.)

Motherhicks

says:

I am really interested in learning more about AAS and AAR. It is great reading all the other comments and questions. Sounds like a great curriculum!!

Krystal

says:

I don’t have any questions, you have done such a wonderful job explaining everything and answering other people’s questions. I love this program and suspect we will continue to use it until we have made it through every level in both AAR and AAS. Thanks for such a great, easy-to-use program that my children enjoy!

Kathryn

says:

This is helpful. Are the manipulatives (letter tiles) the same for both programs so that you only buy them once?

Merry

says:

Hi Kathryn,

Yes, The Basic Interactive Kits are almost identical (these have the letter tiles, magnets, Phonogram Sounds download and divider cards). So, if you have a Reading Interactive Kit, then the only item you would need from the Spelling Interactive Kit is the Spelling Divider Cards, and a Spelling Review Box (or a 3″ X 5″ index card box). I hope this helps!

Helen

says:

I think that AAR & AAS are really awesome. I have heard nothing but amazing things
From all my friends who homeschool and my daughter
Is gonna start the 1st Grade in Aug and i would love to start
Her on this amazing program, so I can share my experiences
With others.

Laura

says:

Recently finished AAR Level 1 and are now working our way through AAS Level 1. So glad I chose this program! It has been well-worth the investment.

Joy

says:

I have a daughter with visual processing problems. I think these programs would help her overcome some of her difficulties and be able to read and spell.

Kendra

says:

All About Spelling has helped my spelling-challenged son

Karen Mahler

says:

My 14 year old son is dyslexic. I am doing level 5 in all-about spelling with him. What would you recommend for reading, which is still a struggle?

Merry

says:

Hi Karen,

I wonder if he might benefit from Level 3. Check the placement tests and see how he does: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

Level 3 covers prefixes and suffixes; syllable division rules for reading multisyllable words (these start in AAR 2 and are continued in Level 3); many literary terms like alliteration, similes, personification; words containing the new phonograms, such as paint, play, boat, third, purple, soon, mean, light, match, budge, flew, wrong, know, sleigh, toe, and action; words with the “pickle” syllable such as bubble and table; and 2-5 syllable words such as armadillo, auction, banquet, celebration, butterscotch, chimpanzee, contraption, examination, education, government, hibernation, instruments, objection, mildew, migration, safekeeping, paperweight, semicircle, uneventful, wristwatch, spectacles, thermometer, and so on.

If those words are easy for him, then you might take a look at level 4 when it comes out this fall.

melissa crenshaw

says:

I enjoy using both programs and they work well for my children!

Rachael

says:

wondering if i need both the all about reading and all about spelling for my Kindergartner and if so what should i get. the pre reading and the level 1 spelling.

Merry

says:

Hi Rachael,

You won’t need spelling just yet. If you are starting with Pre-reading, work through that and AAR 1 before you add in the spelling program. I hope this helps!

Rhonda

says:

Thank you for your program. I have seen much improvement in my son’s spelling using your program. :-)

Sharon

says:

I think my children could benefit from both programs. We are starting first and reading could improve. Haven’t tried spelling yet as writing is just coming along.

Leah

says:

I’ve used a different program for learning to read and even though he is reading at a mid 1st grade level I still feel he could benefit from doing another program. I have seriously been considering AAR. Our biggest challenge is with our current program there is a lot of writing. I am trying to not have so much writing for our 1st grade year.

Caroline

says:

I don’t have a question, but have used the first 3 levels of AAS with my son. He’s in the 6th grade and we started a little later than I would have preferred, but AAS has been great about teaching him why certain words are spelled the way they are. Our plan is to continue with AAS because it’s working!

Renee

says:

There’s a huge difference and I’m learning that first hand as I teach AAR to one son and do AAS with the other. Practice and building fluency while introducing sounds and blends on one hand, and teaching the why behind spelling on the other.

Jackie

says:

I have a son who is challenged. He is older but was horribly abused in PS and did not want anything to do with school. My question is He has problems with reading and spelling and I would like to know which one to us with a young man who can only work on a 2nd to 4th grade level depending on the subject

Merry

says:

Hi Jackie,

I’m so sorry to hear about the experience your son had in PS. That’s heartbreaking.

As far as which program to use–you could choose either or both, depending on which subject you want to focus on. All About Reading includes research-based instruction in decoding skills, fluency, automaticity, comprehension, vocabulary and lots and lots of reading practice. AAS focuses instead on encoding skills, spelling rules and other strategies that help children become good spellers.

For reading, here is a link to all of our placement tests for AAR: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

For spelling, you would start with Level 1, even if he can spell the words already. The skills and concepts taught will be new. This article explains why it’s important to start with Level 1: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-level-should-my-older-student-start-with

I hope this helps. If you have specific questions about how to proceed, please feel free to email any time. We’re always glad to help.

Barbara

says:

What level would I begin teaching my 7th grader at? He’s hasn’t had a specific spelling program, but learned his phonics very well and does spell okay for his grade level. But I want/need to take him to the next level so he can grow in his abilities. What do you recommend?

Merry

says:

Hi Barbara,

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

Older students who spell at grade level 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 older student would need to start no higher than Level 2 in order to get all of the rules and concepts taught in the program.

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.

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.

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, 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 son 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 son hits words or concepts he doesn’t already know. Here is an example of how you might do that: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

I hope this helps as you decide what to do. Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Rachel Blom

says:

I really don’t have a question of the difference between reading and spelling. I love your programs for my struggling readers and my kiddos w/dyslexia & dysgraphia.

Dandi D

says:

Sounds great! What ages is it geared towards?

Merry

says:

Hi Dandi

AAR and AAS are for both beginning learners and older learners who need remedial help. (We’ve even had teens and adults use the program!).

Pre-reading is specifically for preschool and kindergarten aged children. After that, students move into AAR 1. When the student is ready to move on to AAR 2, you can also add in the spelling program.

I hope this helps!

Cristina White

says:

I’m wondering if my children (4, 3 and 2) need a firm grasp on knowing their letters and sounds before I begin AAR or AAS. Also, should I start with one or the other, or begin both at the same time. My 4 and 3 year olds know most of their letters, but haven’t gotten all the phonetic sounds quite yet. Thank you!

Merry

says:

Hi Christina,

Our Pre-reading program was designed to help kids get ready for reading. They’ll learn letters and sounds, plus important phonological awareness skills and other skills that will prepare them for reading. It’s designed for preschool and kindergarten aged children. After that, students would use AAR 1. When you’re ready for Level 2 of reading, you would add in the spelling program as well.

I hope this helps!

Tina

says:

Is it better to do the two programs together, or to start with one or the other?

Merry

says:

Hi Tina,

Marie recommends completing All About Reading Level 1 first, and then adding in the All About Spelling program. This way students get a solid start in reading first, and have a strong basis for spelling as well. The 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. 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!

Barbara Castor

says:

I see how spelling and reading are related, and learning each one helps children learn the other. I also see how they are two different skills and need to be taught separately. Thank you for explaining how it all works.

alizabeth palmer

says:

I am struggling with teaching my 12 year old that is still a begining reader…It is like things are just not making sense to him. We have AAS level 1 and 2 and it still isn’t quite working…making me think I should stop and do AAR level 1 and just start at the beginning to see what is missing. Do you think that would help?

Also, I have a 5 year old, 4 year old and more getting ready to learn….Does AAR teach the letters and sounds to or do they need to be able to recognize them first?

Merry

says:

Hi Alizabeth,

I’m sorry that your twelve-year-old is struggling. AAS helps struggling spellers, but really wasn’t created for helping struggling readers (though some will be helped to some extent). Here’s more about the programs and how they are designed to work:

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

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

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

Many students need more support in reading, though, and that’s where AAR comes in. AAR includes research-based instruction in decoding, fluency, automaticity, vocabulary, comprehension, and phonemic awareness, and it is truly a complete reading program. These students benefit from going through AAR to get complete reading instruction. Additionally, about 34% of children struggle with learning to read. They need a lot of help with reading, and will greatly benefit from using AAR. (If you have about 25 minutes, Marie did a great webinar on this topic that you might find helpful: http://homeschoolshow.com/prevent-reading-struggles/ The webinar is 25 minutes, and there are recorded questions afterwards.)

AAS and AAR are designed to be independent of each other so students can move as quickly or as slowly as they need to with each skill. For most children, Marie recommends completing All About Reading Level 1 first, and then adding in the All About Spelling program. This way, students get a solid start in reading first, and they have a strong basis for spelling as well. You are free to progress in both programs at your student’s pace until both skills are mastered.

Here is a placement test for reading: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/ It sounds like he might benefit from AAR 1, but you can use this to double check if you aren’t sure.

AAR and AAS are based on Orton-Gillingham methods, which are very helpful for kids with Dyslexia, and also several other types of learning disabilities. One of mine had some vision processing issues that affected reading. This isn’t something that’s picked up on a regular eye exam–you could check out http://www.covd.org for more information.

For your younger ones, the Pre-reading program teaches letters and sounds, so I would probably start there for them. It’s designed for preschool and kindergarten-aged children, so they are the perfect age for it!

I hope this helps as you decide what is best for you and your children. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. I know it’s hard work to teach a struggling reader. Feel free to email any time, we’re always glad to help.

Jenny

says:

Would you recommend to “keep going” if your student has mastered a level in less than a year? I know some people say just 1 a year, others say keep going….I’m of the thought that your student may hit a “wall” at some point and that’s when you should take a break, especially if you’re way ahead. Just curious what your thoughts are.

Merry

says:

Hi Jenny,

Yes, you can keep going. Both programs are designed so that you can take them at your child’s pace, and the levels don’t represent grade levels in any way–the next level just has the next lessons after your current level.

If you are taking a break for the summer, plan on a couple of weeks in the fall (or more, depending on the child’s age and retention), reviewing the cards, possibly redoing the last couple of lessons or so. The longer the break, the more time you will need to spend in review. So, a student who finishes Level 1 in March and doesn’t do anything until September will have a lot more reviewing to do than one who finished partway through level 2 in May or June and picks back up in the fall–does that make sense?

I hope this helps!

Sarah

says:

very interesting, thanks!

Kathryn

says:

I have a student who relies too heavily on decoding when reading. Does your program provide opportunity for him to learn other reading strategies other than phonics-based ones?

Merry

says:

Hi Kathryn,

Yes, AAR includes research-based instruction in decoding skills, fluency, automaticity, comprehension, vocabulary and lots and lots of reading practice. It’s not so much that you want him to stop decoding and start doing something completely different–it’s that you need a strategy for moving him from simply decoding to fluent, automatic reading. Some kids need to see a word as many as 30 times before they can read it fluently. AAR teaches them how to move from saying individual sounds, to blending the sounds, to saying them fast, and then gives kids the practice they need through activities, demonstrations and games with the tiles, fluency pages, and readers to move on to becoming fluent, confident readers.

Katina

says:

I LOVE this program! I tried two other phonics based programs before starting my first grade homeschooler on this program and his spelling was atrocious and he could only read sentences that had the phonic helpers. With Learning Press he is rapidly improving and enjoying every minute of it! I prided myself on being an early reader and good speller based on the whole language approach that was popular in schools at the time and yet I am still learning things from the level 1 program as I learn how to segment words properly, the way the English language was designed to be read/spelt! Brilliant program! Highly recommended!

Kelly

says:

I like how it is designed per student so that they can learn at their own pace.

Jeana

says:

I am looking forward to starting this in January hopefully with my Kindergartner.

Debbie N

says:

My youngest (K) will start AAS next year, and she is already reading at an upper first grade level–maybe higher. We’ve never used AAR, as I already had a reading program I liked before I found out about AAR. As recommended with AAS, I began my older 2 children with book 1, even though my son was in 4th grade at the time. Is it the same with AAR? Should you start with book 1, even if they’re already reading?

Merry

says:

Hi Debbie,

For reading, you can use the placement tests: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

I hope this helps!

Melinda Wood

says:

I really don’t have a question of the difference between reading and spelling. I’m a certified teacher (used to teach 3rd grade) who now homeschools. So I completely agree with there being a difference. However, I do have a question about grade alignment. Is this program for elementary students only?

Merry

says:

Hi Melinda,

No, these programs have been used for older remedial learners as well, including teens and adults. The levels in All About Reading and All About Spelling actually don’t correlate to specific grades, because the order of the words in them is not “grade-level” order. As an example for reading, in one simple online reading assessment, a child completing AAR 1 would be able to read most of the words on the 1st grade list, about half of the 2nd grade list, and a third of the words on the 3rd and 4th grade lists. There are even a couple of words on the 5th and 6th grade lists that they would have the skills to sound out, though they might not know their meaning yet.

At the end of AAR Level 4, students have the phonics and word attack skills necessary to sound out high school level words, though they may not know the meaning of all higher level words.(Word attack skills include things like dividing words into syllables, making analogies to other words, sounding out the word with the accent on different word parts, recognizing affixes, etc…)

Similar examples can be found in spelling. 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. In AAS Level 7, students are spelling high school level words (we use all of the modern Ayers list words which ranks up to 12th grade, and other various lists that rank words between 9th and 12th grade).

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

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

JenL

says:

We have used AAS for my dd, and I have seen how well it worked for her. I have considered AAR for my new reader who seems to read it then forget the next lesson. I was planning to start AAS spelling with him in second. Should I begin them both or delay AAS?

Merry

says:

Hi Jen,

Will he be starting with AAR 1 or AAR 2? (Check out the placement tests if you aren’t sure: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/)

Marie recommends completing All About Reading Level 1 first, and then adding in the All About Spelling program. This way students get a solid start in reading first, and have a strong basis for spelling as well.

If he is starting with AAR 2, you could still delay a bit–get him used to AAR for a couple of weeks or a month, and then add in spelling to the schedule. I often found, when my kids were young, that it helped us all if I gradually introduced topics in a new school year.

I hope this helps!

Jessica

says:

Excited to be trying this curriculum this year! Can the interactive kits be used again in each level or do you order a new kit with each new level?

Merry

says:

Hi Jessica,

Yes, the Interactive Kits (these have the letter tiles, magnets, phonogram Sounds Download, and Divider cards) are to be used throughout all levels of the program.

If you have additional students using that program, or if your child is using both reading and spelling, you will want extra divider cards and a box (or find boxes locally) for each student and each program. These will help you keep the cards from each program organized.

I hope this helps!

Carolyn

says:

I have been using AAS with my older son. He could already read when we started using it. I am now using AAR to teach my daughter to read (using level 1) and wondered when I should start AAS with her. I vaguely recall sidebar notes in AAS about when to use something in AAR but I haven’t hit any instructions yet on when to add AAS if we are working on AAR. We are only in the very first few lessons at this point.

Merry

says:

Hi Carolyn,

Complete AAR 1 first, and then add in the spelling program. AAR 1 teaches several concepts more gradually that AAS 1 quickly reviews.

The notes in AAS 1 refer to when you could read stories from the readers as a fun, visual way of reinforcing spelling. You don’t need to line up the lessons from the two programs in any way though–they work independently of each other.

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

kristen

says:

what’s the best way to implement these programs with different aged children?

Merry

says:

Hi Kristen,

For reading, use the placement tests to see where each child should start: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

For spelling, most students begin with Level 1. Here’s an article that explains why: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-level-should-my-older-student-start-with

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

Jen

says:

How would you recommend implementing AAS and AAR with multiple children?

Merry

says:

Hi Jen,

First, I would see if any children can be grouped together for reading or spelling. Children who are close in age, or close in ability, can often learn together.

Older ones who are already reading may not need to do both programs–it depends on what skills each child needs to work on. If an older one reads well and only needs spelling, you don’t have to do the reading program as well. The programs work independently of each other.

If time and energy are limited and you feel you can only focus on one, start with reading. So much of education opens up to a child when he or she can read independently–get them going there and then add on spelling.

Students who are beginning readers don’t need to work on spelling yet–add in spelling after completing AAR 1. If you have early readers, you can also choose to wait until first or second grade to start spelling.

