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A Review of All About Reading Level 4

All About Learning Press hit the ball out of the park with their reading program. I've shared several reasons in each of my reviews, but they are certainly worth mentioning again.

Why I Love All About Reading:

The program is clear. The lessons are scripted so you know exactly what to do every step of the way. It is so easy to teach and easy to learn.

All About Reading is logical. Reading concepts are really taught in a logical, understandable order and there are no gaps. The program includes all the necessary elements to teach and learn reading. It's a very thorough program.

All About Reading is multisensory. The lessons appeal to all learning styles and engage the child using sight, sound and touch. This is especially appealing to my 4th grader. He makes a game out of everything and the hands on activities make this program appealing.

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

The charm and friendliness of All About Reading Level 4 continues to be what I have come to love and expect from All About Reading. It follows in the same pattern as levels 2 and 3, with a practice sheet for each story, pre-reading discussions and activities, comprehension questions that help my child make predictions about what will happen next, post-reading discussions and activities that include discussing the main character or conflict, story sequencing, how the story relates to my child's life and more. It continues to take reading beyond the process of decoding and involves my child on a deeper more personal level.

For my review of All About Reading Level 4, I'd like to share a little about the program, how we are using it, my "set-up," and how the program, overall, has made a difference in our homeschool.

What do I need to teach Level 4? 

Is this the right level for my child? 

On page 11 of the Teacher's Manual, there is a check list of concepts that your child should be comfortable knowing. If your child can easily complete the placement test activities, then he or she is ready for Level 4!

How do I get started?

Because, this is truly an open and go program, you can jump right in once you have your supplies - the manual walks you through step by step.

Components of Level 4: What's in a Lesson?

The first section contains an overview of the lesson and what you will need. Having everything laid out before you start is a big help!

Before You Begin: At the beginning of most lessons, this box gives you some instructions before you begin. These are great for preparing yourself for what you need to know to teach a lesson. But don't worry! You could skip this box and still teach a lesson because you are truly taught to teach every step of the way. 

Review: This section has you review Phonogram and Word Cards with your student and any previously learned concepts. Review is a critical component of All About Reading.

New Teaching: In this section, new concepts are introduced. The lessons are gently scripted, but the manual also includes plenty of tips in paper-clipped gray boxes throughout the manual. You are never alone in this process.

The Activity Sheets: These give your student a chance to practice what they have learned in a fun hands-on way. These activities are optional if your student doesn't need the practice, but they are fun and reinforce important concepts. (Note: see my set up below to make this process so much easier!)

Practice Reading Words: These are the green Word Cards that offer additional reading practice.

The Practice Sheets: These are designed to practice new concepts and increase vocabulary and fluency.

The Warm-Up Sheets: These expose your student to words and phrases they will encounter in the story so they can read the story with confidence and fluency.

Teach Vocabulary and Activate Prior Knowledge: This section is designed to introduce new vocabulary and prepare your student for the story they will read in the lesson. After reading the story, you discuss your student's ideas and have them answer questions pertaining to the story or their similar experiences.

Read Aloud Time & The Read-Aloud Record: After each lesson, you are encouraged to read aloud to your child for 20 minutes. The chart is a place to record the books that you read. I'm a big fan of reading aloud to my children, but I still love seeing this reminder!

Mark the Progress Chart: Add a sticker to the chart to mark that you completed a lesson.

My Set Up

By the time I got to Level 3, I was tired of the cutting involved for each lesson and wasn't great about making time before I sat down for each lesson, so I took some time at the beginning to pull every activity sheet from the Student Activity Book and slip them into clear plastic sheet protectors and put them into a 3 inch binder so it was all ready to go. I loved this so much that I took the time to do this for Level 4 as well. It takes hours to do this, but it is well worth the time and effort to have it all ready to go!

I include everything I need from the Progress Charts to the Word Cards in one three-inch binder.

I slip the cut outs into plastic sandwich or snack sized zip-lock bags and slip them into the sheet protectors for each lesson. I cut the Lesson title out and tape it to the zip-lock bag. 

I include the Word Cards because I never lose them this way and they are always in order. (After using All About Reading and All About Spelling for over 5 years, I have learned the hard way! I've dumped the whole box of Word Cards out and resorted them more than once. Never again!).

