I absolutely love the phonics reading program, All About Reading. I have homeschooled for eighteen years and have taught seven children to read. I have used many different reading programs over the years, but for my last five children, I have used All About Reading. I have used it for my children with dyslexia, and vision impairment, and my children who have no reading disabilities. I have loved it for all of them!
10 Reasons I Love All About Reading
1. My kids enjoy this program. When kids are enjoying learning, it is so much easier to teach.
2. There are activities for each reading lesson. These games all involve reading, but the kids don't feel like they are reading as many words since they are flipping cards over. This multi-sensory approach is helpful for all children.
3. This curriculum is the reason my dyslexic students can read. We had tried other programs that did not work for them, and this one did.
4. It is so easy to use. I do all the preparation for the activities at the beginning of the year and then pull it out and go. It is scripted, so there is no prep work for me at all. I use a sticky tab too. mark where we are. in the teacher guide, the student book, and any reading page we are on.
5. It takes twenty minutes a day and we are done.
6. My kids know how to read very well.
7. It matches up with All About Spelling which ends up giving them a review of their reading as well.
8. The stories do ask some comprehension questions. This is improved over previous editions. I add questions of my own as they read to increase their reading comprehension.
9. The pictures are in color in the new versions and are very fun to see. However, the pictures do not give away the story. Kids can't look at the picture and guess what to say. Instead, they have to read.
10. The stories are engaging, and do a great job of using words with the new rules plus reviewing older stories.
How Do I Prepare All About Reading and Store It?
At the beginning of each year, I cut out each activity. I put each activity in a separate bag labeled with the level and lesson. For instance, if it is All About Reading Level 2, lesson 30, I write AAR 2 L30.
I remove all of the reading pages as well. Each lesson with the reading pages and corresponding activities goes into a page protector in a 3-ring binder. These are in order by lesson. I use a different 3-ring binder for each level. When it is time for the reading lesson, I just grab the 3-ring binder, teacher's guide, iPad, and student book. Then we are able to get started right away. By doing this, I ensure that the entire 20 minutes is spent on reading.
Is the All About Reading App worth it?
Yes! All About Reading uses different tiles for vowel teams, consonant teams, letters, and more. In the past, these were magnetic tiles on a board. You would have to move these tiles around to make words. You always had to be sure the tiles were not knocked off, and it took much more time than the app takes.
The app has all of the tiles needed for each lesson. All of the sounds for that tile can be played using the app which is very helpful.
My favorite part is that we always have all of the tiles that are needed, and they can't get lost!
Why do I only spend 20 minutes teaching my child reading a day?
I want my kids to love reading. I want them to enjoy the lessons. There are times they beg to keep reading. I don't ever let them continue. The reason is I want them to want to read again the next day. I have discovered over the years that after 20 minutes the focus and speed are so decreased there is no reason to continue past 20 minutes.
I do make sure that reading is completed every day we are doing school. I do not stop over the summer. I personally do not want to have to reteach reading. Reading is how kids gain independence. It is how they can read their Bible. I prioritize reading and ensure that even if it is a short school day, reading happens.
Details About All About Reading
This is a phonics-based program. Sight words are not taught, so kids might seem as if they are not progressing as quickly in the first level, but this program is really superior to most other reading curriculums and is my top pick for reading programs that are teacher-led. My kids who use this program can read just about anything. There is a pre-reading program and then four levels of reading programs. These programs are not based on grade level. I start the pre-reading program at age 4 for my children. I start level 1 in kindergarten, and we just continue through the levels until all four are. completed.
All About Reading Pre-Reading
This level is for kids in preschool or kindergarten. There are 78 lessons at this level. Ziggy Zebra is a puppet you can purchase that my kids love. There are games they play with the zebra, and my kids have loved it. Kids will learn the capital and lowercase names of each letter. Some poems and stories will be read. Ziggy Zebra helps kids listen to different sounds in the words. There is an activity for each lesson that kids enjoy doing. Towards the end of the curriculum, kids begin learning the letter sounds.
There is a chart that shows kids their progress and they get a sticker for each lesson that is completed.
I have my kids practice writing whichever letter they are learning using Channie's handwriting.
