All About Reading Review

by | Jul 6, 2015 | Resources | 24 comments

It’s one of a parent’s worst nightmares.  Your child can’t read.  When you have a child that is obviously bright but cannot read your mind goes all sorts of bad places.  Something about fear and worry makes the mind of an anxious parent extremely creative – able to think of every worst cast scenario for their sure-to-be illiterate child.

Dyslexia can be overwhelming and that is why this site exists!  After homeschooling 7 kids with dyslexia for the past 20 years, I’ve learned a lot about teaching reading.  I have likely tried just about every reading curriculum available.  I like to say that I have test-driven them for you!

Today I’d like to introduce you to our favorite curriculum for teaching reading to our kids with dyslexia.

All About Reading Review

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Teaching Reading With All About Reading

All About Reading was developed by a concerned mom much like you to help her severely dyslexic son learn to read.  Marie Rippel, the developer of All About Reading and All About Spelling, knows what it is like to watch your child struggle with reading and all of the emotions that go along with that and did something about it.  All About Reading and All About Spelling were created using research and evidence based methods that have been shown time and time again to work.

All About Reading

Benefits of All About Reading

I told you how I’ve used just about every different reading program on the market, right?  So here’s why we have chosen All About Reading over every other reading program.

All About Reading is Easy to Use

I’m not going to lie.  If a program is too much work, I’m just not going to be as faithful with it as I need to be.  All About Reading is super easy to use.

    • All of the lessons are ‘lightly’ scripted with teaching tips sprinkled throughout the text to help parents as they teach their kids.
    • Everything you need to teach is included – all of the games, reading practice and hands on materials are included in each level of All About Reading.  I don’t have to waste time and energy searching for materials – it’s all there.
    • Support.  The good people at All About Reading are 100% dedicated to helping you help your child and as such have an incredible level of lifetime support.  From the FAQs page, to the amazingly practical and useful blog, to the Facebook Support Community
    • – help is there for you!
    • Did I mention that the program is also affordable and comes with a 100% money back guarantee for one year?  Awesome stuff!

All About Reading Works!

The All About Reading and All About Spelling programs really work.  Here’s why:

  • Research and evidence based methods.  You’ve likely heard me talk about the Orton-Gillingham approach to teaching reading.  I am an Orton-Gillingham dyslexia tutor myself.  Although the OG approach has been around for over 100 years, it is still the most effective way to teach struggling readers to read.
  • Multi-sensory.  Multi-sensory teaching is just what it sounds like.  By using more than one sense at a time, more areas of the brain are involved and therefore learning takes place more quickly.
  • Hands-on activities.  Each level of All About Reading comes with a wide variety of activities and games to help reinforce what is being learned.  Our kids love this!  While learning to read is hard work for a child with dyslexia, these games and activities are highly motivating because, well, because they are fun!
  • Explicit teaching.  Part of the OG approach to teaching reading is that everything must be taught explicitly.  This means that every rule is taught and reviewed, systematically, until it is mastered.  Nothing is left to chance – everything is explicitly taught.
  • Lots of review.  Students with dyslexia need a lot more practice than a traditional learner.  All About Reading understands this and has incorporated lots of review into their program naturally so you don’t have to!

All About Reading

How we Use All About Reading

Once our materials arrived, we followed the instructions in the teacher’s manual and set up our magnetic letter tiles, phonogram cards and word cards. I purchased an inexpensive magnetic white board online to store the magnetic alphabet tiles.  The lesson plans in the Teacher’s Manual clearly explain which phonogram cards, word cards, and activity book pages will be used in each lesson.  Easy peasy.

Tips For Using All About Reading 

If you’re like me, you love to check off boxes in your homeschool that show that you are accomplishing stuff.  If you’re homeschooling kids with dyslexia, you’re going to have to resist the urge to check off lessons too quickly.  I have learned that to get the most out of All About Reading (and any other curriculum – be it math, science or history) I need to individualize it for my kids.

That means that if my child hasn’t mastered a lesson, we don’t move on.  We may review a lesson for 3-4 days at times, while at other times, my child will seemingly fly through a lesson.  Don’t rush your child.  Relax, smile and have fun as you teach.  Just make sure they are able to remember and apply the lesson before moving on.

All About Reading

How Our Kids Like All About Reading

Of our 8 kids, 7 are dyslexic!  These days, I am blessed to be focusing on our 2 youngest – ages 5 and nearly 8.  Our 5-year old just completed All About Reading Pre-Level 1 which is full of hands-on phonemic awareness activities to prepare your child to learn to read.  He’s an easy going kid who just loves spending time with mom.

Not so our nearly 8-year old!  He is a diamond in the rough, leader-type that has a low tolerance for frustration.  He has been a constant challenge for this mom of many.  So how does he like All About Reading?  He loves it!

  • Because he has trouble sitting still and focusing for long, he really benefits from the hands on activities.
  • Because of the beautifully hand drawn graphics in the readers, he is highly motivated to keep reading so he can find out what is going on in the story.
  • Because mom is prepared and confident, I have the time and energy to individualize his instruction each day so that he is neither bored nor overwhelmed.

Is All About Reading For Your Family?

All About Learning is perfect for families who:

  • Need an affordable, non-consumable (except for the student work book) reading program
  • Need an easy-to-use program that works with all learning styles
  • Need a reading program that is easy to use
  • Would benefit from a strong customer support system
  • Have a child with learning struggles, like dyslexia, who will benefit from an Orton-Gillingham based program

How about you?  How has your family benefited from All About Reading or All About Spelling?


  1. Angelle

    Our family loves All About Reading and All About Spelling as well and we’ve had great success with both. Three of my 6 are dyslexic. We’ve used all the levels of All About Reading so far and it has been a hit across all age ranges. I started AAR Level 2 when it came out with my then 10 year old and at 13 she is on Level 4 now. It has helped her so much. My second also struggled with reading. We tried 4 or 5 different reading programs and his ADHD and dyslexia made it difficult for him to use any of them. He loves All About Reading. He carried around the Runt Pig reader for an entire semester, reading it over and over. My 8 and 6 year olds started with Pre-1 and are now on Level 1. It’s so exciting to find a reading curriculum that my struggling readers love and enjoy doing. They don’t feel defeated or struggle with the material. The material builds their confidence as they become readers.

    There are so many reason I love All About Reading and All About Spelling. The scripted lesson plans are a lifesaver for this busy mom of 6. The abundance of reading practice is wonderful. Before All About Reading came out I bought every beginning phonics reader out there because my kids needed the practice but got sick of reading the same book over and over. I don’t need any of them anymore. All About Reading provides plenty of practice in a fun and non-repetitive way that my kids do it. It’s a great price compared to other OG curriculum out there and you don’t have to spend a small fortune to be certified to use it. And it works!!

    • Tiffany

      Do you feel it would be beneficial or too much for our children to do All about Reading if our children will be going to a Wilson Tutor?

      • Liz

        I was wondering the same thing! Have you received an answer to this?

  2. Myfawnwy Stephenson

    Do you know of anyone who has had success with All About Reading with an older student? My son is 15, can read but still falters and is very slow. He can read most words in the KJV Bible so I would put him at a 4th -5th grade fluency. Reading does cause him physical discomfort. If he reads too much he ends up with headaches(his glasses diminish that to some extent). He has improved by leaps and bounds over the last 2 years when we began using Dianne Craft’s materials. He has an emotional blockage about reading as it is VERY difficult for him. We have to climb that hurdle every day. He is super talented in building, jewelry making, art in the form of making his own wood burning designs. All that to say we’re concentrating on improving his confidence in reading. It took years to work through the “I can’t read” attitude he had.

  3. Janee

    We love AAR and AAS and have used them for about 5 years. I suspect my oldest is dislexic/disgraphic or has some other learning problem. We live in rural AR and have not found a place to have her tested. I fear my youngest may have some difficulties as well. This program has been amazing for all of my kids as each learns differently and this program is customizable. Loved reading your review. I also want to add to your affordability claims. I have also taken the workbook and laminated it so it can be reused for multiple children. It also makes it easy for my youngest to replay any games he wants to since its now much more durable.