In some families, it can work to teach an older one and have the older one teach a younger. (I know of one family who even gave an early childhood education credit to a teen who needed remedial spelling help, but was great with young kids).

Some families also decide to only use AAR and/or AAS for their students that struggle in reading or spelling, and use something independent for their students that don’t struggle.

Plan on spending about 20 minutes on reading and 20 minutes on spelling per individual or group.

Please let me know if you have specific questions about your situation–I’d be happy to help brainstorm solutions.

Christina

says:

These courses are essential to a thorough education. I hear great things about your courses and cannot wait to try them. .

Michelle

says:

Is there overlap in teaching between the two? If you are doing both are their some things that are duplicated that you would only do once? We have loved AAS and my youngest would like to try AAR. Thanks.

Merry

says:

Hi Michelle,

About the only thing that you might modify if you are teaching both in the same day is your phonogram review. (If they have already reviewed the same phonograms in a lesson that day, and they are not phonograms they are struggling with, you wouldn’t need to review them a second time. On the other hand, an additional review would not take much time and would help a child who is struggling with certain phonograms.)

You may find your child remembers the rules from reading, but now they will be learning how to apply them for spelling. If that’s the case, you can turn it into a question when you review the rule–“Do you remember when C says /s/? (Allow child to respond). Today we’re going to learn how we know when to use a K and when to use a C at the beginning of a word to spell the /k/ sound.”

AAS and AAR both use a similar sequence and the same phonograms. Both are complete phonics programs, so they are interrelated in that way. AAS teaches words from the spelling angle, and AAR teaches words from the reading angle.

All About Reading includes research-based instruction in decoding skills, fluency, automaticity, comprehension, vocabulary and lots and lots of reading practice. AAS focuses instead on encoding skills, spelling rules and other strategies that help children become good spellers.

For this reason, the programs are also 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. 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/

Marie recommends completing All About Reading Level 1 first, and then adding in the All About Spelling program. This way students get a solid start in reading first, and have a strong basis for spelling as well.

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

Becki

says:

I am curious about the differences between the letter sounds of both programs. With AAS 1, my kiddos have learned the three sounds of A, but in AAR 1, there are only the two. Seems it would be a little confusing to someone doing both programs at the same time. We started AAS first with my older two children, but wondering how to handle this with the younger three.

Merry

says:

Hi Becki,

I think I’m confused too…Have you reached the end of AAR 1?

AAR 1 teaches the sounds more gradually, but by the end of Level 1, your student will have learned all three sounds of A (and all of the multiple sounds for the other phonograms taught in level 1 as well). The first sound of A is taught in lesson 1, and the 2nd and 3rd sounds of A are taught in lesson 44.

This is one of the reasons why we recommend completing AAR 1 before adding in spelling–there is more of a scaffolding approach, which is easier for many children.

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

LaurenS

says:

I’ve been told by many parents to teach reading first, then teach spelling. Do you agree? In any case, I did teach my oldest child to read first. Now I need a spelling program. And I’m not sure how to introduce both subjects to my two younger children.

Merry

says:

Hi Lauren,

Yes, the vast majority of children find reading easier to learn than spelling. Marie recommends completing All About Reading Level 1 first, and then adding in the All About Spelling program. This way students get a solid start in reading first, and have a strong basis for spelling as well. The 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. 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!

I have a 7 year old who took off with reading on her own (with no teaching from me) but has a hard time trying to spell so I’m planning on getting AAS but I have a soon-to-be 5 year old who isn’t reading at all yet. What age do you recommend starting with AAR? I don’t want to push her before she is ready.

Merry

says:

Hi Peyton-Leigh,

The Pre-reading program is designed for preschool and kindergarten-aged children, so you could start her on that any time now. It’s pretty gentle, and only takes 10-20 minutes per day. Check out the samples and see what you think: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-lesson-samples/

I hope this helps!

Laura

says:

I have an almost 1st grader who reads at a 2-3rd grade level. She does a great job spelling words with the tiles and out loud. She understands the rules and does a great job when quizzed. She really struggles when it comes to writing the words on paper. I am wondering if you have any suggestions to help work through this.

Merry

says:

Hi Laura,

Your daughter is doing great! It sounds to me like there may be a handwriting struggle, or that she has to put so much thought into letter formation when she writes, that it affects her ability to also remember spelling at the same time. You may want to work more on handwriting and pre-writing exercises, and in the mean time, focus on spelling with the tiles or with other kinesthetic methods: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/kinesthetic-learning/

Things like using a finger in sand or cornmeal, or using large arm movements to practice letter formation and words can help create muscle memory for students who are struggling with handwriting.

Lots of play activities like running, jumping, climbing–anything that helps strengthen the core and the gross motor muscle groups will also help strengthen handwriting. So, know that the time in the back yard and at the park is time well spent for many reasons!

Amy

says:

What grades is your programs geared for?

Merry

says:

Hi Amy,

All About Reading and All About Spelling work well for both beginning and remedial learners. Pre-reading is specifically for preschool and kindergarten-aged children. After that, they can move right into All About Reading 1. We recommend completing AAR 1 before adding in the spelling program.

Older students who need help with reading can use the placement tests to see where they would place.

For spelling, most older students start with level 1 to fill in gaps with regard to concepts–here’s an article that explains more: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-level-should-my-older-student-start-with

The levels in All About Reading and All About Spelling actually don’t correlate to specific grades, because the order of the words in them is not “grade-level” order. As an example for reading, in one simple online reading assessment, a child completing AAR 1 would be able to read most of the words on the 1st grade list, about half of the 2nd grade list, and a third of the words on the 3rd and 4th grade lists. There are even a couple of words on the 5th and 6th grade lists that they would have the skills to sound out, though they might not know their meaning yet.

At the end of AAR Level 4, students have the phonics and word attack skills necessary to sound out high school level words, though they may not know the meaning of all higher level words. (Word attack skills include things like dividing words into syllables, making analogies to other words, sounding out the word with the accent on different word parts, recognizing affixes, etc…)

Similar examples can be found in spelling. 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. In AAS Level 7, students are spelling high school level words (we use all of the modern Ayers list words which ranks up to 12th grade, and other various lists that rank words between 9th and 12th grade).

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

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

Erin

says:

My question is similar to Colleen’s. My 6 year old is an advanced reader so we are very interested in All About Spelling to beef up those spelling skills. Would it be important for him to have All About Reading also?

Merry

says:

Hi Erin,

The programs work independently of each other, so you don’t have to do both of them. If there are aspects of reading that you want to work on with him, have him take the placement tests and see where he would place: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

But if he’s doing well with reading and you don’t feel his reading needs work, then just do the spelling program. You are free to use just one or both of the programs.

Let me know if you have additional questions.

Tami

says:

I have multiple children, is there a way to combine some of the spelling instruction/testing for efficiency?

Merry

says:

Hi Tami,

Possibly, many families do just that. If you have children who are close in age or close in ability, you may be able to start and teach them together.

Some larger families have also had success with teaching an older one and having the older one teach a younger one. Others combine other subjects, or have dad teach a subject to free up mom’s time for those students who need the one on one help with spelling or reading.

Plan on spending about 20 minutes per student or group on spelling. I hope this helps!

Colleen Morrison

says:

My son is actually an advanced reader but a pretty poor speller. We have been doing the All About Spelling Program and I have seen a huge difference. Does he need the All About Reading program as well?

Merry

says:

Hi Colleen,

The programs work independently of each other, so you don’t have to do both of them. If there are aspects of reading that you want to work on with him, have him take the placement tests and see where he would place: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

But if he’s doing well with reading and you don’t feel his reading needs work, then just do the spelling program. You are free to use just one or both of the programs.

Let me know if you have additional questions.

Melody

says:

You have been so helpful over the phone with my questions regarding my 6 1/2 year old daughter who is using AAR level 1. She is now enjoying the reading lessons and looks forward to them! Her fluency has greatly improved as well. Would it be a good idea to start AAS level 1? She’s on lesson 6 from AAR level 1. she loves to write and does well encoding simple cvc words. Thanks!

Merry

says:

Hi Melody,

Normally, we would recommend completing AAR 1 first, before starting AAS 1. Some concepts, such as the multiple sounds for each letter, are covered more gradually in AAR. However, I also think it’s important to capitalize on a student’s interest! You could certainly try it and see how she does. If she doesn’t seem ready for it, put it up for awhile, but since she loves to write, I think it’s worth trying. I hope this helps!

Joy Slater

says:

What is the best thing to start with if your child is already reading just fine, but having issues with spelling?

Merry

says:

Hi Joy,

In that case, I would just do the spelling program and start with Level 1. AAS is a building block type of program, so each level assumes that the student has mastered not only the words, but also the spelling rules and concepts taught in the earlier levels. Here is an article with more information:

http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-level-should-my-older-student-start-with

AAR and AAS work independently of each other, so you wouldn’t need to do the reading program in order to focus on spelling. I hope this helps!

Mary

says:

Can you start AAS with older kids without going through all the lower levels?

Merry

says:

Hi Mary,

Only if you have previously used an Orton-Gillingham or Spalding-based program where they would have learned the rules. Most older students have gaps from the lower levels, and need to fill those in, though they can work through them quickly. Here’s an article that explains why it’s important to start with level 1: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-level-should-my-older-student-start-with

samantha abell

says:

I love both AAR and AAS…I have been using them with my little girls for about 2 years now and they have made learning to spell so easy and so enjoyable. We just started the AAR this year and she is very excited about it! Thank you for this wonderful learning tool!

Amy

says:

This is great. It answered a couple of questions I had and even answered a few I had not thought of until I read the article. We are familiar with the Orton-Gilligham approach, so I think this curriculum will be perfect for my family. We can’t wait to start! Thanks!

Elizabeth

says:

This is not actually question, but a thank you for making a program that does have some similarities. Some of the skills learned in one will help strengthen the learning in the other subject. My own experience of spelling was just a random list to memorize with no rules behind them. Two different subjects is important, but enough overlap to strengthen both subjects is great.

Geneva M Parker

says:

Cannot wait to try this curriculum with our son! Thanks for all the detailed info!

Tracy Dobbins

says:

For a beginning reader, is AAS useful?

Merry

says:

Hi Tracy,

For beginners, start with reading. After completing AAR 1, then you can add in the spelling program (Level 1) and continue in both programs at your child’s pace. I hope this helps!

Traci

says:

What program would be the best to start with? Reading or Spelling? – Thanks!

Merry

says:

Hi Traci,

For beginners, start with reading. After completing AAR 1, then you can add in the spelling program (Level 1) and continue in both programs at your child’s pace. I hope this helps!

fromdivide

says:

The AAS program has helped my dyslexic daughter the most. She likes the programs ,but the activities in AAR are too young for her. Do they get more sophisticated as you go along?

Merry

says:

Hi Fromdivide,

Here is what Marie recommends when tutoring teens or other older students who might not enjoy some of the earlier activities:

– Follow the new-concept lessons in the TM, which include flashcard review, “Change the Word,” Activity Sheets, Fluency Practice, and reading aloud to her 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 student might think are too young, but make sure to include the fluency practice. As Marie states in the Teacher’s Manual, the activity sheets aren’t necessary for older learners.

– She wouldn’t hesitate to 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 L2 readers.

By the way, you can see samples of the activity books for the other levels online: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-lesson-samples/

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

AC

says:

If my child is finishing 2nd grade in PS, do we jump right in with level 3 for AAS, AAR?

Merry

says:

Hi AC,

Our programs are not grade-level based. For reading, check out our placement tests to decide where to start:

http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

For spelling: All About Spelling is a building block program. In this series, 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 often 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 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

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

Amanda

says:

I know this May be obvious, but AAS would be what I begin my child with first right? It makes sense that they may need to know how to spell first right?

Merry

says:

Hi Amanda,

Actually, most people begin with reading. Marie recommends completing All About Reading Level 1 first, and then adding in the All About Spelling program. This way students get a solid start in reading first, and have a strong basis for spelling as well. The programs are also 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. 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! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Ramona C

says:

I would love to use these to help my guys out with reading and spelling!

Jennifer DeLaquil

says:

Thank you for All About Reading program and your blog. This is very helpful to parents with struggling readers and spellers.

Jillian Kirk

says:

Finally someone explains these distinctions in a succinct and understable way.

Sarah Robinson

says:

Explains it very well. Excited to start using both programs this fall!

Do I really need both a reading and spelling curriculum for a kindergartener?

Merry

says:

Hi Keri,

I would probably wait on spelling unless you have a child who is very interested in writing and spelling. Start with just reading. After you complete AAR 1, then you can add on spelling. Some people wait until first or second grade, so feel free to do what works for your family.

Jennifer Schuyler

says:

Your blog explained the difference between the two programs very well. I am hoping that the All About Spelling and All About Reading program will help my 10 year old son who struggles with spelling and reading. I do have concerns that he will think the activity pages are too “young” for him, although he definitely needs to start in Level 1.

Alison Roedel

says:

No questions. Love using AAR & AAS.

Olaru Anca Irina

says:

I don’t have any questions!

My 2nd Grader can read very well but has problems with spelling at her level. How would we use the All About Reading and All About Spelling program with her – two different grade levels perhaps?

Merry

says:

Hi Cyndi,

Yes, you don’t need to line up the levels in any way (and the numbers do not reflect grade levels). With reading, you can use the placement tests to decide where to start: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

And for spelling, All About Spelling is a building block program. In this series, 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. So, most students start with Level 1.

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

Brandy staats Dominy

says:

I was wondering if a child is reading should they start off with all about reading
Just so they will understand the layout of all about spelling?
Thanks

Merry

says:

Hi Brandy,

The reading and spelling programs work independently of each other, so you are free to use one or both, depending on your needs. A child who is already reading can use the placement tests to decide where to start with the reading program: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

or you can just focus on spelling (start with level 1). I hope this helps!

Christina

says:

We love All About Spelling! It moves at a much better pace than what we had used in the past!

Jessica

says:

If you can only start one at a time, do you recommend one over the other?

Merry

says:

Hi Jessica,

Which program you use depends on which skill you are needing to work on. If both skills are needed but you can only choose one program, I would start with reading. So much of a child’s independence in education depends on the child being able to read. You can work on spelling later. I hope this helps!

Bambi Kelly

says:

If to choose one, which program is more suitable for a child with minor speech difficulties?

Merry

says:

Hi Bambi,

If the student is still learning to read, I would go with the reading program. Both will focus on learning the phonograms, and will require being able to hear and say the sounds. Accept your child’s best efforts in this area, and don’t let your child’s inability to say certain sounds hold him or her back from learning to read. I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Caitlin

says:

Thanks for this post. I love the way you described reading as decoding and spelling as encoding, that makes so much sense! I guess my only question is, when do you recommend starting the spelling curriculum? At the same time as reading, or after the child has learned some reading skills? Thanks!

Merry

says:

Hi Caitlin,

Start spelling after your child has learned some reading skills. Go through All About reading 1 first, and then add in spelling (Level 1) while you continue on in reading. I hope this helps!

Victoria

says:

This is a great article! I don’t have any questions!

Krista

says:

I don’t have any questions thank you so much I needed this information:)

Tanya

says:

We are busy with AAR level 1. I know you should first finish it before starting AAS Level 1. Do you do AAR level 2 at the same time as AAS level 1?

Merry

says:

Hi Tanya,

Yes, you would work through AAS 1 while also starting AAR 2. If you feel like your schedule is too full, you could wait a bit longer to start spelling, especially if you have a reader who is on the younger side. Here’s an article about planning language arts that you might find helpful:

http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/language-arts-in-my-household/

Mary Beth Daigle

says:

Our youngest son just turned 7, is ADHD & finishing 1st grd (this was our 1st yr of HS’ g – attended private school prior). He has regressed in his reading this past year. He can’t really sound out words when prompted, he guesses a lot and sometimes flips around words he does know. I know he learned phonics/sight words in school but I’m not sure where they left off. All this makes me feel like he doesn’t have a solid foundation w/phonics and/or sight words.
I researched Cathy Duffy’s review of Explode the Code online & purchased. However, I came across this program & it sounds like the answer we’re looking for (also saw Duffy’s review! )
That being said, do you know how AAR/AAS compares to ETC’s online program? I don’t want to duplicate my efforts nor do I want to waste time w/a curriculum that may not fit his particular needs.
Is it relatively easy to teach/use? Is it scripted? I need all the help I can get!
Thank you!

