All About Reading Level 2 - Full Review

Monday, May 16, 2016






The very first thing I want to mention (and I've said this before!) is that I absolutely love the people behind All About Learning Press.  They are authentic, kind-hearted, wonderful to speak with, and they truly care about children and parents.  They really, seriously, are in this to help kids read and spell well and the help parents help their kids succeed in literacy and in life.  And that is a very good starting point for the kind of products I want to use in our home every day.  I'm sure you agree!

As for the program?  We really LOVE All About Reading.  Audrey completed Level 2 this year, and Alex completed Level 1 and is nearly done Level 2.) They both frequently have asked to do their All About Reading work.  Not only do we love it - it is incredibly effective.  This year, they have both progressed leaps and bounds in reading and I accredit it hugely to All About Reading.

Many homeschoolers have asked me about All About Reading.  It is one of the best known reading and phonic programs on the 'homeschool market' today, and for good reason. I am really excited to be working through it so I can really speak honestly and openly about our experience with this amazing program.

One of the things I love about the All About Reading program is that it is very self-paced.  You work through it at the speed you need or want to.  We chose to move through Level 1 quite quickly because we could and Alex was ready.  

There are may families and children who will take an entire school year or longer to work through Level 1... and that's perfectly fine!  You can go at the pace that works for you and your child, which is lovely.  Likewise with Level 2.  It took a little longer for us to finish Level 2 because the concepts are more challenging and Audrey was also reading other readers along with her All About Reading work.

This program is also very multi-sensory.  This means that it engages many different senses and will appeal to many learning styles.  Our children both loved all the elements of the lessons.  They were motivated and excited to work through All About Reading.  It was their go-to when they started their day, always wanting to 'do' their All about Reading work.

Getting Started:


Okay, so this is one 'shiny curriculum' I actually endorse (and there aren't many).  Why?

Because it works.

And it's reading.

Learning to read is (in my opinion) the most important 'academic' skill your children will learn in their young years and I believe a good program is worth every penny.  If you are committing to All About Reading, don't go half in- buy what you need to REALLY do this program.  The materials are so beautiful, so colourful, so high-quality...  we were drawn to them and wanted to use them!  (Let's just say, this is not the case for all reading programs!)

This is a (mostly) non-consumable program - which means, if you take care of your materials, you can use them again and again for every child in your home.  The only part that could potentially be consumable is the activity sheets.  We used them in a way that allowed us to reuse them and we took care to store our cut-outs in a folder so they could be used again by another child.

I'm pretty sure I actually started the program for Level 1 and 2 the day after I received my box.  This program is so 'open and go', that it was quite easy to do this.  I just read the material in the first few pages and got the manipulatives ready (mostly, I had to take apart the Phonogram and Word Cards and put magnet stickers on the back of the letter tiles - which came with the materials in the Student Packet).

I decided to store all our pages from the Student Packet in a plastic folder, as this was what my good friend had done and it seemed to work well!  Taking out the pages and cutting the activities ahead of time is helpful, but not necessary.  There are many days I did it on the fly.  *smile*

It was so simple to start, literally, just open up the Teacher's Manual and go.  This is so helpful for a busy homeschool Mom, isn't it?  No long prep time, no confusing teacher's guide.

I love how the Teacher's Manual is set up.  It makes it so incredibly easy to follow along.  They use icons to show what to do next and the print is large, bolded in parts, and simple to read as you teach.  

At the top of each first page of a new lesson, the items you will need for that day are clearly listed.  There will be a step-by-step lesson plan that follows.  You can read it ahead of time or just open and go.

The first thing I always notice every single time I open my All About Reading Teacher's Guide is how hands-on, easy, straight forward, and open-and-go it truly is.  I LOVE these guides.

I try to do some prep work for lessons, but I can still teach an effective lesson even if I haven't opened the guide before we dive right in.  I find the most important 'prep' to do for the All About Reading lessons is the cutting out and preparing of the activities in the Student Activity Book.    Even having said that - I've forgotten to cut things out and I have managed to throw it all together in 5 minutes, no sweat!

All About Reading Level 2 - Student Activity Book, Teacher's Manual, and Readers.  I had already taken the Phonogram and Word cards and placed them in the Reading Review Box (below).



The Different Elements of the All About Reading Level 2 Program

So, naturally, Level 2 comes after Level 1 (shocking, I know!).  But that doesn't mean you have to complete Level 1 first.  It really depends on your child's current reading Level.

We were blessed to be able to review both levels (read my full review of Level 1 right here).

If you are ordering All About Reading Level 2 for the very first time and you have no other All about Reading Resources, you will need to buy the following:

-All about Reading Level 2 Materials (includes the Teacher's Manual, Student Packet, and the 3 Readers)
-A Reading Interactive Kit (you choose if you want the Deluxe or the Basic, we got the Deluxe - if you already own the Interactive Kit from Level 1, you do not need to repurchase anything!)


The lessons flow in a very natural and fun format.  Generally, you work through a concept in one lesson, then in the next lesson, the child will read one or two of the stories from the readers which uses and applies that reading concept.

Of course, the stories get harder as the child moves through the level.

