Reading Level: Varied
Reviewed by Kathy Davis
This comprehensive spelling program combines the three most common learning styles (auditory, visual and kinesthetic) to teach kids how to spell. I was very impressed with this method, as I saw it work with my “frustrated with spelling” 8-year-old. Lets face it; 8-year-old boys would rather be doing anything but spelling, and mine was no exception. We had been using Explode the Code, which I like and he tolerates, though I sensed something was missing. I realized when I started All About Spelling he needed more than just moving a pencil across the page, he needed to be more active in his learning. That’s why he took so well to this method.
All about Spelling comes in four levels, and I started my son right at level one which seemed the perfect fit for him. There is some initial set up of the hands on material – cutting out rule, phonogram, sound, and word cards, and glossy card stock alphabet tiles. There are magnetic tile backs for you should you desire to organize the alphabet tiles on a magnetic surface – I recommend that as it will save you some time setting the letters up each day. You then should have an index card file box for your child so he can keep his cards organized. There are index headings provided for separating the cards and filing those mastered.
A typical lesson follows a predictable pattern for the student. Once you’ve assembled your materials and read the introduction, you’re ready to go! Simply follow the instructions for that lesson – they even give you the dialogue you need for the presentation. There are twenty-four steps to level one, with each level containing a specific concept needing to be mastered. It is expected the student does master the step before proceeding to the next. If this is necessary, there are included additional words to practice. Here is an example of specific content: Step one of level one reviews the child’s knowledge of the phonograms and step 2 emphasizes segmenting words (sound identification). Tokens are used to help the student separated the sounds in the word. The words used are easy two and three letters such as is, as, so, to hay, red, fan, big, etc. Each step offers a short review of the previous, and a “new” teaching time. Most of the lessons use the letter tiles, so that’s where the portable magnetic surface comes in handy.
We breezed through the first seven steps in three days as most of that material my son was already familiar with. However, those early steps did seem to anchor the skills for him. After that I felt he was being challenged enough with the material. By the end of level one the student should be able to spell one-syllable words with short vowels.
This curriculum is great. You’ll enjoy it, and if my son is a good example of the average kid, your child will enjoy it too. I never heard a sigh or a groan when I told him it was spelling time. That is huge! The curriculum is organized and multi-sensory, (They include an audio CD that pronounces all the phonograms) so it will work for all learning styles. And you have nothing to lose as this company stands behind their product. there is a 100% “satisfaction guaranteed” for a whole year. All about spelling gets a Big “A” from me! Head over to their website to learn more about this excellent product.
Note on additional levels:
I focused on level one, but there are 3 more levels to choose from. Not sure what level to start at? This page from their website should help you decide. There you can even try a sample lesson.
Here’s briefly some of the content of the other levels.
Level two: Multiple syllable words, “Y” as “I”, silent “e”, long vowels, and sound of “er”, when to use oi/oy, aw/au, and ow/ou. Level three: suffixes, contractions, homophones, ways to spell long “O”, “A”, and “I” Level four: prefixes, the different sounds of “j”, the “er” sound, and spelling strategies for difficult words.