Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Needing Help Teaching Reading? - A New TOS Review!

Teaching your child how to read can be a daunting task, but All About Reading has created a program that teaches you how to teach your child in a fun and engaging atmosphere that your child will thrive in.
The Product:
All About Reading is a brand new teaching reading program.  Their program uses what they call the "Big Five Skills."
  • Letter Knowledge
  • Print Awareness
  • Phonological Awareness
  • Listening Comprehension 
  • Motivation to Read
They use these five areas in each lesson to help prepare your child for their reading journey.

Right now All About Reading has one level with plans of creating future levels.  The next level is tentatively scheduled to arrive in late summer of this year. Level Pre-1 is for preschool and kindergarten aged children (age 3 - 5.)

There are two packages available -- basic and advanced.  The advanced package ($119.95 - a savings of over $15 when purchasing as a package instead of individually)  includes everything that the basic package ($79.95) has and then also includes a puppet (named Ziggy the Zebra), an activity box for the learning cards, and a sturdy canvas tote to house the All About Reading system.  You can also purchase additional student material packets for an additional $24.95.

The contents for both packages includes:
  • Teacher’s Manual
  • My Book of Letters activity book (192 pages)
  • Capital Letter Alphabet Chart
  • Lowercase Letter Alphabet Chart
  • Picture cards and Letter Sound cards
  • Letter Sounds A to Z CD-ROM 
  • The Zigzag Zebra: a rhyming alphabet  book
  • Lizard Lou: rhymes old and new book
Both charts are poster sized with beautifully drawn pictures.  The books are hardcover so they can stand up to little ones holding and using them. Our kit (the advanced one) also included audio versions of the books.  These don't normally come with the set, but can be purchased separately.

The Teacher Manual is an essential part of the program.  Not only does it explain the lessons to you, it even has a script you can follow which includes singing songs, playing games and activities as well as reading books.  The manual also includes a list of the items and materials necessary for each lesson as well as a list of hands-on activities that are used with the lessons.
Each lesson can be completed according to the pace of your child, whether that be one lesson per day or one per week.  This allows for complete customization of the program for each of your children.
All About Reading  is published by All About Learning Press (the same makers of All About Spelling) and can be contacted by mail at 2038 E. Anvil Lake Road
Eagle River, WI 54521 or by phone at 715-477-1976.  Feel free to contact Marie Rippel or her staff if you have any questions at all.  There is a 1 year 100% guarantee with this program as well as lifetime support!  That says a lot about a company.  Ms. Rippel says that after completing this program your child will be ready to read.

Our Experience:
My daughter fell in love with Ziggy.  Ziggy is a very soft and cozy puppet who helps the lesson come to life, so to speak, in a very entertaining way.  She loved the books that came with the program and we read those quite often.  Since Audrie already knew her capital and lowercase letters, I introduced all three parts of each letter at one time.  Since she is my 'crafty girl' so she really enjoyed all the craft-like activities for each of the letters.

What I did was started with the vowels (which is how I have taught others to read so I just applied that to this program and it seemed to work fine.)  So we began with A.  I followed the script in the teacher manual which has you introduce the letter, sing the alphabet song and point at the Capital Letter Chart as each letter is named.  Then we read the corresponding book, The Zigzag Zebra, did the craft sheet for the capital A and did another hands-on activity later in the day to help cement the lesson.  I also introduced the sound of A as /a/.

The next day we did the lowercase a and this time we used the Lowercase Letter Chart as we sang the alphabet song.  For the lowercase letters you will use the Lizard Lou book.  This is a poem book.  You are to point out the items and drawings that go along with the letter you are working on. The Zigzag Zebra book has short little rhymes that focus on the letter and have very cute and detailed drawings.  We continued with this format, making sure on each day to work on the sound of the letter as well as the activities that went along with that portion of the lesson.

As you can see the left side is the back of letter 'f' and has the craft instructions, on the right is letter 'g' page.

For the three year old (that I watch 2 days per week) I was using this program with, I followed the program the way it was designed. Since she is here on a limited basis each week we worked on that capitals one day and the lowercase letter the next day.  Then the following week we would spend time on the sound of the letter we had learned the week prior.  She is still learning her letters and sounds, so this gentle approach has been great for her. 

My Thoughts:

I think this is a very solid and useful program.  If my daughter was younger and hadn't already known most of her letters and sounds, then she may have gotten more out of this.  The little girl that I watch really enjoyed the program.  Even though she is just 3 she started ask to 'do school' like all the other kiddos in my house.  For that reason, I think a younger child who has yet to learn most of  their letter and sounds would benefit more from this program then an older child.

Another item I'd like to mention is that the program teaches capital letters first, then lowercase letters, and then the sounds of each letter.  I am not sure why the author decided to break it down this way.  Since my 5 year old could already recognize all of her letters and knew most of her sounds I choose to introduce them all at once.  That made it a little less redundant for her and because of the crafts and activities it was still fun.

If you'd like to receive some free activity booklets you can fill out this form.  You can also download a sample of the teacher's manual, book of letters, as well as both books - Ziggy the Zebra, and Lizard Lou.  I'd really encourage you to take advantage of these samples since they are quite substantial and will give you a real feel for the program.  And be sure to check out what some other Crew members thought about All About Reading.

*** I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and receive free products and services in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of money for any of my reviews. My reviews will always reflect my honest opinions, findings, beliefs and experiences with the products and services that I receive.***


Briana said...

Great review. I like the way you taught the lessons the way you wanted to, good thinking! I just followed the order in the Teacher's manual.

Very Blessed Mamma said...

It does sound good for a child just learning his letters and sounds.

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