Our first look at All About Reading Level 1 and 2 – Getting Started!

We were really, really excited to receive All About Reading Level 1 and 2 from All About Learning Press in the mail last week.

I thought I would casually share some of my thoughts and experiences on getting started with this amazing program.  First, I’ll share why I chose to go with this program and these levels.
I already knew All About Reading would be a top notch program.  I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about it and have already seen, felt, touched the beautiful quality of the materials through friends and curriculum fairs.  
Alex (age 6) will be doing All About Reading Level 1 over the Summer and into the coming school year.  He has been using Alpha Phonics for reading and doing well enough with it but I was looking for something more.  More hands-on, more interesting, more engaging, and more complete.  Something he would want to do and that would encourage him to really thrive.  
I feel there are a lot of gaps for him and I am really wanting to review and enforce the foundations of phonetic awareness and help him build strong reading skills.  So, this is exactly what we’re doing with this Level.  At first glance, and after looking at the Placement Tests, I thought he would place in Level 2.  However, when I was able to look closer at what Level 2 covered, I realized he was not ready for it at all.  So, the wonderful people at All About Reading (they are seriously AWESOME), sent me Level 1 so that I could work though it with Alex and share our experiences with my lovely friends here!
I am so glad we decided to go with Level 1, even though it initially seemed like he’d be way beyond it.  The truth is, All About Reading covers skills in a very unique, very thorough way.  I started him at Lesson 1 and treated it as review.  It has been a wonderful experience over the past week because I’m realizing how much he needed the review, and how much more indepth the teaching in All About Reading truly is.
Audrey (age 8) will be doing All About Reading Level 2.  Audrey is a very bright, artsy, imaginative girl who loves to tell stories, sing, dance, and play pretend.  She has always struggled a little bit with reading.  As soon as I read through Level 2, I knew she would place well in his level.   After only a week, she is in LOVE with this program and asks to do it every single day.  The level is very doable for her but still a little challenging, even at the beginning.  I’m very happy with the placement of the kids, they are right on par for what will truly inspire success.  Can’t wait to see how this works!
If you are looking for a reading program for your child, I would highly recommend checking out the All About Learning Press website.  (They are also the publishers of All About Spelling.)  They have so many amazing resources and so many helps for homeschoolers who are trying to choose the right program and level, including a whole Resource Center.
So many homeschoolers and readers have asked for more reviews and more posts about specific homeschool curriculum and how we have implemented them into our home.  So… I plan to extensively review All About Reading and share our journey as we walk through Level 1 and 2.

Hopefully these posts will be a blessing and helpful to other families who are on the same journey we’re on…  so, here we go…

First Impressions…

My first impression of All About Reading happened before I ever had the books on my doorstep.

Their customer service is phenomenal.  I experienced patient, kind, accommodating, helpful customer service on more than one occasion and am so grateful for the opportunity to review this great program.  The All About Learning Press website states that they are a company not just about selling curriculum, but more importantly, about helping families.  From what I’ve experienced and hear, I would say this is very true.

The program looks amazing.  I’m not new to the whole ‘curriculum’ scene.  I can spot a fantastic program when I have one in my hands.  Of course, there are countless testimonials of how this program has helped teach children of all ages and abilities learn how to read confidently.  But, if you spend a while looking through the content of the program you can quickly and easily see why this is the case.  The thoroughness of the lessons and step-by-step approach is not only easy to follow, but also relieving to see.  I feel a burden lifted from me as I read through these Teacher’s Guides and look at all the wonderful resources and feel confident that I have all I need to successfully help my children in their reading journey(s).

The quality of the materials in second to none.  I don’t know about you, but when I invest money into homeschooling curriculum, I want it to be good quality.  Every single item I received for All About Reading was extremely well made, pleasing to the eyes and fingers, and very appealing to the children.  They couldn’t wait to get started.  The stuff is all brightly colored and glossy, and very engaging. (I talk more about my love for their Readers further down in the post.)

The books are very thorough and easy to follow.  I found the Teacher’s Guides for both Level 1 and 2 to be very easy to follow.  Right on the first page is a huge list of “What Do You Need?” to help you get yourself organized.  It even walks you through a step by step process of how to properly prepare all your learning tools and first lesson.

Each Lesson is literally open and go.  The only real ‘prep’ work would be if you are going to need on of the activities cut out before using it.  That would require maybe cutting it out ahead of time.  Beyond that, everything is written out for you and very easy to follow.  This is awesome for busy Moms (like me…!)  who might not have tons of time to prep.

The kids are loving it.  We’ve only been using All About REading for about a week, but our kids already LOVE it.  Both children are excited to be earning stickers on their progress charts and both ask to do All About Reading every day.  (This is a huge very GREAT first impression, don’t you think!?)

What you need to get started with All About Reading:

So if you are interested in trying All About Reading, here’s how it works.  When you are starting with All About Reading, you’ll really need a Reading Interactive Kit.  This kit will take you through any and every level of All About Reading.  (The Pre-reading program doesn’t require an Interactive Kit.) 

You only need to order the Reading Interactive Kit once, it is non-consumable.  *Hooray!*
There are two options – the Basic Package and the Deluxe Package.  This is where you get your stuff that really makes the program hands-on and interactive.  My first impression of the Interactive Kit is that the materials are incredibly high-quality and I have no doubt they will last through many children using this program.
For each level of All About Reading, there is a Teacher’s Guide, Readers and a Student Packet.  If you are just starting out and teaching one student, you can just choose to get the “Materials” package, which includes the Teacher’s Guide, the Student Activity Book, and the Readers all in one. 
You can see PDF previews and all the information on the various kits and packages for Level 1 and 2 here:

Here’s a look at what we have:

The Student Packet for Level 1 of All About Reading.  The Phonogram Cards and Word Cards come perforated on card stock.  As with all the All About Reading materials, they are very well made and durable.

