Thursday, December 3, 2009

All About Spelling -- A Review

Mr. Me-Too has embarked on his journey to literacy.

Yes, I know . . . he is only 3 years old.

Don't start thinking that I have a genius (though I do think he is very smart.) And don't start feeling guilty that you are just letting your spirited child play.

You do have an intelligent child and your aren't doing anything wrong.

Had I not been part of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew I probably would still be doing chunky wood alphabet puzzles or haphazardly introducing a letter of the week about every three weeks. (Remember how long we were stuck on the Letter A--waiting for the ants that NEVER arrived?)

But I received this great product in the mail and well . . . I needed to use it.

So, Mr. Me-Too became my guinea pig. Mr. Smackdown was already otherwise engaged with a different phonics based program and Mr. Smiley . . . well . . . he just learned to walk this week.

All About Spelling, The Multisensory Program for Spelling Success, written by Marie Rippel . . . is what I would like to tell you about.

My initial impression was something like this . . . Nope. Not gonna work. It came in a box. There were two manuals, magnets, and a bunch of perforated cards. I saw words, words, words. I didn't understand (at the time) how a three year old could benefit from this.

Spelling? He just learned the ABC song!

Don't judge something by the cover, folks. Take it from me.

Then I actually READ what was in the Level One manual and realized, "Holy cow . . . this is going to be so easy to use and incorporate into Tot School. Not to mention the fact that I really don't have to make a lesson plan. I just open the book and we do the lesson for that day!"

I don't even have to supply supplementary worksheets.


In the kit that I received the following NECESSARY items were included:

  • Level One Teacher's Manual and Student Materials packet ($29.95)
  • Level Two Teacher's Manual and Student Materials packet ($39.95) --which I wouldn't consider completely necessary for us at this stage in the game. But I know that we will use it eventually . . . with multiple kids.
I will add that I REALLY want the Beehive Reader, which acts as a bonus reading component. The stories correspond with the lessons in All About Spelling. I currently have it on my PaperBackSwap wish list . . .

All About Spelling boasts of being visual, kinestetic, and auditory. In Level One, the goal for Mr. Me-Too is to gain MASTERY of the first 26 phonograms (written sounds). However, from the start he is learning ALL of the sounds that each letter makes. For example, he has learned that the Letter C makes the two sounds that you hear at the beginning of cat and city.

I like the teacher's manual as it is arranged into "three easy-to-follow sections" (according to the All About Spelling website:
  • Review: The Review section provides continual review of phonograms, spelling words, and important concepts so your student can advance confidently from one lesson to the next without the frustration of having to re-learn previous material. All About Spelling doesn’t “teach it and forget it.”

  • New Teaching: The step-by-step lesson plans lay out new material clearly and concisely and save you valuable time. You don’t need a degree in education or hours of planning every night to teach All About Spelling—all the work has been done for you.

  • Reinforcement: The important Reinforcement section gives your student the opportunity to apply what he has learned and to use that knowledge in practical situations.

However, the key features of this particular learning system that I like are:
  • The Flashcards that provide a visual and hands-on way to help your student learn and review phonograms, words, and spelling rules.

  • The Spelling Review Box helps you organize the flashcards so you can quickly see which words, phonograms, and spelling rules your student still needs to learn and review. (Flashcards and dividers are included; you supply the 3x5" index card box.)

  • Due to a lack of consumable material, I can use this program for more than one student AND use this program throughout their schooling career.
What do I honestly think of the program?

This is the 4th reading curriculum I have used in my teaching career. So far, I am enjoying it. Have I seen Mr. Me-Too read yet? No. But let me remind you that I am working with a three year old. Our focus has been getting our cute little grey box out and working on 5 phonograms at a time for mastery. We talk about what letter is on the card and what sound(s) that letter makes. This curriculum is flexible enough that we can go at our own pace, realizing that the GOAL is mastery.

Mr. Me-Too is young. I am in no hurry to rush him into and through the literacy process. My goal is to review his cards almost every day and to have him enjoy the experience rather than whine when he sees the grey box.

So far, so good. Since using this program I have seen him grow in his awareness of letters that are all around him. He is excited to see letters in action and point them out to me. After this review I plan on continuing our usage of this program.

Like I said . . . it is simple, easy to use, and requires no planning. Additionally, setting up the little grey box was lots of fun for me!

Click on the Homeschool Crew banner to read other reviews on this product

As a member of the Homeschool Crew, I was given this product to review, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor. I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed in this post are delightfully mine. And I am keeping this Curriculum!