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Category: Spelling

This Giveaway is now CLOSED. Thanks to all who entered and congratulations to the winner Cindy!

The All About Spelling spelling program has been such a highlight of our homeschool experience, with Satori quickly picking up the skills to enable her to spell effectively so she can write her stories.

They’ve recently added an equally stellar reading program – All About Reading to complete the program. Satori already learned how to read before this program came out, but I have heard great things about it. If you haven’t checked out their new website yet, head on over to see what all they have to offer!

To celebrate, we are offering a $50 giveaway toward a product of your choice in the All About Learning program!

Whether you are already using the program or if you’re eager to start your child with a fun and effective program, you’ll be sure to find something. Simply comment on this blog post for your entry, and (just for fun) let us know what you’d choose if you win. A winner will be randomly chosen on Monday, August 22 before 9pm CST.

We ourselves are just starting up All About Spelling Level 5 this month. We seem to complete approximately two levels a year. The Level 5 packet includes the Teacher’s Manual and Student Packet. The Student Packet contains all the cards we’ll need for this level, which we store in the blue Spelling Review Box.

Our magnetic whiteboard that props up on the ground stores all our tiles. Here I’ve set it up so it’s all ready to start Level 5.

The first lesson in level 5 reviews all the Phonogram Sound and Key cards, as well as important previously learned concepts such as Syllable Division Rules, Syllable Types, and Suffix Rules.

The Student Packet includes several materials you’ll need, including a Syllable Division Rule chart which we used in the first lesson.

Here Satori has separated the word “survive” into syllables, adding the syllable labels. All this syllable work has been tremendously helpful in learning how to spell, read, pronounce, and understand longer words.

This first lesson will take us several days to do all the review. We then teach two new Phonograms – SI and IE (they were hanging out by themselves on the whiteboard in one of the above photos). We’ll do alphabetizing work, starting with the second letter, and ending with alphabetizing to the fourth letter in Level Five. This also comes in super handy so Satori can look up unfamiliar vocabulary in a dictionary.

Lastly, we’ll have the Dictate Sentences task. This level, I will be only saying the sentence once and Satori will have to listen closely and repeat the sentence before she writes to avoid mistakes. For the Step 1, we have 20 sentences to dictate, usually we do 12 sentences. Below is an example from Step 7 with the typical 12 sentences. As you can see, it’s a great way to make sure that past lessons have been retained.

We keep the Student materials we’ll need as well as paper to write Sentence Dictations and Words in a designated All-About-Spelling binder. Here is a sample page that Satori recently did for Level 4.

After that’s all done, we mark up our Progress Chart with another sticker!

Here’s our completed Level Four Progress Chart. Satori just loves to place fun stickers of her choice on the chart. 🙂 Here on every 10th Step, she placed a large sparkly heart sticker!

As we progress, we’ll be learning all kinds of Spelling Strategies, spelling clues and tips, rules and rule breakers, and so on. For example, by the end of Level Four, Satori could successfully spell correctly all the -er words, which can be confusing as there are numerous spellings.

I am an All-About-Spelling affiliate, but I would be posting about the program regardless, as it has worked wonders in our homeschool. We think the program is just perfect! (This word is covered in Level Five, Step Two.)

So head on over to their website, All About Learning, figure out what you’d like to have in case you win, and come back here and leave a comment to this post. What do you wish to win? The Deluxe Spelling Kit? Mix it up with the fabulous All About Homophones book, Phonogram File Folder Game and a Reader? How about your next AAS Level kit? Or maybe apply your credit for an All About Reading package… It’s up to you!

Enjoy the Giveaway!


We recently started All About Spelling Level 4 this spring and I’m going to document our experience with the program. There are 27 Steps in this level. We take 2-3 days per step. I aim to do spelling 3 times per week, so that averages out to be one step per week. Sometimes we do more, sometimes less, but that’s what it averages out to be. Since we seem to be flying through the program, we’ve cut our lessons down to 15 minutes per session and trying to extend the steps to take 3 days.

I’m breaking up this post into two days, as that is how long it will take us to cover the lesson we’re on.

I made our own binder (photo-copied the book’s cover) to hold the AAS papers that we use for the lessons, as well as keeping Satori’s spelling words and dictated sentences in one handy place. I love being able to look back on all 4 levels to see the tremendous progress Satori has made in her handwriting skills, neatness, and of course spelling.