When it is time for a lesson, I simply pull the sheet protectors out with the pages I need and this makes All About Reading even more "open and go" than ever before! (For more tips and tricks on my system, please see my original post on my Level 3 set up). 

All Ready to Go

Today, for my review I'd like to share a "day in the life" of All About Reading Level 4.

Lesson 26

We are on Lesson 26 and it's time to review Phonogram cards.

Malachi is reviewing the cards by himself today. He reads the phonogram and then looks at the back to see if he got it right. If he gets it right, it goes on the table. If he misses it, it goes back in the pile.

Review is really a vital part of the program, so don't be tempted to skip it!

Because we move through our lessons easily and quickly and often without the use of the white board and letter tiles, we don't often use the white board. But today, we will do the lessons as intended so you can see how they work, and then I'll share what I usually do.

We review that the yellow "or" represents the /or/ sound. 

And the purple "or" represents the /er/ sound. 

Next, I built the word "favor" on the board and had him divide it into syllables, sound out the syllables, and then blend the syllables to make a word. This is an unnecessary step for Malachi, so I usually have him read the words right out of the manual.

His next word is "minor" and he reads it no problem. I have him build the word on the board and divide it into syllables and then label the syllables. 

The first syllable is "open" and the second syllable is the "Bossy R" (or R-Controlled). 

Next, I teach the syllable COM by building the word complete. I ask him what the four sounds of "o" are and which sound he hears in the word "complete." He then divides the word into syllables. 

Next we play "Change the Word," except instead of building the words with letter tiles, I simply have him read the words out of the Teacher's Manual. 

compete --> compile --> compose

Next, we complete an Activity Sheet. These are easy and additional practice is not really needed, but he enjoys them! For students that need the practice (or just some hands on fun), these are great!

He is practicing reading words with "or" and with the syllable "com." 

He's helping the farmer plant his field by reading the seedling cards correctly and then driving the tractor to the next row that needs planted. 

And yes, he's making tractor sounds. :) 

Next, he reads the Word Cards.

He doesn't need this extra practice anymore (All About Reading has done a really good job teaching him to read!), but I had him read them today. 

Our read-aloud time is at bedtime in the winter, so we have completed our first lesson and Malachi gets to add a sticker to the Progress Chart.

This whole process takes less than 10 minutes. 

Malachi is a strong reader, so we usually do two reading lessons in one sitting. 

Lesson 27

This lesson starts out with a fun lesson on Acronyms. Malachi learns that an acronym is a shortened way to say or write something, such as USA. 

Some of these are new to him! I love that All About Reading is more than just decoding.

Next, he reads the Warm-Up Sheet for "Puppy Project." 

The manual guides me to point out the illustration of the yellow lab on the Warm-Up Sheet and explain what it is. (It tells me what to say). Then I ask questions about what he knows about dogs and other questions that pertain to the story to generate interest in the story he is about to read. 

I place removable transparent dot stickers on the corners of select pages that have discussion prompts in the teacher manual. When he sees the red dot, he knows to pause so I can ask him comprehension questions. 

I am not only prompted to model these comprehension strategies, but I also got the awesome tip to mark the pages from the Level 3 manual, so I remember to pause when these pages are read!

(We usually sit on the couch to read, but the lighting was better in the dining room for a picture!)

After reading, I ask him a comprehension question about the story, mark our progress sheet, and put away our materials.

We typically do two reading lessons one day, and one spelling lesson the next. We can catch up quick when we need to by doing two reading and one spelling lesson per day, but I usually do 4 reading and 2 spelling lessons a week with Malachi. All About Reading has done a great job teaching him to be an excellent decoder! This is the last level of All About Reading and he will be done with formal reading lessons.

Please note that I move at a much slower pace with Eliana who is in Level 2. Malachi took off in Level 2 and learned at an accelerated rate thereafter. She needs a little more time to practice and All About Reading gives her just what she needs and we follow the lessons as instructed and move at a slower pace to meet her needs.

Having used All About Reading now for 4 years and having worked through Pre-Reading through Level 4 now, I'm super impressed with this program.