All About Reading Level 1
At this level, kids learn to read words with all 26 letters. They also learn some blends such as th, sh, ch, sk, ng, and nk. There are 52 stories as well in three different reader books. The letters on the stories and reading pages are larger than in later lessons which is helpful for younger readers. Since there are three books, the books are a good size for a young child to hold as well. The pictures in these stories are beautifully done yet do not give the story away forcing kids to read rather than guess.
The activities are fun for the kids to do. These are often stand-alone words that encourage reading rather than guessing. Kids also do not realize how many words they have read when they are completing activities they enjoy.
The lessons are set up so that you are taught a concept which is reinforced with activities. There is then a reading sheet(s). These reading sheets do help kids to read more quickly. The words are grouped in ways that they recognize the phonogram and have practice recognizing them. There are also phrases and sentences. The lesson after the new concept usually has a story. There is a warm-up exercise of words for kids to read before the story. I always have my kid read them as it increases their speed and understanding during the story. There is vocabulary the teacher explains, sometimes an activity, and then the child reads the story. There are comprehension questions written out for the teacher to ask the child.
They have flipbooks that all of my kids have enjoyed. In these books, a couple of the letters stay the same and they can flip pages to form new words.
There is a card young kids can use to read words if they have trouble skipping lines. This was particularly helpful for my dyslexic children.
All four levels have a progress chart with stickers for the kids to see how far they have gone. There is also a certificate for the child as they finish the lesson. At the end of the final book, there is a message that they have finished as well which my kids all loved reading as well.
If your child needs additional help and games there are reading games with Ziggy the Zebra. Not all kids will need this. One of mine did, and he enjoyed them. They are file folder games that you can use. There is something about playing games that makes kids not realize they are reading and makes the time fly by during the lesson.
All About Reading Level 2
Since we homeschool we jump right into level 2 after completing level 1. In level 2 there are two student books with 27 stories. The words are still large enough for a young reader, but they are smaller than level one since the stories are longer.
This level is full of fun activities and flipbooks. There are cute monsters and houses and activities. Kids use syllable tags to learn how to divide words into syllables and label them. Learning how to divide words into syllables and the reasons that letters make the sounds they do in words allows kids to decode words so much easier. 12 new phonograms are taught.
The set-up of these books is the same throughout with a concept introduced, activities played, and sheets read in one lesson. Following this is a warm-up sheet to read, possible activity, and then a story for the child to read.
My son loved the frog stickers for this level as he tracked his progress. Having kids track their progress helps them focus as well because they love being able to see they have completed a lesson.
All About Reading Level 3
My kids usually are at this level by the second grade because we do reading lessons every day other than vacation. This is how I choose to do it, but there is always a good review of everything learned in the previous level at the beginning of each book. Every letter sound, phonogram, and rule learned will be reviewed. While this sounds boring, it is reviewed with activities and in different ways so it is not boring.
Again there are two story books. There are activities, games, and flipbooks. There are 16 new phonograms taught. There are 25 more stories for kids to read. None of these stories consists of sight words, but the child can read the words from the rules that have been taught.
All About Reading Level 4
My kids have completed this level towards the beginning of third grade. The last few lessons are based on words we use that come from another language. For my children who have finished earlier than the third grade, I have waited to teach these lessons until the third grade. They are still able to read almost every word without those last few lessons, but I do make sure to teach them in third grade. This is the reason I love this curriculum. In third grade, my kids can read almost any word on their own.
Can Your Child Switch to This Curriculum Easily?
I have switched a couple of my kids to All About Reading after using another curriculum, and they transitioned well. There are placement tests your kids can use to see where they should be. I ensured they knew the rules and did a brief run-through of lessons from the previous level just by doing a few activities, but I think they would have done fine regardless.
Final Thoughts All About Reading Curriculum
This curriculum is not a Christian curriculum, but I have listened to my children read all of the stories multiple times, and I have never seen anything in the words or pictures that I was concerned about. The stories are well written in a way that forces the kids to read rather than guess and keeps their interest while teaching them to read. It is engaging and entertaining for the kids. I love only having to spend 20 minutes daily with each child while learning to read. I do not stop reading except for vacations, so my children get through the curriculum by third grade usually. Reading is not something I want them to forget, and 20 minutes is not much time to spend even in the summer especially when there are games, interactive activities, and stories. I have used almost every reading curriculum in 18 years of homeschooling, and this is by far the best for our family.