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All About Reading Pre-reading with Bo

Bo has been asking me daily for "more school" since I started rowing with him. He also knows most of his letters and sounds (though he can't say /k/ and /g/), so I was not interested in going through the alphabet again until I could start All About Reading Pre-reading (affiliate link).

Well, out of desperation to find more school for him to do (I'll burn out if I try to row with him every week), I pulled it off the shelf to see if he could do it, and guess what?

He not only can do it, he loves it!

He especially loves Ziggy the Zebra. :)

Bo is 3 years, 7 months. I started this level with Eliana when she was 4 1/2 and we moved through it quickly. Looking back, I wished that I would have taken more time so that she was more mature and ready for Level 1. (We did level 1 over K and 1st grade to give her time to mature.)

But Bo is eager and wants to learn right now. He also loves to color much more than Elli did at even a year older than he is now.

So, I plan on moving slowly. I'm giving him just enough that he asks for more, but not too much that he gets bored with it. So far, we have been doing two lessons a week, and often spend the rest of the week practicing or reinforcing what he learned.

The Big Five

All About Reading Pre-reading focuses on the Big Five Skills, the five most important pre-reading skills for young children:

  1. Print Awareness

  2. Phonological Awareness

  3. Letter Knowledge

  4. Listening Comprehension

  5. Motivation to Read

But, what do these mean? As I share each activity we do, I will share which skill is being focused on (to the best of my knowledge).

Letter A

We begin by singing the Alphabet Song. This skill focuses on Print Awareness and Letter Knowledge, as we are pointing to each letter as we sing it (see photo below). The manual not only explains why it is important to learn the song, but it also has some valuable tips on page 197.

Next we read the poem for the letter A from the book Zig Zag Zebra, and I have Bo find the letter A in the text (Print Awareness). These are very short poems and easily keep a young child's attention. (Bo is noticing letters in words all around him and points them out to me.)

Then we do the ABC Craft Sheet for capital letter A (Letter Knowledge and Print Awareness).
all about reading pre-reading

Then I choose "one or more activities" from page 195 in the manual. These are very simple and easy activities to do. I had Bo stick magnetic letters on the white board and find the Letter of the Day. (Letter Knowledge)

By the way, I love the color coded magnetic letters because they match the letter tiles in the All About Reading program, but they are larger and easier to manipulate with little fingers! :)

Bo enjoys several handwriting apps on my iPhone or iPad. Here he is doing Letter School.

Then we play "Rhyming Body Parts" with Ziggy to introduce Bo to the concept of rhyming. This is a Phonological Awareness concept. Ziggy makes this so fun!

At the end of our lesson, I am encouraged to read a story or poem to Bo for 20 minutes. (Motivation to Read and later Listening Comprehension).

It will always be my heart to instill a delight for books and reading. It is not only important that I read to Bo, but that he sees me and others reading too. In our homeschool, that is easy! :) I also take every opportunity to point out words and writing in our daily life and read them to him.

We are either reading a Before Five in a Row book or books from Sonlight P 3/4  - part of my original preschool plan. I will be updating my plan soon!

Letter B

The wonderful thing about All About Reading Pre-reading is that it establishes a rhythm of learning that is predicable and easy to complete in a short amount of time.

Each lesson in Part 1 follows a similar pattern:
  • New Letter of the Day

  • Sing the Alphabet Song

  • Complete Letter Activities

  • Language Exploration: Play a Game with Ziggy

  • Read a Story or Poem

It provides a wonderful rhythm to learning time!

all about reading pre-reading

In today's lesson for Letter B, Bo is playing a rhyming card game with Ziggy.

And we mustn't forget to add our sticker to the progress chart!

We did two letters this week and spent the rest of the week reading lots and lots of NURSERY RHYMES!

This is NOT a Sonlight P 3/4 selection (our primary source for read-alouds, besides Before Five in a Row), but I bought it to replace two books in the core and it is wonderful for teaching the Phonological Awareness concept of rhyming.

I prefer to read short poems with predictable rhymes.

Or poems with lots of repetition and that are fun to sing!

Rhyming is a tough concept for little ones, so if you try this, don't give up! Bo caught on by the 2nd week. He can easily match rhyming pairs and play memory games from All About Reading Pre-reading and now in everyday life!


  1. Looks like great work as always! I'm debating all our curricula at the moment! I wonder if I could have Sophia do All About Reading Pre-reading with Kaden.

  2. He looks to be enjoying all the learning fun! Thanks for the reminder of a book on my shelf -- it's an older copy/different cover, but it will actually tie in with our "row". Love HIS perfect timing!

  3. I think if you guide her through the lessons, she would do well doing many of the activities with Kaden! Elli loves to do school with Bo and often joins us to play school. :)

    I'm still debating my curricula, too. It is actually on my calendar to share this week, but I'm not ready. :-/ I've even debated not sharing, so I can just start and see what we need. (Can I do that?!) Of course, I have some general ideas and lots of stuff on the shelf - just a few subjects I am debating.

  4. Love it! Please do tell what you are rowing, though! :)

  5. I'm curious when you purchased your sonlight core because the book you referenced is not part of there current 3/4 core, nor has it been for the last few years. It looks like a cute read though!

  6. Heather, I bought it in early 2013, so I have the 2012 edition, but you are right - Read Aloud Nursery Rhymes for the Very Young is NOT a part of P 3/4. I bought this to replace two books in P3/4 (A First Book of Fairy Tales and Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tales). Since I've always included it with my P3/4 books, I completely forgot it was not a part of the core! I'll go fix my post! It is a cute read!

  7. Thank you for posting about All About Reading! I was looking ahead for my 3 year old for the next thing (his bday is in November) after we do Sonlight P3/4 & Horizons for 3s. I have purchased Sonlight P4/5 but I think that All about Reading PRE will be the perfect go along! Thanks for highlighting this product!

  8. I just found your blog this morning and love it! I found it through School Time Snippets (I think it was a FIAR link which I am not familiar with). I had a question for you. I am doing AAR Pre-Reading with my almost 3 year old and while he knows all his letters and about 1/2 the sounds they make, he does not understand rhyming (at all!). Do you think he is too young for the program? I thought since he knew quite a few letter sounds, he was ready, but maybe not. We have done 4 lessons so far and he still doesn't "get" the rhyming portions. I'm not sure if we should stick with it or back off.

  9. Hi Meghan! I am on lesson 8 with Bo and we are doing 1-2 letters a week and then spending the rest of the week working on rhyming. We are making great progress with the rhyming cards, but when we got to lesson 7 (or thereabouts) and he had to rhyme without the cards, he couldn't do it! (Was he memorizing the cards? or is he a VISUAL learner?!). I plan to continue to work through the lessons as I have been - one to two letters a week and work on the concepts as I have been, but will spend more time reading rhymes and practicing rhyming throughout our day. I may even make up some games to help - I plan to take a balloon and blow it up and bop the balloon and say a rhyming word - have him bop the balloon to me while saying a word, then I bop and saying a word that rhymes with his, until he gets it. It is a tough concept for littles ones, but don't give up! Just have fun with it! This is why I love AAR so much! It teaches more than just letters and sounds! :) So, take it slow, reinforce concepts throughout the week through fun games, read lots of rhymes to him, and he will get it! The reason I plan to continue is because AAR Pre-reading knows it will take some time for little ones to catch on and the program offers continual practice. I will probably bookmark some activities that he doesn't master and repeat them down the road. Of course, let his interest be a guide as well. If he is easily frustrated, I would back off, take a break, or slow down some more. Hope that helps!

  10. I think it will be a perfect fit, too, Lisa! Love how that will work out!

  11. He actually has a ton of fun even though he never gets the rhymes correct, ha. I'll say "what rhymes with duck? How about cat?" and he'll smile real big and say very enthusiastically, "YES!" so I think we might just push pause and focus on some rhyming games for a bit. I love that nursery rhyme book you talked about. Thank you for your thoughts! Very helpful!