A Review of All About Spelling

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 for the Crew, I wasn't sure what I would think of it (or how my children would respond to having spelling as a formal "subject").

Before I tell you about our experience I want to share why this is an excellent program for beginning students or students who require remedial help.

All About Spelling is multisensory. The lessons involve sight, sound, and touch. We hear more and more about how children learn best when all of their senses are involved in the learning process and this program seems to incorporate this.

All About Spelling is logical. Spelling concepts are taught in a logical, understandable order. Each lesson builds upon the previous lesson.

No gaps. The program seems to include all the necessary rules and tips to be a successful speller.

The program is mastery-based, not grade-level based, so students do not move on until they have mastered a concept.

All About Spelling has continual review. While the child learns new material, there is still continual review of previously-taught concepts.

Finally, the program is clear. This means that children are taught what they need to know in a direct manner. Children do not have to guess or come to their own conclusions about the English language.

These techniques can be compared to the Orton-Gillingham method of spelling which is known for utilizing phonetics and emphasizing visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning styles.

To get started you need a starter kit and level 1.

The starter kit includes: letter tiles, magnets for the back of the letter tiles, and the phonogram cd rom (a one time purchase for all the levels). With level 1 you get a scripted teachers manual and a student material packet. The student material packet includes flash cards and tokens, a progress chart and certificate of completion. (The flash cards are perforated sheets for easier set up).

Starter Kit: $26.95
Level 1: $29.95
Level 2, 3, 4 and 5: $39.95
Level 6 is to be released this year.

Other available products include:

Our experience:

We received levels 1 and 2 for review and my 9, 11 and 13 year olds were my willing participants! All three boys were able to quickly and smoothly move through the first level. I loved it for all of the reasons listed above, but most importantly because it is multi-sensory, mastery-based and has continual review.

Here is how it works: when spelling a word, the student is required to segment the word as they spell it. Using tile cards (that can be magnetized), they say the sound of each individual phonogram as they slide the tile towards them or as they write it. In this way, they are using more than one sense to learn ~ they are saying, hearing and performing an action as they spell the word (and why this is called a multi-sensory approach).

In order to do this, the student must learn the correct sound that a phonogram makes (a phonogram is a letter or letter combination that represents a sound) and phonogram cards and a phonogram CD are provided so that you can learn how they should be sounded.

In Level 1, the student learns:
  • 32 phonograms
  • how to hear the individual sounds in words
  • how to represent sounds using phonograms and
  • the spelling rules that govern the use of the phonograms.
Level 1 focuses on the words that generally follow the rules, but level 2 teaches several more phonograms, more spelling rules and how to handle the "Rule Breakers."

Before each lesson, we reviewed the phonogram cards, sound cards, and key cards {all of which are filed in a unique file system!}. Word cards are provided but we did not use them in these levels because the boys were already able to spell them all, and I found it easier to read the words directly out of the book, rather than flipping though the card box. However, I did find the phonogram cards, sounds cards and key cards valuable. The sound cards provide the opportunity for dictation, while the key cards teach basic rules and spelling tips, such as the rule that C has the soft sound /s/ when it comes before E, I, or Y. {I didn't know that!}.

I think this is the best spelling program that I have seen! It is easy to use (fully scripted), keeps the children's hands, eyes and ears attentive during the process (and often times their whole body as I mentioned in one of my weekly updates). But, best of all, my children didn't mind the lessons and seemed to even enjoy them!

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I received AAS Levels 1 and 2 for free in exchange for my review. No further compensation was received and I offer my honest opinion. See my Disclosure Policy for more information.


  1. Great review--I did not get this one and I was curious about it. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for the review, Michelle. I came very close to purchasing this spelling but went with another program instead. I am a natural speller myself, my son is, but my daughter is not. Teaching spelling on a consistent basis through whatever program of choice one uses will probably be of help to their student. It certainly has been a help to Bethany.

  3. Great Review Chel!

  4. Thanks for the review. Your description gives me a nice understanding of how the program works. I had actually just decided on ordering this-- your review confirms my decision. Trying to find a program that is a perfect fit for three little boys is a challenge!

  5. Oh, I'm the same way with the word cards for my oldest son. I find them inconvenient. For my younger ones though, it is great to have them available.

  6. This is a great detailed review! I am chomping at the bit to get this program.
    Reading this only makes me more excited!