This next statement won't come as a surprise to those of you who have been following my All About Reading posts- WE LOVE ALL ABOUT READING!
Our son, Alex is six. He's working through All About Reading Level 1. Although at first glance, I though he was beyond Level 1, I'm so glad I started him here.
I walked through a full lesson in Level 2 of All About Reading right here, and now I'd love to take you through a Level 1 Lesson. So, here's the motivating question for this post -
If I choose to use All About Reading Level 1 to teach my child to read (or to build on existing skills) what will it look like? How does this program work?
Well, let's take a look!
The very first thing I want to chat about is placement. As I stated above, when I first looked at the Placement Tests, I made the wrong choice for Alex. I thought he would fit best into Level 2. I made this decision based on my own ideas of what he 'knew' and how he could read through readers as well as a look at the Placement Tests for both Level 1 and 2. What I found is that he could read some of the words and understood some of the concepts but he did not have a very strong base for his ability. Much of his ability came from sight word recognition and memory.
I strongly encourage you, if you are starting All About Reading with a young student - consider starting with Level 1. Alex was reading simple single vowel words a year ago, but I am so glad I started back at the basics with him because the program progresses quite quickly. In Level 1 - Lesson 1, children are reading words like map, Sam, sap, map. By lesson 18 they are reading: fish, rash, dish, shut. By lesson 33 they are reading: stick, trick, check, clock, snack. By the end they are learning several alternate sounds for vowels. It starts off simple, but children are reading quite well by the end of Level 1.
All About Reading is very in depth. When you work through this program, you cover ALL your bases. All About Reading starts with the Pre-reading Program, then comes Level 1. If your child is just at the beginning reading stages, I'd encourage you to look through the placement tests and if you have questions, don't hesitate to email the amazing people at All About Learning Press.
A good place to visit is the Resource Center on the All About Learning Press site. It's very informative and helpful for newbies.
So, having said all of this, yes, some of the first lessons are definitely review for Alex, considering he's been reading words like these for a long time. However, the way the content is presented is much more thorough and multi-sensory than how he learned it the first time around. I feel like this time, he's REALLY learning it and its really sinking in. He is progressing beautifully and his speed, accuracy, and confidence are all soaring!
So, here's a peek at the program.
Join us for Lesson 8 of All About Reading Level 1:
I mentioned this in my walk-through of a lesson from Level 2, but I want to re-state how much I love the Teacher's Manuals for All about Reading. They are FANTASTIC. I have tried so many programs (in various subjects) that promise to be 'open and go' and so often are nowhere close to being a true 'open and go' program. All About Reading is definitely open-and-go. No gimmicks.
I usually try to read through (or at least skim over) the lessons before we work through them, but I really don't have to. I have opened up the book and taught lessons I've never seen before quite successfully. For us busy homeschool Moms, that is such a blessing!
Let's start our lesson:
First we do our Review- For Lesson 8, we started with a review of the Phonogram Cards and Word Cards we had in our "review" sections in our word box. All the Phonogram Cards are yellow, and the word cards are green. This pattern follows for Level 1 to 4 of All About Reading. Here's what the word box looks like:
Then we do our New Teaching - Here we are presenting the new Phonogram Cards for 'o','l', and 'w'. The 'o' in All about Reading will eventually have 4 sounds but for this lesson, we are only introducing 'o' as in 'otter'. Alex was able to put his new sounds right into the 'Mastered' section, because he had already mastered them! Way to go, bud!
Next - the Letter Board! Alex loves playing with the Letter Tiles on our big magnetic white board. These boards are not required for All About Reading, but I highly recommend making the investment! (Ours was about $30 - there is a minimal size for fitting all the tiles on, I think it's 3ft across).
Here we built the word 'lid' and touched each letter tile separately to sound out the consonants and vowel and to sound out the word. We then did this for 'wig' and 'sob'.
Once we had the word 'sob', we played "Change the Word", which our children love. Here we simply swap out beginning and ending consonants to create new words. It works like this, imagine each new bullet is the new word:
I will say, "Ok Alex, change 'mob' to 'mom', now change 'mom' to 'mop'! (And so on.) This is a fun, easy way to play with words and practice reading. The hands-on, tactile process works so well with my children, as I'm sure it would with most children.
