A few days ago, Danielle shared about how All About Spelling Level 1 is working for her family. Today, I get to tell you about my own family’s experience with AAS over the last four years. Before I start, be forewarned: I love All About Spelling. It is truly one of my favorite homeschool programs and the only one I have used consistently for this long.
Why do I love AAS so much? Let me tell you . . .
I love that All About Spelling is interactive and multi-sensory. I’m a mom of all boys, and boys need to m-o-v-e. Sitting still and writing lessons on paper all day simply doesn’t do them a bit of good. AAS uses several methods to teach spelling through talking, seeing, touching, and writing. At the core of the program are the spelling tiles and the magnetic whiteboard:
At the start of nearly every lesson, the board is used for building words on the whiteboard with the spelling tiles. The lessons are scripted (in a conversational tone) and give easy directions about whether I should build the word or ask my son to build the word. Both new material and reviews are done this way.
(In case you’re curious, each tile represents a different phonogram – single letters, consonant teams, vowel teams, prefixes, suffixes, and others. The tiles in the lower right of the board are “syllable tags” for labeling syllables. The type of syllable often determines the sound that a vowel makes . . . something I didn’t know before using AAS!)
After building words on the board, sounds, words, and spelling rules are reviewed using cards that are stored in an index card box. The cards are color-coded and organized into Phonogram Cards, Sound Cards, Key Cards, and Word Cards. This makes it easy to grab the ones we need for any given lesson.
Lastly, it’s time for some writing. In the earlier levels, the student writes words and phrases; later, the lessons use complete sentences instead of phrases. Beginning in Level 4, each lesson also includes a “writing station” which gives a set of five words that the student uses to write his own original sentences. My 11-year-old enjoys coming up with clever stories for this exercise. It’s a nice way to combine a little creative writing with his spelling practice.
I love that All About Spelling is non-consumable. The books are not designed to be written in, and the materials from every level can be passed down from child to child. The interactive kit (basic or deluxe version), which includes the spelling tiles, is used for all students. More tiles are added as a child progresses through the levels, but it’s okay to have all the tiles on the board even when using the early levels. The board pictured above, for instance, contains all the tiles up through Level 4 even though one of my sons is using Level 2.
Keep in mind that the levels don’t correspond directly to grade levels. My oldest son (age 11 in sixth grade) is nearly finished with Level 4 of AAS, and my middle son (age eight in third grade) is almost finished with Level 2. There are approximately 26 lessons in each level, but each lesson will take a day, a week, or longer, depending on your child’s individual progress. It’s very easy to slow down or speed up to tailor AAS to each of my children.
I love that All About Spelling is scripted, yet flexible. Once the tiles and cards are all cut out and prepared, AAS really doesn’t require any teacher prep on a regular basis. Each day, I open the Teacher’s Manual to the current lesson and begin. I don’t even need to read the lesson ahead of time! Perfect.
I also don’t need to be a spelling expert in order to use AAS effectively with my kids. Honestly, I’ve been learning the spelling rules right along with them. AAS teaches the rules in such a casual and fun way that it never feels like memorizing or trying hard to remember. (One technique my kids enjoy is throwing the “rule breakers” into jail. Words like been and was have to spend their time behind bars. )
Though it’s scripted and carefully laid-out, AAS is also very flexible. Lessons include extra words if a child needs more practice, and it’s super easy to break up a lesson into multiple parts if a child needs more time. For my eight-year-old, I always do the lesson on the spelling board with him one day but wait until another day to have him do the written exercise. It works out better for his attention span and also gives him time to mentally digest the new material.
Most importantly, I love that All About Spelling works! Both of my sons spell quite well at their level, and spelling hasn’t been a struggle or problem for them. I believe this is due almost entirely to our using AAS for four years now. A foundation of understanding the nuances of spelling has been laid, and we’re steadily building upon that week after week. Have your kids ever said, “I like spelling”? Mine have.
Disclaimer: I received All About Spelling Level 5 in exchange for this review. All opinions given are mine and are true & honest. Thank you, All About Spelling!
Cindy and her husband, Jon, live in beautiful West Virginia with their three sons – Nick, age 11, James, age 8, and Robert, age 4. They homeschool with a relaxed, eclectic style and enjoy reading great books together as a family, geocaching, and visiting historic and scenic places. Along with teaching Sunday School, knitting, and baking, Cindy loves geography and is the author of Expedition Earth: My Passport to the World. Visit her blog at Fenced in Family.
All About Spelling Giveaway
How would you like to win All About Spelling? One Hip Homeschool Moms reader will win All About Spelling Level 1 and the Deluxe Interactive Kit! Already use AAS? No problem, you can win the next two levels in the series instead. For example, if you’re currently using Level 2, you would win Levels 3 and 4!