The heart of the program is decoding, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary, but there is so much more to reading, such as:
  • learning the morphology of words
  • reading with meaningful expression
  • learning about limericks and rhyme scheme
  • following textual clues to make predictions
  • learning about alliteration, personification, onomatopoeia, hyperbole, rhythm and other figurative language elements
  • identifying the narrator of the story
  • using a reference book
  • following recipes
  • comparing and contrasting stories
  • learning about the difference between fiction and non-ficiton
  • analyzing point of view
  • learning about types of conflict
  • practicing dictionary skills
  • and other story elements! 

After this level, Malachi will have completed 4 levels of All About Reading and I couldn't be happier with the results. He's a confident reader and has excelled beyond the skills of Level 4 on his own just from the skills he has learned so far. I like to say that All About Reading worked itself out of a job - a job well done! Thanks All About Learning Press for helping me teach my child to read in such a fun and easy way.

More All About Reading on Delightful Learning:
Check back tomorrow for a chance to win an All About Reading level of your choice! 

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Level 4 from All About Learning Press in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. Affiliate links are included in this post. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations. 


  1. I love the All about Reading program as well (and All About Spelling). I do basically what you do for setup (pulling out and cutting out all the student sheets and keeping them in page protectors in a binder) except that I use envelopes for the cutouts and label with the lesson number (instead of plastic bags). But, I never thought to keep the green word cards in my binder separated by lesson number as well. I think I will implement that as I'm running out of room in my boxes and it is more handy to have them in sheet protectors. Thanks for the detailed review!

  2. I love how you tell the story in pictures. It helps me to visually see how others use a curriculum. Thank you!

  3. I, too, have recently put all of the AAR and AAS activities and word cards into sheet protectors in 3-ring notebooks. What a world of difference! I know where everything is, and it's very easy to pull out the day's work.

  4. Great informative post. I've never used AAR before.

  5. This is really incredible. We wouldn't need Level 4 right now, but I love seeing how the stages progress.

  6. I love your idea of getting all the activities cut and ready before starting...I will definitely do that with the next level. I'm always looking for ways to cut preparation time down each day:)

  7. Thanks for the review. It's so great to actually be able to 'see' a curriculum in use!

  8. This is a very thorough curriculum. Thanks for the review.

  9. I love seeing how AAR builds upon itself and makes sure students have a solid foundation before moving on to the next level.

  10. We use All About Spelling as AAR was not out yet with my son.... however, I'd love to get my hands on it for my other kiddos. I would deinitely choose the PreReading Level. Thanks for the opportunity!

  11. This was so helpful! I have used all 5 levels of AAR and my son LOVES them. After reading one of your previous blog posts I took the time to cut and tear out everything and it has been WONDERFUL! I really appreciate this post because my son (with the help of AAR) is an advanced reader and reading this has given me the permission i needed to move through these lessons more quickly for him (like not using the tiles). I also like (and I think he would like) going through two lessons in one sitting. I am curious, what will you do for this learning area (reading, reading comprehension, etc) after you're done with AAR 4?

  12. I'm using AAS level 4 with my oldest right now. AAR 4 looks like so much fun and would be a great go-along!

  13. We ADORED AAR and AAS here! We've done Levels 1-3 so far. I started the program with my son at the end of our K year because he just wasn't reading at the level I knew he could be. He's in 2nd grade now and reading at a 5th grade level. I credit AAR (and his own dedication) for his success! I can't wait to use the program with is younger brother.

  14. I want to know why you chose to continue with AAR after his reading took off? It's something in my head, that when Oliver's reading takes off, whatever level we happen to be in at that point will be his last.

    And I love that you cut it all out ahead of time! That is something I need to do more of.

  15. We are working on AAR 1 and really like it. Thanks for the inside peek at what will be coming up in future years. I love your binder idea. I agree that it is really worth it to sit down and get all the cutting done at once.

  16. Love the way you organize the materials in the binder- I do the same! I wish the fluency pages were separate pages by lesson (not front and back with different lessons), hard to divide them up in page protectors lol

  17. I have been looking at this program for about a year now. I love how you pull it all together and give such easy to follow ideas for implementing the program at any level.

