Why I Love Teaching With All About Spelling

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.

Phonogram Cards

Key Cards

These are quick, fun and review phonics rules:

  1. Every word has at least one _________.

  2. Names start with a ________.

  3. What are two ways to spell the sound of /k/ at the beginning of a word? _______ Which letter do we try first? _________.

  4. C says S before _________.

  5. 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.

Counting Syllables

Word Cards

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.

Sound Cards

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.

New Teaching

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!


  1. I had hopes that we would enjoy this, but after trying it twice now, it just wasn't a fit for us. I enjoyed your enthusiasm in teaching this and really, that is exactly what the blessing of homeschooling is all about.

  2. Awesome! I value your opinion greatly. Now that we've finished 100 Easy Lessons, we've been in "now what?" limbo. I'm not a huge fan of Sonlight's LA program. I've had my eye on this curriculum...and I'm that much closer to getting it. =) Thanks for sharing all of the details!

  3. I would really love to hear sometime what or why it didn't work for you. :)

  4. We're not huge fans of SL LA, either. I do like that a lot of Sonlighters use AAS! There's a lot of talk about it on the forum. Maybe it would help to go see how others are using it too. :)

  5. We love AAS too! I never learned any spelling rules in school (I was just given a list of words to memorize every week). I was so excited to start learning along with my children why words are spelled the way they are! This is a fabulous program :)

  6. I think for us, I have been very blessed with natural spellers or it could be that I started early on immediately correcting mistakes based on the Charlotte Mason philosophy. They learned through simple copywork. I know a lot of the "NEW" thing is to push writing (creative stories, journaling, etc) regardless of their spelling, and I'm NOT of this mindset -- I would rather have correct and super simple vs. a paragraph/page of writing with lots of misspellings. -- thinking again that this is based from my reading of CM -- I hope that's it's her books that I am remembering that pushed proper and simple -- years ago I read her books.

    On AAR & AAS -- I found that it was not easily accomplished in 10-20 minute sessions. Some days would be easy, while others were more long and drawn out -- like the pages that had a lot of words and phrases to read. I could not find an easy balance to stick within a time schedule, and still be able to find a flowing rhythm of our days. I need a similar rhythm every day to keep it easy.

    Also cutting, the activities were extra long for us -- I have two lefties and cutting has not come as easily -- so possibly the area of cutting was a slight issue. I could have cut them myself, but again more work for me.

    The ABC pieces :) -- While I invested in a beautiful white board (size they suggested), the magnets were not all that strong and often times during our lessons, would fall to the floor -- just kind of annoying to me. And, many of the activities, my daughter, really didn't NEED to do (like you mentioned in your post with your son.) Once she learned the word, it came easily to her to spell it right.

    I just found this area of teaching to be extra work for us, with something that I could easily accomplish with copywork and picking up books for my children to read to me -- and did that with my older girls who are now excellent spellers and always get frustrated with their friends who text and can't spell.

    I'm also finding that many of the spelling rules are actually brought up in our lessons with Queen Homeschool Language Lessons. She shares the rules of why we do something, and maybe that is helpful to us.

    I'm not saying that they are not excellent programs, as I think they have a lot of strong points, but just not a good fit for us.

    I hope that I've answered your question :)

  7. We love All About Spelling in our home as well! I tried a couple different spelling programs before trying AAS and the spelling lists made absolutely no sense to me and not to my daughter either who struggled to spell. We have used AAS for 2 years now and she is currently in level 4. I just started my just-turned-7 year old daughter in level 1 and she is loving it (she just started level 3 of All About Reading, so spelling is fun and easy for her...I didn't start AAS with her when recommended....I think All About Learning Press recommends starting it with level 2 of AAR).

    Also, I made my strawberry syrup and can't wait to try it in a club soda float!

  8. We just started AAS Level 1 and we love it so far. We only spend about 15 minutes 3x a week on AAS.

    My 3 favorite things about the program: (1) there's really no preparation once you have your board set up - you just open the book and continue where you left off; (2) it's multisensory so kids get to learn using sight, sound and touch; and (3) my son is obsessed with it - he asks to do AAS several times a week.


  9. I noticed you use queen homeschool supply, I bought her language lesson and really like them, I also bought learning to spell through copy work, copy work and her living through learning math. I'm new to the Charlotte mason approach, we have done my fathers world, anyways, my kids , 3rd , 5th and 7th grade are done in no time. I feel like they are not learning! Have you done anything else of queen homeschool supply? Does it work? I want to try the science because I'm not good at teaching science but I'm just not sure along with the fact that all her stuff in consumable and with four kiddos it gets expensive! Thanks for any help!

  10. […] moms”: Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations, Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler, Michelle at Delightful Learning, and LaToya at Learning to Let Him […]

  11. Thank you for sharing! I think it would be helpful for my readers who have the same experience ~ and to be honest, several of your reasons have applied to me at one time or another, but I press on because my children are not natural spellers. Dylan is my only natural speller and I didn't need to continue the program with him after level 4.

    Some lessons do take us longer. I've started setting a time limit so we don't spend too much time. It takes me a good hour to do AAS, AAR, and LL/PLL with Malachi. That feels like a long time some days. It's been really good for him, though, so I compromise by not doing it every day. We do our lessons about 2-3 times a week. I could spread them out and do them daily, but it is easier to just get a lesson done while I have it all pulled out.

    I cut out most of the activities for reading (and now that I am saving them, will save myself that step from now on). The tiles - I sometimes have them fall off which is a pain because they fall behind the desk. It hasn't really been a problem, but I can see how it would be annoying.

    Extra work... this is what I hinted at at the very end of my post. I thought I was just being lazy - maybe I'm not! Maybe teacher intensive is a better description? I think teaching is hard work period, but I miss the days of just being able to hand my children LL or ETC (which we still use), but we need the "extra work." Malachi is doing very well though, and it is nice to not have to do each step in a lesson - we get a week's worth of spelling (one lesson) done in one day and I move on. Which is nice because I don't have to do it every day.

    Anyway, adding my reply here for others to see as well. Thanks so much for your reply! :)

  12. Hey there! I have a quick question about using Queen's Language Lessons with AAS. We are finishing up AAS 1 with my dd (KIndergarten) this week, and in planning for next year, I'd like to add more language arts to go along with AAR2 and AAS2, and LL has caught my attention. Can you explain how you use both AAS and LL? As of now, all I have planned for LA for 1st grade is AAS2 and AAR2/3. I feel like we need something to continue handwriting practice and something in a workbook format to reinforce the rules we learn in AAS and AAR. I was considering First Language Lessons, but this Queen's Language Lessons has been catching my attention. Can you give any insight for me? Thanks!!

  13. Hi Annie, I really like Queen's Language Lessons for writing (copywork), grammar, poetry, and picture studies. It is rounding our our LA nicely. My 9 year old is able to work on it independently, so he does this on his own each day. Often, he does several lessons in one sitting so I let him work at his own pace, as well. It is nice that he is able to do this, since AAS and AAR is more teacher intensive. Hope that helps! :)