After teaching two of my children how to read with a piecemeal phonics curriculum, I decided to change things about a bit for child #3 and try out a phonics program that I didn’t throw together myself. I had heard so many great things about All About Spelling from All About Spelling, so after a little more research of my own, I decided to make the purchase. Both my daughter and I have been enjoying it from day one and she has made so much progress in the past year. Since we had such success with All About Reading, it was only natural that I would want to try out All About Spelling to go along with our phonics curriculum. I had been planning on starting All About Spelling with my daughter this year, and the opportunity to review it came up at just the right time.
For our review, we received:
All About Spelling ($29.95) which includes:
- Teacher’s manual – $17 if purchased separately
- Student Packet (includes, flashcards, 5 colored tokens, progress charts, and Certificate of Achievement) – $14.95 if purchased separately
All About Spelling ($44.85) which includes:
- Letter Tiles – $11.95 if purchased separately
- Magnets for Letter Tiles – $5.95 if purchased separately
- Spelling Review Box – $9.95 if purchased separately
- Divider Cards for Box – $4.95 if purchased separately
- Spelling Tote Bag – $14.95 if purchased separately
- Sparkling Bee Stickers – $1 if purchased separately
- Phonograms Sound App – FREE
- Phonograms Sounds CD-ROM (this item does not come in the kit, but I received it for my review; you can purchase it for $14.95 while supplies last)
The Interactive Kit is a one-time purchase that you will use through all seven levels of All About Spelling. This will cut down the cost as you move through each level, and it’s even more cost effective if you use it with subsequent students.
You know your child is ready to start spelling instruction when your child is ready to learn to read. All About Spelling recommends staring all children at level 1 unless they have worked with a phonics-based program before; if they have, you can start with Level 2. If you are also using All About Reading, All About Learning suggests starting All About Spelling Level 1 after completing the All About Reading Pre-reading Program and Level 1. If you need more help deciding which level is right for you, you can contact All About Reading and/or read Which Spelling Level Should We Start With?
Besides the initial prep work, there is very little to do to get ready for each step. The initial prep work consists of separating the letter tiles and affixing the magnets to the back and separating the flashcards and placing them behind the appropriate divider in the Spelling Review Box. This doesn’t take long, maybe 30-60 minutes; you could even pawn off the task to an older student if you have one available in your home. After that, the course is pretty much open and go – something I really appreciate as a mom of 7.
Instead of lessons, the course is broken down into steps. Level 1 consists of 24 steps that you progress through at your child’s pace. Some steps might take 1 day to complete, some might take 2, and some may even take a week or more. It all depends on how many days per week you devote to spelling and on your child’s ability and maturity level.
The first step helps you evaluate which phonograms your child knows and which ones still need to be taught or reinforced. This step alone could take several weeks depending on how well your child knows the letter sounds.
After step 1, each step starts out with a short description of what your student will learn in that step and the supplies you will need.
You will begin each step with some review before you move on to the ‘New Teaching.’ If your child needs additional practice, there is a reinforcement section at the end of the steps with more words your child can practice spelling, as well as some dictation exercises.
The review sections consist of reviewing the flashcards, alphabetizing the letter tiles and some word segmenting practice.
In the ‘New Teaching’ section you will introduce and practice the new concepts through the use of the flashcards, letter tiles, spelling on paper, and the colored tokens (for help with segmenting words).
You can visit the All About Learning website to view the Scope and Sequence and Table of Contents to find out what is covered in each step.
There are 32 yellow Phonograms Cards for visual and verbal review. You hold up the card and your child says the sound or sounds that the phonograms makes.
The 32 red Sounds Cards offer aural and tactile review. You dictate the sound and your child writes down the letter or letters that make that sound.
Sixteen blue Key Cards are used to reinforce new concepts. You read and review them with your child.
The green Word Cards each contain a word that your child will learn to spell in Level 1. They provide aural, verbal, and tactile review when you dictate the word and have your child segment and write the words.
The Teacher’s Manual will walk you through each step. Each step is clearly laid out, easy to follow, and lightly scripted, making this curriculum user-friendly and easy to execute.
At the beginning of the manual you will find some helpful articles on multisensory learning, phonograms, getting your Letter Tiles and Spelling Review Box ready, and six steps to teaching the All About Spelling Method.
There are also lots of tips, reminders, and helpful hints throughout the manual which helps reassure you that you are on the right track.
At the back of the book in the Appendix, you will find the Scope and Sequence of Level 1, a list of the phonograms taught in Level 1, an alphabetical list of the words taught in Level 1, and the procedure for spelling with tiles (which you can also find in Step 6 when the procedure is introduced).
The Phonograms Sound App is a wonderful addition to the program. It allows you to have the phonogram pronunciations right at your fingertips.
I’m using All About Spelling Level 1 with my first grade daughter who is 7. We started it when we were about half way through with All About Reading Level 1. We are using the curriculum 3-4 days per week. The first several steps we were able to finish in one day and then I began to space the lessons out and do them over a 2 or 3 day period. We will go over the new teaching material one day and spell with the Letter Tiles, then we will spell on paper the next day, and then we will finish up the step on another day with the reinforcement material. Even if we are not starting a new step we will do a little bit of review each day. We end each step by putting a sparkling bee sticker on the progress chart – I think that is my daughter’s favorite part.
I am very pleased with All About Spelling Level 1. I was trying to get away from the weekly-spelling-list spelling curriculum, and All About Spelling provides that alternative. I don’t want my kids to just memorize weekly lists, but rather learn the reasons and rules for why we spell words the way we do.
I really appreciate the hands-on learning aspect of the Letter Tiles and the easy to follow teacher’s manual. I like that the program is not based on grade level and that you can adjust it to meet the needs and pace of each individual child. My daughter has enjoyed the program as well, especially the Letter Tiles. I will definitely continue using this program with my younger children as the come up the ranks.
To buy it:
Go to the All About Spelling site to look at the levels offered and decide which one will work best for your child.