Some snapshots of the children enjoying the program.





Figuring out where to place your child in All About Reading can be a bit tricky.  You can use the All About Learning Press website to help you as well, you can contact their super friendly and helpful staff.  You can also use their Placement Tests which will give you a pretty good starting point.



How the Lessons Actually Work


Here is an overview of a typical lesson flow for All About Reading Level 2:


1. First we do our Review
We start with a review of the Phonogram Cards and Word Cards we had in our "review" sections in our word box.  These are cards that have previously been taught but that the children still need to practice until they are mastered.   All the Phonogram Cards are yellow, and the word cards are green.  This 'review/mastered' pattern follows for Level 1 to 4 of All About Reading.

Word Cards with the All About Reading Review Box.  I love having this box, it is such a tidy, colorful way to store our cards which we use daily. The kids recognize it as their 'word box' and they know where to find it.


Divider Cards for the Phonogram and Word Cards.




2. Then we do our New Teaching - Here we are presenting the new concepts.  This often includes new letter sounds (here we use the Phonogram Cards), new reading concepts, new rules, etc.  This starts very simple and gets progressively more difficult.



Here are some examples of what the New Teaching looks like in the lessons for Level 2:

Lesson 1 -  Closed and Open Syllables and reviewing words from Level 1 with the Feed the Anteater game.

Lesson 14 - Introducing the idea of silent E to change the sound of the initial vowel.  For example, changing dim to dime.

Lesson 27 - Here we are learning how to combine words by using an apostrophe.  So, he will = he'll, she had = she'd, etc.

Lesson 50 - The  Third Sound of A is the new teaching for this lesson.  We are talking about yet another sound the vowel can make.  This time, it makes the sound "aw" as in call, ball, fall, mall, etc.



3. The Letter Board!  Our children love 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!  

We use the letter tiles usually in the 'New Teaching' section of the lesson.  This is used to build words and practice what we've learned in previous lessons as well as new concepts.  The kids use the tiles to sound out the consonants and vowel sounds in words and eventually, to build their own words.    

We also play "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:
  • mob
  • mom
  • mop
  • top
  • hop
  • hot
  • rot
  • pot
  • got
I will say, "Ok, 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.

How we store our extra Word Tiles - just a simple crafting bin from a dollar store.  


All About Reading uses Letter Tiles in almost every lesson.  You don't need to purchase a large magnetic board, but it is suggested.  We decided to buy one at a local office store for about $40.  Make sure if you buy a white board, that it actually is magnetic and that it is the recommended size listed in the All About Reading information.  (4ft by 2ft, I think!)



4. Next there is usually some kind of Activity or Game to complete The games and activities vary in difficulty, length of time, and style or learning.

Some examples of activities/games for Level 2 include:

  • Be a Lumberjack - children use a paper ax to 'chop' compound words in the middle.   For example, given the word admit, they would place the ax between the d and the m.
  • Bug Hunt - children practice plural words by placing word cards in a bug 'net' and then reading the new plural words with an 's' at the end.
  • Hammers and Feathers - children choose either a hammer or a feather to place beside word cards that either have a hard C sound or a soft C sound.  For example, the word cold would have a hammer next to it, since it makes the hard 'ck' sound at the beginning.
  • Word Flippers are also often used to help with reading practice (shown below from Level 1).


Once we took the pages out of our Student Activity Book, we kept our sheets in a plastic folder.   This was an easy way to store all our games, fluency charts, print-outs, and progress charts and stickers.




5. 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.  If the child is able to read the word, it moves to the 'Mastered' section of the Word Box, if not, it is placed in the 'Review' section.


6. On to Fluency Practice!  The Fluency Practice sheets are found in the All About Reading Blast Off Activity Book which comes in the Level 2 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.  These sheets can seem a bit daunting to some children.  There is quite a bit to read though and practice.  We often didn't read through every single word.  These are meant as a tool to practice what you've learned. They are a great resource!


Hooray, if your child has completed their lesson, it is time for a sticker on the All About Reading Level 2  Progress 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!

And... that's what a typical Lesson looks like!

Sometimes, it would take us a couple days to a week to finish one lesson, just for reference.





The 'Reading' Lesson

Some lessons are what I call,  Reading Lessons.  These lessons are ones where the child applies what they've learned by reading one or two stories from their All About Reading Reader.  No new concepts are taught during the Reading Lesson.  The child simply focuses on reading the story or stories assigned.

The main idea is to 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!

A peek inside the Level 2 readers, showing the progression from the easiest (top row) to the hardest (bottom row) reading levels.









When I'm considering a program and reading a review, one of the biggest questions I have is: 


"What will this look like on a daily basis?  How would I use this with my children?"  


These two questions help me decide whether a program would work for me and for the specific child.

So, in light of this - I thought I walk you though a lesson.   (Taken from my Join us for a Lesson post.)

Take a look:




This is how we worked through Lesson 4.

First, I talked briefly about what we would be learning.  I introduced the idea of words that have the letter Y at the end that says the "eye" sound.  I then built some words using our Letter Tiles and our large magnetic white board.  Some of the suggested words were: my, try, by, fly, cry, dry, sky, shy.

