I honestly had no clue how to help my children to read, so I needed all the help I could get. And the curriculum that would make it easiest for me AND help my daughter to read would be just right. Ultimately, the choice to transition to All About Reading was the best fit for my children, my style of teaching and to see reading success!
What We/I LIKED About All About Reading Level 2
Brief Review – Reviewing is important to me so that my daughter doesn’t forget what she’s learned, so we could appreciate the brief review time before learning the new concept.
Scripted Format – I appreciate a scripted format! I don’t have a hot clue how to teach reading to my children.
Magnet Tiles – The magnet tiles are so amazing. I love that it changes things up so we’re not stuck at a desk.
Activities – These take no time at all to prep and they are such a great way to reinforce what was learned. Although some of the activities seemed a bit quirky to my daughter, she still thought they were nice to have and we’d always finish them because of the benefit of reinforcement.
Phoenic Rules – Seriously, who knew that there were so many phonics rules when it came to reading. My daughter had all the questions when it came to the a making a short sound or long sound and I had NO idea how to answer that. (I can’t remember if I learned it in public school). This curriculum answers ALL those questions and more! I was so glad I had a resource to help explain the rules. Who knew syllables made all the difference?!
Progress Chart, Stickers & Certificate of Achievement – My daughter LOVED the sense of accomplishment with each lesson when she got to put on the sticker. And then to cap it all off with the certificate was a proud moment for both of us! Seriously mom, try not to cry remembering all that you went through together with your child to help them to read!
Readers – My daughter (and I) really enjoyed the quality of the stories in the books. She laughed, couldn’t wait to find out what happened and enjoyed the pictures (even though they were black & white).
What We/I DIDN’T REALLY LIKE About All About Reading Level 2
Price – I wasn’t prepared for the price of the curriculum. But in seeing what it all offered in the journey of learning to read, the investment made it more worth it.
What We/I CHANGED About All About Reading Level 2
Warm-Up & Practice Sheets – Since my daughter is working at enjoying reading, her body language would change when I’d give her these sheets. All About Reading has ideas to help through these sheets (see Appendix I in the Teacher’s Manual). I also wasn’t interested in cutting up the practice sheets and feeding the monster. So here’s what I did instead… I did not make my daughter read every warm-up or practice sheet, nor did she need to read all of it. The reason for this is because she would feel defeated really quickly. What I did instead was chose a warm-up sheet, give her a ruler so that she wouldn’t feel overwhelmed by all the reading that she needed to do and instead showed her where she needed to go until or suggested that we would go line-by-line and see how far she could get. I only had my daughter read a warm-up sheet once every 5 lessons or so. Repetition is key for reading, so how did I help grow my daughter’s ability and fluency to read? I used All About Reading Level 2 word flashcards and created a challenge. (Find out below what I did)
Reading the Books – Again, because reading is a challenge for my daughter, I chose to use the books as read-alouds pointing to some of the words that she could read or learned in the lesson.
So What’s All About Reading All About?
All About Reading is a scripted, open-and-go program for parents who want to teach reading in the most effective way possible.
It’s a multisensory approach learning reading through sight, sound and touch.
There are no gaps in this program. Each new concept builds upon the previous one so no steps are skipped and everything is taught.
There are five key components to reading and this program teaches all of them thoroughly:
Phonics and Decoding
The All About Reading program has a focused mission, which is to enable you to teach your child to read while guaranteeing retention and enjoyment. This is also why their lifetime support is amazing!
