Thursday, January 12, 2012

All About Reading Review: A Thoroughly-Planned and Multi-Sensory Approach to Teaching Reading

A few months ago, this beautiful package arrived in my mailbox for me to review! 

I was so excited to pull out the All About Reading Pre-1 Reading curriculum from All About Learning Press.  Once I did, I was enamored with the beauty of it!  Truly, the hardbound books are gorgeous (filled with sweet, simple pencil sketches) and the ABC charts have a permanent place on the wardrobe doors.  They don't look quite so "classroom".

Even more than that, my little Sunshine has been so excited to do "my school" every day.  She's finally figured out how to rhyme because of all the wonderful phonemic awareness activities we've been doing!
Included in the deluxe curriculum package:
  • Teacher's Manual (208 pages)
  • Student Packet
    • My Book of Letters and Sounds Activity Book (192 pages)
    • Picture Cards
    • Letter Sound Cards
    • Capital Letter Alphabet Chart
    • Lowercase Letter Alphabet Chart
  • The Zigzag Zebra: a rhyming alphabet hardcover book
  • Lizard Lou: a collection of rhymes old and new hardcover book
  • Divider Cards (to keep your Picture Cards and Letter Sound Cards organized)
  • "Letter Sounds A to Z" CD-ROM
  • Ziggy the Zebra puppet
  • Activity Box to hold your student's learning cards
  • All About Reading tote bag
The teacher's manual is well-scripted with daily activities making it quite easy and convenient to follow.  There are the Big Five Skills (letter knowledge, phonological awareness, print awareness, listening comprehension, and motivation to read) addressed in every lesson.  These are critical skills needed before beginning to read!

Each day starts with identifying a letter (did I mention the alphabet charts are be-yoo-ti-ful?!!), reading a short story, doing simple activities and games, and there is always a little craft.  These are very simple to do and don't require many materials.  

Being a lover of all things frugal, my one hesitation with this curriculum is the price.  At first glance, it does seem pretty pricey.  I personally would not have bought the Pre-1 version  (although Sunshine's "school" and Ziggy the Zebra has been pretty popular around here).  I feel like I have a decent handle on teaching my little ones to read, although someone who wants complete guidance would find this curriculum very helpful, I think.  One plus (as far as the financial side), it should have a pretty high resale value.  Also, you can easily reuse it with your other children (just purchase the student packet for each student).  It comes with a one-year "Go Ahead and Use It" guarantee -- so if you use it and don't love it, you can return the curriculum for a refund.

Having said that about Pre-K, I can totally see myself buying Level 1.  As much as I LOVE My Father's World (the curriculum we're using), I have often thought the reading program leaves a little to be desired -- especially for slower readers.  Plus, as I looked through the online samples, I realized it utilizes so many of the same approaches I used in the classroom (but it's already planned and put together and I wouldn't have to do anything)!!  

Hmmm...maybe I'd better save up!!

Anyway, the Level 1 program is a completely scripted program and very systematic.  It proceeds step-by-step so you don't miss anything, AND it's multi-sensory for all the varieties of learners out there.  It's definitely worth looking into if you're wanting a thoroughly-planned approach.

Overall, I was super-impressed by the curriculum.  If you need a structured approach or you have a struggling learner, the teacher in me definitely recommends it!  

Disclosure:  I was given the All About Reading Pre-1 Package to review.  All thoughts and opinions are definitely my own!  


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