Merry

says:

Hi Mary Beth,

Sight-word reading really confuses some students. In this article about breaking the word-guessing habit, we walk through the strategy we use to help combat guessing and whole-word reversals.

As far as the differences between our program and ETC:

One difference is that Explode the code approaches blends (sk, pl, etc…) as if they are one unit, rather than focusing on the strategies students need to sound out words with consonant blends. This approach is confusing for many kids. Kids who don’t have solid decoding skills will tend to guess instead of focusing on the sounds in a word.

All About Reading has extra fluency practice built right in, and includes comprehension exercises, and strategies that help with blending.

Explode the Code is listed as being for grades 1-3, while the 4 levels of All About Reading will give students the phonics and word attack skills necessary to sound out high school level words, though they may not know the meaning of all higher level words. (Word attack skills include things like divide words into syllables, making analogies to other words, sounding out the word with the accent on different word parts, recognizing affixes, etc…)

All About Reading has built-in, research-based strategies to help students who struggle with reading. It’s based on the Orton Gillingham method which has been found to be successful for students with dyslexia and other reading struggles. Marie is a member of the International Dyslexia Association, and is an instructor for the graduate level courses in Orton-Gillingham Literacy Training offered through Nicolet College in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. If you haven’t had a chance to watch their story about her son’s struggles, you may want to check out their story. Quite amazing! http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/about

Here are some ways that AAR can help kids who struggle with reading:

-Each lesson time is simple and explicit, and will include 3 simple steps: review of what was learned the day before, a simple new teaching, and a short practice of that new teaching. It’s all laid out for you, so it’s easy to use.

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

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

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

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

– AAR has built-in review in every lesson. Children with learning disabilities generally need lots of review in order to retain concepts. With AAR, your child will have a Reading Review Box so you can customize the review. This way, you can concentrate on just the things that your child needs help with, with no time wasted on reviewing things that your child already knows. Customized review is important for kids with short attention spans because you want every minute of your lesson to count.

Another benefit of the review is that you can practice with your child what to say–you can rehearse as many or as few times as your child needs to help her become fluent in reading the words. One of the things that Marie noticed when she was researching reading programs is that few programs have enough review built in for kids who struggle to gain fluency.

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

I hope this helps. Have you seen the online samples? That might also help as you decide which way to go. Here are the All About Reading samples and scope and sequence links: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-lesson-samples/

Also, we provide lifetime support for all of our programs–you can email for help any time! Merry :-)

Katie S.

says:

Thank you so much. I don’t really have any questions though.

Bethanie

says:

Thanks for this post I really needed this information for my 1st graders.

L

says:

Like All about Spelling very much — if a student is already reading fluently, is the reading component necessary?

Merry

says:

Hi L,

No, you can use the spelling program independently of the reading program. I hope this helps!

Kristi B

says:

I think you give a great explanation of the two and I’m seriously considering it for my kids, starting with my oldest, who will be 5 in August. I also have an almost 4 year old, 2 1/2 year old and 10mth old and one on the way. I guess the biggest question is how much time do I have to spend each day teaching each subject for them to benefit?

Merry

says:

Hi Kristi,

The Pre-reading program usually takes 10-20 minutes per day, and we recommend working for about 20 minutes on reading and 20 on spelling (when you are ready to add that in).Short, daily lessons work better than longer but fewer ones.

With your children so close in age, you may find that you can group them together for reading or spelling as well. Certainly for some of the non-skill-based subjects like history or science you’ll be able to do that. I hope this helps!

Mary Beth Daigle

says:

How do I know if my almost 11yr old son (5th grd) needs AAR? He reads fine-but could improve on comprehension, speed & pronounciating when reading aloud. Would we begin with AAR1 or do a placement? He definitely needs AAS. Thanks!

Merry

says:

Hi Mary Beth,

We do have a placement test for reading: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/ Check that out and see how he does.

The final level, 4, will be out this fall. At the end of Level 4, students have the phonics and word attack skills necessary to sound out high school level words, though they may not know the meaning of all higher level words.(Word attack skills include things like dividing words into syllables, making analogies to other words, sounding out the word with the accent on different word parts, recognizing affixes, etc…)

With spelling, you would start with Level 1; the levels build incrementally. I hope this helps!

Genevieve

says:

Thank you for this explanation! My oldest is 15yo, but I have two toddlers so I am keeping AAR & AAS on my radar :).

Candi Sharpe

says:

I have two girls, 6 and 8, who are finishing up K and 2nd in public school. We will begin Classical Conversations in the Fall. This will be our first experience with homeschooling. I feel like we will be reprogramming our brains and since reading, spelling and comprehension we not really honed in on this year these would be a great place to start.

Tonya

says:

It is very interesting how the differences are broken down. I am looking forward to using our curriculum to teach my children not just to read but to develop a life long love of reading. Thanks for your part in helping me reach my goals.

Tonya

Jo

says:

Should you use the same levels of both programs together? How do you know when to use each level?

Merry

says:

Hi Jo,

No, there’s no need to line up the levels in any way. Start with AAR 1, and add in AAS 1 when you are ready to move on to AAR 2. Then, work through both programs at your child’s pace. I hope this helps!

Kim

says:

If beginning with AAR, when should you start with AAS?

Merry

says:

Hi Kim,

You can start AAS any time after completing AAR 1. Start with AAS 1, and work through both programs at your pace. I hope this helps!

Aby

says:

I love the fact that you teach each of these subject separately. Although they are related they are completely different. We struggle with spelling and excel at reading. Would I need both programs together to “work” more effeciently or could we just use the spelling to help us do better in that area?

Merry

says:

Hi Aby,

You are free to just use the spelling program. The programs work independently of each other, so you are free to use just one or both. I hope this helps!

Kelly Gear

says:

Do you feel it is necessary to use all the levels of reading? I stopped with my older child once he was reading fluently, but we do continue the spelling because he still struggles with that. I wonder if I should not stop with my younger one even though he also appears to be reading fluently.

Karen Foard

says:

Could you please tell me how your program is ‘aged’ or graded? Is there a placement test to tell you where to start of does everyone, no matter how old the student is, start at the beginning? What do you find that kids have to UNlearn before they have success with your program?

Merry

says:

Hi Karen,

The levels in All About Reading and All About Spelling actually don’t correlate to specific grades, because the order of the words in them is not “grade-level” order. As an example for reading, in one simple, online reading assessment, a child completing AAR 1 would be able to read most of the words on the 1st grade list, about half of the 2nd grade list, and a third of the words on the 3rd and 4th grade lists. There are even a couple of words on the 5th and 6th grade lists that they would have the skills to sound out, though they might not know their meaning yet.

At the end of AAR Level 4, students have the phonics and word attack skills necessary to sound out high school level words, though they may not know the meaning of all higher level words.(Word attack skills include things like dividing words into syllables, making analogies to other words, sounding out the word with the accent on different word parts, recognizing affixes, etc…)

Similar examples can be found in spelling. 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. In AAS Level 7, students are spelling high school level words (we use all of the modern Ayers list words which ranks up to 12th grade, and other various lists that rank words between 9th and 12th grade).

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

For reading placement, check out our placement tests: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

For spelling, most students do start with level 1. All About Spelling is a building block program. In this series, 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. So, unless they have learned the earlier rules through another Orton-Gillingham based program, Level 1 will fill in some gaps for them. (However you can progress quickly through the easier words if you are starting an older child. Have your student focus on teaching the skills and concepts back to you but fast-track through the words until you get to harder ones.)

As far as unlearning…Some students have learned word-guessing strategies that hinder their reading. Here’s an article on that: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/break-the-word-guessing-habit/

For spelling, some students try to remember words letter by letter, the way you might memorize a phone number character by character, rather than realizing that some letters work together in teams to produce one sound. Some students don’t really pay attention to the sounds, and leave letters out or add extra letters in. AAS has built in strategies to help with all of these issues.

I hope this helps!

Kerrie Richardson

says:

I have a friend that uses your program and loves it! I hope to try it soon.

sara o.

says:

At what age/grade should we start spelling?

Merry

says:

Hi Sara,

Marie recommends completing All About Reading Level 1 first (or the equivalent, if your child is already reading), and then adding in the All About Spelling program. This way students get a solid start in reading first, and have a strong basis for spelling as well. The 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. I hope this helps!

Kelly

says:

How long should you spend on AAS? Other programs I have looked into mention not more than 10-15 mins per day should be spent on spelling. And how does memorizing a list of rules beneficial to learning how to spell? My older child is an avid reader and an excellent speller and has never had a formal spelling curriculum. Do I need to teach spelling with my younger child?

Merry

says:

Hi Kelly,

We generally recommend 20 minutes per day, but you are free to adjust that to your family’s needs or your child’s attention span. I usually did closer to 15 with my youngest. Short, daily lessons are better than longer but fewer sessions.

Rules are helpful in many situations. For example: when a child hears a word, how does he know whether to use C or K for the /k/ sound at the beginning of a word, or K vs. CK at the end of a word? Almost 4000 words of the most common words use a “hard” c, and nearly another 1000 use K–know the rule of which to use in each situation is much easier than memorizing nearly 5000 words.

AAS teaches the rules that hold true 97% of the time or more, so they are very reliable. Rules along with knowledge of common exceptions helps in a lot of spelling situations. It’s not everything–English is complicated and good spellers typically use a variety of strategies, including phonetic, rules-based, visual, and morphemic strategies. Some students who are natural spellers do internalize the rules and patterns intuitively, but many need to be taught them directly.

As far as whether your youngest will need spelling instruction–it’s difficult to predict whether he will be another natural speller like your oldest. In many, many families there are a wide variety of skills–some kids who learned to read on their own and some who struggle. Some who read very well but spell poorly. Some who never seemed to need any instruction and some who need explicit instruction with lots of review (Marie had one of each in her family). I’ve known siblings of national spelling bee contenders who greatly struggled with language skills–each child is different. So…you could wait and see how things go for your youngest, or you could give AAS a try–completely up to you. I hope this helps as you consider what will be best for your family!

Audrey Maldonado

says:

Love using both for 2 different kids. How do you use both at the same time?

Merry

says:

Hi Audrey,

After a child has completed AAR 1, you move on to AAR 2 and add in the spelling program, starting with level 1. Proceed in each program at your child’s pace. The lessons don’t need to be lined up in any way. We recommend working for about 20 minutes in each program. I hope this helps!

Stephanie Boyd

says:

This answers all my questions! Never considered the difference between the two until starting the programs with my oldest. Hoping to start AAR1 with my 5 year old this fall!

Christa

says:

So many people use this for older kiddos that another “older” version modified for them might sell well!

judith martinez

says:

Do we have to use both in order for the spelling to work well?

Merry

says:

Hi Judith,

No you don’t. The programs are independent of each other so you are free to use just one or both if you like.

Jennifer Crow

says:

If a child learns to spell and recognize words, will reading come easier?

Merry

says:

Most children learn reading more easily than spelling, but occasionally a child will find spelling easier. Either way, spelling does reinforce reading, so it helps and supports reading. It doesn’t replace reading practice for building up fluency, however.

AAS focuses on encoding skills, spelling rules and other strategies that help children become good spellers. AAR includes research-based instruction in decoding, fluency, automaticity, vocabulary, comprehension, and phonemic awareness, and it is truly a complete reading program.

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

mandy bell

says:

I am so excited to find your program!

Terri Baehr

says:

Just going through the explanations it seems to answer most questions. Are your programs faith based?

Merry

says:

Hi Terri,

Our materials are technically secular, but totally Christian-friendly. We’ve gone to great lengths to ensure that our books are Christian-friendly. They are written from a Christian worldview. But since there is no religious content in them, they are secular. I hope this helps! Merry :-)

Jeremy Goodsell

says:

This answers my questions, thanks.

Amy Hui

says:

A friend of mine told me about AAR. I was curious about the difference, but this really helped answer my questions. Thanks!

Louanne

says:

I think this covered everything we need to know and that both programs are great. Thanks.

Felicia B

says:

I was told about your AAS program for my 10 year old, and after reading this page I’m wondering if I should get both? She reads well above her grade level but we haven’t focused too much on spelling. Thanks!

Merry

says:

Hi Felicia,

For a ten-year old reading very well, I would focus just on spelling instead. It doesn’t sound like she needs a reading program. I hope this helps!

Jen

says:

Is it possible to use this curriculum with lots of littles running around?

Merry

says:

Hi Jen,

I’ve known quite a few people who do just that! You may want a safe place to put your magnet board (such as mounting it out of reach or putting it in a closet), but otherwise you should be able to use this like any other curriculum.

April Croissant

says:

I read through the explanations and felt they really were clear. I had not really thought about the different skills required between reading and spelling before reading this article.

Corrie David

says:

We have just started using AAS and my kids are loving it!

Rachel Seely

says:

My daughter has enjoyed AAS, which we learned about through IEW. AAR is newer to me. Glad to know you have a complete program. Thanks for the post.

Mabeline

says:

I do believe that it is a good idea to have both programs because although there are some similarities, there are fundamental differences between encoding and decoding. Just because a child can read, that does not guarantee the child will breeze through spelling without a hitch.

Shahndi

says:

Can I teach two levels of kids at the same time with this program without completely tutoring each one separately?

Merry

says:

Hi Shahndi,

If your two children are working at a similar level, yes you can.

Amy Fulton

says:

I have read some comments about the word lists being easy for older students. I have a son starting 3 rd grade in the fall and I think tis program would be great for him. However, he gets bored easily if he is not challenged. He reads well already so is it ok to start him on level 2 or 3? Or is there a list of supplementary words for older students?

Merry

says:

Hi Amy,

The word lists do start easy, because the program is mastery-based. The words *only* use rules and concepts that have been taught up to that point. All About Spelling is a building block program, so 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.

The way to challenge a student like your son is to take the concept and turn it into a question, such as, “Do you know why we use C for the /k/ sound in ‘cat,’ but K for the /k/ sound in ‘kid?'” See if he knows. If he does–move on to the next lesson rather than wasting his time on word lists and concepts he knows. If he doesn’t–teach him the concept and then give him sample words and tell him, “Now you be the teacher.” Have him teach the concept back to you on a few words until it’s easy for him, and again move on.

Fast track until he hits harder words. Here is an example of how you might do that: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

Some kids are able to start on Level 2. 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

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

becky

says:

Do these programs work best together?

Merry

says:

Hi Becky,

They do reinforce each other well. However, you don’t have to line up the lessons in any way–simply work through each program at your child’s pace.

Bethany

says:

I like what I read concerning the curriculum’s differing approaches to reading and spelling. I have a question though. What are some of the “comprehension strategies” used in AAR?

Merry

says:

Hi Bethany,

Check out the listings under vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension on this page: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/All-About-Reading/All-About-Reading-Level-2/ (or on the level 3 page). AAR helps students learn new vocabulary, practice reading with meaningful expression, helps them get grounded in the correct context before reading a story, and to make connections with experiences from their own lives.

You can also see examples in the teacher’s manual for Levels 2 and 3 especially, of the types of questions and exercises these levels use–look at lessons where a story is taught to see the before and after discussions. http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-lesson-samples/

In the back of each manual, there is actually a 2-page listing of all the comprehension strategies the programs use, which you can also apply to other things you read with your children.

Crystal Knoll

says:

I was researching this today and am trying to figure out if I can use the same level for both my children moving into 2nd and 3rd grade

Merry

says:

Hi Crystal,

If their reading or spelling level (depending on which program you are considering) is about the same, yes you could.