What Your Child Will Learn in All About Reading Level 2
The jobs of Silent E
Methods for decoding multi-syllable words
Every component of reading is taught in Level 2, including:
Using phonics (decoding), they will learn phonograms WH, EE, ER, AR, OR, ED, OY, OI, AW, AU, OW, and OU
Reading words containing the new phonograms, such as whale, sheep, herd, farm, horn, toy, boil, saw, haul, flower, and found
Reading words with long I or O before two consonants, as in find and gold
Reading words with soft C, as in race
Reading words with soft G, as in gem
Learning the first four jobs of Silent E
Decoding (Structural Analysis)
Identifying base words
Reading contractions, such as they’ll
Learning syllable division rules for reading multisyllable words
Reading words with past tense ending ed, including all three sounds, as in wanted, snowed, and chipped
Discussing new words in the context of the story and one’s own life
Understanding synonyms and antonyms
Reading with accuracy
Reading with meaningful expression
Reading with natural phrasing
Connecting text to one’s own experiences
Comparing and contrasting main characters
Skiming for specific information
Making inferences from the text
Discussing character motivation, main conflict
Identifying the main character
What I Did BEFORE We Purchased All About Reading Level 2
What To Do When You FIRST Get Your All About Reading Materials
If you’ve never purchased All About Reading before, preparation and organization is the FIRST thing to do. The prep work is simple, but takes time, so in the long run you’re creating ease for yourself if you do it now!
STEP 1: Listen to a favorite podcast or watch a movie you enjoy to help pass the time of prep!
Activity Book – Tear out all the pages. Then begin cutting out where applicable. (I asked for my daughter’s help so that she could be involved in the process). You could use one page protector for each lesson if you find that a better way to organize, however, I felt that storing 5 lessons in one page protector was also doable (and resourceful)
Flashcards – Tear apart the phonogram and word cards and put them in an index box. This takes time, but is a simple to do. If you purchase the Reading Interactive Kit, you can add the Divider Cards here, too.
Syllable Tags – Use the magnets in the Reading Interactive Kit placing them on the back of each tag.
Stickers – To show lesson completion on the progress chart.
We didn’t put the magnetic white board up on the wall (because we didn’t have space). Instead I had it on the floor leaned up against a suitable area and when it was time to use it, I was sitting together with my daughter on the floor (carpet thankfully), helping her to learn the material.
STEP 3: Read the Teacher’s Manual, including Part 1 – Preparing for Level 2 and Part 3 – Appendices to gain confidence in teaching the material and how to use it.
What I WISHED I Did
Proper Magnet Tiles Set-up – at first, I wondered if it was really necessary to set-up the magnet tiles as suggested. I didn’t have the letters in order on the magnetic white board. (I’m usually trying to take short-cuts where I can). But, I quickly found out that it was easier to set-up the magnet tiles properly and use them. So I changed it to what was recommended and I’m so glad I did. Student Activity Book Storage System – with keeping student activity book pages, I kept them all in one page protector – imagine, it all fit! This wasn’t as organized as it could be and I have one more child that needs to use this curriculum, so organizing it into a more useable format was necessary. I used this binder and these page protectors. Read all the appendix pages – somehow I missed this portion in my initial preparation. I read the preparation pages at the beginning of the book, but in missing the appendices, I missed out on the practical suggestions and applications!
My Child’s Learning Style
I think it’s helpful in the curriculum you decide to purchase whether it’s a good fit based on your child’s personality and learning style. So here’s a little bit about my daughter:
She likes rules and boundaries and will follow them (why can’t all things be black and white!)
Struggles with perfectionism and over-achievement. If she doesn’t get a concept immediately, she’s hard on herself.
If You’re Child Is Struggling In Learning How To Read
When working with a child who doesn’t enjoy reading and finds it challenging, repetition and celebrating wins is key.
I involved A LOT of repetition to support the working memory. (All About Reading’s blog post on working memory was a light-bulb moment for me. They also have other AMAZING articles to help you in journey to support your child’s reading journey).
So I created a game (or challenge) for my daughter to find out her ability and fluency in reading. This also helped break things up.
The Reading Repetition Game & Challenge
I took 20 of the All About Reading Level 2 word cards (starting with the easiest) and put this stack in front of my daughter. I let her know that we were going to practice reading this words regularly and that I would time her to see how long it took her.
It’s important to let your child know know that the goal of timing is for them (and you) to see that their ability to read is going faster with time, practice and repetition.
My daughter agreed to this and thought it would be fun as well!
As my daughter started reading the word cards, I would start my timer and record the time it took her to read the 20 word cards. I gave her these same cards to read 2-3 times a week for a month. When a month was up we would review how much faster she got at reading those words and celebrate!
This was encouraging for both my daughter and I. We saw that, yes, she is indeed getting more comfortable and fluent at reading!
We then moved onto another 20 words and did the same thing.
How Long Did It Take To Complete All About Reading Level 2?
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Having a strong bond with my children while raising them to love God is important. But that alone isn’t enough; it takes work and effort.
There’s no rule book telling us what to do in every situation as parents; we’re often learning right alongside our children as they grow. But, one thing that can help us wade through the waters of parenting potentially avoiding some of the parenting mistakes, is to lean into those who have had already gone through the trenches.
Parenting Mistakes That Push Your Child Away
In the book, Parenting Mistakes That Push Your Child Away, Kathie shares her wisdom in what she’s learned are the common parenting mistakes we make that can lead our kids to rebellion and what we can do to build heart-ties that create a strong relationship with them.
Always keep in mind that you don’t want to just manage behavior but monitor the heart.
Parenting Mistakes That Push Your Child Away is a quick read. I sat down one morning hungry to digest it and was left ready for more only because it was so impactful. I couldn’t help but write down the golden nuggets within these pages that struck a chord in me.
Perhaps it’s Kathie’s amazing ability to communicate or just knowing that she’s had 8 children and homeschooled for 31 years that there is so much wisdom to draw from.
About the Author
Kathie is the owner of The Character Corner, wife of Alan for 40 years, and mother to eight children. She is also a veteran homeschooling mom of 31 years. Not only is she passionate about her family, but she also has a passion to encourage and inspire women in their daily lives as moms, wives, and homeschoolers.
Her goal is to be transparent and honest about the struggles and challenges of parenting and homeschooling, as well as the blessings that come from being faithful to that calling. She loves to share insights from her personal experiences over the years of raising and teaching her children. You will find that she gives many practical, encouraging tips you can use in your own home. Find out more about Kathie here.
*This post contains affiliate links. Please read disclosure policy.*
As parents, we can so easily think that our kids should just listen to us; we’re the parent’s after all. But, that’s not the case to winning your child’s heart as I’ve so quickly come to learn.
The Importance of Winning Your Child’s Heart
In the book The Importance of Winning Your Child’s Heart, Kathie writes and shares in such a way that it creates a safe and honest place where you’re not judged. I’m impacted by her ability to communicate what we all feel and experience. And then I feel such a sense of empowerment when she shares a statement like this:
Authority and rules aren’t the answer to successful parenting. Influence is the key, and that influence comes when we have their hearts.
As a parent, who hasn’t heard or used the phrase, “Just do what I say!” and expect our children to be obedient and follow thru because “I said so!”
I’m so guilty of this.
I want my children to know that they can come to me with anything, but do they really feel like they can when phrases like this are used?
As parents, we tend to use our authority to motivate and include threatened consequences, when instead, we could warn of the natural consequences such as pride, immorality and disobedience.
The goal of gaining their hearts is not so we can control them, but rather gain the opportunity to pour into their lives, shape their values, and teach them to love God and His Word.
I love good tips that are easy to implement and create lasting change. Kathie shares loving affirmations and tips that you can start to do practically this moment with your children to begin winning their hearts.
I read The Importance of Winning Your Child’s Heart in no time at all. Because you feel like you’re connecting with someone who has so much wisdom to offer and the impact it makes as you dive into these words, you can’t help but keep reading.
Kathie is the owner of The Character Corner, wife of Alan for 40 years, and mother to eight children. She is also a veteran homeschooling mom of 31 years. Not only is she passionate about her family, but she also has a passion to encourage and inspire women in their daily lives as moms, wives, and homeschoolers.Her goal is to be transparent and honest about the struggles and challenges of parenting and homeschooling, as well as the blessings that come from being faithful to that calling. She loves to share insights from her personal experiences over the years of raising and teaching her children. You will find that she gives many practical, encouraging tips you can use in your own home. Find out more about Kathie here.
I received this free product in exchange for my honest review. I only recommend products to you that we use and enjoy!
Why Learning About Biblical Feasts Is Important
We only know a small amount about God. Being that we live in the new covenant now, Holy Spirit gives us revelation, insight and understanding about the nature and character of God. Holy Spirit also reveals the heart of God as we seek Him.
A natural way to gain spiritual understanding is through symbolism. There are lots of symbolic events in the Bible. So to gain more understanding of God, we need to dig deeper.
Although I was raised in a Christian home and became a Christian at an early age, I never really dug into the Jewish feasts. Yet, I’ve always had an interest to learn.
Introduction – Importance of Learning About Jewish Feasts As Christians
The Jewish feasts in one year include:
Purim (Feast of Lots)
Passover (Pesah or Pesach)
Shavuot or Pentecost (Feast of Weeks)
Rosh Hashanah (Feast of the Trumpet)
Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)
Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles)
Hanukkah (Feast of Dedication or Feast of Lights)
What Does It All Mean?
How The Study Guide Works (And What We Did)
This study guide is for great for children and families; it’s truly and open-and-go.
The Biblical Feasts Calendar is a great tool to keep handy to remember the feasts throughout the year. (We have the calendar stored on the inside of our kitchen cabinet as our reminder!)
The Introduction is a great way to prepare your heart for why you and your family should take in the history of the Biblical feasts and how you can apply them today.
Each feast is divided up into sections:
The History of the Biblical feast – This includes the happenings in the Bible leading up to the feast and the feast itself. It’s really a great summary making it easy to listen to and understand for children. We also incorporated a kids movie (Veggie Tales like this one is good for the littles) so they could watch the story leading up to the feast. You’ll find out fairly quickly that most movies don’t talk about the feasts themselves, which is too bad. This is where you want to make sure you’re picking up the study guide to reinforce the feast and why it was held.
How You Can Celebrate Today – I like how it takes the history and applies it to today as we live in the new covenant. This is what my children (and I) were particularly excited about. It also invites you to read the story out of the Bible as a family, which we love!
Questions – These are great for recall of history. My kiddos verbally answered, while I wrote their answers on the sheet provided.
Notebooking Pages – My children are smaller and are at the stage of drawing and beginning to write, so we just found an appropriate coloring sheet for the feast (such as Purim) and wrote the type of feast on it.
What Does It All Mean? – This ties the Old and New Testament together, which is really well done.
A Prayer – The prayer of salvation is so important, especially as we discover God’s goodness and His love for us, so this was a pleasant find.
Answers – Having answers is great for a quick reference, or if your older children are correcting their work by themselves.
*This post contains affiliate links. Please read disclosure policy.*
If you’re looking for a good quality Christian preschool curriculum for your homeschool, I know the feeling.
Having our children take in good quality education filled with wonder, purpose and fun are something we want for our kids. I was so thankful to find God’s Little Explorers!
There was no exchange of product for this review.
A Preschool Christian Curriculum: God’s Little Explorers
Review Summary: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Grades Used: PreK Pros: Loved the interaction, activity, fun and all the learning! Cons: It was a bit more involved on my part.
I began with reading the beginning pages of the curriculum to get to know what was expected of my child and I. The sections to read included:
Table of Contents
Welcome to God’s Little Explorers
How is God’s Little Explorers Christian Preschool Curriculum structured?
What else will I find in the program?
Biblical Adventure. First and foremost, I loved that this Christian preschool curriculum was about an adventure to find God and His Word. What a fun way to learn! It was hands-on and practical right from the get-go.
Bible. I chose the Read & Learn Bible based on the two recommendations from this curriculum, and it was a choice I was pleased with. I have a complete review of the Bible here.
Structure. The organization, plan and format of the curriculum is wonderful. It keeps things moving for a preschool-aged child and provides lots of options for me. The website links provided in the PDF were amazing as it gave printables, helps and so much more.
Songs. Songs are wonderful in helping children memorize, learn and have fun. With the songs being Bible-based, I found that my kids were memorizing scripture, too!
Life Application. This is so rewarding as we help our little ones apply what they’re learning, educating them about helping the family, responsibilities and manners.
