All About Reading

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All About Reading

Maybe it’s the winsome puppet used to woo children into learning. Maybe it’s the activities that actually sound like they might be fun! Maybe it’s the lesson plans that seem so amazingly clear and doable. Maybe it’s the sense you have that everything your child needs to master the art of reading is right here. Maybe it’s the orderliness of all the components – and that they can be tidily put away in their very own tote bag. Or maybe it’s that adorable (can you even call a bee adorable?) little bee that keeps showing up on everything that Marie Rippel authors. Whatever! All About Reading is a well-constructed, thorough, and serious reading program that is devoted to the idea that learning to read can be pleasurable. This program is not only worthy of serious consideration but (dare I say it?) ought to be considered by anyone who wants to teach a child to read.

Currently, we have Level Pre-1 (PK or K), Level 1 (K or 1), Level 2 (1 or 2), and Level 3 (2 or 3) but the author hints at a total of seven levels. Since each level is designed for a year’s instruction, that assumes a complete elementary reading program. In general, the organization is similar to its sister/companion program – All About Spelling. There is an easy-to-follow Teacher’s Manual which provides the path for the teacher-student interaction that is central to the program. All teaching and reinforcing activities are multisensory with a strong emphasis on mastery learning based on review. Reinforcement and review is also incorporated into the “games” (at least your child will think they’re games). A key component to all levels is a designated Read Aloud Time. (For those of you more likely to be consistent with this foundational experience when you have it down in lesson plans, consider yourself “enabled”.)

Pre-Level 1 (PK-K)

Level Pre-1 covers letter recognition (capitals first, then lowercase) and letter sounds (consonants and short vowels). The author has identified the Big Five Skills™ which are fundamental to the educational mission of this course. Print Awareness (text carries meaning and is related to spoken language – specific tips in lessons), Phonological Awareness (the ability to hear and identify parts of words), Letter Knowledge (recognizing the letters and knowing the letter names and sounds), Listening Comprehension (precursor to reading comprehension), and Motivation to Read (no parenthetical clarification needed). We’re obviously talking more than simple ABCs here, aren’t we? And Ziggy is eager to illustrate the difference. Ziggy is a personable, strokeable, fun-loving young zebra (puppet) with a tendency to say the wrong word, drop sounds from words, and distract your child away with game-playing (wink-wink). Lessons are written around Ziggy’s participation. I suppose you could do “work arounds” and cover the same material, but Ziggy will win your child’s heart and you’ll be off and learning before you even know it. In addition to Ziggy’s games and antics, lessons include an introduction to the letter or sound, poem-reading from either the Zigzag Zebra or the Lizard Lou book, completion of a craft sheet, additional activities (chosen from a list in the appendix), games, and the read aloud time. The two hardbound books – Zigzag Zebra and Lizard Lou (each a collection of poems for letters or letter sounds) – are used daily (one or the other) to introduce or reinforce sounds.

The Level Pre-1 Activity Book (My Book of Letters) contains the craft sheets for the lessons; each of which have supplies needed and instructions on the back. These perforated activity sheets include coloring, dot-to-dots, mini craft projects involving adding construction or tissue paper accents or various types of sparkles, games like “Circle the Letter t”, sound match-ups, and hidden pictures. Common craft materials needed include crayons, markers, scissors, glue, tape, and a miscellaneous assortment of optional craft materials.

Level 1 (K-1)

