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Negin
09-13-2009, 04:46 AM
I've only recently heard about AAS.

For those of you who use it:

Do you like it?
Is it easy-to-use?
Does it take lots of prep time?

I like ease of use and uncomplicated. ;)
I like programs that are very user-friendly and require little to no planning on my part. I don't want a spelling program that requires a whole song and a dance from me if you KWIM. I don't want to have to reinvent the wheel every week. I have yet to find a spelling program that I like, that is, one that's effective, simple, and easy-to-use.

SOME BACKGROUND INFO:
Our 9-year-old ds has been a late reader and is now taking off in that area. His spelling and penmanship, however, leave lots to be desired :eek:.
He really wants to improve his spelling, etc. What I mean to say is that, finally, he wants to actually work. :clap:

We use Natural Speller, but I have to admit that I don't particularly care for the rather unstructured program :unsure:. We just use the word lists. He practices them daily. He seldom remembers the spelling of most the words a few weeks later. Good short-term memory for tests and so forth. Not-so-good long-term memory - no retention whatsoever. It's frustrating.

Jeni
09-13-2009, 05:58 AM
We like AAS but it does require some work from the teacher. Are you familiar with Orton-Gillingham method and the phonograms? If you are, then that will take some of the work off you.

AAS is pretty easy to implement, you just follow the directions in the book. I find this a bit cumbersome at times. :unsure: I can't just hand them the book and let them at it. I do have to teach the lesson and any kind of independent spelling practice I have to come up with myself. Spelling City is nice for this but I do have to type their lists in ahead of time.

I have one child that actually does better with Sequential Spelling than AAS, have you looked at that? It is very straightforward, you do one or more lists each day, dictate the word and let the child spell it and the immeadiately correct any mistakes. They suggest using different colored dry erase markers but we use colored pencils and regular paper. ;) I also have him practice using Spelling City. ;)

Negin
09-13-2009, 07:57 AM
Jeni, thanks for your helpful feedback. :)


We like AAS but it does require some work from the teacher. Are you familiar with Orton-Gillingham method and the phonograms?
Nope. Not familiar at all.

I don't mind some work, especially if the program is really effective. I just don't want lots and lots :eyes: ... Obviously, I would still prefer to hand him a list, have him work at it, and be done with it ;). But, that may not work with this particular child. That works for dd. She's the type with whom pretty much any spelling program can probably work. Ds however has far more challenges. I'l have to look into this program more.

Jeni
09-13-2009, 09:12 AM
Of the Orton-Gillingham based programs (Writing Road to Reading, Riggs Institute, Spell to Write and Read...) I'd say All About Spelling is the most homeschool teacher friendly. If you read ahead the lessons and stay at least one lesson ahead of what you are teaching, you'll be fine. ;)

Personally I think Orton-Gillingham is the best way for any learner but as my younger son has shown me, it can be hindering for those who don't need the rules spelled out in black and white. Sequential Spelling works for him because it's up to him to find the connections. ;)

MarieD
09-13-2009, 09:54 AM
I agree with everything Jeni has already said. The AAS manual is very straight forward, and the program is one you could move as quickly or as slowly as you like.

The lessons are pretty short, we only spend around 10-15 minutes a day on them, but it does require ME to lead the lessons. I love that it teaches spelling rules. My oldest needs to understand the rules, but she doesn't enjoy the tactile parts of the lessons (using magnetic letters), so we skip that part and do it partially orally, and the rest she writes. Right now, the words are ones she already knows how to spell, but she doesn't know the rules for the spelling pattern. So, she isn't enjoying it too much (but she has never enjoyed spelling), however she is learning. She will start Level Two in the next week or so. I can already see that there are many unfamiliar rules in this next level, so it will take us a little longer.

My youngest loves AAS, the magnets and all. :cool:

ETA: The last few years my oldest dd used spellingtime.com. She did enjoy that, and she did well with it, but it never taught any rules for spelling. I could see that she would miss words she had already (supposedly) learned. :eyes: The rules are the very reason I switched her this year. Once we have rules down, I may have her go back to spellingtime to practice the rules with more difficult words.

Heather P
09-13-2009, 10:22 AM
We are just getting ready to order this after a recommendation from a Orton-Gillingham tutor in our area. I was able to look through her manuals and was pretty impressed by it. I have a struggling reader that needs to learn the rules of spelling and she said this is the best thing next to getting her tutoring. I'm looking forward to giving it a go!

