Wednesday, February 29, 2012
All About Reading Review
How do I love everything I've ever used from All About Learning? Let me count the ways! All About Learning began with All About Spelling, a product I reviewed years ago and loved at first try. (Click here to read my All About Spelling Review.) We still use it to this day. Then, they began developing beautiful children's readers in anticipation of their new reading program. I also reviewed those books, and they were such high quality and just so beautiful, I was beyond impressed. So of course, when the chance to review their new All About Reading program came up, I basically BEGGED to be chosen to review it.
I should start by saying all 3 of my older children (who learned to read before All About Reading existed) have used the exact same reading program with fine results, but that my one complaint with that program was that it did not teach ALL the sounds a letter can make, so after learning to read, they still didn't know any of the rules for WHY words were pronounced and spelled the way they were. But I loved the simplicity of that program, which required very little teacher prep, and I also knew I wasn't up for some of the profoundly complicated systems out there. All About Spelling was a perfect way for them to fill that spelling void, but it meant that my older students were having to go back to remedial reading levels to learn some of the basics of spelling that they didn't learn when they learned to read. So even though I had begun my youngest daughter on the same program her siblings had used, I knew that it wasn't ideal since it meant she too would have to backtrack. And THAT is why it was a no-brainer for me to switch her, even mid-stream, to All About Reading.
All About Reading is everything I love about All About Spelling and more! Each lesson is completely scripted for you, the teacher, so after you initially set up your materials, prep work is virtually non-existant. Everything you need to know, do, and say is provided for you in the Teacher's Manual. All the lesson specific materials your student needs are in the Blast Off to Reading book. In addition to those two resources, the program uses manipulative letter tiles and the yellow phonogram cards and green word cards you can see pictured above to help your child learn through sight, sound, and touch. The final component is the three beautiful, hard cover readers you can see pictured above too.
Lessons begin with students learning the initial sounds of a few phonograms. They then learn to combine these sounds together to read simple vowel-consonent-vowel words. Before moving on, each new lesson reviews the sounds already covered and some of the words already read. Indexed tabs for your cards help organize them by what is not-yet-covered, what is mastered, and what needs to be reviewed.
The cons: The ONLY thing I would say is that the program is that Level 1 moves a little fast IF you try to jump into it before your child is ready. There is an earlier level that is for Pre-K and Kindergartners, and that would be the best choice if your child is not really ready to read. And each child is different, so please, accept your child for where there are no matter what their age, not where you want them to be. Of my four children, three were late readers. I'd have loved, just once, to be the mom gushing that my 4 year old read War and Peace, but that was not God's plan for any of my children. Because each step in reading builds on the previous one, be sure your child has mastered the idea before moving on! This was the perfect level for my daughter, but she had had some previous reading instruction and lots of "letter sound" work, so she has been able to consistantly move ahead, but I know with my oldest child, he would not have moved nearly as quickly through the lessons.
The Bottom Line: I've reviewed a LOT of homeschooling products. And yet, through the years, I've become an affiliate for only two companies because I don't give my allegience and wholehearted recommendation lightly. All About Learning, the parent company of All About Spelling and All About Reading, is one of those two companies. I LOVE their materials, and they are committed to helping you and your child succeed. In fact, All About Reading offers a "Go Ahead and Use It" one year guarantee, so you can use it for a full year and return it if it didn't work for you. You know why they can do that? Because they know it WILL work for you. They create "Programs that teach thoroughly so your child can succeed amazingly". I can't recommend All About Reading highly enough, and I hope Level 2 is ready soon, because we will definitely be buying that when it's available.
All About Reading products can be found HERE. Just click on the "All About Reading" tab. The Level 1 kit contains the Teacher's Manual, the student packet which includes Blast off to Reading, and three readers- Run, Bug, Run!, The Runt Pig, and Cobweb the Cat. It is $99.95. The Deluxe Reading Interactive Kit adds on the letter tiles, magnets for the tiles, the Basic Phonograms CD, Reading Divider Cards, Reading Review Box, Reading Tote Bag, and Smiling Star Stickers for $48.95. The Basic Interactive Kit, which does not have the box, the tote bag, or the stickers, is $28.95. Each Interactive item can also be ordered individually, which is handy for All About Spelling users because they will already have many of the materials needed.
To read what other members of the TOS Crew had to say about Level 1 go HERE. (Or, if you have a younger child, some Crew members reviewed Level Pre-1 last year.)
Legal Disclosure: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received the the Level 1 Reading Kit and Deluxe Reading Interactive Kit for FREE for the purpose of being able to provide my honest review. I also have an affiliate relationship with All About Learning because I love their products, we use them daily, and they have transformed my children's spelling and reading.