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everyday life inside the fishbowl

Frugal Friday: Amazing Pre-Reading Program for Preschoolers!

on June 20, 2014

ImageI wanted to take a post to share about a program that I have been using with my son, Calvin (4 next month) for about a year. The company is called All About Learning Press. I am currently using their All About Reading Pre-reading curriculum, and I love it.

Our Story

I started using the curriculum right after Calvin turned 3. Initially, I attempted doing it 3 days a week with him. Although he did fine with the letters themselves, he wasn’t quite ready for some of the other activities, like rhyming and such. I backed down to maybe one lesson a week, until I saw that Calvin was really starting to grasp rhyming and the other concepts. Several months ago, it seemed like something just clicked in his brain, and he suddenly started rhyming all the time. He has also started recognizing the sounds that letters make. (For example, outside of a lesson, he will see a dog and say, “Dog and jog rhyme!” Or he will say, “d-d-dog. . . dog starts with d!”). So, we are back to 3 days a week now.

The Program

What I really love about this program is the way it is set up. The website for pre-reading states:

Your student will learn five very important pre-reading skills: Print Awareness, Phonological Awareness, Letter Knowledge, Listening Comprehension, and Motivation to Read. These skills lay the foundation for learning to read. Below is a sampling in each area.

Letter Knowledge

Learn to recognize capital letters
Learn to recognize lowercase letters
Learn to recite the alphabet song

Phonological Awareness

Learn to blend sounds orally to make a word
Learn to clap syllables
Learn rhyming and word boundaries
Identify the beginning and ending sounds in a word

Print Awareness

Understand that the words on the page can be read
Understand that books are read from cover to back, and sentences are read from left to right

Listening Comprehension

Answer simple questions about a story
Learn to retell a story in his own words
Ask pertinent questions about a story

Motivation to Read

Cultivate an enthusiasm for learning
Instill a delight for books and reading
Observe situations in which reading is beneficial
Establish a desire to learn to read and write

The Cost

The deluxe package is obviously the most expensive at $119.95 (+ S&H, I think). This includes all the basics including a lot of extras, like a puppet, a bag to carry everything in, stickers, etc. You can see all what is included at the link I posted above.

The basic package is $79.95 (+ S&H, I think). This includes the basics (obviously).

I wanted to cut costs a little bit more, so I will share what I bought, which has worked well for us:

  • Teacher’s Manual-$22
  • Student Packet-$24.95
  • Divider Cards-$4.95
  • Total-$51.90 (+ S&H, I think)

Because I didn’t buy everything in the packages (like the two rhyming books, the activity box, and Ziggy the Zebra puppet), I did have to make a few small modifications. I have a couple books of kids poems, and I would just use a poem that had a capital A in the title if we were studying the letter A. Not difficult (except for X :)). Instead of the activity box, I bought a good ol’ index card file box–works great. And instead of Ziggy the Zebra who always plays the learning activities with your child, I used what I had–Mr. Snaky the Snake! Easy enough, AND it saved me almost $30!

Plus, when I use this program for Mackenna in the future, the only thing that I will have to buy is the Activity Book (Calvin’s was included in the Student’s Packet) for $16.95!

You can clearly see that I love this program. Calvin enjoys it too, and even Mackenna (just-turned-2) can already sing basically the whole alphabet! I highly recommend this program, and I would encourage you to consider it for your preschoolers.

{On Fridays, I attempt to pass along a frugal tip I have learned or am attempting to learn. I love a good deal, and I love to help our family stay within the budget by being frugal in every area of life!}


2 responses to “Frugal Friday: Amazing Pre-Reading Program for Preschoolers!

  1. Amber says:

    I read your comment on the AAR blog….hope you don’t mind me asking you a question about it. Did you start AAR level 1 with AAS level 1 or AAS level 1 after AAR level 1?

    Eager to know. BTW, nice blog. 🙂


    • Holly says:

      Hi, Amber! No problem–I was actually thinking the other day that I should write an update about AAR and AAS since we’re further along now. I start the pre-reading level with my kids when they are 3 (I move as slowly or quickly as they are ready). So then I started my son (and now my daughter) on AAR level 1 for their K-4 years. The reading program is done so well that it just sets kids up to understand how to spell. So, when my son started K-5 this year, we were on AAR level 2. I was planning on starting AAS level 1 at the beginning of “2nd semester” (per the recommendation of a friend whose mom was an elementary principal). However, my son started writing notes and such ALL the time, trying to spell words on his own. So, I started him on AAS level 1 in September or October of K-5 (when he was about 1/3 or so through AAR level 2). I didn’t want him to learn how to spell words incorrectly, and he was trying to spell on his own, so that’s why I started him then. He FLEW through AAS level 1 (maybe 2 months??) We’re in the middle of AAS level 2 and really taking our time to make sure he’s getting it. We finished AAR level 2 a few weeks ago. (FWIW, I’m not going to continue to AAR level 3, because he reads so well. Per my friend, he will continue to learn all the same rules he would learn in reading as he continues with spelling. I’m just going to have him read from McGuffey readers and library books.) I recommend not starting AAR 1 and AAS 1 together unless you can tell your child is ready. AAR2 and AAS1 together has worked well for us. And it may be different for each kid too. My daughter just turned 4 and is already over 1/4 done with AAR 1. She’s started to spell simple words (bad) on her own. If she keeps this up, I may start AAS 1 a little early for her.

      I hope this helps. Feel free to ask me to clarify. 🙂 Thanks for your kind words about the blog. I really enjoy writing, but I just don’t have much time–especially with baby #4 on the way! 🙂


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