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.”
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”?
Accurate decoding is great, but there’s much more to reading than just decoding words. That’s why All About Reading also teaches:
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:
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/.
Let’s take a look at the lessons where KN as in knight is taught.
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.
Here is the corresponding Activity Sheet for Lesson 45. This activity gives students extra practice reading words with the KN phonogram.
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.
This “Warm Up” sheet contains phrases students will encounter in the upcoming short story. “Warming up” before reading helps improve fluency.
The short story “Cedric the Brave Knight” contains the words and concepts taught in Lessons 45 and 46. Enjoy!
In All About Spelling Level 4, Lesson 13, your student will learn how to spell words such as know, knee, knot, and knife.
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.
…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?