My #3 child (of 4) is ready to read! I had a feeling that she would be an earlier reader, and I honestly could have started her a couple of months ago.
However, now is the time. She just turned 5 last week and she’s ready to get going!
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Why We Continue to Use All About Reading in our Homeschool
My oldest son didn’t require much help with reading. So I really didn’t have to explore reading programs with him. (Yes, I totally realize what a blessing this is.)
Reading didn’t come quite as naturally to my oldest daughter and I searched high and low for the right program to use with her. We were very blessed to stumble upon All About Reading early in the game with her, and she’s been quite successful with it.
My oldest daughter is a girl that needed just a bit more time before formal reading, so we did start the program and then have to put it away for a bit. But after she was actually ready, we saw tons of progress!
Now, my middle daughter is starting with All About Reading and her small, immediate successes are so perfectly timed to build her confidence!
Not only is she progressing, but she feels like such a big girl!
I love it.
There are many features of All About Reading that I just adore. Here are just a few.
All About Reading is Phonics-Based
No, I do not hold a teaching degree, however I’m a firm believer that my own children should learn to read using phonics. I’ve researched other methods, and this is the best approach for our family.
I love that All About Reading uses direct phonics instruction. In Level 1, my children learn the sounds assigned to each letter and to several blends. They learn to read short words, based on those decoding strategies.
They’re also taught strategies to isolate syllables and the sounds in a three- or four-letter word.
This curriculum is such a wonderful blend of different activities.
My Children Enjoy the Multi-Sensory Approach
While I am obviously a fan of worksheets & printables in moderation, I really appreciate a curriculum that implements several different methods of teaching.
My girls enjoy isolating letter sounds with a little disc, building words on our white board with tiles, and the oh so fun cutting & pasting printables.
There are enough activities in All About Reading to keep their busy hands moving, while providing ample amounts of phonics practice.
Very Little Preparation for Mama
This is a biggie for me: to find a thorough program that requires little preparation time for me. All About Reading passes this test with flying colors.
When I’m planning our schedule for the week, I take maybe 10-15 minutes to read through the Lessons that we need to work through.
Before our actual lesson, I spend 2-3 minutes gathering our books, our reading cards, and the Activity Page she is to complete.
So total prep time for the whole week: 12-18 minutes.
This totally works for me.
The Readers are a Favorite!
I can’t tell you how much my girls and I have enjoyed Run, Bug, Run, The Runt Pig, and Cobweb the Cat!
The stories set my children up for success in that they review words they have already mastered, while gently introducing words covered in the lessons.
The stories are short and have beautiful illustrations.
I especially enjoy the fact that there is not a lot of text on each page. In other readers, my oldest daughter would glance at the page, realize how many words she would have to read, and totally shut down and not read a single thing!
However, the readers with All About Reading Level 1 never seem overwhelming because there is just the right amount of text on each page to encourage success.
Free Teaching Resources Offered by All About Learning
In addition to the wonderful helps in the Teacher’s Guide, All About Learning also provides several free resources for families:
Free Printables for Summer Reading Practice – If you choose to take the summer off, keep those Level 1 words fresh in their minds with these fun printables!
Tips to Break the Word Guessing Habit – These ideas were especially helpful for my little word guesser!
ABC Snacks – Eating Your Way Through the Alphabet – a yummy snack for each letter of the alphabet!
Free Picture Book Reviews – book reviews on a variety of fun topics
Free Apps Offered by All About Learning
We occasionally use apps for learning in our home. My children always think it is such a special treat!
We’ve used these 2 free apps from All About Learning many times.
These apps are offered for a wide range of devices: Android and Apple Smartphones, Kindle, Windows, and Mac.
Free Phonogram Sounds app – clear pronunciation for each of the 72 basic phonograms
Free Letter Sounds A to Z App – this app is used for All About Reading Level Pre-1; it includes enunciation of the sounds of the 26 letters.
My little girls love this one!
Do you use All About Reading in your homeschool? What are your favorite features of the program? Do tell!
We love All about Reading and All about Spelling. One thing I have done to make things easier is to tear out all activities and fluency sheets and pre-cut the games. I put each lesson in a page protector and file it in a binder. Then I can just grab and go. Makes it easy to gather materials for our lessons! 🙂
Oh Crystal, you smart, smart girl! Thanks for leaving that great tip!
I am just starting out and found your blog through a video chat with 1+1+1=1 and have fallen in love. I have a 3.5 year old who is begging for school. I’m starting to look into where to start since she is my first. She is starting to put the sounds together with the letters. She cannot recognize all of the letters yet. I was wondering if you just start with this level for the All About Reading or if you start with the pre level one with the zebra. My plan was to do the God’s Little Explorers curriculum starting in the fall. Any thoughts would be great. Thanks for the help. And she loved your calendar printables already!
Melissa, if she is super interested in learning letters, the Pre-Level 1 is a fun, gentle way to start. I used it with both of my girls and they adored it. There are simple activities, the curriculum is open-and-go (minimal prep for mom), and the readers are just plain fun. I’m definitely going to use it again for my youngest, who is now 3.5.
All of that said, in my experience, God’s Little Explorers would be plenty for 3.5-4. 🙂 I over planned and pushed just a bit with my first (I just didn’t know better). Everyone says to relax during those early learning years and let them have imaginative play, read literature-rich books, and explore nature. I wish I had listened when my first was in those preschool/early K years.
Have you found Spell Outloud yet? (www.spelloutloud.com). She has TONS of great learning ideas for the younger crowd too! Lots of nature study and open-ended play.
There are so many wonderful ideas and options for preschool/K that it can be overwhelming – but it’s also so much fun!
Feel free to ask questions! I’m happy to try and answer them. 🙂
Thanks for the input! I haven’t found that blog but will check it out!
I was a middle school teacher so I’m having to try to slow myself down a little.
I made some preschool boxes for a little more structured play. She is loving the sensory items in them. With having my 3 mo old too it’s finally starting to fall into a routine that is more predictable.
I have a 1st grader who made it very clear at the beginning of the year, that she wasn’t going to learn to read. We’ve been plugging through All About Reading 1 all year, and she’s making such great progress! She has even started picking out random picture books to read. I’m so glad my very resistant reader is starting to love reading 🙂
Oh be still my heart when they FINALLY turn the corner with reading! It really is such a joy to experience as a mother.
I’m so thrilled that AAR is working well for your resistant reader, too. 🙂