I have been formally homeschooling for three years now, and my kids will soon be entering 2nd and 3rd grades. This past year, when they were in 1st and 2nd grades, I decided to begin spelling lessons using the All About Spelling program from All About Learning Press.
Now that I have been using All About Spelling for a year, I am writing a review to share my thoughts and experiences with the curriculum so you can decide if All About Spelling might be right for you.
Why I decided to give All About Spelling a Try
A little over a year ago, my son knew the alphabet and was getting quite proficient at spelling simple, three-letter, decodable words. But when he wanted to spell slightly more complex words, I found myself at a loss for how to explain the strange spelling rules of English. After hearing myself tell him “English is weird” for the hundredth time when I couldn’t explain why something was spelled the way it was, I knew something had to change.
Although I was a good speller myself, I didn’t know how to teach spelling to my son. I needed help.
I looked at several spelling programs, and finally decided to give All About Spelling a try. There were a few key things that sold me on the program.
One was the fact that I knew other homeschoolers were using it and enjoying it.
Another was the fact that All About Spelling offers a complete and comprehensive instruction using the Orton-Gillingham approach.
Next was the fact that All About Spelling uses a developmentally appropriate approach to teaching spelling, unlike far too many schools in the US. (And my haphazard initial attempts at teaching spelling weren’t very good either!)
Finally, All About Spelling provides tools to help children spell 97% of words in the English language. This stat blew me away! I had thought English was totally weird and full of “rule breakers.” I never dreamed that such a large percentage of words in our language could be explained with spelling rules!
One Year Later
There are a total of seven levels in the program. (All About Spelling claims that by the time your children finish Level 7, they will be spelling at a high school level.)
My son has completed All About Spelling Level 1 and is most of the way through All About Spelling Level 2. My daughter, who only started the program half-way through the school year, has nearly completed Level 1.
All About Spelling Review: My Thoughts
Spelling can be logical
I am a good speller. But while I can spell words correctly, I did not know there was a logic to most of our spelling rules until I starting using All About Spelling. I always thought English spelling was pretty random.
For example, why do we double the last letter of sell but not the last letter of set? In Level 1, children will learn the “floss rule” that explains why this is so.
And I didn’t realize that some of the spelling rules I had been teaching my kids (e.g., “when two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking”) were not exactly accurate. All About Spelling explains “vowel teams” in a more logical and correct manner.
Having spelling rules clearly explained has allowed me to do a much better teaching job than if I had tried to teach spelling on my own. Now I don’t have to constantly tell my kids, “English is weird.” All About Spelling has helped make spelling logical for me and for my kids. And this is, by far, what I love most about this program.
Easy to use
On the whole, I have found All About Spelling very easy to use. When it comes to spelling time, I am able to grab the teacher’s manual and begin teaching in less than a minute. Each lesson is scripted out, although I never feel constrained by the script.
I like that we transition back and forth between spelling with letter tiles and spelling on paper. My son doesn’t spend much time with the letter tiles, but my daughter uses them a lot and benefits from the hands-on experience of manipulating the letters around.
Good for kids with different learning styles
Both of my kids have very different learning styles with different areas of strength. I initially purchased All About Spelling to use with my son, as I was confident it would be a good fit for him. He is the type of kid who only needs to hear something once to learn it. And he has learned the spelling rules presented in Level 1 and Level 2 with ease.
A few months after I started All About Spelling with my son, I began the program with my daughter as well. She learns at a different pace, but I have been overjoyed to see this program work so well for her. She requires more review than my son, but she, too, has been able to internalize the spelling rules and apply them to her writing. Best of all, I’ve seen a huge boost in her spelling confidence.
All About Spelling Review: My kids’ thoughts
I wouldn’t say that spelling is my kids’ favorite subject, but on the whole they are quite content with All About Spelling. I try to limit spelling lessons to just 15 minutes or less three times a week, so it never becomes too burdensome. And we’ve developed a routine during spelling review time where they get a big hug from me once they complete their spelling words correctly.
Both my kids will tell you that they have learned a lot from the program and have become better spellers. My daughter has found All About Spelling to be so useful that she has asked to start using All About Reading as well.
There is an initial, up-front, one-time cost to purchase the Spelling Interactive Kit. We chose to purchase the basic option, which currently sells for $22.85, but there is also a deluxe option that comes with a few extra goodies for $44.85. The Spelling Interactive Kit is used for all seven levels of the All About Spelling Program, and it includes letter tiles, magnets to put on the back of the letter tiles, phonogram sound cards, and spelling divider cards. You can also use the free All About Spelling phonogram sounds app on your phone or tablet.
In addition to the Spelling Interactive Kit, you will need to purchase the materials for each level. The All About Spelling Level 1 Materials sell for $29.95, while materials for the other levels sell for $39.95.
We also opted to purchase the Spelling Review Box for $9.95 to organize our phonogram and word cards (this comes standard in the deluxe kit, but not the basic kit we purchased). Plus, All About Spelling recommends that you store and organize your letter tiles on a white board. We purchased this one.
All together, our initial upfront cost to get started with the program was just over $100. Then as the kids pass into a new level, there in an additional cost of $39.95 to get the materials for the new level. My two kids share the materials in the Spelling Interactive Kit, but they each have their own set of phonogram and word cards.
Organizing the materials
I have found storing and using the materials to be very easy for us.
We keep all of the letter tiles on our magnetic white board. I bring it out when we need it, and it gets tucked behind a desk when we aren’t using it.
I store all of the kids’ phonogram cards and word cards in the Spelling Review Box. My son’s materials are in the front of the box and my daughter’s materials are in the back.