Lisa Fuls

says:

My daughter enjoys All About Spelling’s hands on approach. The tiles help her learn and she has fun at the same time.

Darlene

says:

My question as an SLP I work usually with small groups. Are there ways to make the lessons for AAR and AAS more interactive in a group setting?

Merry

says:

Hi Darlene,

Yes, the materials can be adapted easily for small groups and even classrooms. If you email me at support@allaboutlearningpress.com, I have a document I can send you with more information.

Constance

says:

Hi. Thank you for the detailed explaination of how the two programs work. I have boys who are a grade apart and read differently. One I suspect is dyslexic because of small subtle signs he’s displayed. Does this program work the same to help children who may be dyslexic to read and spell well?

Merry

says:

Hi Constance,

Yes, All About Reading is based on the Orton Gillingham method which has been found to be successful for students with dyslexia. Marie is a member of the International Dyslexia Association, and is an instructor for the graduate level courses in Orton-Gillingham Literacy Training offered through Nicolet College in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. If you haven’t had a chance to watch their story about her son’s struggles, you may want to check out their story. Quite amazing! http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/about

Here are some ways that AAR can help kids with dyslexia and other reading struggles:

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

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

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

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

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

– AAR has built-in review in every lesson. Children with learning disabilities generally need lots of review in order to retain concepts. With AAR, your child will have a Reading Review Box so you can customize the review. This way, you can concentrate on just the things that your child needs help with, with no time wasted on reviewing things that your child already knows. Customized review is important for kids with short attention spans because you want every minute of your lesson to count.

Another benefit of the review is that you can practice with your child what to say–you can rehearse as many or as few times as your child needs to help her become fluent in reading the words. One of the things that Marie noticed when she was researching reading programs is that few programs have enough review built in for kids who struggle to gain fluency.

If you ever have questions along the way, we’re always glad to help.

Constance

says:

Thank you, Merry, for taking the time to respond and for the link to Marie ‘s story. I too am driven by determination (and perhaps a bit of frustration too) to find the best program possible to help my son gain confidence in reading so HE isn’t frustrated.

Knowing what she and her son dealt with and their achievement of overcoming such “obstacles” is very encouraging to me. I have hope, and who knows, perhaps a new program to include in his curriculum.

Thanks for the concise details of the AAR program and clarification of how it is used and can be beneficial for my child.

Merry

says:

You’re welcome. If you have additional questions, feel free to email us at support@allaboutlearningpress.com.

Jean

says:

My youngest son is 3 and I am considering using this program with him in the next couple years. For both AAS and AAR, what is the average age you recommend starting these programs?

Merry

says:

Hi Jean,

Pre-reading is generally used by 4 and 5 year-olds, though occasionally a student slightly older or younger will use it, depending on their needs and/or interests. After that, you would use AAR 1, and then add in spelling (AAS 1) when you are ready to start AAR 2. The spelling and reading programs placement is based on skills learned, rather than age or grade.

Gina

says:

We used AAS for the first time this school year and I have seen such an improvement in spelling for my 3rd and 4th grader. I am a bit stuck on what to do with my 6th and 8th grader though. I tried starting them at level 1, but they were very resistant because they felt these were “baby-ish” word lists. What level is reasonable to begin higher grades? They are great readers, but need work on spelling. I have not figured out if it is laziness or not. They both finished a course in writing and did very well, but they used the computer to write up their papers and depended on the spell-check. However, when they write narrations from their reading, they don’t spell well. My 6th and 8th graders are writing the notebook pages as instructed in the Writing Road to Reading, but it is a bit too complicated for me and we have not progressed in an acceptable pace. What do you suggest?

Gina

says:

Thank you in advance!

Merry

says:

HI Gina,

For older students, what you want to do is fast track until they get to the harder lists. Teach the concept, have them teach it back to you, but don’t make them do all of the easy words or dictations. Instead, turn things into questions. Do they know why we sometimes use C and other times use K for the /k/ sound? If so, move on. If not, cover that rule and then have them teach you, and so on. Here is an example of how you can fast-track them through: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

Natalie H.

says:

Good explanation and we enjoy the AAS curriculum. Thanks!

Michelle

says:

My oldest is completely an independent reader so we are only using AAS right now. It has been obvious to me how different the skills for reading and spelling are. Although AAS is now reinforcing some of the phonics/reading skills she already learned teaching the 2 skills separately was so important. AAR may be in our future when my 2nd child is ready.

Erin

says:

My son just finished “teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons” what level of aar should i start him at? I was planning on starting aar in the fall and adding in aas after christmas. What do you recommend?

Merry

says:

Hi Erin,

Use the placement tests–that’s the best way to decide where he should start: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

Roberta

says:

This blog post helped clear up some questions I did have. Thank you. I wish I could get a do-over with my older kids. :) I know there is still time.

Bree

says:

I can see the difference now – and before I was just viewing everything as “language” which is clearly to general of an approach. I have 2 questions:

1. Is there an age limit to level 1 reading/writing programs… my daughter is still young but is doing all of the things that are listed on the Pre-Reading program as things she will learn. I don’t want to start something to early for her – but I also don’t want to delay her learning because I couldn’t fathom learning to read/spell at her age. (she does recognize some words in books and can sound out sylables to guess at the word a bit)

2. If I do need to go to level 1 – How do you teach the two together, or as another reader listed – how do they dovetail?

Merry

says:

Hi Bree,

Since she is sounding out words and knows the Pre-reading content, it does sound like you could try level 1. Check the placement test http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/, and then look at the online samples for Level 1 and see what you think.

You didn’t mention her age, but definitely wait on spelling until after finishing AAR 1. You can wait until first grade or so if she doesn’t seem ready before then. I hope this helps!

katharine

says:

thanks for the article. we have all about spelling and LOVE it. my 5 year old was reading at about a 4th grade level, but couldn’t spell for beans. not anymore. thanks!

Cristy S

says:

We have tried a couple of workbook style spelling programs, but my girl gets bored with the repetition! So far this year, we’ve been dealing with any spelling issues as they have cropped up in her reading. I’d love to take a closer look at All About Spelling :)

Jodi

says:

I haven’t made spelling a priority with my kiddos, but this explains why I should look more into it, especially with my kids who aren’t getting both very easily. Thanks.

Linda.

says:

I am beyond this point with my daughter, but I am starting to consider what to do with my currently 3 1/2-year-old son. At what age would you typically recommend starting these programs? Would he need to know how to write or just know the letters/sounds?

Thanks

Merry

says:

Hi Linda,

Our pre-reading program is generally for 4-5 year-olds, though occasionally a younger student will use it. Check the placement test if you are thinking he might be ready to sound out words: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

There is no writing in the reading program. Kids tend to pick up on reading faster than writing or spelling, so we separate these skills and let children move at their own pace with each one.

Wait on spelling until after AAR 1–or even a bit longer if he isn’t writing much yet. I hope this helps!

cathie

says:

I”m almost done homeschooling, but I have grandkids that are.Looks interesting.

Garland

says:

Well-explained.

Dawn

says:

Love that you’ve incorporated both.

Connie

says:

We use your All About Spelling program and we absolutely love it! I wish that I would have learned how to spell like this when I was young and in school. Thank you so much for this wonderful curriculum! I am so grateful that my boys are learning the rules of “how” to spell. Memorization is great, but there are so many words in our language. I am grateful they will be able to figure out how to spell words that are new to them even if they have never seen them before. Again, thank you, for this wonderful program! We recommend it to everyone we meet who homeschools and even those in public school who are struggling with spelling.

lisa

says:

I know there are differences but AAS has helped my youngest learn to read

Nikki

says:

Thank you for making such amazing curriculum!

Katrina Hoeft

says:

Thank you for explaining the philosophy behind All About Spelling/Reading. We are looking for a new approach to Spelling this year and the information is very helpful. Is this program easy to jump into for 4th grade students who are good spellers, but who are bored with a traditional spelling curriculum?

Merry

says:

Hi Katrina,

Hopefully this information will help you decide if AAS will be a fit for you.

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 advanced child 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 he 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.

Carrie J

says:

I am so glad you are pointing out the differences. I am a terrible speller, but a great reader. They are two very different things.

Suzanne

says:

I love how easy you make it for me to understand the difference! I can’t wait to start using these products with my son in the fall!

Tiffany S.

says:

My daughter would benefit greatly from All About Spelling. She is a great reader but needs to improve her spelling!

Lydia Hostetler

says:

How much time is needed for each subject? Can we use one a day or do we use them together? Thanks

Merry

says:

Hi Lydia,

We recommend working for about 20 minutes on reading and 20 minutes on spelling each day. Short, daily lessons yield better results than longer but fewer sessions.

Therese A

says:

Is there a difference to the amount of writing between AAR and AAS? Also do you have separate times in the day when teaching each e.g. not teaching AAS directly after AAR? One of my daughters was born with Down Syndrome and has delayed motor skills so how easy would it be to modify AAR and AAS to her needs? Thank you.

Merry

says:

Hi Therese,

There is no writing in the reading program, and you are free to decide when in your day you would like to cover each one. For the spelling program, you could have her just use the tiles if writing is hard for her. Or, if she is able to, have her use some kinesthetic spelling activities: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/kinesthetic-learning/

Stephanie

says:

I believe Spelling and Reading definitely work together…..My two “Little Ones” have trouble in Spelling thus the Reading is harder…..I will be working with them more this Summer on “Phonics” to get them to understand the words better.

Julie

says:

Our family has been so blessed using AAS with my older reluctant speller! Can’t wait to start this program with my preschooler!

April Dupree

says:

I have really enjoyed AAS. It has helped my son very much and is easy for me to teach. I would love to know more about AAR. Thanks for this awesome curriculum.

Dawn

says:

I can’t tell you how much these go hand in hand. They are reading words that they are spelling and spelling words they are reading, All in all it words wonderful!

Michelle Long

says:

I dont have any questions, but like how you can use both together.

Emily M.

says:

Looking forward to using this curriculum to teach reading and spelling.

Kayla Moore

says:

I haven’t used all about reading yet. My son needs it though. :)

Shawna Griffith

says:

Thank you for this! I have been trying to decide which to use with my children this following year. Now I can see that it’s beneficial to use both, especially for my struggling speller.

Stac

says:

I have used All About Spelling, but do not know much about, All About Reading.

Wendy

says:

I use both AAR and AAS. They have been a blessing to us. Simple to follow, fun, and educational.

crystal Pina

says:

We love love love all about reading and look forward to doing both AAR2 & AAS next semester. Thank you for a great program!!!

Jessica B.

says:

This is a helpful blog post for me because I’m using AAR but didn’t think I needed to use AAS also. After cost which may mean I only get to use one, my biggest concern is how to balance doing both curriculums. AAR already takes my daughter a good bit of time and since I have a son older than her, a younger daughter and one on the way, the thought of doing AAS also overwhelms me! Is it something that needs to be done every day?

Merry

says:

Hi Jessica,

We recommend working for 20 minutes per day on reading, and 20 minutes on spelling–so if your reading lessons are typically longer than that, you may want to shorten them. (Some moms even use a timer!). We find that short, daily lessons tend to produce better long-term retention because kids can give their full focus for a short time. If they get tired as time goes on, they tend to have gaps and forget things, and then need more review as you go on.

Some families find that they can combine 2 kids in spelling, or they will choose to have just their struggling spellers use it, and they use something independent for those that don’t struggle. It’s really up to you and what works best for your family.

Branna

says:

I love how the two programs seem to go hand in hand. I’ve been a little concerned about teaching my children spelling because there are so many rules. AAS seems to have it all!

Merry

says:

Hi Branna,

They really are taught incrementally, and you can review them as often as needed–the key cards and review box make that part easy.

Christina

says:

At what age should we begin teaching spelling?

Merry

says:

Hi Christina,

Rather than focusing on age, consider your child’s skill level instead. We recommend starting AAS 1 after your child completes AAR 1 at the earliest. If you have an early reader, you could wait a bit longer.

Alicia

says:

I am so thankful for the opportunity to have a reading and spelling program that goes hand in hand. With the AAR Pre-Reading it’s so easy to start teaching reading at an early age, at what age do you recommend beginning spelling instruction?

Merry

says:

Hi Alicia,

After Pre-reading, go on to AAR level 1, and then add in spelling level 1 when your child is ready to start AAR 2.

Serenity

says:

Interesting

Nicole

says:

Is there a preliminary test for both AAR and AAS to determine what level the child is at, or is it recommended to have the child start at the beginning and work their way through the curriculum?

Heather Galvas

says:

This page has placement tests for all the AAR levels.
http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-reading/

Heather Galvas

says:

This page has a basic guide for helping you choose what level of AAS to start with:
http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-spelling-level-should-we-start-with

Shannon Soehl

says:

I have researched both programs and find them very thorough. We love AAS and I hope to try AAR with my grand daughter.

Rysa Hulsey

says:

Is this program good for an 8 yr old that reads well but hates to read and spell. He is also ADHD.

Merry

says:

Hi Rysa,

I think you’ll find that they will work well for him. With AAR and AAS, we recommend short daily lessons over longer but fewer ones. We recommend spending about 20 minutes per day on AAR (plus 20 minutes reading aloud to him), and 20 minutes on spelling, but you can adjust that to his needs if his attention span is shorter.

Here are some ways that the programs can help kids with ADHD:

– AAR and AAS are multisensory. Each approaches learning through sight, sound, and touch. This helps kids who struggle with memory issues, because they take in information in various ways and also interact with it in various ways.

– The programs also uses specially color-coded letter tiles. Working with the letter tiles can make the difference between understanding or not understanding a concept.

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

– They each have built-in review in every lesson. Children with ADHD generally need lots of review. Customized review is important for kids with short attention spans because you want every minute of your lesson to count–only spending time on what they need to review.

Another benefit of the review is that you can practice with your child what to say–you can rehearse as many or as few times as your child needs to help her remember the concepts.

– AAR and AAS are logical and incremental. They provide the structure, organization and clear guidance that kids who struggle need in order to learn.

Check out the online samples and see what you think.

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

Tracey

says:

I teach preschool at a homeschool co-op and would love to try this with them! I really like what I’ve looked at about the program.

Brandi Miller

says:

We have used AAR 1-3 and love it. We are just getting ready to start AAS and can’t wait!

Kristi

says:

Very interesting. I was wondering when I should start my son on AAS, and this answered many of my questions.

Alicia

says:

I have just started aar with my 4 year old and am planning to use both next year with my 8 year old dyslexic daughter. I am looking forward to catching her up on some missed principles. I already had questions that someone so kindly answered so I have no new ones yet.

Heather Galvas

says:

That helps me understand the difference a little better. I think practice writing the words makes a huge difference, though, and I own AAS 1 and I haven’t seen pages that are blank for my child to be able to practice writing on. I understand that using the tiles is similar, but actually writing the letters helps cement them in the child’s mind. It also allows to test their independent comprehension and application of what has been taught. I’ve noticed a disconnect with my son where he can spell the words with the tiles, but when I’ve independently made a test for him, he can’t seem to shift what he’s learned using the tiles to applying it when writing. I think that’s why incorporating writing exercises in with the letter tile exercises is essential. Does All About Spelling eventually have exercises that involve putting “pen to paper” so-to-speak?

Merry

says:

Hi Heather,

Yes, starting with Level 1, Step 6, the student is supposed to spell words with tiles AND spell on paper (you’ll see “spell on paper” specifically mentioned as a section in the lesson). You can use notebook paper, a white board, or other surfaces if you like as well. We add this in once the students have done some work with the red “sounds” cards where they have practiced writing individual letters based on hearing the sounds–so the skills are building incrementally from hearing individual sounds and writing them, plus segmenting words, to now using both of those skills when they write the words. I hope this helps!

Christina

says:

I don’t have any questions – but I can wholeheartedly recommend AAS!