Level 1 starts out with a review of letter sounds from Level Pre-1 – but with a difference. From the beginning (letters m, s, p, and a) the letters become words and the student is off and reading. After all letters and short vowels have been re-introduced, lessons cover consonant teams (th, ch; and then later, ck, ng, nk), final and initial blends, double consonants, a few sight words, compound words, and plural words. The level ends with six lessons (#44 - #49) covering the additional sounds of several letters (a, i, c, o, g, e, u y, and ch) and open/closed syllables. Lessons follow a typical pattern and are multi-sensory. Here is where the resemblance to its “sister,” All About Spelling, becomes apparent. Here we find phonogram cards and word cards (either introduced or reviewed each lesson), use of the letter tiles for building words, and our “friend” - Read Aloud Time. Lessons start with a preview of the letter sounds (for the teacher) and review (for the student). New Teaching segments are easy to follow and illustrated. [The general “role” of the Teacher’s Manual is to provide the teacher with all background information, procedures (“Hold up the Phonogram Card and say the sound”), plan (what to do, when), and methodologies (use of letter tiles).] New Teaching also includes Activity Sheets, reading practice (using word cards), fluency practice (sheets provided in the Activity Book). Helpful Teacher Tips are provided at all relevant points. Each lessons ends with a designated Read-Aloud Time (with suggestions) and a reminder to Track Your Progress (stickers onto progress chart). Every other lesson (typically) is centered around the child’s reading a story from one of the three readers. Since all words in the story have been previously introduced, the focus of the lesson is on vocabulary development and reading comprehension. It’s almost impossible to point to any one element of this program as more useful than another but I will confess to a strong appreciation for the teaching tips associated with the Practice Fluency part of the lessons. It seems to me that this is where many programs falter – not giving the teacher enough help in how to build fluency in their emerging readers. These tips provide just the amount of information you need exactly when it is most useful – in small doses rather than inundating the bewildered teacher all at once in the introductory information to the program.

The Level 1 Activity Book (Blast off to Reading) is packed with reinforcement activities as well as the Reading Fluency sheets. Activities include games (cut apart fruits and vegetables labeled with compound words), Word Flippers™, and matching – e.g. connect the bananas (each with a three-letter word) with its word family monkey. Fluency Practice sheets (3-4 pages each) include new words, mixed review, and phrases and sentences. Readers for this level are Run, Bug, Run!, The Runt Pig, and Cobweb the Cat.

Level 2

Level 2 continues the pattern set in the first two levels. Previous material is reviewed; new phonograms, silent E, and three-letter blends are introduced. Methods for decoding multi-syllabic words are taught. The methodology is essentially the same, user-friendly, multi-sensory approach emphasizing mastery that is found in the other levels. Readers for this level are What Am I? and Queen Bee. Please note that the Level 2 Teacher’s manual can only be used with the 2nd edition of these books because they contain additional stories.

Level 3

Level 3 starts with a quick pre-test that will help you determine if your student is at the right level. This is especially helpful if you are entering the program at this point. The 54 lessons alternate between phonics teaching and story reading. Phonics lessons for this level include a review from previous lessons, activity sheets, practice words to read, teaching new sounds and words, fluency practice, and suggestions for read-aloud time. Every second or third lesson is centered on reading a new story from the reader. These lessons include review, a warm-up sheet for the story (words and phrases from the story), vocabulary, an introductory literary analysis section (i.e. compare and contrast characters), and suggestions for a read-aloud time. Level 3 includes a review of Level 2 concepts and coverage of AI, AY, OA, OW, fourth sound of Y, consonant suffixes, vowel suffixes, “drop the E” rule, change “Y” to “I” rule, IR, UR, OR, OO, EA, IGH, TCH, DGE, prefixes, EW, EA, WR, KN, O, EIGH, OE, EA, and TI. Chasing Henry’s stories range from eight to seventeen half-pages of text. Shipwreck’s stories are each about fifteen pages but there is slightly more text (2/3 page) on each page. Both books are liberally blessed with delightful pen-and-ink drawings.

At the start of each level it’s assumed that the student has either completed the previous level of All About Reading or has mastered comparable skills. If you start at Level 2 or higher, you will also need either a Basic or Deluxe Interactive Kit in addition to the Materials Kit for the level. Additional items needed include common craft materials (scissors, glue, etc.), a 2’ x 3’ magnetic white board (optional but highly recommended), and a few optional items – pad of sticky notes, globe or world map, candies/raisins, etc.

