All About Spelling is one of those products I’ve seen mentioned on the homeschooling message board I frequent but I never really paid attention to the comments because I had already purchased a spelling workbook. I figured that if TJ ran into any problems with the program I had picked then I would start looking at other programs. I’m very glad that this opportunity fell into my lap, otherwise I might never have looked at this program. All About Spelling is a mastery-based program that utilizes Orton-Gillingham principles using multisensory methods to teach children the language of spelling. There is something here for every learning style as each concept is slowly introduced and developed through various activities – separating words into individual sounds, using letter tiles to spell words, spelling rules to memorize, writing words and phrases from dictation. One of the major components is that the child is taught the rules of spelling and is constantly reviewing those rules and applying them to the words he is learning.
Level one ($29.95) is the introductory level. Young children can take their time progressing through each of the 24 steps or older children can move more quickly. After the introductory steps each lesson follows a similar format:
- Daily review of phonogram cards, sound cards, key cards, and word cards
- New material – a new key card, sound or phonogram, etc.
- Spelling with tiles
- Spelling on paper
- More words to practice
- Phrases for dictation
- Periodic review of mastered material
Each step can easily be broken down into daily, manageable portions depending on a child’s age and ability. Concepts taught include: 32 phonograms, segmenting words into individual sounds, short vowel words, forming plural words, compound words, choosing between ‘c’ and ‘k’ at the beginning of a word, and many more concepts.
Level two ($39.95) begins with a review of the material covered in level one and quickly moves onto new material, following the same format as the previous book. Level two also includes a few new things:
- Syllable tags - children are taught to label words with the tags
- More dictation – phrases for dictation are still present, but this level also includes sentences for dictation
- Concept review – focusing on a concept or rule that the student has already learned
A few of the concepts included in this level: dividing words into syllables, identifying and labelling various syllables, silent-E words, and spelling rules for vowel combinations.
The Starter kit ($26.95) is a helpful component of the program and includes the letter tiles (a necessary component to the program), magnets for the tiles, and a phonogram cd-rom. This is where the initial time is spent – cutting out letter and phonogram tiles and attaching magnets to the tiles.
What sets this program apart is the built-in review and the way that spelling rules and strategies are taught. Each level’s student material packet includes cards (phonograms, sounds, keys, and words) that are constantly reviewed. They are filed separately behind dividers – cards that haven’t been introduced, cards to review and cards that are mastered. This is my favourite part of the program – there is no remembering to review this or that spelling rule – it’s automatically included at the beginning of each step.
We are really enjoying this program. TJ loves the hands-on nature of the letter tiles and the activities and she really loves reciting her phonograms – especially the vowel sounds. The one aspect that I appreciate the most is that the spelling rules are taught and reinforced with each lesson. It makes my job as the teacher very easy!
All About Spelling is easy to use and the results are easy to see. Each level comes with a teacher’s manual (scripted lessons) and a student material packet (flashcards, dividers, a progress chart, and a certificate of completion along with any other incidental items needed for each specific level). Check out the Crew blog if you’re interested in reading what other homeschool families thought of this program.