    • marianne

      That is a great idea Janee! Your child may be mildly dyslexic and so since you are using the right methods to teach – the symptoms are milder. I see no reason to test in the younger years. There are very few explanations for a bright child (who can hear and see normally) to struggle with reading besides dyslexia. You may want to get testing as your child gets closer to college age. At that time, he or she would need a diagnosis to qualify for accommodations. Thanks for dropping by!

      • Rejnu AbdulRahim

        I would like my child to join this program. We are residents in UAE.

  4. Kristan

    I really enjoy AAR and have used it with my two younger dyslexic children. But, last fall due to outside circumstances, I became certified as an Augustine Literacy Project tutor so I could tutor them myself and used all Wilson materials to tutor them both. I prefer AAR because of the hands on activities, etc. However, I’m struggling with how to balance the fact that AAR and Wilson introduce concepts at different times…open syllables, vowel consonant e, y as i or e, etc. I’m planning to go back to AAR this school year but would like to continue tutoring them with all the Wilson materials as well. How have you combined the two programs successfully? I’d really love some feedback on that! Any suggestions? Thanks so very much!

    • Heather Thompson

      I am using Wilson now with a private tutor but would love to know if combing Wilson and aar was a success for you. Thank you

      • Marianne

        Hi Heather,
        If you are using a Wilson tutor now, I would not recommend supplementing with AAR. It really isn’t necessary. As far as using them both together at home, I am pretty much solely using AAR now. Wilson doesn’t have readers or fluency pages – it just isn’t nearly as user friendly as AAR. 🙂

  5. Annue

    I’ve ordered the AAR level 1 for my 13 year old. She presents more as an 11year old is young for her age. I’m not sure if level one will be too simple for her, but didn’t want to miss out on foundational stuff. I don’t want her to feel it’s babyish. Thoughts?

    • Marianne

      First of all, many kids with dyslexia also have Executive Function delays that cause them to seem younger than they are – totally normal. If level 1 is fairly easy for her, move quickly and talk about any rules that she needs practice with. Level 2 gets more grown up and the stories are just fun – not babyish. You’re right in thinking that her foundation is important!

  6. Sherri

    I strongly suspect that my bright, stubborn 9yo is dyslexic (we are working on getting him a formal diagnosis).

    I’m sold on trying AAR, but do you have any suggestions on selling *him* on it? We’ve tried so many different phonics programs at this point that I suspect he just sees a new one as another chance to get frustrated and fail. 🙁

    Also, I gave him the placements tests on the AAR site and he’s between 1 and 2. My concern is that he quickly becomes bored with practice he needs, but anything too challenging causes him to shut down quickly because of the frustration factor, so getting the right level seems really important.

    Any words of wisdom?

    • Marianne

      Hi Sherri,
      Have you talked with him about dyslexia? Understanding dyslexia is a key for kids to own it and understand that learning to read will be difficult. They also need to know that the dyslexic mind isn’t faulty – just different – and that with that there are some impressive strengths.
      Here is a link to my book on talking to kids with dyslexia:
      Here is a post I wrote recently on making reading fun and it walks through a complete reading lesson as I do them with my 8-year old son.

  7. Kenzie

    I have used all about spelling but NOT. All about reading. My question is if I suspect my 6 year old is Dyslexic like his older brother do I do both programs at the same time??? It seems like it would be a lot to do AAS and AAR every day??? Any suggestions or do I just pick one??? Help!

  8. Adelina

    Does this help kids with autism struggling with reading comprehension and grade level reading.

    • Marianne

      I know of families with autism who use it. Have you been to the Not he Former Things site?

  9. Ellen

    Can this program be used with children without learning disabilities?

    • Marianne


  10. Cassy

    My son is 8 and really struggling with fluency and spelling, while his comprehension is great. Would it be best to start with level one, or should I use the placement tests.

    Thank you!

    • Marianne

      I would contact the AAR customer service and ask them!

  11. Rebecca

    Is All About Reading good for a kid who is the right age to be starting middle school next year, but still on a second grade reading level?



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