Here’s what our 2’x3′ magnetic whiteboard looks like with all tiles we’ll be needing for Level 4. I don’t normally put up all the tiles right when we get to a new book Level, but I promised someone I’d take a photo, so here they all are. Satori noticed the 4 new tiles we haven’t covered yet immediately and we hadn’t even done our spelling lesson.  She moved our blue tiles “sh” and “ch” over to the new Green heading “Sound of /sh/”. There was a few new consonant and vowel teams as well.

To start the lesson, I pull out our books and start the timer. This is Step 6 – The Four Sounds of Y.You are supposed to do Review first on Phonogram, Sound, Key, and Word cards you need practice with, but we’re pretty caught up on them and will only review them every few levels.

They included a Y Word Sheet that we cut out earlier. I set out 4 of the words and proceeded with the script below to examine the four different sounds of Y.

It also had Satori pull down the phonograms in which y is part of a vowel team.

Including the vowel team Y’s, that made 5 headings to sort our cards. Satori proceeded to place all the words under the correct headings: Y in yard, Y in gym, Y in cry, Y in puppy, and Vowel Team.

Next activity was to pull out the Spelling Strategies sheet (we keep in our binder) and go over Strategies #1 and #2 and discuss them to be able to spell our 10 new words for this step. These strategies include “Pronounce for Spelling” and “Analyze the Word”. Our 10 new Word cards are green cards that are kept in our AAS file box (will show in the next post).

Next up was to Teach a Rule Breaker. I built “pretty” on the whiteboard and we examined the letters that don’t say what we’d expect them to say. Those letters are the e and the t’s. We pulled out our Word Card 30 which has this word on it, and circled those letters.

Then we pull out her spelling binder and Satori writes the 10 words for the lesson on a new sheet.

Satori got all 10 words correct, so we proceeded to do “More Words”. This was just 4 extra words: every, everything, myth, and study. She got study wrong, but that’s because she thought it needed an extra “d” so it would keep the short vowel sound. (Is that a rule breaker?)

And we wrapped up the day at 17 minutes! That included all the photo-taking I took. We did this lesson yesterday and tomorrow we will finish the Step in a second post.

Just wanted to give a little progress update on how our All-About-Spelling Level 3 is going. We’re wrapping up Level 3 and will be starting Level 4 next week, as soon as it arrives. There are 28 steps in Level 3 and we just finished Step 25. We take about a week on each step (about 2-3 lessons). Here’s how our time with AAS has been going lately.

To start each step, I put up a word on the white board and we go over past rules. Here Satori has separated ‘understood’ into syllables and labeled them. We also go over our Word Bank sheet to help build the her visual memory of words. Yesterday Satori read the Word Bank for IR, which was a relatively short list of 15 words such as thirteen, birthday, and circle.

Next we tackle the day’s lesson. For Step 25, we practiced the four ways (we learned so far) of spelling the sound of long-i. This red card is one of our Sound Cards. We also may learn new Phonogram, Key, and Word cards, but for this particular lesson, this was our only new card.

I then dictated various words and had Satori put them in the correct column. When we have an activity like this, I like to have her write the words on labels, then stick them in the column on another page.

Normally a Step will include 10 new words for Satori to master. There’s usually a short list of additional words as well. This step was one of the rare ones that did not introduce new Word Cards. So we skipped right on to dictating the 12 sentences. I say the sentence once, Satori repeats, and then writes it on her paper. Here’s her sentences from Step 24. As you can see, she spelled everything correctly except one word.

In Level 3, Step 14, AAS introduced a new section called the Writing Station. They give about five words, and the student should write the base word, add the suffix, and then write sentences using the new words. We no longer do this, as I don’t think she needs the extra practice.

Even though it’s a holiday weekend and we have no school plans, Satori’s been asking to do her All About Spelling lessons. We’ve been doing all our lessons outside as the weather has been gorgeous. Here she is with our All-About-Spelling board propped up on our patio table.

We’ve been learning about consonant-LE words this week. All of our syllable work pays off in a lesson like this. If you have a consonant-LE word, you count back three letters and then split the syllable. So for a word like ‘puddle’, it is divided into ‘pud-dle’. Sometimes Satori might write these words as ‘pudle’, which makes sense right? The AAS lessons expect this to happen, and in that case, you’re to ask the child to divide her word into syllables and then say it. Her ‘pudle’  is divided like ‘pu-dle’, making the first syllable an open syllable and making the vowel long. It then sounds like “poodle”! So she quickly learns to add the extra ‘d’ to make it a closed syllable, and have the short-u vowel sound.

