Wednesday, April 13, 2011

All About Reading -- Review

I have always heard that when you homeschool the younger children will easily pick up on what the older child/children are doing. This has never been the case for Zach, probably due to the 4 year age difference between he and Paul. However, this is very much the case with Molly. She loves to sit with Zach and I while we "do school" and she learns so much just by being there with us. This year she has really, really wanted to have just as much schoolwork as the boys do, and she is no longer happy with paper to just draw on or small puzzles to put together, she wants REAL school. So, when the opportunity came along to review the very first level of the new All About Reading.

Level Pre-1 is designed for preschoolers and kindergarteners.
The program focuses on the "Big Five Skills"
Letter Knowledge/Recognition
Phonological Awareness
Print Awareness
Listening Comprehension

This program is designed and published by the same publishers as "All About Spelling". We have never personally used All About Spelling but I have heard nothing but wonderful things about it and if it is anything like "All About Reading" I may need to take a look at it at the upcoming convention. We were really impressed with All About Reading and Molly was so excited to have her very own books and papers designed just for her.

The complete deluxe package includes everything you see in the picture above and is listed below:
208 page Teachers Manual
The ZigZag Zebra: A Rhyming Alphabet (Hardcover book and on CD)
Lizard Lou: Rhymes Old and New (Hardcover book and on CD)
192 Page Student Alphabet Book (Consumable)
Picture Cards (divided into several activities)
Letter Sound Cards
Divider Cards to keep the picture cards and letter sound cards organized
A box to put the cards in and keep them organized
"Letter Sounds A to Z" CD-Rom
Zig Zag the Zebra Puppet
A tote bag
2 posters, 1 with uppercase letters, 1 with lowercase letters

All of this can be purchased together for $119.95. There is a basic package available also, but that one doesn't include the Zebra and Zig-Zag made reading so much more fun for Molly! You can also purchase the individual items.

The Zebra puppet is so soft and adorable all my kids want to play with it. Molly made sure everyone knew it was HERS! I made sure everyone knew it had to stay with the school stuff. It would have been lost somewhere in their piles of stuffed animals if I had not made that rule. So, it lives on the top of Molly's workboxes and she loves all the rhyming games Zig-Zag plays with her
All About Reading Pre-1 Level is a very gentle approach to teaching your young students pre-reading skills. It starts by teaching the capital letters. There are games and activities to go with each lesson as well as more suggested activities in the back of the book. The student book has one page for each letter. You typically have your child color part of it and then add something else to it, such as paint, constuction paper, etc. Molly really enjoyed doing her papers. Here is her "G" paper. She colored the "G" Gold and then we added "seaweed" to the fish bowl

After learning all of the upper case letters you start working on the lower case letters. The lower case activities are similar to the upper case. There are also worksheets that the child picks out the current letter from several letters all over a page and circles it. (Sorry I totally forgot to take a picture of this type of paper)

Each lesson is a new letter so you can choose to do a new letter each day, which is what we did. Or you can stretch out the letter and do a new letter every couple of days or one each week. It really depends on what your child is ready for. Molly knows most of her letters already but really needed to review them all and make sure she could recognize them. So, this was perfect for her to go through the letters quickly. On the days that I knew she knew the letter we would do two or three letters if she wanted to. The program is very flexible. There are also lots of rhyming activities and other games to increase phonological awareness in the daily lesson plans. Molly loved the rhyming games we played with Zig Zag the Zebra. Zach joined us for most of the game playing and really benefited from it as well.
After your child goes through all the upper and lower case letters you begin to work on the sounds of each letter. Each letter has a "cut and paste" activity as shown below. The student has to pick out the pictures that start with that letter sound. Any time cutting and gluing is involved Molly is very happy!

Our thoughts:
I really enjoyed this program and enjoyed having something for Molly to do to help her get used to "school work". She enjoyed her own special time with Mommy. The curriculum reminds you of how important it is to read to your young children everyday. It is a very gentle approach and honestly wasn't quite enough for Molly. I think it would probably be enough for most children at her age but for her she wants more. I added handwriting sheets and another letter/sound activity each day for her. So, if your child wants/needs more then you will have to add to this program. If you are just looking for a gentle, easy approach for your kiddos then this is the perfect pre-reading curriculum for you. Even if your child needs more it was very easy to add an activity or two or go through the curriculum at a quicker pace. It is so flexible!! It is a very easy, open and go, type of curriculum. The activities are fun, engaging, and they actually teach them the letters and their sounds! It does not require a lot of time in preparation and also takes very little time to teach. I can't wait until Level 1 becomes available. The scheduled release date is the beginning of June.

You can get a couple of ebooks to take a look at for free here.

If you would like to see what other Crew Members thought go here

Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for my honest opinion of the product. There was no other compensation given for the review.

1 comment:

Beth said...

Aww, love that picture of her with Ziggy! I get the same happy looks here :) Great review!