Review: All About Spelling

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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.

The thing that immediately grabbed my attention, about All About Spelling, was this line from their website:

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:

  • Multi-sensory
  • Logical
  • Mastery-based

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.

I received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it.  I received no other compensation for this review.  The opinions expressed in this review are my personal, honest opinions.  Your experience may vary. This post contains affiliate links and I will receive a commission on any sales purchased using said links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.
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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. Thank you for this review. We believe my daughter may have something going on. (no diagnosis yet) This may be just what she needs! Happy Thanksgiving!!

  2. Kris — love it! I'm the same way, I don't necessarily read the script word for word, but it sure makes it easier knowing it is there. 🙂

  3. My 13yos didn't learn to read with phonics (he learned in public school), and even though this is our 6th year homeschooling, we've only recently deduced that this lack of phonics may be the reason why he has trouble spelling still.

    I've been wondering about the best way to teach him some phonics rules to help him with spelling without insulting his intelligence. Do you know if any part of this program might work for that? I'm not exactly sure where to start.

  4. Joy,

    I haven't looked at the upper levels of AAS. I'd say that starting at the beginning would probably feel "too young" for him. What we used for my daughter, who was a middle school student still struggling with spelling, was Apples Daily Spelling Drills. It's designed for older, struggling spellers and teaches the phonics and spelling rules that they might have missed. As much as she hated to admit it, because she didn't particularly enjoy the lessons, they really did help.

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