Optional sections. There are so many options of learning including book bags, learning bags, hymn study, composer study and artist study.
You are not limited! There are so many learning ideas included in this curriculum!
Preparation. Although the preparation wasn’t difficult, it still took some time, though the value in what this curriculum offers did not deter me from this fact.
Preschoolers also need the most hand-holding with everything, so there’s really no way of getting around what’s needed for this age.
Being that I’m not a very creative person when it comes to education and ideas, I like that this curriculum has it all including an organized plan.
We didn’t do everything as suggested by the curriculum whether it was for a lack of time, too much prep or we didn’t have the supplies on hand.
Enjoy the wonder, discovery and adventure that your children are on as they find God, learn and practically apply what they’re learning through this amazing Christian preschool curriculum, God’s Little Explorers.
I’d love to hear if you’ve used this curriculum or have any questions about it; I’d be happy to answer them!
*This post contains affiliate links. Please read disclosure policy.*
I was looking for a gentle approach to grammar for grade 1.
We are relaxed homeschoolers meaning we use curriculum that works for us as a family and each individual child following no specific homeschooling style. I was pleasantly surprised with First Language Lessons Level 1. It ended up being amazing for not just my grade 1 daughter, but also my preschool son!
FIRST LANGUAGE LESSONS LEVEL 1
REVIEW SUMMARY: 5 out of 5 stars
Grades Used: Grade 1 (and unintentionally PreK)
Pros: Gentle, easy-going approach
CHILD’S LEARNING STYLE
What’s important to know (because in homeschooling we get to choose materials based on our child’s learning style), is that my daughter:
is a perfectionist (is hard on herself when she doesn’t get a concept immediately)
prefers a predictable schedule
can sniff when you don’t know what you’re talking about
There was no exchange for product in this curriculum review. All thoughts expressed are my own.
WHAT’S IN FIRST LANGUAGE LESSONS LEVEL 1
First Language Lessons Level 1 is an all-inclusive book meaning it has both the Teacher’s and Student portion included. Isn’t that amazing!?
I began with the opening pages of the book to gain an understanding of how to use it, which includes:
Table of Contents – I wanted to know how many lessons we were conquering in the year. There are 100 Lessons.
How to Use This Book – the various sections included were so helpful and really imparted wisdom. Included are these subsections:
General Thoughts on Teaching Language
The Method of This Book
Goals for Grade 1
The Tools Used in This Book: The “Four Strand” Approach
Using the Lessons
Scripted. This is just what I need! It indicates Notes to Instructor and what the Instructor needs to say.
There are 100 lessons. It suggests planning 2-3 lessons per week, which is such a gentle approach and one we loved.
Repetition = increase in memory. At the beginning you don’t know how your grade 1 child will be able to memorize a poem or definitions, especially with only doing 2-3 lessons per weekj. But just through the nature of repetition, it comes naturally. And then the surprise was suddenly hearing my preschool son say definitions and poems aloud for memory, too! I was so amazed to see what happens when you gently approach something, add repetition and application, the result is beautiful.
Amazing poems and stories. This book is based on good quality literature, which we value. The poems were easily memorized, and the stories are memorable with good morals. My daughter (and preschool son) LOVED listening to the stories.
Narration. Because there was such amazing literature, my daughter (and preschool son) found it easy to listen to the stories and recall them in their own way. They were easily able to answer the questions provided. The critical thinking part of the picture narration was an enjoyable experience for both my daughter and I.
Copywriting. This is not my daughter’s favourite part only because she doesn’t enjoy handwriting. We have a separate notebook for keeping her work (as was suggested in the “How To Use This Book” portion. Although my daughter doesn’t particularly like handwriting, she saw the value when it came time to doing some projects, like writing up an envelope to be mailed with the mailing and return address.
CONS (which isn’t really a con):
USA material. This is so minor that it doesn’t feel worthy to mention. It’s so easy to replace US material with Canadian whenever it does come up, which is seldom. (For example, it talks about state instead of province). This didn’t affect whether I’d use this book.