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All About Reading Levels 1-4 and Deluxe Interactive Kit Review by Audrey Tolle

All About Learning Press
(715) 477-1976
615 Commerce Loop
Eagle River, WI 54521

I have heard great things about All About Reading in my homeschool circles for a couple of years now. However, I am a creature of habit, and always hesitate switching curriculums unless absolutely needed. I have six children at various reading levels and had previously used one of those scripted all-in-one books that simply taught phonics. Nothing more, nothing less. But one of my children was having a super hard time learning to read. He could read slowly, but would completely give up on any word that was longer than five letters. I remember with my other children, there came a point where reading just “clicked” and once it did, they just took off. But for this child, it just wasn’t clicking. He is eight and was starting to feel very self-conscience about not reading. I knew I needed to try a different approach. I was an eager beaver when I had the opportunity to review the All About Reading Program!

I was delighted to be able to review the full All About Reading program which included all components for Levels 1-4, and their Deluxe Interactive Kit. I was not sure which level I should start my struggling reader, but there is an easy tool available on the website that helped me locate the correct one. We determined he was at Level 2.  I was able to review each of the other levels with my other children, and got to see how it all fits together to build strong readers.

The website for All About Reading describes this program as a multi-sensory approach that helps students learn the five components to reading in a fun and engaging way that sticks with them. The five components are phonological awareness, phonics/decoding, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. I can honestly say that we began using this product straight out of the box the moment it arrived. My kids saw the beautiful hardbound readers and immediately tried to start reading them on their own. It took me about 60-90 minutes for the initial set-up of the program, punching out the tiles and assembling the magnets, organizing the flashcards and putting them in the box, and just getting familiar with the Teachers Manual and Student Activity Book. I didn’t have a magnetic board handy that they suggest having, so I used a couple of Dollar Tree cookie sheets that we use for magnet play and they worked perfectly.

I absolutely loved this curriculum and felt that it was such a breath of fresh air to our homeschool journey. As a busy mom, I do not have tons of time for lesson planning and preparation, so the scripted lessons were a life saver. I could literally pick up the book and begin a lesson after reading the brief “Before You Begin” portion of the Teachers Manual.  I loved the break-up of the lessons that included introducing new concepts in an interactive and fun way using the activity book, reviewing earlier material, seeing the words broken up using the tiles, and reading together. The activity book contains fun, engaging, and age appropriate activities, and my kids look forward to their reading lessons. If there were days that we were traveling or were just super busy, we would drill the flashcards with each other in the car or at home and review and build repetition that way. We downloaded the app on our phone and I-pad so that if we had some down-time in a waiting room or in the car, my kids could be reviewing their phonic sounds. The program is flexible like that! It was such a joy to see the approach that this program takes to introducing phonics and the way that it has connected to each of my children at various levels. The growth in my struggling reader has been astounding. I no longer have the fear that he will “never learn to read.” The growth I have seen in him coupled with the strong foundation he is gaining, makes me confident that it is all coming together in his brain and will “click” soon.  His confidence has grown by leaps and bounds and he no longer avoids reading aloud out of fear of embarrassment. And this is all within a couple of months of using this program.

Lessons alternate between reviewing/introducing new concepts and reading from the readers and building vocabulary and comprehension. A typical lesson that involves learning a new concept looks like this: Reviewing previous phonograms using the tiles and/or the app, then reviewing the flashcards in their flashcard box that are in the “Review” section (once they are mastered, they are moved to another section of the card box and are reviewed less frequently). Next, a new concept is taught using the colored tiles that teach decoding skills and break up the word by sounds. There is often a game or activity that moves the tiles around to make new words and sounds. Then you do an activity sheet which is usually a matching game or some other kind of activity (this is not a writing based program, so the activities do not involve writing). After the activity comes introducing new reading words, practice fluency chart, and then reading aloud to your child and marking the Progress Chart. The lessons that involve reading from the reader look like this: Reviewing Phonogram and Word Flashcards, reading a “Warm-Up” sheet for the story that introduces words, phrases, names, etc., having your student read the story, discussing the main conflict, vocab words, etc. (all scripted, which makes it easy), doing an activity sheet, reading aloud together, and marking the Progress Chart. It may sound like a lot of steps for each lesson, but they flow together seamlessly and you can adapt it to fit your needs and slow it down or speed it up if needed according to how your child is progressing. 

Even my readers who learned to read through the previous method we used gained a stronger foundation through All About Reading and received an overall more solid understanding of the phonetic approach. I am thankful to be able to begin my last three children with Level 1 and feel I have found “the” phonics curriculum that has benefited all my children with various challenges and learning styles.

This research behind the program is impressive and it shows in each lesson how well thought out and purposeful each concept was.  Each concept builds on the previous one in a very methodical way. The building blocks that set the foundation in Level 1 were so helpful, that I had my fourth grader talk through some of the lessons because there was so much information that I know he didn’t get in the other phonics book we used with him. 

One thing I really appreciated is the fact that the company, All About Learning Press, really strives to support those who use their curriculum.  There website is very user-friendly and is ready to equip you with many articles, videos and information. I spent over an hour on there watching and reading about the background research that went into this program and fully believe that this program has “no gaps.” They also stand behind their product and offer a refund to anyone who isn’t fully satisfied with it. 

In case it isn’t clear, I wholeheartedly recommend this phonics curriculum to any homeschool family. When it comes to investing in literacy, I feel that every penny spent on this program is very worth it and the price is competitive for what you receive. The Interactive Kit can be used for the duration of the program and only needs to be purchased once. If you are looking for a new reading curriculum, give All About Reading a try! 

-Product review by Audrey Tolle, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September, 2016.