Boy did I talk it up while we waited. I told her all about how it’s for special kids like her who can do so many wonderful things but have a harder time learning how to reading. You would have thought it was Christmas when it showed up on our doorstep!
We dove right in the next day! We started with Emma and Spencer doing the lessons together, but Spencer couldn’t keep up with learning several sounds a day. Emma, however, has done absolutely fabulously!
All About Reading uses the Orton-Gillingham approach. All About Reading is a multi-sensory program that uses tiles with different colors tiles (green for consonants and red for vowels), colorful phonogram cards and word cards.
The lessons start off with introducing the sounds for two or three letters per lesson. Spencer (who lasted about three lessons) was easily reading simple three letter words by the end of the first lesson. Emma was a bit bored at first because she already knew the sounds, but she loved the cut and paste activities and making words with the tiles. I assured her that we would soon move onto more difficult lessons but that it was important to start at the beginning.
At the beginning of every lesson you review the phonogram (sound) cards and word cards from the previous lesson, making note of those which have been mastered and those that still need work. After review we dive in with the new sounds and concepts. We will build words with our tiles and show how by just changing one letter it changes the whole word. Then there is a fun activity for her to do and some fluency practice. When she is finished with her lesson she puts her sticker on her sticker chart. By lesson six she was reading the first story in one of the three readers that come with the program. Once the readers are introduced the lessons alternate between introduction of new sounds or concepts and reading a story from the reader out loud. Some days when she is loving it, she will do both an instructional lesson and a the lesson from the reader in the same day (I am always careful not to push her on this so any time this happens she is the one who instigates it).
As her teacher I can tell you that this is a dream come true. All About Reading is entirely scripted which means I know exactly what I am supposed to say and I know exactly what response I can expect from Emma.
After all of the letter sounds have been covered we move onto consonant teams (th, ch, sh) and then consonant blends (bl, st, fl, etc.), each of which comes with it’s own tile for when we build the words. They cover blends at the beginning of words, blends at the end of words and the last few lessons of Level 1 cover the other sounds that some of the letters make.
Now that you know the mechanics of the program would you like to know how Emma is fairing?
- After 10 lessons, she got out her scriptures stories books and tried reading on her own for the first time. For fun! We were all eating at the dinner table when she got up, retrieved her book, came back, sat down at the table and started to sound out the words. I cried.
- She really didn’t like the fluency very much. Once I explained that the fluency practice was the most important part and what helps her get better at reading she hasn’t complained about it much at all and usually reads everything on the pages with a smile on her face. Sometimes I give her a break and make her do only half of the fluency. Last week I said she didn’t have to do it all but she did anyway, laughing the whole time with the knowledge that she was going above and beyond.
- The same thing happened when she was reading out of her reader to me and then just decided to finish the last three stories in it. You should have heard the giggles coming out of her!
- She is constantly telling me the words that she reads on signs.
- The “deer in the headlights” look is completely gone (at least in regard to reading. cleaning on the other hand…)
- I haven’t heard her say “I can’t read” in a month.
- She doesn’t guess at words anymore and when she makes a mistake (ie. b for d) she immediately recognizes it on her own and corrects herself.
- She has started trying to read her math word problems on her own (though Lucy or I are quick to jump in if she needs help).
- She practices reading on her own time and by her own volition more than Lucy does.
- This last Sunday we missed church since the van is in the shop. Lucy and Emma decided to “play church”. They each got out their scriptures (the actual scriptures, not the stories) and alternated reading the verses out loud. Emma obviously didn’t know every word nor could she sound them all out (“constraint” is a hard word for a seven year old with dyslexia), but she just kept on trying and never once got upset.
- Last night she couldn’t sleep so we let her sleep in our room. I was still working on my computer with my light on so she brought in several Bearenstain Bear I Can Read books and read three of the stories before drifting off to sleep.
All of this and we are only just over half way level 1! If she keeps going at this rate she will be reading chapter books by the time she finishes level 2 if not before then.
I cannot tell you how happy I am. I have gotten my hands on a lot of different homeschooling curriculum and this is the first one that has brought me to tears it is that good! If you have a struggling reader, please do yourself and your child a favor and get All About Reading! Even if you don’t homeschool this is just what they need and a little one on one time with you at home will help them not only learn to read and learn to read well but learn to love reading! I am convinced after using this program that almost any child can learn how to read. Teaching your child to learn to love reading is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give.