Next there was an Activity Sheet to complete. This was a word match cut and paste. The words 'mop, dog, pot, log' were printed on the bottom of the page with pictures of each word above. The child was to cut out the words on the bottom of the page and past them under the proper corresponding picture/illustration. Because we had a lot of other things going that day, we did this by simply having Alex point to the right words/pictures.
Now - We Practice our Reading Words! This is the part of the lesson where we apply what we've learned. I took out the required Word Cards and we flipped through them together, having Alex read each word as it came to the top of the pile. He was able to put them all in the 'Mastered" section of the Word Box! The words for Lesson 8 were: top, on, not, got, hot, job, dog, hop, lap, win.
We also learned the sight word, 'of'. This Word Card has the 'Rule Breaker' illustration/hint on it to remind Alex that the word 'of' doesn't really follow proper phonetic rules. This is the only word in which the letter f says "v". (Don't you love English!?)
On to Fluency Practice! The last part of the lesson is our Fluency Practice sheet. These pages are found in the All About Reading Blast Off Activity Book which comes in the Level 1 Materials Pack.
There are various parts to these sheets including, New Words, Mixed Review, and Phrases and Sentences. These sheets will combine what children have learned in previous lessons to build on their reading skills. You can see in the Phrases and Sentences section of this Lesson 8 Fluency Practice that words and letter sounds from previous lessons have been included for practice.
Hooray, time for a sticker on the All About Reading Level 1 Progress Chart! Alex completed his whole lesson, so he earned a star on his chart. This is a cherished and favourite part of the program for our children! They love the feeling of putting that star on that chart and seeing their progress!
So - that's a lesson!
There you have it, a walk-through of a full lesson of All About Reading Level 1. Alex is working at a pace where he can usually complete a lesson like this one in one sitting. This takes about 20 minutes. It really depends on the child though because some Moms take a few days to a week to review one lesson (or longer!). The main point is that the children are learning and there is progress!
A Peek at a 'Reading' LessonThe lesson we walked through today was a lesson in which new concepts are being taught. After each lesson like this, there will be a 'reading' lesson. These lessons are ones where the child applies what they've learned by reading one or two stories from their All About Reading Reader. Right now, Alex is reading through Run, Bug, Run! the first reader of the level. He LOVES it.
The lesson is very simple. The Teacher's Manual suggests reviewing Phonogram and Word cards that are in the 'review' section of the Word Box. Then, you simply snuggle up and read together, having your child read his best through the assigned stories. Once they have successfully read the stories for that lesson, they earn another sticker for their Progress Chart!
Grabbing his reader from its spot on the shelf...
Here is Alex reading through the story, Run, Bug, Run. This is for Lesson 11.
And another peek at an earlier reading lesson - This is Lesson 5, the first lesson in which the children read stories from their reader. And... also before Alex got a Summer haircut! *smile*
Placing a sticker on the Progress Chart after successfully reading the first two stories from the Run, Bug, Run! reader - hooray, Alex!
A Pretty Special Program...The below photos really gives a visual for how All About Reading makes my little guy feel. I know a great program when I find one and this - this is a very special program.
Alex LOVES his All About Reading. In the first photo below - the top left photo shows an All About Reading Progress Chart he made himself for his stuffed tiger, Hobbes. He has been 'teaching' Hobbes the lessons he learns. It is so sweet to watch him sit with his over-sized stuffed animal and walk through all the steps we work though during a lesson.
I also included some candid shots of Alex teaching Hobbes and just some fun, silly photos of Alex and I after completing a lesson of All About Reading. He knows Mama takes photos of our lessons to show other Moms and children how much we are enjoying the program.
I really believe it takes a very special curriculum to touch the hearts of children in this way! It is fun, interactive, and effective - these three qualities make it very appealing to my little ones!
Fun, interesting, effective... we are loving our journey with All About Reading.
I love this little candid moment I managed to capture. This is Alex, completely on his own time... reading the All About Reading Reader with 'Hobbes' and walking through a lesson. Warmed my heart right up!
Some more All About Reading Love:
We love the Flippers that come in the All About Reading Level 1 Activity Book. Alex will take them out on his own and play with them. These are little booklets where the letters flip to make various words with vowels in the middle an different consonants on either side. Hands-on activities like these really encourage and inspire our kids to want to read.
Thanks for reading, I truly hope these walk-throughs and unique reviews are helpful to you as you venture to learn and grow along with your precious children.