All About Spelling Review
by Carrie O.
All About Spelling Kit
We began using All About Spelling (a phonics-based spelling program that we used for reading), four years ago after trying another phonics-type program. My children have enjoyed learning to read using this program, and it is very easy to use. I would highly recommend it for children who are just starting to read, or who have struggled with other methods.
We wanted our children to be able to read by having phonemic awareness (instead of memorizing words or symbols), and liked the Spalding method (Writing Road to Reading, Spell to Write and Read) and Ruth Beechick (The Three R's). Our challenge was that one of our children simply did not have the fine motor skills needed to physically write letters and words, which is required in these methods.
We found All About Spelling during our search for a program that was phoneme-based (learning the sounds that letters and letter-groups make), comprehensive, similar in approach to the Spalding method, but with NO writing required. This author uses the Orton-Gillingham methods of learning.
After several years of using it with multiple children, here is how it has worked for our family:Pros
*Multisensory lessons, which has is easy to adapt to the different learning styles of my children
*Lessons are completed when the child masters the new sound or spelling rule (quicker for lessons that are easier for him, as much time as needed for more difficult ones)
*Very little preparation needed by the teacher, and lessons are short (15-20 minutes per day)
*Very flexible, no set schedule is required
*Skills of spelling (using tiles) is learned first, then writing the words (on the white board, then paper) is last in each lesson. We adapted this to have a 'tile test' or oral spelling bee
instead. As the kids learn to write, we gradually introduce short spelling 'tests' as well.
*Books and manipulatives can be shared with multiple children; each child only has to have his or her own set of cards.Cons
*Not a reading program, per se, although the author has recently developed an All About Reading curriculum that uses the same learning method; we added easy readers (like Bob Books and others from the library) to supplement the program
*Fairly expensive, in that there is a kit required to start and student/teacher books for each level (probably at least the first two levels are needed to learn to read)
*Handwriting must be taught separately (which was actually a benefit in our situation)
All About Spelling is geared for beginning learners and those who struggle with learning. When my oldest began doing very well with spelling (and reading) after several years with this curriculum, he became bored with it. Now we use it mostly orally, and he can master a lesson in 1-2 days. He will be moving on to a more challenging writing program next fall; however, I am continuing to use All About Spelling with my other children. We are considering making the switch to All About Reading to better meet our purposes. Carrie,
Thanks for the well-written and detailed All About Spelling review. Your pros and cons are so helpful! Thanks for taking the time to share with others who are looking for a homeschool spelling or reading program, or considering All About Spelling for their family. Blessings, Heather :)
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