Teaching My Baby To Read

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All About Spelling and Afterschooling

It is now October and my son Bruce is in first grade. He completed All About Spelling Level 1 over the summer, and began work on Level 2. But to be honest, we have taken a one month break from AAS in order to accommodate the first month of school and all of its added pressures. Now, routines are in place and we both have the brain-space to deal with other opportunities besides school, homework, and soccer practice.

The great thing about All About Spelling is that it is fast, fun and effective. Yesterday before school I (admittedly) plugged my two year old in front of “Curious George” on the TV, and asked Bruce if he would like to have some special mommy time with me and the spelling board. He immediately said yes! In about ten minutes we completed the very end of step five, which we had begun a while ago before we entered our AAS hiatus.

I would never wake a child up at 5:30 in the morning to do extra spelling practice before school started, but a fast ten minutes of quality time together before a leisurely school start time is fine by me. Especially when I consider the spelling list he brought home from school yesterday, which is way too easy for him. I have to preface this with; I love his school and I admire his teacher. But take a look for yourself:

(Bruce’s spelling list, not from AAS.)

I don’t quite understand how Bruce got sorted into this spelling group, but since his spelling homework is so heavily handwriting related, I’m perfectly okay with him having simple words. Practicing writing his words in the D’Nealian scrip alone will be challenge enough for him. Besides, since I’m Afterschooling Bruce anyway, I know that he is going to be systematically learning spelling rules and patterns with AAS, without having his spelling ability tied to his handwriting skills.

So what are my plans and goals at this point? Ideally it would be great if Bruce could get through one AAS step a week, broken up into three, ten minute sessions. But if we only end up doing two sessions, that will be fine too.


  1. Claire H. says:

    Are you having Bruce do the dictation part of AAS? I had to give up on that with my not-quite-6 y.o. I discovered that he can spell the phrases quite easily with the letter tiles, but if I give him the exact same phrase as a dictation, he focuses so hard on writing the letters that he messes up the spelling. It got to be too frustrating for him, so I decided to just allow him to use the tiles.

    • jenbrdsly says:

      I was having him do the dictation part this summer, but starting last week we are going to skip it because he is doing that part in school. So we too, are tile only people.

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