Spelling is one subject I’ve never enjoyed teaching. (And my son has never enjoyed learning.) This is probably because I’ve never found a program that’s the right fit for my son – multisensory, phonetical and builds upon precepts. As a result, he still struggles a bit with spelling in the 5th grade.
During my summer planning, I came across the All About Spelling website and quickly became intrigued. Their program is:
- multisensory – involving sight, sound and touch
- logical – following a sequential order
- thorough – not leaving out anything
- phonics-based – introducing sounds from the simple to complex
- full of review – so your child can’t forget
- clear for the child and scripted for the parent
- very reasonably priced
They even claim to take older students (like my 5th grader) back to the beginning, fill in the gaps and quickly bring them up to grade level. I challenged the company and asked if I could review their program from the perspective of a mom who wanted to start from scratch and see how quickly she could build spelling skills with her 5th grader using their program.
We started at the very beginning with Level One. Much of this was very simple and I often found him rolling his eyes at the lessons. But, there were small gaps even at this first level that we were able to fill in! I tried to ease his “boredom” by telling him that we were going to whiz through the book and try to finish it as quickly as possible. We were able to complete Level One in about three weeks. (For a younger child, this first book would probably take more like a full semester to a year.)
We’re working through Level Two now and I’m finding this book to hold some of the spelling keys that are really making a difference. He’s learning rules about when the y says /i/, when to use oi/oy and other similar exchanges, what vowel teams make the long e sound and so much more. In fact, not only are his spelling skills growing, so are decoding skills during reading and grammar!
What I love about the program:
- It’s hands-on! Manipulative tiles that make up every phonetic sound are included in the material packet you receive. Your child is asked to say, hear, touch and move these phonographs with each lesson. You can even turn them into magnet tiles with small magnets that are included in the materials packet.
- Each lesson builds on previous lessons – and reviews past skills.
- Phonics rules are taught directly with flashcards.
- The lessons are built so that you can move as quickly or as slowly as you need to. There’s no set number of activities that must be completed per day.
I only experienced a tad bit of frustration. Since this is a manipulative-based program, there are manipulatives to prepare. In the material packet, you receive everything you need for all the magnetic tiles and flashcards. However, they are found on (colorful and sometimes laminated or perforated) card stock. You have to cut out all the tiles and stick the little magnets on, and tear apart all the flashcards to file in your own note card filing box. So, the preparation is a bit time-consuming. I would estimate it took me about an hour and a half to get everything ready.
On the positive side – the directions for preparation are top-notch. I never had a question about what to do next!
You can check out each of the levels and what skills they include. If you’re just starting out, you will need to purchase the entire set that comes with a teacher’s guide and the material packet.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that the program is reusable! There are no consumables, so you can use the entire set again for another student. (Unless, like me, you have a three-year-old who might lose some of the manipulatives before his turn comes around to use the program!)
What’s your favorite spelling program?
-Cindy is an eclectically Charlotte Mason mom of 3. You can find her blogging and writing creative curriculum at Our Journey Westward.
(Cindy was provided a review copy of All About Spelling for free in exchange for an honest review. Affiliate links are included in this post.)