I have been gathering and trying out early phonics curriculum to use with my 4 1/2 year old. I purchased a copy of All About Reading Pre-Reading on E-bay. This review is based on my experiences with this curriculum over the last few weeks.
Overview of All About Reading Pre-Reading
The Pre-Reading book guides parents in teaching capital letter names, then lower case letter names, and finally letter sounds. The accompanying activity book provides a single activity for each lesson. Additional hands-on activities are included near the end of the lesson book that can be used for any letter. The curriculum includes two reading books. The first book is full of poems. The second book contains a short story for each letter of the alphabet.
The AAR Pre-Reading book clearly describes how to teach letter names and sounds. Young children will likely enjoy the fun activity pages and suggested additional hands-on activities to support learning.
The pre-reading level only teaches letter names and sounds. There is no instruction on how to put the sounds together to form words.
Comparison to Learning Dynamics
I did not originally plan on comparing All About Reading Pre-Reading to Learning Dynamics, but as I have been using both, I can’t help but compare the differences. CLICK HERE to read my full review of Learning Dynamics.
All About Reading Pre-Reading only teaches letter sounds. The Basic Package is listed on the All About Learning website at approximately $80. Learning Dynamics teaches letter names and sounds, includes more than 50 beginning readers, teaches you how to teach decoding skills, and includes an activity book for between about $99-$150, depending on the current sale price (please see www.4weekstoread.com for current prices and special offers).
The alphabet stories in Learning Dynamics include a lot of words beginning with the target sound. For example, I just flipped to a lesson and the J story has 16 instances of beginning j words. In comparison, the AAR Pre-Reading story for j only has 5 instances of words beginning with j.
AAR Pre-reading instructs parents to sign the alphabet song at the beginning of each lesson. Learning Dynamics includes an entire CD of songs to support learning.
Final Recommendations on All About Reading Pre-Reading
Although I have absolutely loved my previous experiences using products from All About Learning Press (e.g., All About Spelling), I feel like the Pre-Reading level falls short. You really don’t need an expensive program to teach letter names and sounds. There are other more affordable products that would do the job just as effectively and plenty of alphabet books at the library to support learning.
In the past I have used Evan-Moor’s Jumbo Fun with the Alphabet. CLICK HERE to read my complete review of this product. Also, many activities in my multi-sensory handwriting program could be used as a hands-on approach to teach letter names and sounds in a fun way. CLICK HERE to read more about these multi-sensory alphabet activities.
Lastly, I really think the Learning Dynamics does a much better job of teaching letter names and sounds in preparation for reading. Each letter has a fun song and interactive lessons to teach letter names and sounds. If the child isn’t quite reading for decoding, you could still use Learning Dynamics to teach the necessary alphabet skills. I would definitely recommend Learning Dynamics over the All About Spelling Pre-Reading Level. Go to www.4weekstoread.com for more information on Learning Dynamics.