We then looked at our Y phonogram card (phonogram cards are the yellow, word cards are the green).

After that, I encouraged Audrey to test out various letter and vowel sounds on the Phonogram Sounds App.  







One of the really fun, hands-on components of the All About Reading program (and the All About Spelling Program!) is the interactive Letter Tiles.  Our children love working with the tiles, building words, and playing games with them.

The next step after the Phonogram App was working with the Letter Tiles.  We first worked on our review of Closed and Open Syllable words.  Audrey built words that were Open Syllable (we, she, be) and also some Closed Syllable words (slept, cat, dog, Mom).

Then we worked on the main concept of the lesson - Y as a vowel, saying the "eye" sound.

We built the word CRY and then played the "Change the Word" game.  Both our children love this activity.  I make CRY and ask Audrey to change it to DRY.  Then we go from dry to pry to fry to try to fly to sly and so on.








After working with our Letter Tiles we moved on to our Activity Sheet component.  Our children also really enjoy this portion of the Lessons.  For Lesson 4, Audrey chose word cards from a pile and decided whether they belonged in the "Y like Yak" column or the "Y like Fly" column.




Next came our Reading Word Practice using our Word Cards.  I love the organization of the Phonogram and Word Cards.  They are just fantastic for both 'teacher' and child.  Here's the way they work in a nut-shell.  All cards are placed in the Reading Review Box in the order they will be used.

The cards are clearly labelled with lesson and card numbers.  As we work through the lessons, we use various phonogram and word cards along with the lessons.  All cards we haven't yet used are behind the "Future Lessons" divider.  All the cards the child has mastered go behind the "Mastered" divider, and all cards that still need review are placed behind the "Review" divider.

Boy, do the kids ever love to see those cards get filed behind the "Mastered" section!

Phonogram cards and Word cards are kept separate, as you can see from the photos below.  Color coding helps too!






In Level 2 there are also "Leap Cards".  These cards are showing high-frequency words that don't always follow the regular rules or that have phonograms we haven't covered yet.  I love the large graphic of the frog on the card - it is a very visual reminder that these words are different.

You can see also below the way the cards are labelled along the bottom so you never lose one or have a hard time figuring out where the word places in terms of lessons!

For this lesson, we reviewed two "leap" words, your and are.




After the Word Card work, we move on to the Fluency Practice Sheets.  Some days, Audrey will read through all of the Fluency work because she really wants to accomplish her lesson.  Other days, she will chose to read half and continue the following day.  It really depends upon how she's feeling.

I personally love the way the Fluency Sheets are written and I find they really help solidify what we are learning in the lessons.  They are typically a combination of new words, mixed review (with new words and previous words together), phrases, sentences, and challenge words.








Hooray! Audrey completed Lesson 4 and earned the Lesson 4 sticker for her chart!  I never thought the progress chart would mean much to our children, but they LOVE it.  It really motivates them to want to achieve the lessons.  Audrey will often accomplish one lesson every day or 2 because she is really focusing on accomplishing this level.  Many children will not accomplish a lesson every day.  The lessons are full of new concepts, lots of learning, and many different steps.  Some parents even focus on one lesson per week, and that would be totally fine for many children.  As long as they are learning and progressing, that is the goal!


What we think after completing Level 2...

I would quickly and happily recommend this program to my closest friends and family - and that is exactly why I am comfortable promoting All About Reading here, on this blog. (In case you ever wondered - I only recommend programs that I have tried, used, and really, really believe in!  I consider you, the reader here, a friend... and I would not recommend to a friend a curriculum I didn't fully believe in.)

I think we are in love with All About Reading in our family~!  

Audrey completed Level 2 a few months ago and I have Alex nearing his completion of Level 2 as well.  They both LOVE All About Reading.  Both of them will go to the Letter Tile Board and play with the tiles on their own.  They have also both created 'progress charts' for  their doll and stuffed tiger (Charlotte and Hobbes, respectively...!).

Here are a few candid shots I managed to grab of Audrey working on building words with her doll, Charlotte, and Alex reading his Level 1 Reader to his tiger, Hobbes.  Melts my heart to see this!




Another look at the beautiful quality of the readers from Level 1:



Some of my other All About Reading posts:

Join us for a Lesson (Level 1)




Spelling Can Be Easy When It's Multisensory


Thanks for reading!

This post contains affiliate links.



5 comments:

  1. Thanks! We are using the preschool:kindergarten level now! I'm teaching my 4 and 5 yo together- would you recommend two boxes and sets of cards for the review and mastering of them? How did you organize it for two in the same level?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey! SO, what we did is this - I did not buy two sets. I used different separators for each child. My eldest used the ones we received from AAR, and then I 'made' other ones for Alex with his name on them so we knew where each child was. :)

      Delete
  2. My son has severe dyslexia. We had tried every kind of specialist, testing and tutoring. By age 10 he was only reading at a first grade level. We started using AAR and he's finally making good progress. It's been a lifesaver!

    ReplyDelete
  3. My son has dyslexia and nothing we have used has worked for him until we found AAR. It's been a lifesaver.

    ReplyDelete

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