How do All About Reading and All About Spelling work together, and in which order should I use them?
We recommend completing the All About Reading Pre-reading Program and All About Reading Level 1 first, and then adding in the All About Spelling program. By doing so, students will have a solid start in reading, which in turn gives them a strong basis for spelling.
All About Spelling and All About Reading use the same sequence and the same phonograms. Both are complete phonics programs, so they are interrelated in that way. AAS teaches words from the spelling angle, while AAR teaches words from the reading angle.
All About Reading includes decoding skills, fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, and lots of reading practice. It uses letter tiles just like All About Spelling does, though AAS focuses instead on encoding skills, spelling rules, and other strategies that help children become good spellers.
Because of the way they are designed, the programs are also independent of each other so students can move as quickly or as slowly as they need to with each skill. Kids generally move ahead more quickly in reading, and we don’t want to hold them back with the spelling.
I've never taught spelling before. Will I be able to do this?
The All About Spelling program features easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions. You can literally pick up the book and begin each day's lesson without having to figure out what needs to be taught or how to teach it. You are guided every step of the way, and tips for teaching spelling are incorporated right into the lesson plans. If you were never taught to spell in this way, you can learn right along with your child. And if you ever have questions, the author is just an e-mail away. Read the article Is All About Spelling Easy to Teach? for more information.
Do I need special training to teach All About Spelling?
You don't need specialized training to teach All About Spelling. Unlike many other Orton-Gillingham or Spalding-inspired programs, our program was written with the teacher and student in mind. Everything is clear and laid out just how you need it. There is no flipping back and forth between resources, no puzzling over instructions, and no confusion. You'll know exactly what and how to teach. Read the complete article for more information.
How much do I have to prepare ahead of time?
Once you've placed the flashcards in your student's Spelling Review Box, all you have to do is follow the script in the Teacher's Manual. The only daily preparation necessary is to check the "You will need" section of the lesson to see which new flashcards and letter tiles you will need that day. We know that you're busy, so we've made it as easy as possible for you!
Where can I find the Scope and Sequence of each level?
A link to the Scope and Sequence of each level can be found on the Spelling Lesson Samples page.
Where can I find samples of the spelling curriculum?
You can download PDF samples for every level on the Spelling Lesson Samples page. There is also a link to sample lessons at the bottom of the Teacher's Manual product page for each level.
How do I know if my child is ready to start spelling instruction?
Our general recommendation is to begin spelling instruction after your child has a strong start in reading. Read our blog post All About Spelling:The Right Time to Start for more information.
How much time should I spend on spelling each day?
Your daily spelling lesson time depends upon the time you have available, the level and attention span of your child, and the amount of material you wish to cover. As a general rule, we recommend spending 20 minutes per day on spelling. It is much better to do a shorter lesson every day than it is to do a longer session less frequently. Of course, the length of the lesson can be customized for your situation. Read the article How Much Daily Teaching Time Is Required? for more information.
What is the average time required to complete each Step in a level?
First, remember that you do not need to complete an entire Step in one day—some Steps may even take a week or more to cover. The speed at which your child finishes a Step depends on the student's age, attention span, prior experience, and the concepts being taught. The All About Spelling program is completely flexible and customizable so you can breeze through sections that are easy for your student and spend more time on difficult concepts.
My child does not like manipulatives. Can AAS be used without the letter tiles?
The All About Spelling method can still be followed without the letter tiles. Using paper and pencil or a dry erase board, write out the demonstration words for the student to see. Any time you are supposed to use a blank tile, draw a short underline. The instruction will be just as effective and will be presented in a way that is more palatable to your student.
Does the program review spelling words after they've been taught?
Yes! Continual individualized review is a major component of the All About Spelling program, and the first thing you'll do before beginning to teach is to set up the Spelling Review Box. AAS uses several different methods to review concepts and spelling words, including flashcards, word analysis, sentence dictation, and writing activities. Worked right into the lesson plans, the continual review ensures that your students don't forget what you teach them and gives them the practice they need in exactly the areas they need it. Take a look at a sample lesson to see how review is handled.
Why doesn't the program teach all the basic phonograms in the first few months of instruction?
In the All About Spelling program, students learn the phonograms as they are needed. To ensure mastery, each phonogram is used extensively after it is introduced, which suits the needs of both young beginners and older remedial learners. Some parents do choose to teach all the basic phonograms before they are formally introduced in the program, and that is completely acceptable. For some children, though, it may be too much. Each child is different, and the parent is the best judge of what is the right pacing for their child. AAS offers a variety of games to facilitate review, keep the material interesting for the student, and provide additional opportunities for practice.
Are words on the Ayres Spelling Scale included in the series?
All of the modern words from the Ayres Spelling Scale are covered in the series, plus many more. For example, when students study /ar/ words, they learn the word start from the Ayres Spelling Scale along with many related words that are not on the Ayres list, such as arm, smart, farm, park, and shark. The All About Spelling program covers high-frequency words and emphasizes them in the dictation and writing activities.
Does the program cover grammar?
The All About Spelling program does not cover grammar except as it applies to spelling. For example, when the suffix -ed is taught, students do learn what past tense means and how some words change completely instead of simply taking on the suffix. However, the program does not discuss parts of speech, punctuation, and so on.
How is your program different from Spell to Write and Read?
All About Spelling has received so many questions from SWR users that we needed extra space to answer them! Please see the FAQ about Spell to Write and Read for further information.
Which level should my student start with?
See the article Which Spelling Level Should We Start With? to help determine placement. If you would like additional help, feel free to call us at 715-477-1976 or e-mail us.
I have an older student who needs remedial help. Which level should I start with?
See the article Which Level Should My Older Student Start With? for more information. If you would like additional help, feel free to call us at 715-477-1976 or e-mail us.
What age range of students can use the All About Spelling program?
Teachers, parents, and tutors use the program for a wide range of students from four-year-olds to adults. It will take longer to cover the material with younger students, while older students move through the lessons more quickly. Beginning students start with the phonemic awareness activities introduced in Level 1 and learn the sounds of the letters, how to segment words, and which letters to use for which sounds. From there, they learn to spell words with short vowels. The lessons are incremental and include review. Older children who need remedial work can also build a strong foundation with All About Spelling. They learn spelling rules that apply to many words and techniques that allow them to become successful independent spellers.
I've heard that AAS is good for dyslexic students. Is it?
Yes, the All About Spelling program is ideal for students with dyslexia. As you know, spelling is difficult for dyslexic students, who must be directly taught certain skills and basic spelling rules, such as how to hear each sound in a word or when to use j, g-e, or dge for the sound of /j/. We receive many letters from teachers and parents who find other programs difficult to use with their dyslexic students—and then they switch to All About Spelling and it's like a light is turned on for their children. If you'd like more information about dyslexia and AAS, please see our Struggling Learners section.
What size magnetic white board do I need and where can I find one?
We recommend using a 2' by 3' magnetic white board with your AAR or AAS Letter Tiles. White boards can be found at places like Walmart or Costco, Michaels (some have gotten a great deal with one of their 40% off coupons), and various office supply stores. When purchasing a white board, be sure that it is magnetic!
A few alternatives to a large white board are baking sheets, metal oil pans, the front of a refrigerator, magnetic paint on a section of wall, or simply lay them on the table without placing them on a magnetic source. The only downfall with this last method is that they will likely need to be put away and resorted for each lesson.