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Tag: 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 read Pinocchio (unabridged version) and once I got to the part where he goes to the Land of Toys where the naughty little boys had all play and no work or school, Satori asked if any of the boys could write in their journals if they wanted. I said they could if they wanted to, but they probably didn’t want to write. Satori then insisted,

“Writing Is Play!”

I suppressed a chuckle. 🙂 She honestly does start writing as soon as she wakes up in the morning, and at times throughout the day, and ends the day writing. I buy her tons of journals and composition books. After every story she reads, or I read aloud, or we listen as an audiobook, she gleans ideas to incorporate into her stories.

Here is a sample of one of Satori’s stories that she wrote yesterday. I did not edit any of her spelling, grammar, or wording. The only thing I did was divide it into paragraphs, which she hasn’t started yet in her independent stories.  To write this book, she did a bit of wolf research by googling about wolves and how they live. This story is about a pack of wolves with six siblings (their mother already pregnant with another litter) and their adventures.

Mother Wolf

Chapter 1 (Prologue) – Birth

Her baby stirred. She had six. She glanced at the pack again. She would miss them. She knew what the names were. Karren, Carrie, Silvy, Silly, Kathry, and Sildyah. She carefully looked around, seeing a little cave. She rubbed a twig against another twig, and put rocks around it. She put sticks underneath it, and layed grass where she was going to lay. She sat down and didn’t mind the pain.

The pups crept under her neck where it was warmest and safest. Her husband layed more grass, and sat beside the pups. The pups were very safe, though their parents both looked after them.

That night, lightning struck the cave top, but the cave was strong. “Close your eyes and go to sleep,” the mother said in her most softest, smothing, and loving voice.They did, and went to sleep, while the parents watched.

Chapter 2 – Morning

In the morning, the sun was shining, and the birds were singing, and the flowers were blooming. It was such a beutiful sight. Although, she didn’t care.

They set off on their journey for water and food. When they’ve gone a couple miles, Sildyah found a big lake. It had plenty of fish, and a lot of deepness. They taut the pups how to fish, swim, and wash themselves. But first they learned how to walk. They ate their breakfast and milked. Then they went back home, eating and hunting in the forest.

Kathry and Silvy were the first ones to be home. “Come on, dadda! they squeaked in their little high voices. He golloped to the black and the brown pup. The others were white, silver, gray, and silverish-gray. The pups sat by the faint fire close to their mum. Father Wolf went hunting for deer for lunch. Silvy got worried.

Soon he came home. He washed himself and joined the feast. After, the pups mum washed them. Mummy, the pups called their mum.

They heard a sound of an eagle! The male ran to his pups and cudled. He got closer. She layed her head on the pups, while they crept under her belly. Their father snarled and six little ears poked out. He snatched the eagle, and threw it into the forest. The eagle came back with his mate. He had a broken wing. “Oh please! Keep as a pet.” said Karren rubbing against the eagle. “You can stay if you won’t eat my pups! You’ll eat fish!” He said in his lowest and deepest voice. The female (eagle) was to admire, and the male a maid.

The male made a broom out of straw and sticks. He also made a pot of clay and toys out of wood. Mr. Wolf taut the pups how to write by using the maid feather and berry juice. The maid even made a strong house made out of stones. They used wood for paper.

One day, whille Carrie was watching the storm, she noticed a different pack of wolves. She wanted to see the heard again. But mum was pregnant with four pups.


Okay, that’s about all I could copy-type. I gave up and started taking photographs of the pages. Satori fluttered about all worried that no one would be able to read it then. She begged to type it herself, but I know it would take her forever to type. So here’s the photographed pages.

(I don’t expect people to read the whole story, this is more like documentation on her writing progress.)



Here’s a few of my favorite passages of the story:

“By morning, they were in America. They collected money and even the sailor’s shillings! They ate fish and arthropods, mice, and clams.”

“When they got back, Silvy head the same wood crunching under her little darling paws. Kathry snatched a grasshopper. The pups moved back to their protective parents.”

“He was the last, and she nursed him, and fed him, and snuggled with her youngest lad. Silden felt that soft feeling. Love. Love is the first thing you need in your life. It is the strongest feeling in the world.”

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!

I mostly posted this because David and I thought her drawing of her flashlight was so cute and she didn’t leave out any details!

But I also love to periodically post updates on her informal handwriting, writing, and spelling skills. Satori just loves to write us notes and letters. I never correct anything on them, but it’s interesting to see how she progresses. In this note, her handwriting was pretty good, except for all the capital D’s in Daddy. Her writing was okay, the grammar is sound and she remembered one period for the first sentence. Misspellings include “plees” and “baterees”, but I’m impressed she got some words correct that we’ve never studied yet – in particular “light”, “read”, and “tonight”. I think the more she reads, the better she’ll get.

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.