Learning to Read

This year my 4-year-old is very excited about preschool. I have made an extra effort to ensure that she has her own special work to do for preschool. Sometimes it’s as simple as pattern block puzzles or color by numbers. Other times, she gets special projects like mixed-media art and using buttons to spell her name.

One of her favorite activities though, is learning to read. When my son was in kinder his teacher gave him a sight word ring and we use that to practice some of our words. Then she uses the tiles from All About Spelling to copy the words onto the board. But what she enjoys most is Teach Your Monster to Read.

Start to Read Pack

Teach Your Monster to Read is an online game that pairs up with the Start To Read pack from Usborne Books & More. The game is free and anyone can register for an account to play, but it works seamlessly with the Start To Read pack. The pack comes with 8 beginning readers, a parent guide, and an alphabet poster to track our letter-learning progress. The readers are dual readers, meaning that the page on the left is meant to be read by the parent and the page on the right is read by the child. The child pages focus on letter sounds and identifying letter combinations that were taught through activities in the parent guide and through practice on Teach Your Monster to Read.

teach your monster to read

My daughter could already identify most of the letters when we started the program, except for the tricky ones that look different in certain fonts, but this has been our first real practice in learning the phonemic sounds. This is new territory for me as my son learned to read without any real instruction. He told me he could read one day and that was that. Now at age 7, he reads well beyond his age. I don’t have an educators background so some teaching experiences seem scary, but the Start to Read pack has been a great guide. I don’t have to guess what to teach, it is laid out for me. I also purchased the Phonics Workbooks and these are fun ways to reinforce learning the letter sounds while using hands-on interactive activities.

phonics workbook 3     phonics workbook 4

I’ve heard of several other programs that I am interested in trying for reading, but for the time being, I am very happy with how this program is working for us. And when my daughter asks me if we can practice reading, it makes my heart smile.

What is your favorite reading program to use with your kids?




All About Spelling

A few months ago I found a company online called All About Learning Press. I have an advanced reader and, after trying some of the basic Houghton Mifflin Language Arts Workbooks for first graders, I decided I needed something a little more engaging and challenging. While he is a great reader, he needs a little help with his spelling.

All About Learning Press offers programs for reading and spelling so I thought I would give the All About Spelling program a try first. It has gotten great reviews from users and I like that it has manipulatives for hands-on learning. My son retains an amazing proportion of the things he reads, but when it comes to teaching new things at the table he is much more focused when he has something to touch.

All About Spelling

The website suggests starting all learners off with Level 1, but after reviewing the sample content I knew it just wouldn’t be challenging enough for him. I ordered Level 2 as our starter set. We are missing the first 32 phonogram cards that are included in the Level 1 kit, but when we come to the reviews that discuss these first phonograms I simply practice the sounds with him without the cards.

We’ve been using All About Spelling for a week now with good response from my first grader. He doesn’t argue or whine when I tell him it’s time for spelling and he interacts with me positively through the whole lesson. We give this one a thumbs up. I like that the lessons are scripted so it’s easy for me to sit down and teach without having to do a lot of research beforehand. I can improvise now and then, but I really appreciate being able to use proven teaching methods without having to draft my own script and lesson plan every week. My 3-year old loves it too. I don’t do the lessons with her, but she plays with the magnetic tiles when we are done with our lessons and she enjoys trying to spell her own words.

All About Learning All About Spelling

Level 2 materials include the Teacher’s Manual and the Student Packet (with all the cards you’ll be using for your lessons). The Level 2 Basic Spelling Interactive Kit comes with letter tiles, magnets for the letter tiles, the phonogram sounds app, and dividers for the included cards. The Deluxe Package includes all items in the basic kit plus the index card box, a tote bag, and stickers. I do recommend the box for holding the cards – I ordered the basic kit, which doesn’t include the box for the cards , and I realized quickly how super helpful the box would be to keep all the cards in one place and to make it easier to navigate through them. They do sell the box separately, so I may order it for myself if I get tired of fumbling through my rubber-banded card stack. Most of our letter tiles are currently set up on our easel. The magnetic dry erase side allows us to set up the tiles for the lessons and we can easily bring it close to us during class time. The first time or two setting up the tiles can take a few extra minutes so I make sure our board is set up the night before – then I turn it facing the wall so my little one isn’t tempted to get into it before I teach the lesson.

The All About Spelling kits are affordable, too. I purchased the Level 2 kit for $39.95 and the Basic Interactive Kit for $22.85.  We are looking forward to purchasing one of the All About Reading programs next!


Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. I love the product so when I saw they had an affiliate program, I signed up! I will never recommend products that I don’t honestly believe are worth your time or money.