All About Reading Level 2 – Student Activity Book, Teacher’s Manual, and Readers.  I had already taken the Phonogram and Word cards and placed them in the Reading Review Box (below).

Tote Bag (included in the Deluxe Kit).  Very high quality bag, would work great for storage of your All About Reading materials, if you chose to store it that way!

Level 1 Phonogram Cards and Word Cards (come with the Student Packet).  These come in sheets, it took only a few minutes to separate them and put them in the Reading Review Box.
Level 1 Readers.  Comes with three books, Volume 1-3 are levelled and children work through them in order throughout the program.

About the Readers

I absolutely LOVE the readers from All About Reading.  Both Level 1 and Level 2 have breath-taking readers that our kids wanted to read right away.  I feel strongly that we need to provide our children with good quality books.  This includes the readers they are using for phonetic practice and early reading!  So many phonics programs and reading programs provide books that are not only of low quality in their literary sense, but cheaply made and awfully illustrated!  It’s so frustrating!  (This was a huge drawback for me when we were using Alpha Phonics!)
I’m trying to inspire my children to want to read!  I don’t know about you, but I choose good quality books that have an element of beauty to them.  Why wouldn’t children also innately desire the same thing?  
The All About Reading Readers are hard cover and bound incredibly well.  They have wonderful feeling paper and are illustrated beautifully.  The stories are engaging and worthwhile. 
I’m honestly in love with these!  You can see samples of the Readers on the site Level 1 is here and Level 2 is here.
More Snapshots of the Readers.  I adore these books.

Level 1 Reader.
Fluency Practice for Lesson 6 of All About Reading Level 1.
Level 1 Activity Book.
I just thought this was the coolest thing.  We’ve been using 4 cue cards to do this same thing.  Brilliant!

Getting Organized…

All About Reading makes it very easy to get organized and ready to go.  Not only is everything there for you, they also tell you how to break it down and get it set up for your first lessons.  Here’s how I organized our stuff…
I love the ease and organization of the Reading Review Box.  It comes in the Deluxe Interactive Kit.  Really lovely quality, the color, the perfect fit!  As an example of the quality of the All About Reading stuff… they even sent it with little foam spacers so the cards wouldn’t fall over when the box wasn’t full!  Brilliant!

Divider Cards placed in the Reading Review Box.  Cards are moved as students learn them. 
Easy organization make lessons smooth.

This is such a great way to organize extra Letter Tiles.  Just a simple craft organizer!  The Interactive Kit comes with all the tiles you’ll need all the way through Level 4 of All About Reading… so, you’ll need somewhere safe to store extra tiles that won’t be used for a while!

Phonogram and Word Card box and Letter Tiles storage.
I got this idea from a very dear friend of mine (thanks Anna!)  Each child has an All About Reading folder.  This is a giant zippered folder where we keep their progress charts, stickers, and all the cut-out games and fluency pages from the Student Activity Books.  I bought a box of small envelops for all the cut-outs and will label the envelops with the names of the game/activity and the lesson in which it is used.  This keeps us organized and makes finding what we need very easy for me when we are working through lessons.  It also keeps things fresh and clean and ready for another student to use the program next year!  

I honestly just love how colorful and engaging the materials are!
Magnetic backings for all the tiles come with the Interactive Kits.  I took about 20 minutes to place all the square magnest on the Letter Cards so they will easily mount onto the magnetic board.  Many families use a magnetic white board to place the tiles.  I show mine below.

Getting Our Board and Letters ready to go…

A pretty big part of All About Reading is the interactive Letter Tiles.  These are used in nearly every lesson and truly make the program much more hands-on for children.  Both mine love using the Letter Tiles and board too practice sounds and building words.  

I purchased a magnetic white board at a local office supply store for about $25.  I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to or needed to at the time.  I thought I would try the program just using the tiles on the table.  

To be honest,  I would highly recommend using a large magnetic board with this program!  It has been well worth the purchase.  I couldn’t imagine having to take out and set up the tiles every single time we want to do a lesson (my kids would be lost before we started!).

This way, the letters just stay in position on the board and we slide the board out at lesson time to use.   It also makes lessons quick to start and also so much more fun for the kids.  The board also gives lots of space to work with the letter tiles with a clear, tidy background.

  This is a set up for Level 2 with Consonant Blends that were learned in Level 1 already there along with Open and Closed Syllable tiles.

For level 1, we start with just the alphabet.  (We have two here because we were making lots of words and needed extra tiles!)

Enjoying our first few lessons!

Over the next couple weeks to months, I plan to share very specific reviews of each separate level along with a walk through of a lesson of each level of All about Reading.  So far, our children are really enjoying the program and are doing very well with it!  

Audrey playing with Open and Closed Syllable words.

Alex practicing his word cards from Lesson 1-3 of Level 1 and Audrey working on building words with Letter Tiles and playing a word game from Lesson 2 of Level 2.

There will be much more in-depth reviews coming… this is just an introduction!  

A great video that recaps the story behind the creation of All About Reading

One Comment

  • Unknown

    Thank you so much for the info! I found you through Pinterest and couldn't decide what level to buy for my son. I'm so glad I read this before I bought the wrong one! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *