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AVKO Review

PhotobucketWhen I was given the opportunity to review the benefit e-books of AVKO's Membership, I thought there was something familiar about the name. I soon realized that this is the same company that publishes Sequential Spelling, a spelling program that I used for my oldest when he was younger.

With a membership to AVKO's site, you have instant access to several thousand pages of downloadable books such as:

1. The Reading Teacher's List of Over 5,500 Basic Spelling Words ~ A spelling list arranged by level of difficulty and alphabetically with a difficulty level assigned. This is a $29.95 value. Check out the samples to learn more.

2. The Patterns of English Spelling ~ a 1,485 page PDF containing dolche words, related families, phonic patterns, homophones, homographs, heteronyms, pronunciation, definitions and more. You can use this book to:
  • Quickly find all of the words in a word family.
  • Find the spelling rules for the word families currently being studied in your spelling program.
  • Find all of the words that follow the same syllable patterns (syllabication; e.g., CVC, CVVC) in the same volume.
  • Create your own spelling program with the help of Individualized Spelling's pre-tests.
  • Use the pages from Word Families in Sentence Context to give a sentence context for your spelling program.
  • Use the contextual sentences as preview or review exercises for dictation, choral reading, or individual reading.
  • Teach advanced vocabulary for college preparation or preparation for standardized tests or spelling bees.
  • And more.
There are 10 volumes in this book and each volume retails for $39.95. Members may purchase each volume for $29.95 or FREE as an e-book.

3. To Teach a Dyslexic ~ "The very readable and enjoyable autobiography of a dyslexic who has become a widely recognized expert on what dyslexia really is and especially what dyslexia isn't." This book is divided into three parts:
  • The why of my dyslexia and how it was overcome.
  • Twists and turns of fate that prepared and led a dyslexic (me) into teaching dyslexics and finding out what dyslexia is all about.
  • Educational Research: In which directions should AVKO go?
Price: $14.95 ~ FREE as a download for members

4. The Teaching of Reading & Spelling: A Continuum from Kindergarten through College 364 pages $59.95 value ~ free as an ebook for members. A "Supplementary Textbook for College Education Majors with Practical Classroom Diagnostic Tests and Answers to the Phonics vs. Whole Language Controversy." After reading the preface, I skipped to page 265 and read about the SQ#R Reading Formula and learned how to read the rest of the book with an active mind (very cool formula and one that I will use with all of my reviewing and reading).

 You can use this book to:
  • Learn how to tutor using AVKO's methodologies and philosophies.
  • Design an (special) course for Education majors in colleges and universities.
  • Utilize the diagnostic tests to answer the phonics vs. whole language controversy.
  • Learn more about dyslexia and how to help learning disabled children learn to read and spell.
  • Glean ideas for research projects for your thesis or dissertation.
  • Learn about the 5 different types of English spelling.
  • Learn how to diagnose and remediate each of the different types of English spelling.
  • Learn about the learning to read and learning to write processes in great detail.
  • Learn how to use everyday and household materials to teach reading, spelling, and fluency.
  • Learn how to set up your own adult literacy community education program for parents who want to help their own children how to read and spell.
  • Learn how to teach others how to become an AVKO tutor.
5. The Teaching of Reading and Spelling: Starting at Square One ~ "The Only Handwriting/Keyboarding Curriculum that Teaches Reading & Spelling AS the Alphabet is being Taught with All Decodable Words. Starting at Square One is intended for K-1 students, or those "who need additional help with phonemic awareness and/or word attack skills. After completing Starting at Square One, students move on to Sequential Spelling 1." Price: $59.95 and currently FREE with an AVKO Membership. Check it out the samples, this looks really neat. How can you use this book?
  • K-1 students reading, spelling, handwriting, and keyboarding (optional) as the alphabet is taught.
  • Lay the foundation for your student's literacy: phonemic awareness and word attack skills are learned from the very beginning of the reading process.
  • Teach your older students the phonemic awareness and word attack skills that they never fully learned while first learning to read and spell.
  • Use the completely decodable words as the letters are taught for additional practice in handwriting, reading, and spelling.
  • Teach English as a Second Language (ESL).
With an AVKO membership, you receive a 25% discount on all printed AVKO materials, all of the free e-books mentioned above, access to audio recordings of Don McCabe, the Research Director of AVKO Educational Research Foundation, speaking on his method, and access to a webpage with short stories, jokes, quotes, and more for $25.00/year. Check out the membership information for more details.

You can also see all that AVKO has to offer and check out their newsletter. AVKO member beliefs:
  1. The natural way of learning is immediate self-correction of mistakes.
  2. Every child can learn to read at least as well as the child can speak.
  3. We should use common sense when it comes to following frequency word counts so that we canteach related words together. For example, when we teach the word nice we should teach ice, lice, slice, rice, price, dice, mice, etc.
  4. Creating sequences based on frequency counts leads to such nonsense
  5. Although there isn’t just one correct way of teaching reading and/or spelling, both teachers and students are helped by a systematic approach.
I appreciated that Don McCabe is willing to share his story and that he has put his heart into this foundation and into helping people. I appreciated all of the info I received and while it is impossible to process all the information I received, I am happy to have such a list of comprehensive resources stored neatly on my hard drive, should the need ever arrive. I also appreciate the belief system behind AVKO and that they recognize that there is more than one correct way to teach spelling. As far as the benefits of being a member, I think the value of the e-books speak for themselves. Just be prepared to do a lot of reading online, because there are a lot of pages there!

See other crew member reviews of AVKO, or click on the banner below to visit the Crew Blog!

I reviewed this membership for free in exchange for my review as a member of the Crew. I offer my honest opinion. See my Disclosure Policy for more information.


  1. :) Great review as always! I love your details Chel.

  2. Clear and detailed review. I love how you did it!

    Annie Kate (also on the Crew)