A few lessons ago we also were introduced to our new Silent E book. All these words with silent e’s at the end can get confusing! So this book helps out with all the silent-e rules.

So far we’ve gone over four jobs for Silent E.

  1. Makes the vowel before it long (as in ‘smile’)
  2. Makes ‘c’ and ‘g’ soft (as in ‘since’)
  3. Keeps ‘u’ and ‘v’ from being the last letter in a word (as in ‘give’)
  4. Adds a vowel to a c+le syllable, because all syllables must have a vowel (as in ‘apple’)

She then fills in her booklet as we see new examples. This weekend she added words to all her lists.

Here she is labeling the syllables of the word ‘marble’. MAR is an r-controlled syllable, and BLE is a consonant-LE syllable. She loves to do this and loves to show Daddy, and her little animal students such as her little red newt in her hand in the photo below. Coincidentally, she just took this lizard out for spelling today, but we used them as props when we first started using All-About-Spelling.

I just wanted to share a new All-About-Spelling video that the company just released that shows just why this spelling program rocks and “takes the struggle out of spelling”. This delightful and humorous video perfectly demonstrates the differences between other spelling programs and AAS. It isn’t just lists to memorize. It isn’t boring. Instead, it teaches the rules in a multi-sensory way so spelling is effective and fun.

Satori would fall into Group B – Beginners, as she learned to spell right along with learning to read. We started this program at age 4, and I think it has played a huge role in giving my young daughter such a love of writing. She just loves it and so do I, which is probably why we went through the first few levels so quickly. We look forward to working on All-About-Spelling Level 3 and Level 4 this year!

We recently started All-About-Spelling Level 3. From now on, we’re going to try to take spelling slow. Try to drag a lesson out for at least a week. It’s hard to keep slow, as she picks up spelling rules fairly quickly, but she does still need an official spelling program.

Here’s the Level 3 packet you get. All the cards are scored, so they’re easy to tear apart, but it does take some time.

We’ll be adding new phonograms to our white board as we learn them. Here’s my packet full of future tiles, and you can see the magnet sheet that comes when you order these. I cut them all out and magnetized them probably a year ago.

I cannot believe that just six weeks ago we were halfway through All-About-Spelling Level 2 and now we’re finishing it! It took us about six months, and that is including a long, extended spring break we took. In the end we were really on a roll! Satori seems to pick up certain things fast, and writing/spelling is one of those things.  I hope we take AAS Level 3 much slower, I’m certainly planning on it. I just love this program. Every now and then I peek in on other popular spelling programs and I’m so happy we are using AAS.

Here’s what our 2’x3′ whiteboard looks like after Level 2. We’ve got 2 sets of the alphabet  (3 for 3 and s), Consonant Teams (ch, sh, th, ng, nk, ck, wh) and Vowel Teams (ee,  ou, ow, oi, oy, au, aw), Sound of /er/ (er), and ar and or. Satori knows how to divide syllables that are open, closed, v-c-silent-e, vowel team and r-controlled. So does Daddy. Satori taught Daddy how to divide syllables. (He partakes in our lessons if we do them on the weekends, and spelling is one we love to do with him.)

We don’t always use the white board in spelling, like the lessons say to do for the 10 main words in each lesson. Satori just loves to write in her spelling book, or even spell orally. But I always try to introduce the new concepts with tiles. It’s just another method of keeping new concepts in her head (multi-sensory).

Here’s her spelling page from a few lessons back when we learned soft sound of ‘c’ words. For these oral dictations, I start with the 10 main lesson words, then progress to any “More Words” that apply to the rule(s) we’re learning. If she has no problem with that, and she wants to do more, then we progress to writing short phrases such as “a cube of ice”. Finally, we work up to full sentences.

The below lesson was when we learned that the silent-e has other functions aside from making vowels long. Can’t leave the word “have” without the silent-e, even though the a is short! English words don’t end in a “v” and we need that “e” there to prop the “v” up. 🙂

Here’s the last sentences in Level 2. For these dictations, I read the sentence in a normal tone just once. She repeats it and then spells it as a complete sentence. When we do it this way, she’s pretty good at writing them as proper sentences starting with a capital letter and ending with an end mark. I love how the phrases and sentences not only cover the lesson learned that week, but also previous lessons as review.

Just in case  you’re curious, here’s a sample Sentence dictation from Level 3. It looks like they drop the word phrases and include more sentences. The sentences exactly cover the words covered in the lesson, in Levels 1 and 2 they’d sometimes miss a few words. This sample here we should be hitting sometime in the fall of 2010.