Is All About Reading a Complete Orton-Gillingham Program?

by | Mar 22, 2016 | Resources | 36 comments

All About Reading OG

Last week I received another email from a concerned parent questioning whether All About Reading, the reading program that we use in our homeschool with our dyslexic kids, is a complete Orton-Gillingham (O-G) Program.  There seems to be some confusion in this area.  As a trained O-G reading tutor, I thought I would share what I learned in my training with what I see as I successfully use this program at home with my dyslexic kids.

What is the Orton-Gillingham Approach?

I’ll give a brief overview of the O-G approach here.

Orton-Gillingham Instruction is:

Explicit:  The rules and patterns of decoding and encoding are explicitly taught.

Systematic & Structured:  Systematic instruction teaches new concepts in the exact same way every time.

Sequential & Cumulative:  There should be specific steps and a clear plan to teach all the rules one at a time, building from the simple to the more complex.  One step builds from the previous step.  This is why it is extremely important to follow the program exactly as it is presented in the curriculum.

Multisensory:  As many of the senses as possible should be used at the same time in order to help the information to be stored in long term memory.

Individualized: Although there are specific techniques and the program must be followed as it is presented, a student should move through the program at a pace that allows the student to develop fluency and automaticity for each step of the program. Students only move from one step to the next as they build fluency for each level of language skills.

Diagnostic & Prescriptive:  The tutor/teacher monitors skill development with each step. The instructional practices are built upon what was observed in the previous lesson and what is judged to be necessary to move the student forward in the next lesson.

For a more complete look at the Orton-Gillingham approach to teaching reading, including some pretty impressive research about the effectiveness of the O-G approach with dyslexic learners, read this post:

Is your child struggling to learn to read, even with the Orton-Gillingham approach to teaching reading? This may be why.

Is All About Reading a Complete Orton-Gillingham Reading Program?

According to the definition of the O-G approach above, All About Reading (AAR) certainly meets all of those standards.  Here are some areas where AAR is different from other O-G reading programs available for homeschool parents today:

  • Separating reading and spelling: An important difference in the All About Reading program is that reading and spelling are independent of each other so students can move as quickly or as slowly as they need to with each skill. Kids generally move ahead more quickly in reading, and  separating the two subjects avoids the potential of holding them back with spelling. They will still get all the reinforcement of learning the spelling rules, but they don’t have to wait for mastery in spelling before moving on in reading. For more information, check out this article on Why We Teach Reading and Spelling Separately. This allows your student to work at spelling more slowly, at his pace, and to gain confidence as he sees successes.
  • No prior training needed: With AAR and AAS (All About Spelling), parents don’t have to go through a seminar or watch training videos to learn how to teach the programs. Everything you need is right there in the book as you go through the lesson, so it’s very open and go.
  • The materials are child-friendly and age-appropriate: The short stories are fully illustrated and age-appropriate. There are no adult themes or “dark” topics included, and the stories are uplifting and positive. The rules in AAR and AAS are worded so they are as easy for children to remember as possible.The activity sheets in AAR hold the learner’s attention and provide additional motivation and reinforcement.
  • Customizable review: AAR and AAS both include customizable review as well. This way, parents and teachers can easily track what students have mastered and what needs ongoing review.
  • Mastery-Based: All About Reading is a mastery-based program that builds confidence because just one new concept is taught at a time. This benefits dyslexic students especially, who struggle with learning many things at once and then trying to organize and master that material in their minds. Read this report called,  Help Your Child’s Memory that you may find very helpful
  • Includes reading comprehension activities: A unique feature of AAR is the strong focus on comprehension. This article details six ways their lessons actively develop reading comprehension.

Is All About Reading Intense Enough for Dyslexic Learners?

It is true that for reading instruction to be effective with dyslexic students, it needs to be intense.  It needs to push kids to remember and apply the rules they are being taught using all of the components of the O-G approach. It is important to remember that dyslexia can be mild, moderate or profound.  If your child is profoundly dyslexic, they are going to need more practice and review with any O-G program.

Read more about what to do if your child isn’t making enough progress with reading.

Why we Use All About Reading With Our Dyslexic Kids

I sometimes joke that since we began homeschooling our kids with dyslexia some 20 years ago, we’ve used just about every reading program on the market.  You could say that we’ve test-driven them for you!

We have been using All About Reading and All About Spelling for the past four years.  As I become more familiar with the program and as our kids move up into the higher levels I am continually impressed by how well this program is thought out and how it is truly tailored for the unique needs of students with dyslexia.

From the variety of hands on games, to the beautifully illustrated and highly-engaging readers to the fluency sheets and warm up pages, I feel that I have a plethora of resources at my fingertips to teach my kids the way they learn best.

The open and go format of the program makes it easy to use which has been a lifesaver for this busy homeschool mom of many!

I have finally found peace as I teach reading in my homeschool using AAR.    Teaching kids with dyslexia to read isn’t easy but having the right tools means that even when its ‘one of those days’ I still have confidence in what I’m doing.

 

 

36 Comments

  1. Jenny

    Thank you for your kind words! We are glad our program has been helpful.

    Reply
  2. Melissa Crabtree

    Ive been using AAR and AAS since September with my 10 year old struggling reader. I’m also a special Ed teacher by trade, so I’ve used a few curricula, and I LOVE AAR and AAS! They have both been exactly what we needed!

    Reply
  3. Amanda Schmidt

    What a great article! I’ve been an AAS and AAR homeschooling mom for 8 years, and am very happy with the program. I am delighted to know that All About Learning Press has taken all the best parts of the O-G approach, and left out the dark adult themes — it is such an emotionally safe curriculum! I appreciate that especially because my dyslexic daughter is VERY sensitive to scary or sad themes in literature, and cannot handle many books and most movies for this reason. Thank goodness we have AAS & AAR that are always full of happy, fun, silly stories that she loves!

    Reply
    • Marianne

      My kids love the silly stories as well. Reading text is so difficult for them but they are super motivated by the content of the stories in AAR!

      Reply
      • Eric A Skaggs

        Hello,

        I have a team of college-aged tutors as well as tenured professional educators in the Southern Orange County area of So.California. A number of my team are being trained in guiding students challenged with dyslexia, while two have already completed a dyslexia program.

        We are hoping to help all parents supporting their children through home schooling with all subject matters. Any information is reaching out to these parents would be greatly appreciated.

        Thank you.

        Eric Skaggs
        626-658-8114
        eskaggs@keys2learning.net

        Reply
  4. Rebecca

    Can you just use All About Spelling and not the reading program? My three with dyslexia are finally reading but spelling still needs help.

    Reply
    • Marianne

      Rebecca – yes! AAS actually came out before AAR and many families used it on its own. If you need to know what level to start at, contact their customer service. They are super helpful!

      Reply
    • Eric A Skaggs

      Hello,

      I have a team of college-aged tutors as well as tenured professional educators in the Southern Orange County area of So.California. A number of my team are being trained in guiding students challenged with dyslexia, while two have already completed a dyslexia program.

      We are hoping to help all parents supporting their children through home schooling with all subject matters. Any information is reaching out to these parents would be greatly appreciated.

      Thank you.

      Eric Skaggs
      626-658-8114
      eskaggs@keys2learning.net

      Reply
  5. Lisa Bowen

    But what about high schoolers? I am looking for an English curriculum for my rising 10th grader who mildly dyslexic.

    Reply
    • Marianne

      Hi Lisa. What elements of English are you talking about? Reading and spelling? Or literature and writing?

      Reply
  6. Dana

    Thank you for this excellent article and all the resources you provide!

    I’m looking for a new reading/writing/spelling (aka language arts) curriculum to use as a tutor. Many of my students have mild to moderate dyslexia and the reading programs I’ve used previously are not OG enough.

    I’m contemplating starting my students on AAR or another OG approach such as Barton Reading, Wilson, Spire or Logic of English.

    You certainly make a strong and compelling case for AAR/AAS, but as a tutor and not a homeschooling parent (my students are in public school and test to high to receive in school services) do you feel AAR/AAS would be appropriate?

    I see AAR recommends teaching every day for 20 mins, which is ideal for homeschooling. For tutoring however, I can tutor kids 1-2x a week. Are there activities and readers I can send my families home with to reinforce subjects? Would this be effective or is it really more designed as a homeschool program?

    Thank you so much for your help!

    Reply
    • Marianne

      As a trained Orton-Gillingham dyslexia tutor, I use AAR and AAS and supplement with handwriting, reading out loud and some grammar instruction. I would use AAR and AAS and use additional games or resources for review in the individualized areas that any particular student needed.

      Reply
  7. Amy Mattson

    It was a night and day difference for our son when we switched to AAR and AAS! Love their program!

    Reply
  8. Sharion

    Have you tried a curriculum like Barton Reading? What’s the mention of “adult or dark themes.” My daughter is very sensitive to such things. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Marianne

      I have used Barton Reading. It is a good program. It didn’t work well for my profoundly dyslexic son. I haven’t heard anything about dark or adult themes though.

      Reply
  9. April

    What about “nonsense words”? Barton has them, AAR doesn’t. Some day this is a key element. Thoughts?

    Reply
    • Marianne

      I’m not sure how key it is. We did learn to use nonsense words in my OG training. I think it is a matter of over learning and focusing on multi-sensory practice to gain mastery.

      Reply
  10. Julie

    Thank you for the helpful article on AAR. What level in AAR would be similar to Barton level 5? Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Marianne

      Hi Julia – Here is a link to the placement tests on the All About Reading website. That should answer your question or you can contact their customer service. Also, if your child isn’t thriving with Barton, they may need more intensive educational therapy. Our profoundly dyslexic son made such slow progress with Barton (even though it is a great program). We switched him to an NILD tutor and his reading took off!

      Reply
  11. Leslie

    I’m just researching programs to use at home with my triplet girls who are almost 7. I am trying to decide between AAR and Nessy? Any thoughts?

    Reply
    • Marianne

      Hi Leslie. I would think of Nessy as a supplement rather than a stand alone program. So, AAR would be their daily program and Nessy as a fun way to practice.

      Reply
      • Leslie

        Thank you

        Reply
  12. Renee

    Hi, Melissa! I’m new to your site and am about to begin homeschooling my 11-year-old 5th grader who was diagnosed with dyslexia last month in public school (I am hoping that he’ll be able to stay in the school until the end of the school year, but that will be based on whether or not they decide to “force” him to re-take the STAAR tests– in which case, I will withdraw him in a couple of weeks). I recently learned about _All About Spelling_ and had decided to use that for him (even before the dx). I used _The Writing Road to Reading_ with Jay Patterson’s go-along, _Reading Works_, for my older children aeons ago. I am glad to read your assessment of _All About Reading_– I may have to add that to my toolbox for next year for him!

    I noticed you mention handwriting in a response to a previous comment. I’d like to know which handwriting curricula/um you would recommend, please. My little guy has handwriting that resembles that of a Kindergartener (remember, he’s in 5th grade– they really DON’T teach handwriting in school anymore!). In fact, it was his handwriting that prompted me to request that he be evaluated. He is also a lefty– the only lefty in my entire brood of 9 children!

    Reply
  13. Sharon

    I have been using AAR and AAS with my 8 year old who does not show signs of dyslexia, but is autistic. We were struggling with the first reading/language arts program we used (Sonlight) for a number of reasons, all boiling down to him becoming overwhelmed and severely anxious and finally shut down about anything that resembled reading. It was not explicit, structured or systematic, and there were many words on the page which overwhelmed him even though he was capable of reading individual words. AAR addressed his need for a reliable structure and very specific/explicit instruction which is very common for kids on the spectrum, and having only a handful of words on each page of the reader calmed his anxiety so that he could gain confidence. Just in case anyone is on the fence, it doesn’t have to be just for dyslexic kids!

    Reply
  14. Denise Lang

    Where can I find out how the AAR program and the AAS program work ….just seeing a sample of a lesson. I know it uses the Orton Gillingham phonics based approach but don’t understand how the lessons are structured. I have bought Orton Gillingham books but don’t see how they fit into your program.? I am new to this and do not understand. where can I buy a sample instructor’s manual or a book about it …or is there something on the Internet? I am an experienced general teacher with a dyslexic son. Please help as I am expecting an IEP in the near future.

    Reply
  15. Heather

    Marianne, Thank you for your helpful review here and explanation of why AAR works well as an OG approach to helping dyslexics learn to read. I’ve been using it with my daughter for a couple years now and am just starting to wonder if she wouldn’t benefit from something more? Her progress seems so slow and I’m just curious whether you’ve ever found some of your kids to need anything additional to help move them along? We’re both fairly tired and discouraged I’d say.

    Reply
    • Marianne

      Hi Heather. You didn’t mention how old your daughter was. But yes, we have had a few kids who were more profoundly dyslexic that we enrolled in educational therapy. That was a little more intense and worked more on the underlying weaknesses in processing, etc that they had. That organization is http://www.nild.org Also, my Processing, Memory, and Attention Bundle of courses has a lot of strategies to help with these underlying weaknesses.

      Reply
  16. Jamie Del Balso

    We switched to AAR when my son was struggling with the Happy Phonics program that I used to teach his sister to read. We already had AAS, but I stopped doing it because he was struggling with his reading so much. He was in 3rd grade and we started with level 1. I thought we would just fly through it, but we didn’t. It was still very slow! It was working, but it was talking so much longer than I anticipated. I spoke with our family doctor and he started reading/language therapy through our local clinic. The SLP couldn’t say for sure if he was dyslexic. We finally got a diagnosis at the end of May. We have been encouraged to switch to the Barton Reading Program, but we are both enjoying AAR and I am not sure if we need to switch. I am not sure how profound/severe his dyslexia is. AAR is working, it is just taking a long time. He will be in 5th grade in the fall and we would be on AAR level 3. Thoughts on switching or continuing with AAR?

    Reply
    • Marianne

      It sounds like his dyslexia may be more on the severe side just because progress is so slow. In my experience kids with more severe dyslexia make the most progress with a program that addresses the underlying weaknesses with processing and memory such as NILD.org. Switching to Barton likely will not make that much of a difference. If you’re okay with his progress you can stay with AAR, otherwise consider a more intensive intervention like NILD.

      Reply
  17. L

    Are you familiar with Logic of English? How does AAR and AAS compare with Logic of English? I have an older student that mainly needs to work on spelling. I can’t decide which one to purchase–Logic of English or AAS.

    Reply
  18. Jennifer Beck

    Hi! Thanks for your helpful review. My son has significant “working memory deficit” but not dyslexia per se. We are making very slow progress on reading and I was thinking of trying AAR versus Maloney method. I am encouraged that AAR is compatible for teaching students with dyslexia, as I understand that involves working memory as well. In your estimation, would using AAR and/or other dyslexia approaches benefit my son with working memory deficit but not exactly dyslexia?

    Reply
    • Marianne

      Hi Jennifer. YES! Working memory weakness has a big affect on reading. In fact I don’t know who tested your son but working memory weaknesses are usually associated with dyslexia. Were his processing speeds checked?

      Reply
  19. Anon

    I’ve heard that AAR/AAS isn’t a complete language arts program because it lacks grammar and handwriting. I see in the comments that you use LOE’s writing program. When did you begin it and did you use it tandem with AAR or AAS? Also, what did you use for grammar and when/how? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Michelle

      Great question. Did you ever find an answer to your query? I’m wondering the same thing for my rising 3rd grader.

      Reply

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