For the past several months, my 5-year-old daughter has enjoyed ‘early’ kindergarten during our homeschool day. She was very eager to “do school” and we had exhausted all of her K4 Curriculum. However, I didn’t feel like she was ready to read. She still had some trouble with 5 or 6 letter sounds.
Besides that, my mothering instinct just said we needed to wait.
But what should we work on in the meantime? She was eager to learn and with four kiddos, I needed something that I could literally just pull off of the shelf and be ready to go in 2 minutes.
After a little research, I discovered that All About Reading had a Pre-Reading course.
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We were already huge fans of All About Spelling, so I was familiar with the quality and comprehensive nature of the material from All About Learning. All About Reading Pre-Reading was exactly what I was looking for: a phonics-based program that would cover each letter with depth and fun activities. It is a program that will gently bridge us into her phonics program where she learns to read.
It was a happy day for both of us when her All About Reading box arrived in the mail. We looked over each item and just could not wait to get started!
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How We Use All About Reading Pre-Reading
All About Reading Pre-Reading covers a similar format with each letter that is introduced. The first 26 lessons focus on capital letters, the next 26 lessons focus on lowercase letters and then the last 26 lessons focus on recognizing Letter Sounds.
After introducing our letter, we write it on the board, write it in paint, trace it with our fingers, and any other way to seal in her mind what the letter looks like.
Then we read through the Letter Poem or Story in the assigned reader. The stories and poems are short but engaging and often silly! Since they are short, we read through them several times, with my daughter picking out the letter we’re studying on the page as I read.
Sometimes we study the pictures first to see if they will give us clues to what the story will be about.
After the reading time, there is an assigned activity. Rhyming words, focusing on beginning letter sounds, blending letters and words, and several other facets of language are covered. The activities are simple, yet engaging. Some of the activities were very easy for her while she perceived others as very difficult and needed lots of help from me. I love that she was able to feel successful with the easier tasks and the harder ones pushed her to think.
After the reading time and small activity, there is a small worksheet to complete. This is by far my daughter’s favorite part of this curriculum! The worksheets in this set are so unique! The letter of the day is of course the main focus with a creative activity involving that letter.
For example, the capital letter B has a picture of a bee hive nestled behind a large letter B. After coloring the bee hive, my daughter painted on blueberries with a small amount of blue paint and the eraser end of a pencil.
The crafts are perfect in that they require items we already have at home, the prep work is minimal, and the clean-up is too! It’s just enough painting and crafting to make her happy, yet doesn’t create a huge mess. It’s the perfect balance in my opinion!
Open and Go is Easy For Me
I could not be more pleased with the Open and Go format of All About Reading Pre-Reading. I can literally open the book to the letters we’re working on and teach or review what my daughter needs to cover for the day. The Teacher’s Manual lays out the lesson in an easy-to-follow format for me and for my daughter. It even gives you prompts to say if you feel uneasy about how to present the information.
The items needed for the Letter Craft at the end of each lesson are items taken right out of our craft closet. There’s no need to purchase anything unusual or hard to find.
If you have just a minimally stocked shelf of craft supplies, there should be no need to buy anything.
The Biggest Surprise – Ziggy the Zebra
I will admit: I had minimal intentions of using Ziggy the Zebra. It’s not that I’m anti-puppet, I just couldn’t imagine incorporating it into our learning time every day. I didn’t see the purpose, really.
But wow would we have missed out if I didn’t include Ziggy! My girls just love him! When Ziggy comes out, they introduce themselves to him, pat his head, and give him hugs. Who knew it would be such a hit?!
They laugh hysterically when Ziggy gets his answers wrong and they praise him when he is correct. I’m so glad I didn’t just gloss over the whole Ziggy factor. The puppet engages them in a way that is appealing to them and holds their attention. Love that.
Overall Impression of All About Reading Level Pre-Reading
Overall, I could not be more pleased with All About Reading Pre-Reading. It met every single expectation I had. The instructions and activities are clear, the Readers have beautifully sketched illustrations and stories that correlate with our focused letter, and the worksheet reinforcement has just enough craftiness to satisfy my craft-loving daughter (without causing a mess for me).
We’re only 1/3 of the way through the material, but I can already see significant improvement in my daughter’s phonemic awareness. She sees a letter on a billboard and says, “Mama! That’s the letter d! You know – like the deer that we glued on pipe cleaner antlers!” And then she sings her sweet little made-up song about the “/d/ /d/ /d/ letter d.”
I’m so proud of her progress! We look forward to moving on to All About Reading Level 1 when she’s ready!