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If you’re searching for homeschool reading curriculum, All About Reading is a popular program that you’ve probably come across. But what makes All About Reading different from other curriculum? How do you know if it’s a good choice for your family?
In the video podcast and review, below, I’ll share our first experience using All About reading and some recommendations for families considering using AAR with their kids.
This year we needed a separate, stand-alone, learn-to-read program for my daughter. She’s a very bright kid, but really struggles with decoding (sounding out) and spelling phonetically. At the beginning of the year, I suspected dyslexia. It took a while to get that diagnosis, but I finally did.
She’s in second grade, so she already knows how to write (her handwriting is beautiful), and she has good listening comprehension. I just really needed a homeschool reading curriculum to teach her how to read.
So I reached out to All About Reading about trying out Level 2 and doing a review. Full disclosure: we got the program for free to try and review. Watch the video podcast review below or scroll down to read the full review.
All About Reading: Visit the website and take a placement test.
About All About Reading: Homeschool Reading Curriculum
All About Reading (AAR) is a stand-alone phonics curriculum created to help your child learn to read. You can start the program between preschool and kindergarten age and use it through whenever your child can read fluently, usually around second or third grade.
AAR comes in five levels, from pre-reading to Level 4. Each level has it’s own books, teacher’s edition, and student packets. To best meet your child’s needs, AAR offers free placement testing online. This is a great option for homeschool parents, as it allows homeschooled kids to begin where they are – instead of on a specific grade or age level.
Apart from placement testing, there are a few things that make All About Reading a solid option as a homeschool reading curriculum:
All About Reading uses Orton-Gillingham instruction methods. If you’re unfamiliar with Orton-Gillingham, it’s a research-based structured phonics instruction that builds incrementally. It’s great for kids like my daughter who need a program specifically focused on reading skills, especially decoding and fluency.
Excellent Teacher’s Edition
A thorough teacher’s edition is a must for a solid reading program. Many homeschooling parents worry the most about teaching their kids to read, so a program with a lot of parent support is great. All About Reading contains a simple script with visuals and requires almost no prep time.
Focused and Hands-On
All About Reading takes a hands-on approach to teach reading. Your child will build words with tiles, use cards, play games, and complete paper-based activities, which makes the learning process much meaningful. This program is very interactive – you’ll be doing hands-on work every day.
What Makes this Homeschool Reading Curriculum Stand Out?
All About Reading is a popular homeschool reading curriculum, but how do you know if it’s for you? We found a few differences that sets AAR apart.
I found the lessons to be very consistent. Every day we review the cards, play some kind of tile game or build new words, get into a new lesson, read, and then work on an activity. This high level of consistency and similar daily structure make it easy to fall into a comfortable rhythm. This makes AAR easy to teach, because I know what’s coming every day. And it’s rewarding for kids, because they can really see the progress they’re making as you build up skills throughout the program.
2. Sight Words
Sometimes I feel like I’m the only homeschooler who loves using sight words! When used with a solid phonics program, sight words are a great tool to get your kids reading faster and more fluently very quickly. For my daughter, sight words are the easier, more fun part of reading instruction. She struggles with decoding and encoding but not memorization. I can see how these fun few minutes of flashcard review or card game play directly impacts and improves her skills when we pick up a book.
3. The Books
Of all the homeschool reading curriculum I’ve tried, All About Reading is the first one to come with real books for kids to read. These hardcover books are a collection of decodable readers that you’ll get throughout the program. They’re full-color, beautifully illustrated, and give kids the feeling of holding and reading a chapter book. I think reading real books does a lot to build up confidence as a reader more so than reading printable books or passages on a worksheet.
Pacing for the All About Reading Homeschool Curriculum
The time span it takes for a kid to learn to read varies. Some will be fluent readers by the end of first grade while others may be in third grade or longer. All About Reading is flexible. You can work through one lesson a day, or if your child struggles, you can move a little more slowly. You may want to take more time with the daily reviews or break up the new instruction and activity components over two days.
If you have a younger child who’s a great, motivated reader, you may find yourself flying through four or five levels in two years. At that point, it would be worth looking into All About Spelling for the next level of reading instruction.
I should also mention that this program is designed for younger kids, typically between ages four and eight. If you have an older kid between eight and ten years old who is testing on Level 1 or 2, then you may want to look into All About Spelling as it has the look and feel of an older kids’ reading curriculum.
Will All About Reading Fit My Family?!?
Overall, All About Reading is a fantastic homeschool reading curriculum. AAR is a strong program and I recommend it to families looking for a separate reading program paced to match their children’s needs.
I highly recommend this program specifically to parents teaching more than one child to read in the upcoming years. Firstly, you won’t have re-purchase or replace the entire curriculum for each kid – only the student packets. This makes AAR an investment that will save you money over time. Secondly, the focus on multisensory learning is engaging and a good fit for the majority of young learners. Finally, the fact that you can choose the level and adjust the pacing to fit your child makes AAR an incredibly versatile program.
For More Information on All About Reading: Visit the website and take a placement test.
And for a side-by-side comparison of ten top phonics programs see our Phonics Curriculum Guide post.
Ashley helps parents who want to homeschool find the resources they need to successfully teach their children. Ashley is a former teacher, current homeschooler, published author, and designer behind Circle Time with Miss Fox printables as well as the creator of this website, The Homeschool Resource Room.