One of the products that I knew nothing about at the beginning of the school year, but about which I was totally excited by the time I received it to review was All About Spelling. I’ve been hearing great things about it.
All About Spelling combines the very best of the Orton-Gillingham approach with the latest research and proven spelling rules
I know, from my time spent researching dyslexia for my oldest, that the Orton-Gillingham approach is highly regarded for helping dyslexics overcome their reading and spelling difficulties. All About Spelling’s site also points out that their program is:
It sounded like the perfect thing for my struggling reader/speller…and his younger sister. I was thrilled to receive Level 1 ($29.95), Level 2 ($39.95), and the starter kit ($26.95, $31.85 if purchased separately) to review. I decided to go ahead and start at the beginning with Level 1, knowing that a lot of it was going to be review for them, but wanting the kids to have a strong foundation.
I was surprised that we learned some things right from the beginning. Level 1, which teaches the first 32 phonemes, begins with the alphabet. Students learn the sounds that each letter makes with regards to spelling. I was surprised at some of the sounds that were included with some of the letters — they were absolutely right, of course, but I’d have never thought of teaching some of the sounds in connection with some of the letters. I’ve been very pleased to find that All About Spelling is much more than a spelling program — it’s actually reinforcing what that kids have learned and are continuing to learn with phonics.
The starter kit contains the letter tiles, magnets, and the phonogram CD-Rom. The letter tiles are color-coded, one-inch squares printed on heavily laminated cardstock. There are 105 tiles — two complete alphabet sets, labels, letter combinations, punctuation, and five blank tiles. They come in a couple of sheets that you cut apart and use as-is or you can apply the magnets to the back, which is what we did. The phonogram CD can be used on your computer for you to learn the letter sounds so that you teach them correctly or by your child to practice the sounds.
The letter tiles have been a huge benefit to both of my younger two, but Josh particularly. We put the letters up on our magnetic dry erase board and the kids move them around to spell words or to pull down letters in response to questions I’ve asked. Being able to see all the letters and move them around seems to have been instrumental with my kids in improving their spelling proficiency.
I love All About Spelling’s systematic approach and the scripted instructor’s manual. I don’t always read everything just like it’s laid out, but it’s really nice having everything laid out in a step-by-step fashion. It makes planning super-easy and helps to clarify anything that I, as the instructor, may be confused out with regards to the program.
Each AAS level comes with its own student materials packet. Level 1 contains several flash cards sets and dividers that fit into a 3X5 file box. There are:
- Phonogram cards: all the phonograms your child will be learning in this level
- Sound cards: for dictating sounds for your child to write
- Key cards: ideas, concepts and spelling rules (ex. “A vowel’s first sound is short” or syllable counting cards)
- Word cards: the main words your child will learn to spell
There are dividers for each set of cards for review, mastered, and future lessons. Each day begins with review, followed by hands-on practice of any new concepts. As students progress through the program, dictation becomes a part of each lesson as well, which really appealed to the classical homeschooler in me. The student starts with phrases and progresses to sentences.
We’ve really, really enjoyed All About Spelling and I can tell that this is one of those programs that we’ll use long after the review period has ended. I’ve seen improvements in the kids’ spelling and a reinforcement of the phonics concepts — you can’t beat that in a spelling program. This is a product that I highly recommend.