Homeschool reading and spelling curriculum
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Looking for the perfect hands-on spelling (and reading) program? Who isn’t? Here’s my review of the spelling and phonics curriculum called All About Spelling. Before I begin I’d like to tell you a story:

When I was in graduate school there was an ongoing debate among educators regarding what was then called “whole language” which basically meant the teaching of literacy using sight words; immersing kids in print-rich environments; labeling common items around the room and/or home; reading lots of good, quality literature while pointing to the words as we read, and often using “big books”, etc. Sounds like all the things that common sense would warrant, right?  But where does the teaching of phonics fit in to this poetic scenario?Ah.  Thus the debate.

How Much Phonics Do You Need to Teach?

There were people on either side of this debate of course, and the pendulum would swing one way or another over the next 15+ years as I began my career and watched this debate continue.

Where do I stand? On the fence.  Sort of.

Any good teacher knows that one size never fits all and that a combination of teaching methods is often best.  That’s where I fell into this debate.  If I had to join a rank, I’d join the “whole language” crowd, however, I knew that to efficaciously teach reading and spelling to my students I’d have to use some sort of phonics program.

What if My Children are Natural Spellers and Good Readers Already?

Enter the homeschool.  My girls were natural readers.  They’re the kind of kids that one might say learned to read on their own with no instruction from me.  Is this true?  No.  This is never true.  My children were immersed in a literate environment from the moment they were born. They were immersed in the print-rich environment I speak of, they watched me point to words as we read even when they were still considered babies. They learned to read early and they understood how print works because of the environment.

Since I know that reading and writing go so hand in hand, I did not dissuade my girls from “writing” whenever they wanted to.  Because of all that, they were both competent writers early on, and pretty good spellers. My youngest published her first book just before her 16th birthday and studied at The Author Conservatory during her senior year. She’s working on her next book as I edit this post.

But I wanted more for my girls. I wanted them to know the “whys” of the English language. I wanted them to be able to decode words and spell words and understand the underlying workings of spelling.

Is Teaching Phonics Boring?

Simply, I wanted a good curriculum that would teach my girls the way letters, sounds, and phonemes work. I was not looking for a “teach your child to read” curriculum and I definitely did not want a spelling program which had my girls write over and over and over again a list of words in a notebook. All About Learning Press also has a wonderful reading program and I can assure you that neither one of these are boring for you, the teacher, or your students.

All About Spelling incorporates lots of hands-on activities, along with more focused, contracting experiences like writing, but also includes listening for the auditory learner. Any time a child can manipulate and play with words, the learning deepens.

This program is not only for early readers and writers. It begins at level 1, good for beginning writers or those new to the English language but also continues toward high school.  This program has also received kudos for helping students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia.

The Story Behind the Curriculum

Read about why Marie Ripple created this amazing program in the first place. I think you’ll love her story, and I know your kids will love using the program.




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