Shane Colon

says:

My 8 year old son has Autism & ADHD. Lessons can be very trying for him & for me! I’ve started him on AAR 1 because it seemed easier for him with the workbook activities. ASS seemed alittle more difficult. I feel for now it’s a good choice, but what do you recommend later on considering his special issues?

Merry

says:

Hi Shane,

I would wait on spelling until after he has completed at least AAR 1. Then see where he is with writing and other issues.

Camille

says:

I like the way they complement each other – both are great programs.

Kate Burns Nowak

says:

We stopped using a spelling program a few years ago. I am interested to know where to start our kids now with the All About Spelling program.

Merry

says:

Most students start with level 1; here’s an article that explains why: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-level-should-my-older-student-start-with

You can “fast-track” them through until you get to harder words. Here is an example of how you might do that: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

Carol Dixon

says:

We used All About Reading level one last year and can’t wait to move on to level 2 for first grade. We would also like to add level 1 of spelling this year. I am excited to see how the two programs work to advance our sons language arts skills.

Elizabeth

says:

My question would be how do you use AAR and AAS together, and when is the best time to add AAS into the mix?

Merry

says:

Hi Elizabeth,

The best time to start AAS 1 is after your child has finished AAR 1. Then, continue working through both programs at your child’s pace–there is no need to line up the lessons in any way. I hope this helps!

Susanna

says:

I’ve been thinking about incorporating the AAS curriculum into our plan. This post was very helpful! Thanks!

Ranille McCall

says:

I have been looking at AAS all year and am excited to begin it with my first grader next year. She is reading well and I’m looking forward to AAS helping her grow even more in fluency.

Tatia Wooten

says:

I love the ways these two programs complement each other beautifully. This allows the learner to grasp the concepts of reading and spelling from all angles!!

Jana G

says:

Because I’m using both AAS (have used for 3 years) and AAR (have used for 1 year) I can see many of the differences in the curriculums. My question was always whether the levels of each program were designed to teach simultaneously (i.e., teaching AAS level 1 alongside AAR level 1). My son is working through AAR level 1 but doesn’t seem ready to write and spell. Thanks for designing awesome curriculum!

Merry

says:

Hi Jana,

That’s very normal–we find that most kids progress in reading more quickly than they do in spelling. We specifically separated the programs so that kids can progress at their pace in each one. This article explains more: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/why-we-teach-reading-and-spelling-separately/

Jeanee

says:

We finished AAR 1 with my K daughter and we are now halfway through AAS 1. In the fall we will be ready to move to level 2 in both. My question is how you do both without it being overwhelming. Do you recommend alternating days?

Merry

says:

Hi Jeanee,

If you think spelling will be overwhelming, you might want to wait just a bit. Most 1st graders will do 30-60 minutes of language arts. We recommend spending 20 minutes on reading and 20 on spelling–so very doable within that time frame if she’s ready to push that time up to closer to 60 minutes. If not, wait half a year to a year until she is ready. You might like this article on planning language arts as you decide what topics to focus on and do some planning for next year: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/language-arts-in-my-household/

I hope this helps!

Amy Mac

says:

Is it possible to get some blog post about families who are really integrating both programs?

Merry

says:

Hi Amy,

The author of Homeschool Creations uses both. If you scroll down on this page, you can see links to her reviews of each program: http://www.homeschoolcreations.net/

Here’s a post by Teaching Stars, which talks about balancing AAR and AAS with multiple children: http://www.teachingstars.com/2014/02/05/balancing-spelling-reading-children/

Here is a blog post from Delightful Learning–she actually chooses to line up the programs: http://www.delightfullearning.net/2013/06/correlating-all-about-reading-and-all-about-spelling-2.html

(As the writer of this last blog makes clear, we recommend taking each program at your child’s pace rather than trying to line them up–most children will progress in reading faster than they do in spelling, and we don’t want to hold them back in spelling. But you are always free to decide what pacing works best for your child and family.)

I’m already using both AAR (Level 2) and AAS (Level 1) so my only question really is how long it generally takes to get through each step? I initially was trying to do a Step during every spelling lesson but I think I’ve realized that it’s ok to slow down and just work on each step until my son understands the spelling rule and/or phonogram.

Merry

says:

Hi Elizabeth,

The steps are really designed for you to take them at your child’s pace. A spelling step in one day would be quite a challenge for many kids, unless the words were ones they had already memorized! Most kids will take anywhere from 2-5 days to complete a spelling step. Break it down into bite-sized pieces, working about 20 minutes per day, and see how it goes. I hope this helps!

Lynda West

says:

We are already planning on using AAR1 this coming year for Kindergarten. I have read a few reviews that says to start AAS1 put he following year with AAR2. Is this correct? Is ths the suggested way? It seems like doing AAR1 & AAS1 together while just learning how to read would be a little overwhelming…

Merry

says:

Hi Lynda,

Yes, we suggest waiting until after completing AAR 1 before adding in spelling–so you would be using AAR 2 and AAS 1 at the same time. If you have a young reader, or one who isn’t ready for spelling yet, you could wait a bit longer before starting. I hope this helps!

Kerrianne Gahr

says:

Having used AAS Levels 1-3 this school year with my 3 homeschool students, I can only sing its praises! This is a wonderful, fun curriculum which I am learning a lot from as well! I don’t believe I learned all these spelling rules, or I don’t remember them if I did. But the continual review, the reinforcement of concepts already learned, is amazing and so helpful. I am also using AAR 3 with one of my students, who struggles with reading particularly (she is in 3rd grade). This has been a great program for her, because of the little activities she can do while reading words, the stories are engaging and fun. There is SOME overlap, but this has empowered her to feel successful – when she knows something we covered in the other curriculum, this gives her the boost of confidence she greatly needs! It is not ALL the same, otherwise she would be bored with it. That is NOT the case! Highly recommended curriculum, both AAR and AAS !!

martie haley

says:

Im a new homeschooling mom so far I’ve talked to a lot of veteran homeschooler moms and they highly recommend these curriculums .first my understanding of the AAR it teaches phonics, decoding, fluency, and comprehension and its more enjoyable are kids. The AAS is more about encoding skills, spelling rules, and multisensory strategies to help your student become a proficient speller .we downloaded the sound app already and my child loves it.

CarolynG

says:

I would love to add the all about reading and all about spelling to our curriculum. Is it best to do reading and spelling on the same day or alternate them throughout the week??

Merry

says:

Hi Carolyn,

Yes, do short, daily lessons of each. Usually about 20 minutes, but you can adjust that slightly if your child needs. If you have a beginning reader, wait until completing the AAR 1 level before you add in spelling. Then work through both at your child’s pace. I hope this helps!

Melisa

says:

This is a great post explaining the difference between AAR and AAS. We are getting ready to start our homeschooling journey with our oldest and as I have looked around at different curriculums, I find myself drawn back to these programs. I love that they use a multisensory approach and I like the way the lessons build on each other. I also appreciate that this program has a spelling curriculum that is separate from reading.

Shelly Roy

says:

My question about the differences between All About Reading and All About Spelling is can I use different levels of each subject, or do I need to order the same level?

Merry

says:

Yes, you can–you don’t need to line up the levels or the lessons in any way.

DailyWoman (Lacey)

says:

Even if your child is good at reading can they benefit from the AAR program?

Merry

says:

If your child is still learning how to read, yes. Check out the placement tests to decide where to start. If your child is beyond the program, then just focus on spelling.

Kathy Wilber

says:

Do you have to do all the levels of AAS or can you skip?

Merry

says:

Hi Kathy,

All About Spelling is a building block program,so 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. If you skip levels, your child will have gaps in understanding that will make spelling upper level words much more difficult.

Melinda

says:

I have been using AAS and my daughter has almost completed level 2. She is doing great and her frustration with spelling has decreased. She told me the other day that spelling is so much easier because it is like she has a cheat sheet in her head (aka spelling rules). Curious how long it typically takes to get through all seven levels?

Merry

says:

Hi Melinda,

Most students work through the series in 4-7 years. Some will spend a year per level, while others may go through the first 2-4 levels more quickly.

Sonja

says:

Do you have to start at the first level and work your way up? Or can you start in the middle around the child’s grade level?

Merry

says:

For reading, use our placement tests to decide where to start. However, know that the levels are not the same as grade levels. At the end of Level 4, students have the phonics and word attack skills necessary to sound out high school level words, though they may not know the meaning of all higher level words.(Word attack skills include things like dividing words into syllables, making analogies to other words, sounding out the word with the accent on different word parts, recognizing affixes, etc…)

For spelling, you do need to start at the beginning. 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.

Christina

says:

I’ve started AAR1, when do I start AAS1?

Merry

says:

Hi Christina,

You can start spelling after completing AAR 1. Move on to AAR 2 and AAS 1 at that point, and work through each program at your child’s pace.

Amanda

says:

If I have a child beginning from the earliest ages with both programs how do they dovetail together?

Merry

says:

Hi Amanda,

We recommend starting AAS 1 after completing AAR 1, and working through both programs at your child’s pace. There’s no need to line up the levels in any way. 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/

Kalee Duncan

says:

We just got in AAR 1 to start this coming fall for Kindergarten! I read that it was recommended to finish AAR 1 before beginning AAS 1. So when he finishes AAR 1, should I then start AAR 2 and AAS 1 at the same time?

Merry

says:

Hi Kalee,

You’ve got it!

Heidi

says:

My son is already a very good reader. I stumbled upon your All About Spelling program through a google search and it looks fantastic. My son is eager to start spelling and writing. Your program is the only one that I’ve seen that teaches the rules of spelling, which I never learned in school! I’m looking forward to learning along with my son.

Kira

says:

This will be my first year trying the All About Reading. We are excited to see what it is all about!

Britni

says:

I am starting my daughter off with pre-k this year. I understand AAR is meant for older children around K or 1st, but I was wondering if there were parts of the curriculum that could be incorporated into her pre-k year? Or should I just hold out completely until next year?

Merry

says:

Hi Britni,

Placement is actually not related to your child’s age at all. Check out our placement tests to see if your daughter would start with Pre-reading or Level 1 of AAR: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

Thalia W

says:

Hi have both programs and they are great. My 3rd grades is doing level 4 of spelling and my first grader is doing the AAR and AAS level 1. Love this programs!!!

Melissa S.

says:

Hi, my daughter is currently working on AAR Level 1. She is showing some interest in learning how to spell. Should we wait until she is finished with AAR 1 to begin AAS 1?

Merry

says:

Hi Melissa,

If she doesn’t mind waiting, AAR 1 will cover some topics gradually (such as the multiple sounds for the phonograms) that AAS 1 only quickly reviews. Most of the time, it’s easier for kids to transition after AAR 1. But, I like to capitalize on a child’s interest, so if she’s ready and excited now, try it out and see how she does!

JulieC

says:

My son is doing AAR Level 3 and AAS Level 3. He will complete the spelling this month, but won’t complete the reading until next school year. Is it a problem if he is ahead in the spelling instead of the reading? He’s in 1st grade, but is really excelling. Should I put the brakes on the spelling for awhile until he catches up in the reading?

Merry

says:

Hi Julie,

Not a problem at all–let him keep working in both programs at his pace. And, you may have noticed that the same items are not covered in AAS 3 that are covered in AAR 3. AAR 3 actually covers concepts from AAS Levels 3 and 4.

The final level for reading is AAR 4, and that covers concepts from AAS 5-7. So, there’s no need for the levels to line up in any way. As long as he’s retaining what he’s learning, I’d say you’re doing just fine!

Melissa

says:

How effective is AAR for struggling readers?

Merry

says:

Hi Melissa,

The materials are very helpful for struggling learners whether they have a diagnosed learning disability or just struggle with reading. Both All About Reading and All About Spelling are Orton-Gillingham based. Marie is a member of the International Dyslexia Association, and is an instructor for the graduate level courses in Orton-Gillingham Literacy Training offered through Nicolet College in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. If you haven’t had a chance to watch their story about her son’s struggles, you may want to check that out. Quite amazing!

http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/about

Here are some ways that AAR and AAS can help kids who struggle with reading or spelling:

-The programs are incremental and mastery based. Our sequence was very carefully tested to reduce confusion for the child. A student will master one concept at a time before adding in others.

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

– They use specially color-coded letter tiles. Working with the letter tiles can make the difference between understanding or not understanding a concept.

– AAS and AAR are scripted, so you can concentrate on your child. The script is very clear, without excess verbiage. Marie also spent a lot of time researching how to word the rules. Our rules are worded so they are as easy for children to remember as possible.

– Both have built-in review in every lesson. Children who struggle with reading or spelling generally need lots of review in order to retain concepts. After a concept has been taught, don’t assume that the child knows it. Quickly revisit that concept again in the next lesson. With AAR and AAS, your child will have a Review Box so you can customize the review. This way, you can concentrate on just the things that your child needs help with, with no time wasted on reviewing things that your child already knows. Customized review is important for kids with short attention spans because you want every minute of your lesson to count.

Another benefit of the review is that you can practice with your child what to say–you can rehearse as many or as few times as your child needs to help him remember the concepts. One of the things that Marie noticed when she was researching reading programs is that few programs have enough review built in for kids who struggle to gain fluency, which is why AAR includes lots of reading practice.

– AAR and AAS are logical and incremental. They provide the structure, organization and clear guidance that kids who struggle need in order to learn.

-AAS includes dictation that starts out very short–Level 1 starts out with just words and then progresses to 2-word phrases. Level 2 includes phrases and shorter sentences, while Level 3 moves up to slightly longer sentences. With dictation you will say the phrase or sentence and have your child repeat it. If possible, you want to encourage your child to really focus so that you only say the phrase or sentence once, and they can repeat it and then write it. You are training them to expand their working memory a little at a time. You can always break things down more to meet your student’s needs, too. The dictation is meant to be spread over several days, so you can take as much or as little time on that part as your child needs.

I hope this helps!

Stacey Baptista

says:

What are the differences between materials used in AAR and AAR?

Stacey B

says:

What are the differences in materials used for AAR and AAS?

Merry

says:

Hi Stacey,

The materials are mostly different.

Both use an interactive kit, and the Basic Interactive Kits are almost identical (these have the letter tiles, magnets, Phonogram Sounds download, and divider cards). So, you will only need one Interactive Kit. If you have a reading kit, then the only item you would need from the Spelling Interactive Kit is the Spelling Divider Cards and the Spelling Review Box (or a 3″ X 5″ index card box).

The Level Materials for AAS and AAR are different–there is almost no overlap between the two. Each program has it’s own teacher’s manual for each level, which has the lessons all laid out for you (as Marie’s links above demonstrate).

The Spelling materials packets have 4 types of cards (phonogram, sound, key, and word cards), and various other materials for spelling–word banks, consumable booklets, spelling strategies charts, and so on, depending on the level. (If you are on the website–the bottom of each level’s “page” lists the items separately–click on a student materials packet to see a list of items in that packet).

An AAR packet will have phonogram and word cards (there is overlap here with the phonogram cards and some of the words, but many are different and there are more word cards for reading also). Each level also has an activity book with various hands-on activities and fluency reading pages, readers, and materials used for that level of reading (for example, Level 1 has a viewfinder bookmark to help beginning readers).

I hope this helps!

Shannon

says:

In my heart, I know that AAR and AAS is just what my 11 yr old son needs. Just this year we started an online charter school for him and so much he was unable to read by himself! While in B&M schools, no one ever brought up the fact that he shows so many markers of dyslexia. So next year, we are going to focus on his reading and spelling and hope to use AAR and AAS.

Merry

says:

Hi Shannon,

I hope it goes well. Email us any time for help–we provide lifetime support for all of our programs.

Audrey Thomas

says:

This year was the first year my daughter was homeschooled, and I was able to see just how far behind she really is. Her strengths are reading and literature. Her favorite thing to do is read! However, her spelling is one area she needs much help in. I was actually suprised at the words she is misspelling. I think All About Spelling will be great for her for next school year, but I just don’t know what level to start her at. Next year I will have her repeat the 6th grade curriculum (different curriculum) since she has missed so much. I was thinking of 5th grade level to start All About Spelling, but I am so unsure.

Merry

says:

Hi Audrey,

All About Spelling is a building block program, rather than a grade-level oriented program.

In this series, 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.

Very often, the reason older students struggle with spelling is that they are missing some basic yet important information. For example, most struggling 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.

We also 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 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 her 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 daughter knows the words. Pull out several words as examples. Make sure she 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 daughter hits words or concepts she doesn’t already know. Here is an example of how you might do that: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

I hope this helps!

Gennie Shelor

says:

I love AAS. the incremental approach really works for us.

Leah

says:

What grade level do I begin all about spelling?

Merry

says:

Hi Leah,

Start All About Spelling after your child has learned some reading basics. If you are using AAR, you would add spelling in after completing AAR 1.

Melinda

says:

Just bought All About Spelling.

Merry

says:

Congratulations! Enjoy!

Stacie N

says:

I love the reading program and I feel the spelling could help my reluctant speller…

Wendie

says:

I was just looking for spelling but now I’m pondering the reading program as well.

Vonnie

says:

Just learning about these programs. My 9 year old struggles with reading and spelling.

Carla

says:

Interested in this curriculum.

Christine

says:

My son and I are really loving AAR and are anxious to start AAS. Such great programs with beautiful illustrations.

Ann

says:

Just learning about AAR/AAS. My child has dyslexia and I hope to try this program soon. Sounds like it would be extremely helpful. I’ve been praying for a program and I think I found it.

Mackenzie Foust

says:

Can the tiles be used interchangeably?

Merry

says:

Hi Mackenzie,

Yes, the same tiles are used for reading and spelling.

Stephanie

says:

I am really interested in this program for my 8-year-old. He is great with sounding out words, but lacking when it comes to comprehension. Would this program be good for him?

Merry

says:

Hi Stephanie,

Yes it would. Reading comprehension issues can happen for a variety of reasons. For example:
1, gaps in phonogram knowledge
2, fluency issues (they can sound out what they read but can’t read it fluently–if students are focusing on the work of reading, they won’t be able to focus on understanding what they read)
3, word guessing issues–students rely on word-guessing strategies, and incorrect guesses lead to a lack of comprehension
4, vocabulary issues (they may have the phonics skills to sound out and spell words that they don’t know the meaning of yet–this can happen especially with young, advanced readers. For example, think of a simple word like “milkman.” How many 21st century kids would have any idea what a milkman is?!)
5, lack of life experience (can’t relate to what they are reading because of young age).
6, they do understand but feel overwhelmed when asked to put what they know into words. If this is the case, you might notice similar issues with listening comprehension. Students may need more specific prompts to share what they know. Likewise, if the measure of comprehension is written, students may feel bored (it’s busy work) or overwhelmed by the task of writing, or the questions asked may be overly picky (focusing on aspects of the story that were unimportant, for example).

All About Reading includes strategies for dealing with all of these. Additionally, in levels 2 and 3, there is a 2-page list of Comprehension Activities in the appendix so that you can apply the same strategies AAR is using to other reading and listening materials for your child.

Sasha

says:

I have a 6 year old that is struggling with reading, we have been hodge podging things together for him this year. Would All About Reading be a good fit for a struggling reader? He also does not enjoy workbook pages, so is the workbook an essential part or could we limit the use of it?

Marcie

says:

All About Reading is AMAZING! You definitely need the student packet but it’s not really a workbook. It’s full of activities, games and reading lists that are essential. My 5 year old loves it and even asks to do it on the week-ends. It is worth every penny and I’d definitely recommend it for a struggling reader.

Merry

says:

Hi Sasha,

As Marcie said, the student activity book really isn’t a workbook–we don’t require any writing in AAR. We find that kids generally move ahead more quickly in reading, and we don’t want to hold them back with writing or spelling.

The materials are very helpful for struggling learners whether they have a diagnosed learning disability or just struggle with reading. Both All About Reading and All About Spelling are Orton-Gillingham based. Marie is a member of the International Dyslexia Association, and is an instructor for the graduate level courses in Orton-Gillingham Literacy Training offered through Nicolet College in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. If you haven’t had a chance to watch their story about her son’s struggles, you may want to check that out. Quite amazing!

http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/about

Here are some ways that AAR and AAS can help kids who struggle with reading or spelling:

-The programs are incremental and mastery based. Our sequence was very carefully tested to reduce confusion for the child. A student will master one concept at a time before adding in others.

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

– They use specially color-coded letter tiles. Working with the letter tiles can make the difference between understanding or not understanding a concept.

– AAS and AAR are scripted, so you can concentrate on your child. The script is very clear, without excess verbiage. Marie also spent a lot of time researching how to word the rules. Our rules are worded so they are as easy for children to remember as possible.

– Both have built-in review in every lesson. Children who struggle with reading or spelling generally need lots of review in order to retain concepts. After a concept has been taught, don’t assume that the child knows it. Quickly revisit that concept again in the next lesson. With AAR and AAS, your child will have a Review Box so you can customize the review. This way, you can concentrate on just the things that your child needs help with, with no time wasted on reviewing things that your child already knows. Customized review is important for kids with short attention spans because you want every minute of your lesson to count.

Another benefit of the review is that you can practice with your child what to say–you can rehearse as many or as few times as your child needs to help him remember the concepts. One of the things that Marie noticed when she was researching reading programs is that few programs have enough review built in for kids who struggle to gain fluency, which is why AAR includes lots of reading practice.

– AAR and AAS are logical and incremental. They provide the structure, organization and clear guidance that kids who struggle need in order to learn.

-AAS includes dictation that starts out very short–Level 1 starts out with just words and then progresses to 2-word phrases. Level 2 includes phrases and shorter sentences, while Level 3 moves up to slightly longer sentences. With dictation you will say the phrase or sentence and have your child repeat it. If possible, you want to encourage your child to really focus so that you only say the phrase or sentence once, and they can repeat it and then write it. You are training them to expand their working memory a little at a time. You can always break things down more to meet your student’s needs, too. The dictation is meant to be spread over several days, so you can take as much or as little time on that part as your child needs.

I hope this helps!

Karmen

says:

How young is too young to begin teaching these subjects?

Merry

says:

Hi Karmen,

Our Pre-reading program is designed for 4 and 5 year-olds, but we have had some motivated 3 year-olds use it as well. You may have to help with some things (like cutting or pasting), but it’s good to capitalize on a child’s interest.

We recommend not starting the spelling program until after completing AAR 1.

Charlene

says:

I just bought AAS to use with my 12 and 9 yo sons, who are both looking forward to getting started on it as much as I am. They currently hate writing because of their difficulties with spelling, so I am hoping that having a better grasp on spelling will help them feel freer to express themselves in writing too…

Merry

says:

Great, enjoy your materials! If you have any questions, you can always email us.

Danielle

says:

I am pretty sure that I need AAS, and AAR looks really cool. But, if I did both, wouldn’t my children get bored with the same methods being taught twice a day? Also, I am concerned about AAR because my daughter is very gifted in reading and learns in huge leaps. Would she be bored or how easy is it to tailor to her needs?

Merry

says:

Danielle,

If your daughter is gifted in reading, you may just want to focus on spelling. The programs are designed to be independent of each other, so you are free to do one or both of them–whatever meets your family’s needs.

If both would be helpful, I think you’ll find that the activities are not very redundant. Only the phonograms and rules are the same. The activities for each are different. For example, in a day of reading, a child might read “word bones” to feed a monster, play a matching game, learn vocabulary words, discuss and read a story, learn about literary terms, practice reading phrases or sentences on a fluency page, or other various reading activities.

In a day of spelling, a student might practice making words with letter tiles, play “change the word” games with tiles, write word lists, write phrases or sentences from dictation, make up sentences or a short little story with words, alphabetize words, use tactile or kinesthetic methods for writing words (such as using a finger in sand, writing in sidewalk chalk outside, or any other creative surface you might like), and so on.

Probably not all of these in one day! But hopefully this gives you a snapshot of how different reading activities and spelling activities are.

Danielle

says:

Thank you for the reply, that helps when making this decision!

Vicki

says:

Can you start the reading curriculum with an older(11) dyslexic child? If so, where do we start?

Merry

says:

Yes, we’ve even had teens and adults use the materials. Here’s a link to the placement tests for AAR: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

Let me know if you have specific questions about where you might start.

Selena Mc

says:

What is the age/grade range these programs cover?

Merry

says:

The levels in All About Reading and All About Spelling actually don’t correlate to specific grades, because the order of the words in them is not “grade-level” order. As an example for reading, on one simple online reading assessment, a child completing AAR 1 would be able to read most of the words on the 1st grade list, about half of the 2nd grade list, and a third of the words on the 3rd and 4th grade lists. There are even a couple of words on the 5th and 6th grade lists that they would have the skills to sound out, though they might not know their meaning yet.

At the end of AAR Level 4, students have the phonics and word attack skills necessary to sound out high school level words, though they may not know the meaning of all higher level words.(Word attack skills include things like dividing words into syllables, making analogies to other words, sounding out the word with the accent on different word parts, recognizing affixes, etc…)

Similar examples can be found in spelling. 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. In AAS Level 7, students are spelling high school level words (we use all of the modern Ayers list words which ranks up to 12th grade, and other various lists that rank words between 9th and 12th grade).

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

Brooke Martin

says:

Thanks for this post, it cleared up a lot of questions and was very helpful!

Dayahana

says:

So should one be started before the other? And how do you know when to start?

Merry

says:

Hi Dayahana,

Yes, start with reading first. Our Pre-reading program can be used with preschool and kindergarten aged children. If you have an older child, take the placement tests to see if the student is ready for level 1 or higher: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

Wait to start spelling until after completing AAR 1 (or the equivalent, if the student is already reading). Then start with AAS 1, and continue working on both programs at your child’s pace. I hope this helps!

Amber

says:

Just about to finish AAR 1 with my son, and we have both loved it. I realized that it’s time to start spelling and then saw this blog post! I was wondering what the “average” amount of time is to complete a level of AAR or AAS? We have been going at a super relaxed (maybe too relaxed) pace and I wonder of it hurts retention?

Merry

says:

Hi Amber,

There’s not right or wrong answer as far as pacing. The fact that you and your son have both loved it tells me you hit on a great pace for both of you! Generally we recommend working on reading for about 20 minutes daily. I hope this helps!

Emily

says:

Thank you for this article! It was so helpful and answered many of my questions.

Rebecca :)

says:

We just started using AAR for our Kindergarten daughter and AAS for our 4th grade son. We all love them! This is our second year homeschooling and I was scared of the immense responsibility of teaching our daughter how to read. AAR made it so easy and fun at the same time! She never showed too much interest before starting the program, but started reading different words within just a few days of starting!

Our son and I struggled through the spelling program we used last year. It sounded good, but did not address any of the important teaching strategies AAS has implemented to help them really understand WHY certain words are spelled a certain way, etc. This was important to me both as his teacher and as someone who holds a degree in Training & Development (Adult Education though). It makes a world of difference and he has excelled with AAS! I saw it recommended to start with level 1. I figured he could start with level 3. Once we read through it though, I quickly realized that he really should have started with level 1. So, we stopped and went back. He finished level 1 in a week, but it contained some important foundational lessons, so we were very thankful for it! He is now in level 5!

Thank-you so much for this thorough program! :)

gail Theriot

says:

Does the program work for most kids?

Merry

says:

Hi Gail,

Yes, it’s helpful for all kinds of learners because it incorporates visual, auditory, and kinesthetic strategies. Here’s a recent article with more information: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-multisensory/

Annie Norton

says:

I have heard so many good things about both of these programs and would love to try them out on my 5th grader who is a struggling reader/speller and my 2nd grader. Thanks!

Rebecca :)

says:

I just posted a comment, but we started our son on AAS this year (4th grade). He REALLY struggled last year & this program has been absolutely fantastic! Don’t try to skimp though. Start him/her on level 1. It contains some foundational rules/principles that will be used later. Doing this will also build confidence, both in themselves and the program, which will help them enjoy it all more.

Our daughter started Kindergarten this year, so not quite the same as 2nd grade, but it was fantastic for her too! :)

Jen

says:

This is a great explanation of the differences between AAR and AAS. I don’t have any questions now. And I’m looking forward to switching to AAS with my sons this coming school year. Thanks!

Kassi

says:

I hope this works for my son. I think this will be a good fit for him.

Shannon Alexander

says:

I don’t have any questions about it but thanks for the article!

Beth

says:

Love AAS, going to start AAR in the fall with DD2! My only question is should I start her on AAS1 at the same time, or wait until she has a grasp of the AAR concepts first?

Merry

says:

Hi Beth,

Work through AAR 1 first, and then add in the spelling program. Continue in both programs at your child’s pace. I hope this helps!

Ruth

says:

We are using AAR this year and are looking forward to adding AAS next year!

Melinda

says:

I love this article. I taught first grade for a few years before becoming a stay at home mom and this is a great reminder about why we teach both reading and spelling, how they work together but are different skills.

Crystal

says:

Do you use all about spelling and all about reading together for a 1st grader?

Merry

says:

Hi Crystal,

It depends on what level in the reading program your 1st grader is ready for. If he or she places in Level 1, then work through AAR 1 first, and then add in the spelling program. Continue in both programs at your child’s pace. I hope this helps!

Lisa

says:

For a Kindergarten student, would it be appropriate to use both programs daily?

Merry

says:

Hi Lisa,

Most Kindergarten students are either working on Pre-reading or AAR 1. Use the reading placement tests to decide where to start. Then, after you finish AAR 1, you can add in AAS 1, and continue with both programs at your child’s pace. You don’t need to line up the levels or lessons in any way.

Mary Happymommy

says:

Do the programs work for children with ADHD.

Merry

says:

Hi Mary,

Yes. We recommend short daily lessons over longer but fewer ones. Spend about 20 minutes per day on each one, but you can adjust that to your student’s needs if his attention span is shorter.

Here are some ways that AAR and AAS can help kids with ADHD and other learning struggles:

-The programs are incremental and mastery based. Our sequence was very carefully tested to reduce confusion for the child. A student will master one concept at a time before adding in others.

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

– They use specially color-coded letter tiles. Working with the letter tiles can make the difference between understanding or not understanding a concept.

– AAS and AAR are scripted, so you can concentrate on your child. The script is very clear, without excess verbiage. Marie also spent a lot of time researching how to word the rules. Our rules are worded so they are as easy for children to remember as possible.

– Both have built-in review in every lesson. Children with learning disabilities generally need lots of review in order to retain spelling concepts. After a concept has been taught, don’t assume that the child knows it. Quickly revisit that concept again in the next lesson. With AAR and AAS, your child will have a Review Box so you can customize the review. This way, you can concentrate on just the things that your child needs help with, with no time wasted on reviewing things that your child already knows. Customized review is important for kids with short attention spans because you want every minute of your lesson to count.

Another benefit of the review is that you can practice with your child what to say–you can rehearse as many or as few times as your child needs to help him remember the concepts. One of the things that Marie noticed when she was researching reading programs is that few programs have enough review built in for kids who struggle to gain fluency, which is why AAR includes lots of reading practice.

– AAR and AAS are logical and incremental. They provide the structure, organization and clear guidance that kids who struggle need in order to learn.

-AAS includes dictation that starts out very short–Level 1 starts out with just words and then progresses to 2-word phrases. Level 2 includes phrases and shorter sentences, while Level 3 moves up to slightly longer sentences. With dictation you will say the phrase or sentence and have your child repeat it. If possible, you want to encourage your child to really focus so that you only say the phrase or sentence once, and they can repeat it and then write it. You are training them to expand their working memory a little at a time. You can always break things down more to meet your son’s needs, too. The dictation is meant to be spread over several days, so you can take as much or as little time on that part as your student needs.

I hope this helps!

Nancy

says:

I am so grateful for this program. Wished I had known about it sooner! It has really helped us to focus on the areas that we needed. My son is actually enjoying reading now. It has been along journey. Thanks Marie!

Mary R

says:

I’m looking forward to using All About Spelling with my daughter with processing difficulties next year. She reads very well, but spelling is far more difficult for her.

Kelly

says:

Love All About Spelling and wish I would have started All About Reading too. Such a great program!

Sherri

says:

What is the optimal age to start AAS? Does it use spelling tricks to help remember the sequence?

Merry

says:

Hi Sherri,

You can start AAS any time after your student has completed AAR 1 (or the equivalent, if you are using another reading program). For most children, that will be in first or 2nd grade. AAS can work very well for older, remedial learners, and also young students who are very interested in spelling. It’s even been used by teens and adults–the strategies are helpful for learners of all ages.

Here’s an article that describes the four main strategies that AAS uses: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/effective-spelling-strategies

Lenora D

says:

I see the differences would it be OK to try to different paced learners at the same time?

Merry

says:

Hi Lenora,

You can start them together and see how it goes. You may find that you need to separate them though, if one is obviously able to move ahead more quickly than the other.

Michelle

says:

Will these work with my Down syndrome child?

Merry

says:

Hi Michelle,

We don’t have a lot of feedback yet from those trying this with children who have Down Syndrome. We’ve had quite a few inquiries this year, and hope to hear more feedback soon. Recently a couple of moms posted on our Facebook page that the Pre-reading program has worked well for their kids with Down Syndrome. Here’s a link to that conversation: https://www.facebook.com/allaboutlearningpress/posts/643622489045908

Alicia

says:

We are currently doing AAR level 1 and love it. I did read that it is best to stay one level behind on the AAS, but is there any harm in starting it earlier?

Merry

says:

Hi Alicia,

If you have a student who is very interested in spelling and writing, you could start sooner and just take it at his pace. Several concepts that AAR 1 teaches gradually are only quickly reviewed in AAS 1, so that’s one reason why we say to wait to start AAS. But once you start, just take each program at your child’s pace. Spend about 20 minutes each day on spelling and move as quickly or as slowly as needed. Enjoy!

Tracy

says:

Thanks for this explanation. I’m switching from SWR and can’t wait to get started.

Merry

says:

Hi Tracy,

Let us know if you have any questions along the way!

Tammy Jones

says:

I have a son that needs to start the AAR and a daughter who REALLY needs AAS. I’ve heard great things about your programs.

Stacy Wiley

says:

We have purchased AAS1 for next year, but I am hesitant to jump into AAR because my son is already reading and I don’t know if we will enjoy jumping in on a higher level not being familiar with the program. I would LLOVE to start the pre-reading program with my younger son, though! Would love to win!

Merry

says:

Hi Stacy,

It’s really up to you. However, do know that you can start AAR in the higher levels and be just fine. Use the placement tests to decide where he would place, then take a look at the samples and see what you think.

Laura Kooistra

says:

Wondering about AAS for a 14 year old who is developing solid writing skills, but was slow to read and has poor spelling skills…

Merry

says:

Hi Laura,

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

We have had high schoolers (and even adults) who have used the program. This blog entry demonstrates how I used the program with my 15-year-old son: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-spelling-in-action-2/

Marie used these same methods for tutoring teens and adults as well. 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.

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 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.

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 which level your student should start with: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/which-spelling-level-should-we-start-with

Marie encourages parents and teachers to “fast track” through the beginning level or two 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 the student knows the words. Pull out several words as examples. Demonstrate the concept and have him teach it back to you. Make sure your student understands the concept being taught, and then move on. Whatever cards have already been mastered, move behind the Mastered divider. Older students who do need the content in Level 1 typically only need a few weeks to fill in those gaps, and then they are ready to move on.

Bottom line: with older students, work quickly through the areas the student already knows, and slow down in the areas that need extra attention. There is absolutely no need to spend time on things that have already been mastered. “Fast track” until your student hits words he doesn’t already know. Here is an example of how you might do that: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

You also don’t have to use the letter tiles if your teen 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.

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.

Holly

says:

I’ve heard great things about these programs!

Sharon

says:

I really like the AAR. The books are well made and we love the quality pencil drawings. We are still in level 1 at the moment but look forward to the rest.
I was a struggling reader but one day as an older child it all just clicked, however, I never did learn how to spell (gotta love spell check). I hope that my spelling improves while I walk my dd through AAS.

marie

says:

Great article! It is extremely difficult, however, to do both when you have two kids who struggle. Do you recommend teaching both subjects each day? I was thinking about doing AAR one week and AAS the next. My older son, age 11, is in AAR 3 and AAS 2 while the younger son, age 8, is in AAR 2 and AAS 1. I also have a younger daughter, age 7, going through the program with my 8 year old. She is catching on to reading beautifully and I feel I am holding her back but the thought of letting her pass her older brother is a little worrisome. Any suggestions?

Merry

says:

Hi Marie,

Yes, it IS very difficult when you have two children who struggle with learning to read and spell. (I also went through that, and know that some years were very mentally and physically exhausting!). I found it helped me to really be careful about my priorities–and to also make sure that I included a subject that my kids enjoyed and excelled at. They need something to work on that encourages their giftings too.

For example–my kids enjoyed history, legos, art (painting, drawing, sculpture with sculpey clay…) and imaginative play, so I had lots of audios they could listen to. They could do this independently, and it gave them a sense of accomplishment to build something with legos or make a project I could display. And I was often surprised when I’d teach something from history, even years later, and they were already familiar with the person or event. Finding something they do well or enjoy that they can do with little or no help will encourage all of you and make the day seem lighter.

I also found that, while I tried not to compare, I felt this “weight” of language arts–it’s such a huge topic and I felt like we needed to do all of these things. Eventually I learned that following a logical progression of topics and not overloading our day with all kinds of things that all needed my one on one guidance with them made a lot more sense, took the burden off of them (so they felt free to learn) and me as well. If you find yourself feeling pressured to add writing or grammar, take a step back and give yourself permission to work on those topics informally. Correct grammar gently in their speech and have them repeat the correct phrasing. Write little notes to each other in an interactive journal, or use pretty handwriting paper for an occasional note to relatives, but wait just a bit before trying to add in more complete/formal LA programs. From experience I can tell you that it’s much easier to work on a writing program when the student has mastered at least 1000 spelling words (after AAS 3). Here’s an article on planning LA that you may find helpful. http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/language-arts-in-my-household/

Skill subjects like reading and spelling don’t work very well with any kind of block scheduling. Kids are likely to forget, especially spelling rules, if they don’t practice daily. However, lesson times don’t need to be long–20 minutes is good for your younger ones for each subject–maybe even just 15 on spelling. And for your oldest, I would do 30 minutes on reading and 15-20 on spelling. This puts you at spending about 1.5 hours on language arts with all 3 of them. Add in 30 minutes or so for math, and then do something lighter for history or science, such as a read-aloud, or letting them listen to an audio. My kids also enjoyed seeing science experiments on video (Sonlight has “Discover and Do” videos which we sometimes used for “Mom’s worn out” days!)

Content subjects like history and science work much better for block scheduling. You can alternate days, weeks, units, quarters–whatever you like.

We always did our literature read-alouds at bedtime. Don’t underestimate how much these accomplish. I count them as one of the most important things we did throughout our schooling years. They help greatly with vocabulary, language skills, and provide great discussions and enjoyable bonding-times shared on the couch together.

Hang in there, I hope this helps somewhat!

Krystal

says:

Should you wait until you finish the first level of reading before you start spelling or can you start halfway?

Merry

says:

Hi Krystal,

We recommend completing AAR 1 first, and then adding in spelling. Several concepts that are taught gradually in AAR 1 will be quickly reviewed in AAS 1.

sonya gruman

says:

I haven’t used this product but it looks great. I hope I can win it.

Donna E.

says:

We did not start All About Spelling until we finished All About Reading 1. We are using Reading 2 and Spelling 1 now and my son is doing great – Thank you Marie

Martianne

says:

If you ahd to pick just ONE of these for a child with possible dyslexia, which would you suggest?

Merry

says:

Hi Martianne,

It all depends on which subject needs work. Reading is so important to learning, and if reading is a struggle for your child with dyslexia, I would definitely go with that. You can always add in spelling later on. If your child’s dyslexia mainly affects spelling and other areas, but reading isn’t an issue–then work on spelling.

Angela

says:

I like the reading program I currently use, how to teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons, but you have intrigued me to take a look at the all about reading!

liesl

says:

Living in South Africa with no resources for autism then by chance found this site. My son cant go to a normal school my friend started a centrum for our kids. It is of at most importance to have both program! The one can’t go without the other!

Katie R.

says:

I can see how people may want to choose one or the other but just because the child can see a word doesn’t mean they can recall it back to you. My son can read at or above his grade level but if I asked him to spell many of the words he reads (even frequent ones) he can’t always do it. In my mind, both these programs are a necessity!

Jehanne

says:

For a second grader, do you have to use both, or start with just AAR?

Merry

says:

Hi Jehanne,

If your second grader places in AAR 1, I would start with just that. Then, after he finishes that, you can add in AAS 1 and continue in both programs. You’ll spend about 20 minutes in each program, so you don’t need long sessions–short, daily lessons are best.

Tera Gray

says:

I love the AAR and AAS. Thank you for all the help with teaching reading.

Jennifer E.

says:

Thank you for such a thorough explanation. I don’t have any questions right now but might later as we progress into learning to read more.

Alicia

says:

Reading the sample lessons here they seem very long and detailed. I don’t really remember much of when I was learning to read. I think it was mostly easy and fluid. I know I did learn phonograms at school, but the lessons just seems like a lot of time and effort going into learning to read. Is it just sounding out the words? There was also some vocabulary in the lesson.

Merry

says:

Learning to read was easy for me too, so I was surprised when I saw it took more work with my kids!

Michelle

says:

Are the phonograms taught in the same order for both programs? Would doing them side by side cause confusion?

Merry

says:

Not exactly. AAR 1 teaches the alphabet more gradually (Pre-reading even more-so), and starts with just first sounds, then adds the other sounds on later. AAS 1 assumes the student already knows the multiple sounds for the alphabet and just quickly reviews them. AAR 1 and AAS 1 lessons do go somewhat in the same order, but as you progress through the program, you’ll see that reading instruction follows a slightly different sequence than spelling.

For example, we introduce ED in L2, but in AAS, we don’t introduce ED until L3. For reading purposes these patterns need to be introduced sooner, but learning the spelling concept requires a bit more advanced reasoning.

The best way to proceed is to start with AAR 1, then add in spelling and progress through both programs at your child’s pace.

Anna

says:

We’ve been using AAS and AAR for several years and plan to continue both – great programs!

Would you start these two programs at the same time or is one suggested to begin first?

Merry

says:

Hi Meg,

Start with AAR 1 first, and add in spelling when you are ready to start AAR 2.

Jonathan

says:

I think this would help my daughter.

Karen

says:

This is the first I am learning about All About! We start homeschool in the fall so this is a great find! Thanks for all the info!

Denise helms

says:

Enjoying AAS with my kids!

matt

says:

We don’t have any questions, but we love the All About!

Kelly

says:

We just began these programs in the past year, and I love the All About Spelling approach to teaching with tiles; it is a great visual and a way to work with their hands!

Jessica

says:

We use both for our struggling reader snd I feel both are definitely needed.

LeAnn

says:

No questions. We have started All About Reading and LOVE it! Looking forward to also incorporating All About Spelling into our school year!

Ashley

says:

I have been wondering the difference in your programs! I’m a new homeschooling mom and I’m excited to try both your programs!

Carrie

says:

We are just starting our homeschool journey next year and using both AAR and AAS. We have a good friend who has been using them this year and her daughter is reading very well for kindergarten. Excited to start. Thanks for the explanation.

Elizabeth Beer

says:

Thanks for the explanation! That’s a helpful way of looking at these… My oldest is 3 so I still have some time before spelling, but I appreciate the dialogue! No questions right now….

Traci

says:

If my daughter is already a great reader, would we still need both programs, or is spelling enough?

Merry

says:

Hi Traci,

No, you could just do the spelling. The programs work independently of each other, so you are free to do one, the other, or both, depending on your child’s needs.

Ginger

says:

We are just beginning homeschooling next year and examining all (or at least a lot) of our options. Thanks for the info.

Pam Gray

says:

We love All About Spelling, but I’ve never used AAR. Are there library books that you recommend for each level?

Merry

says:

Hi Pam,

Each level comes with readers, and vocabulary and comprehension lessons that go along with them.

Kristie S

says:

We are finishing up level 3, third year, of AAS with our older two, and our first year of AAR with the pre-reading level with our next two kids. When should I start level 1 of AAS with the younger ones?

Merry

says:

Hi Kristie,

Go ahead to AAR 1 next with your younger ones. After they finish that, they’ll have a solid foundation for adding in the spelling program. I hope this helps!

Ann

says:

We have used AAS for the last 5 years, but we have not used AAR.

Heather

says:

I am excited to start AAR next year with my kindergartener. My 2nd grader has loved AAS! Thank you!

I am so glad you posted a sample lesson of aar. We currently use aas, and I was curious how aar was taught in comparison. Thanks!

Beth

says:

My son just finished 1st grade at a private school. What level do you recommend him starting with?

Merry

says:

Hi Beth,

Use the placement tests to decide where to place him in reading: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

If he’s in level 2 or above, you can also add in Level 1 of AAS.

Dora

says:

Is it okay to start AAS 1 after you’re done with AAR 1?

Merry

says:

Hi Dora,

Yes, that’s exactly what we recommend! Continue to AAR 2 and add in AAS 1.

Melissa

says:

What ages go with what grades usually?

Merry

says:

Hi Melissa,

The levels in All About Reading and All About Spelling actually don’t correlate to specific grades, because the order of the words in them is not “grade-level” order. Comparing to one very simple online reading assessment, a child completing AAR 1 would be able to read most of the words on the 1st grade list, about half of the 2nd grade list, and a third of the words on the 3rd and 4th grade lists. There are even a couple of words on the 5th and 6th grade lists that they would have the skills to sound out, though they might not know their meaning yet.

At the end of AAR Level 4, students have the phonics and word attack skills necessary to sound out high school level words, though they may not know the meaning of all higher level words.(Word attack skills include things like dividing words into syllables, making analogies to other words, sounding out the word with the accent on different word parts, recognizing affixes, etc…)

Similar examples can be found in spelling. 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. In AAS Level 7, students are spelling high school level words (we use all of the modern Ayers list words which ranks up to 12th grade, and other various lists that rank words between 9th and 12th grade).

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

Dominica

says:

This was such a helpful explanation, especially the graphic showing the overlap, which is much smaller that I would have thought. Thanks for answering the question about when to start AAS1 (which was my question). We are in the middle of Pre-Reading, so we have a bit of time before we are ready to start AAS1, but now I can plan for it.

Jill S.

says:

Just wondered if for each level there is some sort of chart to indicate how best to proceed with both. For example, do AAR lesson 1-3 then AAS lesson 1 or something along those lines?

Merry

says:

Hi Jill,

Actually, the 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. 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, there’s no need to line up the lessons in any way. Work for about 20 minutes on each skill, and proceed through the programs at your child’s pace. I hope this helps!

Dawn

says:

I love all about spelling

Roseann Akins

says:

I love All About Spelling. It’s so user friendly and my kids learn so fast!

Amy

says:

My daughter is four. Is she too young to start this? Or should we wait until her 5th birthday?

Merry

says:

Hi Amy,

If your 4-year-old is interested in learning letters and sounds, I would go ahead and start Pre-reading with her. It’s designed to be used with preschool and kindergarten aged students.

Nicki

says:

When do you know your child is ready to begin AAS?

Merry

says:

Hi Nicki,

You can start AAS 1 after completing AAR 1 (or the equivalent, if you are using another reading program).

Rene

says:

How long after completing AAR should a person wait before introducing AAS?