Teacher’s Manuals include complete and detailed lessons which are refreshingly clear and easy to follow. Each lesson starts with telling you what you will do and what you will need; then follows review, new teaching, reinforcement and a read aloud time. They’re not scripted – but almost! Lessons can be done at whatever pace is comfortable for both parent and student. Student Activity Packets for each level provide the specific items needed for the student. In Level Pre-1 there is My Book of Letters (activity book), Picture Cards, Letter Sound Cards, Capital Alphabet Chart, Lowercase Alphabet Chart and a Certificate of Completion (cardstock). In Level 1 there is Blast Off to Reading! (activity book), Phonogram Cards, Word Cards, and a Viewfinder Bookmark (2.75” x 4.25” laminated cardstock with center “window” to isolate single words). Level 2 Student Activity Packet includes the Activity Book (Leap Into Reading), phonogram and words cards, and syllable tags. The Activity Books are consumable, black and white (grayscale, actually, and very graphically pleasing), and perforated for easy page removal. Contents vary with the level but include coloring pages, reinforcing activities, fluency practice sheets, and games. Cards for each level (2.75” x 4.25”) are printed on heavy cardstock, perforated for easy separation, color-coded, and clearly marked as to type of card and lesson used. Level Pre-1 Charts (21.5” x 33”) are heavy, glossy paper and obviously designed for hanging on the wall. Readers for each level are hardcover and the poems or stories are designed to capture and hold a child’s interest. Activity or Review Boxes are specifically sized and well-constructed; designed to hold the All About Reading Cards for each level (but you can use an ordinary file box). Divider Cards are more necessary, providing the divisions specific to each level and used to keep track of what to review when. For Level Pre-1, the Basic Package includes all the components you need to do the program as designed; the Deluxe Package adds some nice to have extras – Ziggy the Zebra puppet, an Activity Box, Stickers, and Tote Bag. For Level 1 it’s a little different. You will need both a Level 1 Kit (includes Teacher Manual plus Student Activity Packet) and either a Basic Interactive Package (the items you need) or a Deluxe Interactive Package (basic items plus nice extras – Review Box, Tote Bag, & Stickers). The Tote Bag is a quality item – and a handy place to keep everything so you can “do” reading on the sofa, at the kitchen table, at a table on the deck – wherever your day takes you.

It might seem a little presumptuous to label your products All About . . . . but when you can deliver a comprehensive, thorough learning program like this author/company does, I guess you should go for it. This company with the little bee has and does – bee-utifully! ~ Janice

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All About Reading Deluxe Interactive Kit Item #: 050470
Grades: K-1
Rainbow Price: $43.85

All About Reading Divider Cards Item #: 050467
Grades: K-1
Rainbow Price: $3.95

All About Reading L3 Swing Into Rdg Acty Book Item #: 011263
Grades: 2-3
Rainbow Price: $29.95

All About Reading Level 1 “Blast Off to Reading!” Activity Book Item #: 050468
Grades: K-1
Rainbow Price: $16.95

All About Reading Level 1 Basic Interactive Kit Item #: 050469
Grades: K-1
Rainbow Price: $21.85

All About Reading Level 1 Materials Item #: 050471
Grades: K-1
Rainbow Price: $99.95

All About Reading Level 1 Smiling Star Stickers Item #: 011627
Grades: K-1
Rainbow Price: $1.00

All About Reading Level 1 Student Packet Item #: 050472
Grades: K-1
Rainbow Price: $24.95

All About Reading Level 1 Teacher’s Manual Item #: 050473
Grades: K-1
Rainbow Price: $22.95

All About Reading Level 1 Ziggy Supplement Item #: 053962
Grades: K-1
Rainbow Price: $19.95

All About Reading Level 2 Activity Book Item #: 055127
Grades: 1-2
Rainbow Price: $19.95

All About Reading Level 2 Materials Item #: 055128
Grades: 1-2
Rainbow Price: $99.95

All About Reading Level 2 Student Packet Item #: 055129
Grades: 1-2
Rainbow Price: $37.95

All About Reading Level 2 Teacher’s Manual Item #: 055130
Grades: 1-2
Rainbow Price: $29.95

All About Reading Level 2 Tropical Frog Stickers Item #: 011636
Grades: 1-2
Rainbow Price: $1.00

All About Reading Level 3 Marvelous Monkey Stickers Item #: 011641
Grades: 2-3
Rainbow Price: $1.00

All About Reading Level 3 Materials (TM/SP/Rd Item #: 011236
Grades: 2-3
Rainbow Price: $119.95

All About Reading Level 3 Student Packet Item #: 011260
Grades: 2-3
Rainbow Price: $47.95

All About Reading Level 3 Teacher’s Manual Item #: 011253
Grades: 2-3
Rainbow Price: $37.95

All About Reading Level Pre-1 Additional Student Material Packet Item #: 049560
Grades: PreK-K
Rainbow Price: $24.95

All About Reading Level Pre-1 Divider Cards for Activity Box Item #: 049563
Grades: PreK-K
Rainbow Price: $4.95

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