When I started using All About Spelling, I was not currently teaching spelling as a formal subject in our home school. I wrote in my original review:
I love natural learning and for me that means learning takes place outside of a “subject” whenever possible. So, I have not taught spelling as a formal subject for a couple years now. I teach it as it is needed in the context of our everyday writing and we have plenty of spelling opportunities this way. Simply put, if they misspell a word they are required to correct it right away. If they cannot spell it on their own, they are required to look it up.
So, when I had the opportunity to review All About Spelling, I wasn’t sure what I would think of it (or how my children would respond to having spelling as a formal “subject”).
Thankfully, my boys were willing participants, we quickly grew to love All About Spelling, and I've never looked back.
Spelling is one of my favorite subjects to teach now, and I have a much different perspective about teaching Spelling after using All About Spelling in our home.
Did you know that O has 4 sounds? When we first started All About Spelling, I didn't know that vowels had more than a long and short vowel sound, and I certainly couldn't name them all for you. I didn't feel very smart.
But, that changed with All About Spelling.
The manual is "open and go" and shows you EXACTLY what to do. It is super easy to follow, with lots of illustrations and tips. The lessons are gently scripted and you know exactly what to do every step of the way. I feel smart because I always know what to say. Even when a child misspells a word, I can tell him or her exactly WHY it is misspelled. This not only helps my children to be better spellers, but it helps me be a better TEACHER.
All About Spelling just makes sense:
- Spelling concepts are based on phonograms.
- It's taught in a logical, understandable order and there are no gaps.
- It's based on the Orton-Gilingham method of spelling.
- The lessons are multi-sensory and engage the child using sight, sound and touch.
- All About Spelling has continual review.
- Everything you need is included.
It is also non-consumable. This means you can use the manual over and over with multiple children. I'd add resell it, but I'm not sure that I could ever part with my manuals. I'll save them in case my children decide to homeschool their children. A program has to earn a special spot on my shelf for me to say that.
I get asked a lot, "Is it worth it?" This all makes it worth it to me.
But, All About Spelling is also easy to learn.
It is such a smart program, I not only feel smart teaching it, but my child feels smart, because with this program, he or she is smart. It equips a child to learn how to spell by teaching them the phonograms, English rules for spelling, and reinforcing these concepts with continual review.
Today, I'd like to share how this program is "easy to learn" and "easy to teach," by sharing a typical lesson.
We are on Step 20 - Consonant Team NG. This lesson will teach how to spell words containing ng. It is a short lesson, so I take this opportunity to do a full review of the Phonogram Cards, Sound Cards, Key Cards, and Word Cards.
These are quick, fun and review phonics rules:
- Every word has at least one _________.
- Names start with a ________.
- What are two ways to spell the sound of /k/ at the beginning of a word? _______ Which letter do we try first? _________.
- C says S before _________.
- Ck is used only after ________.
Answers: 1. vowel, 2. capital letter, 3. c and k, c, 4. e, i, or y, 5. a short vowel.
Reviewing Sight Words.
Did you know that 90% of the words on the Dolch Sight Word List are completely phonetic and can be sounded out if the child knows basic phonics? Here's proof.
All About Spelling only teaches words that can be phonetically sounded out as sight words if the student has not yet been taught the phonogram and they are common words. For example: do and to.
I dictate the sound and my child writes the phonogram.
Today, she misses the sound /k/ two letter /k/. She writes it as k, until I remind her that it is "two" letters. She only learned this in the previous lesson, so this is good review.
Since we are continually reviewing, I know she will get it.
I arrange the tiles on the board and explain that "The tile ng can come after a." And I slide ng next to the a. I repeat this for letters i, o, and u. "But, it rarely comes after e." So I remove the e tile. (The manual clues me in to the 4 words that have the combination eng and lets me know that they will be taught in a later lesson).
Then, we Spell with Tiles.
I don't skip this step with Eliana. (I can with Malachi, but she needs the practice).
I like to spend no more than 15-20 minutes on a lesson, so next lesson we will Spell on Paper, reinforce with More Words, and I will dictate phrases for her to write.
Before All About Reading, All About Learning Press first came out with a reader for All About Spelling - The Beehive Reader (it is now a part of All About Reading), but the spelling manual lets me know that my student is now ready to read "The Bat and King Sam."
Which means we are ready for Lesson 36 in All About Reading! This lesson reviews Consonant Team ng, and in Lesson 37 she reads "The Bat and King Sam." Then we move on to the next lesson in All About Spelling.
Note: "Marie recommends that you complete All About Reading Level 1 before beginning All About Spelling."
Is there anything I don't like about teaching with All About Spelling?
All About Spelling can feel "teacher intensive." Sometimes it is more work than I want to do, and our lessons last longer than I'd like, so I don't pull it out daily. I usually only do 2-3 reading/spelling lessons a week. When I feel like "couch schooling," I use a moveable alphabet app and the Phonogram Sounds App on my phone, and find other creative ways to make it work because I believe it is a valuable program. But, this is the only thing I can think of that's not to like - I can't just hand my child a workbook. I have to teach. But, that's just another reason why I feel most like a real teacher with this program - I am actually teaching!
All in all, All About Spelling has really made a difference for me and my children. I am a better teacher with this program, and my children are better spellers!