I have found a reading program that we enjoy. It works for more than 1 of my children. We are making tremendous progress and it doesn’t require extensive planning ahead for me. Overall, it’s a huge win. We are enjoying our time with All About Reading levels 1 and 2 with two of my kids.
However, while I like All About Reading there are a few things that I don’t absolutely love. Yet I’ve been able to tweak the program to make it a perfect fit for our homeschool.
What don’t I love?
- It can be a lot of pieces to juggle. There are word cards, phonogram cards, letter tiles, games with small paper pieces, fluency pages, and readers.
Here’s how I keep it organized:
To help me stay organized I’ve put all of the cards for each level in their own recipe box – this helps because I have two kids in the program but working at different levels. For this reason, I didn’t want one box for all of the cards.
I spent some time during the summer cutting out all the game pieces. I placed the pieces for each game in their own ziploc bag. Then I slid each game with all the various pieces into its own page protector in a large notebook.
I put the fluency pages in page protectors in the same notebook so I can easily flip through and find the games or fluency pages for each lesson.
I keep the letter tiles on a small cookie sheet on our homeschool table. It keeps all the tiles together in a small area so I’m not having to use wall space with a giant magnetic board for them.
- The fluency pages are overwhelming. These have many words on each page and can induce tears in my kids. There are also multiple pages per lesson.
Here’s how I tackle these pages:
Each day we read only one small section of these pages. My kids know they don’t have to read the entire page in that day. We make slow progress but that’s ok. Sometimes I write the words individually on the white board and have them read the words that way. I try to keep our fluency reading time short and sweet.
- The stories in the readers can be long. There are sometimes quite a few sentences on each page and that is overwhelming to my new readers. In addition, the stories do progress in difficulty quite quickly between each reader.
Here’s how I help my kids with the readers:
We sometimes only read two or three 2-page spreads in the reader each day. I try to break down the stories and only read a section each day. We also read the stories multiple times to build fluency. I often have my kids go back and choose one of the earlier stories to read to me. As they increase in fluency they are able to read the entire story in one sitting.
- The program does expect the reading fluency to happen quickly. For Tiger, the program moved too quickly. The pace is a little more on target for Bee’s ability level. However, it still requires quite a bit of fluency with long passages and multiple fluency pages per lesson.
Here’s what we’ve done to adjust the pace:
For Tiger, it took him almost two years to finish Level 1. (Remember, these are levels and don’t correspond to grades.) Bee will probably move through the first level more quickly. However, I’ve had to adjust my expectations and let the kids move at their pace.
For Tiger, we repeated many of the lessons in Level 1 to help him build fluency. I have him read about 10-15 word cards per day and do one small section of the fluency pages each day. This helped us slow the program down so he could master the concepts.