Sunday, April 18, 2010

Review: What Am I? (All About Reading)

When I first started using the All About Spelling program, I was ecstatic with how it addressed a specific need in my household. My son needed serious spelling work. At the time, we were using a spelling and reading program based on the Orton-Gillingham method and designed specifically for dyslexics. It was effective, but there was one problem. Much of the program addressed reading issues and my son did not have reading issues. In fact, he was reading above grade level. The discrepancy between reading and spelling was nearly seven grade levels. The reading component was not easily separated, however, and we trudged through it to get to the valuable spelling training my son needed. When I discovered that All About Spelling was just as effective at improving his spelling, at a fraction of the cost and time investment, I was thrilled. It was a perfect fit and I recommended it to many trying to address spelling issues.

I always thought it would be great to have a separate reading component to use with All About Spelling to make it a complete program for those that were just learning or struggled with both reading and spelling. I must not have been the only one to think so; a brand new All About Reading program will be available late this year. The program, which can be used as a stand-alone or with All About Spelling, has readers to correlate with each level.

Earlier this year, I reviewed the first reader released, the Beehive Reader 1, now titled Cobweb the Cat. For this review, I was sent the next in the series of readers, What Am I? which has 10 short stories that coordinate with Level 2, Stops 1-14, of All About Spelling.
What Am I? is just as delightful as the previously reviewed Beehive Reader 1 and of a similar style. It is hardcover and holds like a "real" book, not a flimsy reader. The pencil illustrations are appealing to all ages, with plenty of detail. While both books have the same illustrator and I loved them in the first reader, I actually like the drawings better in What Am I? The backgrounds are not as shaded and the pattern pages have been removed, giving an improved look.
Also different from the first is the absence of the dotted lines under the words, likely not needed as much as a child progresses through the readers. And, of course, the stories are longer and use more difficult words. With story titles like, "An Elf in the Alps" and "Skunk Hotel", these aren't your typical limited early readers about cats named Pat!

Two readers per level are planned for the future. I'm excited to see how the new All About Reading program and future readers. If you have an early reader in your home, it is definitely a program to explore.

What Am I?, available for $19.95* can be found at the All About Reading website.

*What Am I? is now 20% off, through April 26th.

Visit the TOS Homeschool Crew's blog to read more reviews on this product and others.

Disclaimer: This review was provided as a result in my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Crew. I was provided the product free of charge in exchange for my honest review. I strive to give a balanced overview of each product, detailing my opinion of both pros and cons and how the product worked for my family. What works for one family may not work for another. I encourage you to read reviews of other Crew members and research sufficiently to determine if any product will be a benefit to your homeschool. I am an All About Spelling affiliate and truly believe in the product, but desire most that you find a product that fits for your family.

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