Better Use of All About Reading

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We’ve been using All About Reading (AAR) for about two years. It is, by far, the best curriculum for children with dyslexia that I have seen. I wish it had been available fifteen years ago when our Luke was a little guy struggling with reading. At that time I had fifteen phonics programs on my shelf–and I just wanted one of them to work.

AAR combines all the best components of those curriculums into one cohesive whole. My children enjoy the illustrations and stories. The only thing I don’t like about AAR is that we keep losing the letter tiles.

Today’s blog post at All About Learnig gives an example of a mom teaching many littles and how she adapts AAR for her family. Perhaps her idea for organizing letter tiles will help us keep better track of them!

More About Struggling Readers

As a homeschooling mom of ten children, ages twenty to three-and-a-half, including eight boys, I’ve learned a thing two about teaching reading over the years. Statistically, forty percent of eight-year-olds cannot read. Before you cluck your tongue and blame ‘those public schools’ I want to interject that I have found this statistic to fairly represent homeschooled children, despite our strong emphasis on early phonics. I believe that this is related to the way young minds mature. History is full of examples of “late bloomers” such as Thomas Edison who was labeled a “dunce” in school. Edison’s mother’s response to remove him from that environment and teach him at home was not only appropriate, but also a very effective solution. (Hang on while I turn on the lightbulb in the lamp next to me.)

In our home, half of our children would have been labeled “struggling learners” had they attended institutional schools. In general our “late bloomers” lag behind in their studies until they hit the age of fourteen (approximately) when they suddenly burst ahead knocking out their remaining studies to be able to complete their courses early on “on time,” according to a traditional school timetable.


Words of Advice for Dealing with Struggling Learners

I’ll probably go into more detail about some of these over the coming months, but for now, here are a few quick bullet points to remember:

  • Don’t panic! Despite the homeschool success stories, your child’s struggles are normal and natural and will be overcome.
  • Don’t compare. Each child has his own unique timetable, character strengths and weaknesses, and personality.
  • Be consistent and reasonable. It is better for a struggling learner to spend five to ten minutes every day in practice than an hour once a week.
  • “Every day” doesn’t mean every day. It would be nice if life never got in the way of our goals, but it does. Faithfulness, not perfection, is what is most important.
  • Patience is being developed–your patience and your child’s. The more you enjoy the process, and stop pushing for the product, the more relaxed you and your child will be. Patience is good for your relationship with your child. Patience is loving.
  • Keep hope. He will learn to read. God is refining your child uniquely for his purpose. We have found that struggling learners are harder workers, more cheerful in the face of adversity, and more compassionate as a result of their own struggles. The character forged into their lives more than makes up for the fact that learning to read wasn’t easy.

This summer is a great opportunity to experiment with fun ways of learning. Whether you do more reading aloud or find a fun outdoor reading game on Pinterest, use the coming months to practice enjoying the journey.

Got any great ideas to share? Post them in the comments below.


3 Responses to Better Use of All About Reading
  1. Christy says:

    Thank you for your words of encouragement! I needed that.

  2. Robin E. says:

    This is a lovely, uplifting post!

    I wholeheartedly agree. I’ve said many of the same things to others. I have seen this in my own home with more than one kid.

    Yet, just a couple weeks back the fact that a 6 year old at church is reading far better than my 8 year old was pointed out to me.* I cringed. I know I am doing the right thing with my daughter, and I know that she will get there. But it is still hard to be in the moment and have a child that is so noticeably “behind”.

    And if I feel that way, I can only imagine how much worse it must be for those that are teaching their 1st (and not 5th) child. I’ve been-there-done-that with late readers before. And I work for All About Learning Press, helping others with struggling learners.

    ~Robin E.

    *It was my own 10 yo that pointed it out. Later I lectured him on the fact that he, himself, was not reading well at 8, so he should not be saying anything about his sister. However, in the moment he said it in front of two ladies of the church and I felt the need to explain things to them. I felt the need to explain, even though these ladies know me well, know that many of my kids have struggled, and know that my other kids that couldn’t read at 8 are now reading great at 10 and 12. Yet, I still felt that need to explain. The pressure to not have “behind” kids is incredible.

  3. Shelly says:

    Thank you thank you thank you for this.
    As a previous public school teacher for Kinder-2nd, and now homeschooling mother of 4, it has been quite humbling to teach my own children. My twins (now 8) have struggled with learning and I too LOVE AAR and AAS. But they still seem “behind” compared to traditional school and many homeschoolers we know. Your post was very encouraging, thank you!!!
    For this summer some of my goals are to also read through these readers in addition to our AAR readers for more practice: Pathway Readers, Christian Light Readers, and BJU Readers. We are digging in but your blog helps me keep a realistic mindset for them, thank you!