All About Spelling: A Perfectly Simple Approach to Teaching Reading & Spelling
I am very excited to endorse All About Spelling because it is aligned with my two essential goals of “simplicity” and “effectiveness.”
All About Spelling is based on the well-known Orton-Gillingham method. Orton-Gillingham is recognized as one of the top (if not THE top) approach for teaching reading to students, especially those with reading or other language disabilities. It is a wonderful concept, but there are problems with traditional methods for teaching it; the training programs are expensive, they are extremely time-consuming, and the methodology is complicated.
In fact, as a reading specialist, I was trained in Orton-Gillingham several years ago. The training took more than five full days. (Five looooong Saturdays!) The cost was $2500/person. The supplies were completely cumbersome; I came home with three, 3-inch binders and a large box full of various materials. I was very interested in the topic and eager to receive this training, but I have to admit…I came home rather overwhelmed and confused. I never used the materials or put the training to good use.
All About Spelling author and developer, Marie Rippel, performed an innovative miracle with Orton-Gillingham! She took this complicated, expensive system and broke it down to a very affordable and accessible program. When my son was diagnosed with dyslexia at age 7, I knew exactly where to go!
I purchased All About Spelling and hired a trusted college student to tutor him over the summer. Since All About Spelling is so well organized, his tutor did not need 30+ hours of training, or even a teaching degree. Instead, she followed the clear directions in each lesson. Over the course of 10 weeks, they worked their way through most lessons in book 1.
My son was finishing up first grade when we began to use the program. At that point, he had not progressed one reading level since kindergarten. After his work with All About Spelling over the summer, he was tested and reading slightly beyond 2nd grade-level! I was already convinced of the value of All About Spelling well before my own personal experience, but I am singing from the rooftops, now!
Orton-Gillingham is a long established and well-researched methodology. All About Spelling makes that methodology easy to teach, affordable, and accessible to just about anyone. Marie Rippel has done a superb job of keeping things simple and staying focused on the fundamentals. For these reasons, I am very happy to endorse All About Spelling to any parent or teacher!
Of course, I am not a proponent of “phonics only.” I am a proponent of balance: teach phonics completely and explicitly while also developing a love of reading by exposing students to high-interest, age-appropriate books. Help them develop comprehension skills by exposing them to age-level material through read-alouds or audio stories. For more details, check out this article on Strategies for Teaching the Three Cueing Systems.