Merry

says:

Hi Rene,

You can use AAS 1 any time after completing AAR 1. You don’t have to finish the entire AAR series before starting spelling instruction, just consider both reading and spelling as part of your language arts time. Continue in both programs at your child’s pace.

Amber Cuellar

says:

This program looks wonderful

Jennifer Dunn

says:

I love the spelling program and so does my daughter we just started it on the 6th grade level I wish we had started with 1, just think it would of helped more. But we are still enjoying it.

Trish

says:

How can either program help with speech delay?

Merry

says:

Hi Trish,

The programs are not designed to replace speech therapy or a program such as LiPS but can be helpful in a supplemental way. Both teach phonemic awareness, segmenting skills, reinforcement of phonograms, strategies for paying attention to all of the sounds in a word, and so on.

Marie tutored a child with speech apraxia who had regular sessions with an SLP (speech-language pathologist). His daily homework consisted of building vocal motor skills, with much repetition on specific sound combinations (including rhyming words) and mouth motor skills. AAR Pre-1 includes rhyming skills (recognizing rhyme, repeating rhyme, and producing rhyme). If your child is not yet able to produce rhyme, the work on recognizing rhyme is still very beneficial.

For young children with any disability, teaching time woven into playful activities is very motivational. One of Marie’s main goals with our pre-reading program is to motivate children to want to learn to read, and playful activities is a big part of that. When she observed the SLP work with the child with apraxia, she incorporated playful activities into therapy time.

Sometimes Ziggy provides motivation for kids to make the extra effort!

If your child is ready to read or spell, accept his best efforts at saying sounds correctly–say the sound, let him repeat it, and praise for his efforts. Correct pronunciation is a skill to work on over time. I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Beki

says:

Thank you for this opportunity! God Bless, Beki

Emily Habeger

says:

My son is an up-coming 2nd grader. He loves to read, but struggles tremendously with spelling. We have recently begun All About Spelling and he is getting it!!! I can’t thank you enough for making spelling fun for him. Let’s face it, the English language is tough; rules I was taught apply most (but not all the time). This program breaks down reliable spelling rules and spelling patterns to make spelling fun. We love it!

Cole Roth

says:

How would I teach both side by side each other? I have one son learning 3rd grade and one learning K.

Thank you.

Merry

says:

Hi Cole,

With students who are that far apart ability-wise, you would work with them independently. Your K student would start with reading–either Pre-reading or Level 1, depending on how he places with the placement tests. Your 3rd grade would start with spelling level 1 and reading at his level.

http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

Shelley Backes

says:

I love both programs. I use both with two of my kids that really struggle, and it has helped them so much!!

Jessica

says:

I don’t have any questions at this time but been wanting to use your program for a while now but haven’t had the money. Hoping to win!

Courtney

says:

How do these programs work out with kids in different grades though? I would love to use these with my kids, but I don’t have time for two separate programs for two grade levels four years apart.

Merry

says:

Since they are 4 years apart, you may not ever be doing 2 programs with both students at the same time. Beginning students don’t add in spelling until they have completed at least AAR 1. Your oldest would likely place in one of the upper levels of reading unless he has significant struggles, dyslexia or other learning disabilities (in which case it’s hard to avoid spending significant one on one time). So, he’ll be done with reading in a year or two, just when your youngest is ready to add in spelling.

Timewise, we recommend spending 20 minutes per program per student or group (parents who have children working close in ability can sometimes combine students). So to start, you might be spending an hour total–20 minutes with your oldest in AAR 3 or 4, 20 minutes in spelling, and 20 minutes with your youngest in reading (or even 10 if your youngest would be in Pre-reading).

If that doesn’t work, then choose the program that best suits your needs, and choose something else for the other subject; the programs work independently of each other so you are free to choose just the reading or just the spelling if that works better for your family. I hope this helps!

Gina W

says:

What is the best age to start AAR and/or AAS?

Merry

says:

Hi Gina,

Our Pre-reading program is designed for Pre-K and K aged students. After that you just progress through the levels. After using AAR 1, you will also add in AAS 1 and work through those levels at your child’s pace.

Dawn

says:

I have used AAS with my older boys (now 14 and 11) for four years now. I started using AAR two years ago with my youngest, now age 7. I absolutely love both programs. I use AAS Level 1 alongside AAR Level 2 with my seven year old. She loves it and still uses Ziggy to learn the lessons with her! :) Thank you, Marie!

Megan C

says:

We love using both AAR and AAS with our kids. We’re just beginning, but I can see what a solid foundation and understanding they have using these programs. My oldest in halfway through Level 2 of AAR and had been a struggling reader until now! And he’s flying through the level 1 of AAS with an understanding of why the words are spelled the way they are! Love it!

Leticia G.

says:

My preschooler is enjoying the Prereading program! Which makes me very happy!

Leslie Dean

says:

We have really enjoyed the all about spelling with my older two kids. Thanks so much for the information about all about reading. I have a five year old that I plan to use this with.

Kirsten

says:

When is the best time to introduce AAS?

Merry

says:

Hi Kirstin,

You can start AAS any time after completing AAR 1 (or the equivalent, if you have an older child who is already reading). Then, just work through the program at your child’s pace.

Denise M.

says:

I’m still trying to figure this out. I have heard such great things and am ready to switch from what we have been doing.

Sarah Porter

says:

Don’t have any questions right now. Excited for the possibility to win so I can try out these products.

Amy

says:

I am planning on using this with my 2 sons, 1 of which is special needs (gross and fine motor deficits). Will these work for him as well?

Merry

says:

Hi Amy,

Depending on what your son’s gross and fine motor deficits are, you may have to adapt some things, but overall our programs work very well for students who have special needs. If you have specific concerns about his abilities and how the program would work, post again or feel free to email me at support@allaboutspelling.com.

Rosemarie

says:

Don’t have any questions at the moment. I just starting using AAR and AAS with two separate children, so we will see how it goes. Thanks for the chance to win.

Amy

says:

Very teacher friendly!

Christine Nadolny

says:

Would you teach them at the same time are do you one before the other?

Merry

says:

Hi Christine,

Start reading first, and add in spelling when your child has completed AAR 1. Progress through both programs at your child’s pace. I hope this helps!

Tauni

says:

I am doing the same as Manda! I love AAS and would likely get AAR for my emerging reader and younger kids if I can afford it!

Manda

says:

I use AAS, and honestly, had never considered using AAR. I use Phonics Pathways and ETC for reading. I love AAS, and need to purchase vol 3. Maybe I’ll add AAR for my 1st grader. I’ll be sure to check out the samples. Thanks!

Anneri

says:

My daughter finds simple words like if, of, to, me easy to spell but reverse the letters when she reads them. She does better with longer words. Must I perhaps order the Pre-Reading level for reading and Level ! for spelling?
Thanks Anneri

Merry

says:

Hi Anneri,

In our blog article on how to break the “word-guessing” habit, we show a blending technique that is also helpful for students who reverse the order of letters or whole words as they read. You could start working on this now with her: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/break-the-word-guessing-habit/

As far as whether she would need Pre-reading–you can check the placement guide, but I suspect that she would place in level 1: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

Rachel Allen

says:

If I am starting All About Spelling with older children who can already read fluently, do I need All About Reading as well?

Merry

says:

Hi Rachel,

Probably not. If your main concern is spelling, feel free to just use the spelling program.

erin

says:

I have been using AAS with another reading program. Why should I use AAR too?

Merry

says:

Hi Erin,

If your other program is working for you, feel free to keep using it. (As a homeschooler, I tend to say “don’t fix what ain’t broken!”) On the other hand, if you have concerns, if you wish you had more support in certain areas, if your children struggle with reading, or if the learning or teaching style doesn’t seem to be meeting your children’s needs or yours, then it might be worth considering a change.

Here are some aspects of AAR that many people enjoy:

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

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

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

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

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

– AAR has built-in review in every lesson. Some children need lots of review in order to retain concepts. With AAR, your child will have a Reading Review Box so you can customize the review. This way, you can concentrate on just the things that your child needs help with, with no time wasted on reviewing things that your child already knows. Customized review is important for kids with short attention spans because you want every minute of your lesson to count.

Another benefit of the review is that you can practice with your child what to say–you can rehearse as many or as few times as your child needs to help her become fluent in reading the words. One of the things that Marie noticed when she was researching reading programs is that few programs have enough review built in for kids who struggle to gain fluency.

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

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

Rebecca

says:

Love this curriculum!

Rebecca

says:

What makes these two programs the best choice for my kids?

Merry

says:

Hi Rebecca,

Without knowing your kids ages and needs, that could be hard to answer! But in general:

All About Reading is a complete program that teaches phonics, decoding, fluency, and comprehension in a fun and engaging way.

All About Spelling teaches encoding skills, spelling rules, and multisensory strategies to help your student become a proficient speller for life.

Both are open-and-go types of programs, so they are easy for moms to implement.

If you need to work on reading, spelling, or both with your children, take some time to look at the samples and descriptions of each program, and see if they would be a fit for you and your family.

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

Here are the All About Reading samples and scope and sequence links for the various levels of the All About Reading program: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-lesson-samples/

If you have any questions, please let us know! Merry :-)

Jackie Miller

says:

When do you introduce AAS? Do they need to have a baseline of reading first, or do you do them at the same time?

Merry

says:

Hi Jackie,

Yes, generally it’s best to introduce spelling sometime after the student has completed AAR 1. Keep working in reading when you add in spelling Level 1.

Beth S

says:

Do you use both programs at the same time or choose the levels based on where you’re child is at currently?

Merry

says:

Hi Beth,

For reading, check out the placement tests: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

For spelling, almost all students start with Level 1. All About Spelling is a building block program. In this series, 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.

I’ve wondered the same thing…I don’t remember much about any of my language arts studies in school, so this could be why I don’t understand the difference. AND why I need these programs to teach my kids!

Monica

says:

I originally thought that I would be able to teach my child reading by using the ALL About Spelling, and the readers. Now I realize that my child can not encode, if she does not know how to decode. And with a child having dyslexia it would probably be beneficial to do both (decoding and encoding).

ella

says:

How much time do people typically spend on each lesson for a 3rd grader and a 2nd grader?

Merry

says:

Hi Ella,

Plan on spending about 20 minutes on each program with each student or group (if they are close in ability level, you may be able to combine them for reading or for spelling or both). You don’t have to complete a lesson in one day. The lessons are designed for you to take them at your child’s pace, so you can progress as quickly or as slowly as your child needs.

Corey

says:

Would you recommend this program for a reluctant writer? My son Hates and I mean hates to write anything, would this curriculum be a good fit for him?

Merry

says:

Yes, our programs work well for reluctant writers. The reading program does not require any writing. Many children are able to read much better than they can spell or write, and we don’t want writing to hold them back with reading.

For spelling, students who struggle with writing can start out just using the tiles. Gradually make goals for him to increase how much he can write with the words or dictation phrases–whatever is appropriate for him.

AAS gradually prepares a child for writing paragraphs and other writing assignments. Level 1 includes just words and short dictation phrases. Level 2 bumps that up to 6 phrases and 6 sentences per step. If he could do just one phrase and one sentence per day, he could still easily finish AAS 2 in a year’s time.

Level 3 will again increase the writing to 12 dictation sentences per step. Then halfway through that level, the student will begin The Writing Station, where he will make up some of his own sentences from a given list of words. (I thought my reluctant writers would HATE this! But they actually really enjoyed it. Sometimes they would make it like a game to see how many of the words they could use in one sentence. Other times they thought the words worked together to tell a little story, and they would write several sentences. I was happily surprised at how this started to open up writing for my kids.)

Dictation and the Writing Station both serve as an important bridge between spelling words in the context of lists (where the patterns are similar), and more “real world” writing. By the end of Level 3, students have mastered about 1000 words from the regular and reinforcement lists, and they have developed stamina and some beginning editing skills that will help them when they start a formal writing program.

Another benefit to writing instead of spelling orally is that he is connecting the shape of the letter with the sounds. The more often he does this, the more automatic the process becomes. And brain research shows that two ideas practiced at the same time can permanently bond the ideas together. But you don’t have to do that with just pencil and paper. You can let him use a finger in sand or cornmeal, or a marker on a whiteboard, or go outside with sidewalk chalk. Here are some other tactile and kinesthetic suggestions:

http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/how-to-use-tactile-activities-to-practice-spelling http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/how-to-use-kinesthetic-spelling-activities

I had a very reluctant writer at this age as well. I remember in 2nd grade I had a goal of getting him to be able to write 2 short sentences in one sitting without complaining. In 3rd grade I bumped that up to a short, 4 sentence paragraph. We worked gradually toward these goals throughout the year, just a little at a time. Decide what a reasonable goal is for your son, and then gradually work towards it. Some people use time or number of words for their goal–write for 3 minutes and then spell the rest orally, or write 3 words for example. When he can do that, bump it up to 4 minutes or 4 words, and so on. This gives him a smaller goal to work towards that he can accomplish and be proud of a new achievement, while gradually increasing his skills and stamina for writing.

I hope this helps! Merry :-)

Rona Kirby

says:

Thanks, this was helpful. Haven’t had much success with other spelling curricula, so I might try this out.

Sarah

says:

I have heard people say they use about All about Reading, and I have considered it myself, but after looking at the examples it seems like a lot of work. Both my daughters read above grade level, but my oldest has a hard time spelling sometimes because she can’t seem to sound it out when she is reading her word back to herself. My youngest can read above grade level, but I worry that she just has a great memory for many words and isn’t actually decoding the word or trying to sound it out. I don’t know if this is because she doesn’t want to slow down and take the time or another issue. She knows letter sounds. I am conflicted because I want both of my daughters to be able to spell and read well, but I don’t know where to start with each of them. I also worry about them being bored.

Merry

says:

Hi Sarah,

Since both of your daughters are reading above grade level, you could choose to focus just on spelling. AAS is also a complete phonics program, so if they do have a few gaps, AAS will fill them in. If they are close in age or ability level, you could even teach them together in AAS. We recommend spending about 20 minutes per day on spelling for each student or group. Would you like to see what a “typical week” might look like in AAS? Here’s a blog post I did awhile back that shows AAS with my son when he was going through Level 6. It has more components than the beginning level, but it will give you an idea of how things break down and how the day might flow: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-spelling-in-action-2/

You mentioned that your daughter may just be memorizing words instead of decoding–some kids do get into word-guessing habits, and All About Reading does have built-in strategies to help with that. Check out this article on Breaking the Word-Guessing Habit: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/break-the-word-guessing-habit/

Sarah

says:

Thank you Merry. I very much appreciate your input and suggestions.

laura motz

says:

Im new to HS. So I am eagerly trying to learn more about the available curriculum. I have a little guy that is struggling with reading and spelling.

mary beth daigle

says:

Thank you for the article as it cleared up most of my questions regarding both programs.
I’m unsure of what program to go with for my 7yr old son (1st grd) as I had already purchased another type of recommended program to use in the fall. I believe my 10yr old son (5th grd) could benefit from both programs, as he struggles with spelling and his reading is not where it should be.

chanel

says:

We love all about spelling with my older children, but with my new emerging readers, I wonder when I should begin this program.

Merry

says:

Hi Chanel,

For your younger students, start AAS when they are reading basic words fairly well. If you are using AAR, start AAS 1 after they complete AAR level 1, and continue on to AAR 2 at the same time.

shannon

says:

My little girl is 4 and is already an amazing spelller because of this program!!

Candyce DeKruyff

says:

We love the AAS — I can’t wait to try AAR also!

Chris

says:

I am so excited to have found a thorough program that keeps these two skills separate. Thanks for all the effort put into these programs.

Jennifer Mathesz

says:

I’m not too familiar with ur product. For a K student, would you still use both curricula or just start with reading?

Merry

says:

Hi Jennifer,

For a K student, just start with reading. You can add in spelling after completing AAR 1.

Kallie

says:

I was wanting to start my daughter in the all about reading program and didn’t know if I should have her do the all about spelling first or if I could do both at the same time.