This post contains affiliate links. Disclosure.
As a kid, I was a reader. A lot doesn’t even begin to describe how much I read. And though it had to happen at some point, I can’t remember not being able to read or learning to read. I just remember hours spent curled up with a good book enjoying stories of far off lands and times.
So when I got pregnant with Olivia, I was sure that she would be a reader too. I did everything right. I started reading to her in utero and continued after her birth.
As she got older we learned letter sounds and played with fridge magnets. Her room — the entire house — was filled with books that were at her disposal.
In the meantime, I read those stories of children who learned to read early and easily, and I was just sure that my kid was going to be like that.
We would just skip right over the hard work of reading instruction. She would soak it up like a sponge thanks to our hours of reading aloud and print-rich environment.
Except she didn’t.
Reading did not come easy for Olivia. She did not learn early, and she has not learned quickly. She learns, but progress is slow, without many of the bursts of development I had been led to expect by reading experts.
For a long time I worried and tried to find that magic solution that would make everything click and reading come easy. She was doing pretty well at the start of this school year, and I was seeing good progress with our regular practice.
I was not doing any set instruction with her, but instead she was reading aloud each day while I modeled sounding out the words she did not know. Mostly because sounding out multiple syllable words was something she refused to even try to do.
A possible reading solution
Could this be something that would help Olivia over her final hump in reading? Was this something my already-reading third grader really needed and would it be worth the purchase price?
I called Olivia over and administered the placement test. As I suspected it showed that she knew most of the material needed to start the level. The big question was, did she know so much of the material in the level that this be a waste of our money and time?
So I turned to the online samples from the middle of the book and had her read. Sure enough it seemed as if she read the samples with relative ease, only missing a word or so every other sentence.
But after careful consideration, I realized the words she was missing were the words from the lesson. The words she was able to read were the easier words that filled out the story. I was pretty sure I had my answer and placed our order.
Finding the Gaps
We have been working steadily on the program since about mid-November. Since then I have seen an increase in fluency, confidence, and in Olivia’s ability to use skills to attack and decode unknown words.
What I love about the All About Reading program is its systematic approach to instruction. The lesson will introduce a concept — say a syllable division rule or a specific phonogram. You then practice that skill with the multisensory activities until it is mastered.
In subsequent chapters, review of the skill is worked into the program on fluency practice sheets and in the stories you read. It’s genius.
The way the program is designed also makes it easy for me to see which phonograms are tripping her up. If she begins to flounder with “ai” or what sound is made by “sh,” we can go back and spend extra time practicing those using word cards.
I discovered very quickly that Olivia had no skills for decoding multiple syllable words. Basically, when she came across one, she guessed. Because she has a huge vocabulary and good comprehension skills — she has been read to since birth and devours audio books — she is able to guess correctly a surprising amount of the time.
Now, though, after learning and reviewing syllable division rules in All About Reading, she has exactly the skills she needs to break the words into manageable chunks and use the rules to sound them out.
She agreed to show us exactly how she is learning to do this in a video. If you can’t see the video below you can find it at All About Reading Full Blending Procedure with Two Syllables.
And one of the best things is that I am now armed with the knowledge to help her. I do not remember my reading instruction, but given my memories of Dick and Jane, I am fairly certain it was look/say in nature.
Now that I know the rules in All About Reading, I know how to make suggestions and guide her in the right direction.
Knowing what your kids need and being able to help them is the best feeling ever. I feel a bit guilty that I have been telling her to “just sound it out” for the past couple of years without giving her the skills she needed to do that.
I am trying not to beat myself up about too much and enjoy the happiness that comes with her success and confidence. Which makes All About Reading worth it in so many ways.
I did not receive this product free, nor did I receive compensation for this review — I just love and believe in this method. Affiliate links are included. I hope you found this helpful and thank you so much for clicking through!