Shannon F.
09-13-2009, 12:16 PM
I love AAS. I find that I have little prep time (but we are working at lower levels so my son can get the spelling rules). I am considering using it with my dd for K for phonics. I'm not sure if it is supposed to be used that way, but I love it that much.

Jenny in GA
09-13-2009, 07:09 PM
I started using AAS with my eight year old about half a year ago, after asking many questions here about it.

We like it a lot. I love the way it is laid out. I love how it actually explains things. When I was a kid, "spelling" was literally getting a list of unrelated words and memorizing them for the test on Friday. No other information or guidance was given.

Just today my daughter was reading something and said, "Wow, I didn't know that macaroni wasn't an English word!" How did she know this? Because it ends in "i"!

I am even learning things I didn't know -- for example, that there is an "e" at the end of "large" so that the "g" will make a soft sound.

I also like that it is different than just more workbook/writing curriculum. We use a combo white board that is both magnetic and dry-erase. It was expensive, but worth it. My daughter loves writing in it.

She writes in a notebook too, and my daughter likes to illustrate some of the dictated sentences.

One thing I never liked was the cards. I found them cumbersome and unnecessary. I just read the words and "key cards" (ie, "every word has a vowel") out of the book.

Check the archives; questions about AAS seems to come up a lot.

Jenny in GA
09-13-2009, 07:11 PM
Oh, I meant to add that I do no prep at all. (Of course, when I first bought it, I had to set up the tiles and stuff.)

I just leave the bookmark where we are, flip to it, and go. Oh, I do write a note to myself on the bookmark where we left off for next time.

normafl
09-13-2009, 08:46 PM
We love it and the reason I started using it was because my 12 year old couldnt spell at all ( she also learned to read really late ). I have tried Sequential spelling and Spell to write and read and a few others and nothing has worked as well as this program She is doing really well.

I DO NOT do any prep work either. Sometimes I scan the page before we start. Or I say let me read this real quick. And thats it.

I found that after the initial set up its been pretty easy. I NEED easy!:lol:

But like the others said. You have to sit and read the directions and work with them not just hand them a sheet. But still nothing major Negin.

The lessons run us about 20 minutes more or less. Sometimes we have done 1 lesson and other days 2 or 3. It depends on how well they are getting it or sometimes just there mood ( or mine) ;) Its flexible, its up to you.

I coundt afford the dry erase/magnetic board size they recommend so my DH bought a sheet of metal and framed it and walla! I have a small dry erase board that they use or just write on paper.

HTH!

Negin
09-14-2009, 02:23 AM
If you read ahead the lessons and stay at least one lesson ahead of what you are teaching, you'll be fine. ;)
Thanks, Jeni. Now that is do-able. :)

Ladies, thank you all also. Your feedback really helps. :kiss:

Our ds is very tactile. I think he'll like the tiles. Although I hope he doesn't find them too baby-ish :unsure:.

I really want his spelling to improve this year. I know it'll take a long time, more than a year, but at least to improve. He says that he wants the same thing. He wants me to hurry up and order it. ;) I wish I'd known about this program and had thought to order it while we were in the U.S. just a few weeks ago. Having things mailed here can be a bit of a pain. Shipping costs are :eek:.


I also like that it is different than just more workbook/writing curriculum. We use a combo white board that is both magnetic and dry-erase. It was expensive, but worth it. My daughter loves writing in it.
She writes in a notebook too, and my daughter likes to illustrate some of the dictated sentences.
One thing I never liked was the cards. I found them cumbersome and unnecessary. I just read the words and "key cards" (ie, "every word has a vowel") out of the book.
Check the archives; questions about AAS seems to come up a lot.
Jenny, I will check the archives. I need to spend a few hours researching some more, before I go ahead and probably order this.


Oh, I meant to add that I do no prep at all. (Of course, when I first bought it, I had to set up the tiles and stuff.)
I just leave the bookmark where we are, flip to it, and go. Oh, I do write a note to myself on the bookmark where we left off for next time.
Now, THAT is even more do-able for me. :D Maybe not at first, but as I get more accustomed with the program.