  18. Love to see how the different levels of AAR work. We just got level 3 for my son.

  19. I had known that they had come out with level 3, but I didn't realize level 4 was out. I think my son would do well to learn acronyms and some of those more difficult phonic lessons. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Thank you for taking the time to show us step by step use if this curriculum! Very insightful.

    Michelle Oosterlee

  21. Thank you so much for the review! It's great to see the progress through the program and your tips on organization are very helpful. I appreciate the time and effort you take to fully inform your readers how you utilize the program and how much you and your children enjoy it really shines through!

  22. It is very encouraging to me to hear from someone who has used AAR from Pre-Level all the way up through Level 4 AND loves it still!!! I am currently on Level 1 with my Kinder girl and will begin Pre Level with my 4yo this Fall! I wrote you an email about some concerns I had with my 5yo and starting AAR and your words of encouragement were just what I needed to start with her. She is doing wonderfully with AAR Level 1! Thank you!

  23. I am loving your review on AAR! It looks like so much fun, I wish I could use it! :)

  24. I love your curriculum reviews! All the pictures and details are so helpful. We're so excited to begin level 1. Pre-reading has been so much fun. I am amazed at how well my 4.5 year old can blend and attempt to sound out words!

  25. We are currently using AAR and AAS level 1, so Level 4 is a few years away for us. But reading your review gave me some ideas that I can apply to even level 1. I like how your organized the cutting head of time, that is also one thing that I forget to do ahead of time. It is good to see that the same concepts that are taught in level 1 will continue on. It is those concepts that we enjoy, and to continue using something that works, makes me look forward to the next few years of this curriculum.

  26. We are currently using AAR and AAS level 1, so Level 4 is a few years away for us. But reading your review gave me some ideas that I can apply to even level 1. I like how your organized the cutting head of time, that is also one thing that I forget to do ahead of time. It is good to see that the same concepts that are taught in level 1 will continue on. It is those concepts that we enjoy, and to continue using something that works, makes me look forward to the next few years of this curriculum.

  27. We are currently using AAR2, AAS2 and AAS7 in our home. We love AAL press! This look like a great addition to the AAR family and I can't wait til we get to this level, it looks like a winning program!

  28. Love your prep binders idea! We're only in level 2 but it does take some time to prep each day - not much, but it adds up.


  29. It was so refreshing to see a step by step of someone using the program. Sometimes you feel nervous to deviate from the exact instructions but you showed its ok as long as you know your child's level of comprehension.

  30. I like how you use the page protectors! I started doing that with level 1. There is no way I can imagine doing 2 lessons in one day...but I'm glad to hear it's possible!

  31. Thank you for your reviews. You helped me 'seal the deal' to start using AAR! and we LOVE it :):):)

  32. You post such clear reviews. Love the photos and videos that support the words.

  33. Wow! You did an awesome job on this review. I don't think I've ever seen a more clear and in depth review. I liked seeing all the pictures. Thanks!

  34. I can't wait to start level 1 with my daughter next year.

    Ellen H

  35. Your detailed reviews of AAR have helped guide our curriculum choice for next year.

    Ellen H

  36. I love the abbreviations they added to this program (FYI)! Things that come so naturally to me and wouldn't think of actually teaching.

    We're starting level 2 soon... happy to see my kids will continue to have solid curriculum to see them through!

  37. We have used all about spelling for the past 2 years and LOVE IT. I would live to try all about reading I hear wonderful things about it.

  38. Thank you for showing how you typically use AAR and organize it to be more open and go.

  39. Thank you for the awesome organization tips. I can't wait to do this tomorrow to make my life easier.

  40. I keep my pages in page protectors also (levels one and two), but never thought about keeping the cards in there too. I just had the wonderful experience this week of reassembling a card box after my 8 month old got ahold of it. I like the reminders in the books for when to pause during reading - I usually forget to stop at the right time. Thanks for the great tips!!

  41. Thanks for the great review. We started using a binder too. It will work well to preserve the materials when my second son starts the program.

  42. Which new prefix/suffix letter tiles came with Level 4? Thanks for the great review.

    1. Level 4 comes with the syllable tags. I'm not sure which kit the prefix/suffix tiles comes in, but I'm thinking Level 3.