I DO NOT do any prep work either. Sometimes I scan the page before we start. Or I say let me read this real quick. And thats it.
I found that after the initial set up its been pretty easy. I NEED easy!:lol:
But like the others said. You have to sit and read the directions and work with them not just hand them a sheet. But still nothing major Negin.
:yes:


I coundt afford the dry erase/magnetic board size they recommend so my DH bought a sheet of metal and framed it and walla! I have a small dry erase board that they use or just write on paper.
Now that's a good idea. My dh could probably do this, if he can find a sheet of metal here, which I'm sure he can. He's very resourceful.

I have been puzzling about the use of the tiles.
Have most of you magnetized your tiles?
I just read Cathy Duffy's review of this program (I always like her reviews :clap:) and she writes:
If you wish, you can purchase magnetic strips from All About Spelling to “magnetize” your tiles and store them on a magnetic board. (You will need to supply your own 2’ x 3’ magnetic board. Author Marie Rippel recommends that you look for an erasable whiteboard that is also magnetic.) If you don’t magnetize the tiles, you can either store them in baggies to put out for each lesson or organize them on some other surface where they can remain undisturbed between lessons. Labels for various groups of tiles as well as an organizing diagram are included so you can arrange the tiles in organizational categories. Some children will not need the hands-on work with letter tiles. For those students, Rippel suggests that you write out words on paper or a white board instead.

Here in Grenada, it's difficult to get most things - such as 2' by 3' magnetic board. What Norma's husband did is a great idea. We do have a large whiteboard. We also have a small (cookie sheet size) magnetic board, but certainly not 2' by 3'. Our fridge is not magnetic, so even that wouldn't work.

Jeni
09-14-2009, 07:50 AM
You only need a big magnetic white board if you plan to store your tiles on the board. We did this at first but with littles around the house who liked to use the whiteboard too, it just wasn't feasible. You can do the program without a white board at all or with just a cookie sheet or a small white board. For my ones that like to use the tiles, I only pull out the tiles we need and maybe a couple we don't just so they really have to think and choose wisely and do it on the table.

I wouldn't worry about the whiteboard to begin with, a flat surface like a table or desk and a sheet of paper or small white board will work just fine. ;)

normafl
09-14-2009, 03:30 PM
I magentized ours. You can just order the magnets with it. And you definitly dont have to BUT ... thats what makes the program fun and interesting. Its the manipulation of the magnets on the board that my girls enjoy about this program Plus there is something about having the letters upright that makes a difference for my right brain, visual learner. HTH

Heather P
09-14-2009, 03:40 PM
I just ordered our first level and starter kit today and can't wait to get started! Thanks to everyone for there advice and ideas with this program. :)

Negin
09-15-2009, 01:50 AM
You ladies have all been so helpful.

Jeni and Norma, dh said that he'll be able to make me one and he's going to make one to hang on the classroom wall or something like that, to keep it upright. :clap:


I just ordered our first level and starter kit today and can't wait to get started! Thanks to everyone for there advice and ideas with this program. :)
I'm about to order right away also :). I wish I'd known about this before or while we were in the U.S. :eyes: They won't ship to Grenada. I'm having it mailed to a friend, who'll then mail it to me. :kiss:

I'm just excited and relieved to have a spelling program that will hopefully click with ds. :clap: Also, to have one that has dictation with the actual spelling words that are being worked on.

After we got back from vacation and before starting school, ds was literally crying in frustration because of his spelling woes. We've both decided that starting from this year, this is the goal we're working on. Last year, it was reading and he's really taken off. This year and in the next few, spelling will be our focus.

Heather P
09-15-2009, 08:12 AM
So frustrating on the shipping thing Negin! I should have emailed you and I could have shipped yours...sorry about that! Hope it arrives soon!

Negin
09-15-2009, 12:07 PM
So frustrating on the shipping thing Negin! I should have emailed you and I could have shipped yours...sorry about that! Hope it arrives soon!
Thanks, Heather. You're very sweet. :group:
I may take you up on your offer another time if you don't mind. And of course, I always mail a check for shipping, etc. ;)

Heather P
09-15-2009, 12:08 PM
Thanks, Heather. You're very sweet. :group:
I may take you up on your offer another time if you don't mind. And of course, I always mail a check for shipping, etc. ;)

I don't mind at all! Anytime! ;)

Negin
09-16-2009, 03:17 AM
I don't mind at all! Anytime! ;)

Heather, thank you sooo much. :group: :kiss: