All About Reading Level 1 Review

Hi everyone, as promised, I have a review of the new All About Reading Level 1 program for you! We are totally loving this program, and it’s no surprise really since we absolutely adore All About Spelling!

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I already started Tinkerbell with All About Spelling Level 1 at the beginning of this year, so she was able to skip ahead a few lessons in the All About Reading Level 1 program, but I still like how the two compliment each other.

The Level 1 of both AAS and AAR have a similar scope and sequence. All About Reading focuses on decoding skills, fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, and will include lots and lots of reading practice. All About Spelling focuses on the spelling side of things like how to know which letter to choose for a given sound. Both are complete phonics programs and use the same letter tiles which make them easy to use together. We also love the workbook activities, the pages are hands-on and interactive which makes the learning more fun!


All About Reading also has several fluency exercises that will help strengthen reading skills. The student activity workbook comes with fun hands on worksheets to help your student practice reading more smoothly. We’re currently working through both programs together and doing great!



The kit comes with these wonderful reading books which your child will have read through by the time you are finished with the Level 1 program. You can see samples for all of the readers, including the Teacher’s Manual and Student Activity book on the All About Reading Level 1 website.


Tip from the trenches: If you have a reader who is just starting out, All About Reading might be a bit easier to do first because the letters are introduced more slowly.  All About Spelling assumes that a child is either already reading, or is very ready to begin reading. If a child is struggling with learning to read, I recommend doing AAR Level 1 first, and then starting AAS Level 1 to reinforce the concepts learned in AAR Level 1, as well as to learn valuable spelling rules that will create the foundation for strong reading as well as accuracy in spelling.



What does the All About Reading Level 1 Kit come with? (Regularly $107.70, on sale now for $99.95)

  • Teacher’s Manual 
  • Student Packet (Includes word cards, as well as Activity Book)
  • Run, Bug, Run! reader 
  • The Runt Pig reader
  • Cobweb the Cat reader

AAR L1 wDeluxe_250_thumb

What does the Deluxe Reading Interactive Kit come with? $48.95, this is a one time purchase if you haven’t already gotten these from your All About Spelling program. They are the same tiles used with the AAS and are not consumable, so you would only purchase it once. This kit would total $62.70 if you purchased the items separately so it’s a savings of $13.75 if you purchase it as a kit.

  • Letter Tiles
  • Magnets for Letter Tiles
  • The Basic Phonograms CD-ROM
  • Reading Divider Cards
  • Reading Review Box
  • Reading Tote Bag
  • Star Stickers for your child’s progress report


They also offer a Basic Reading interactive Kit: It is $28.95, which is a savings of $7.85 if purchased as a kit.

  • Letter Tiles
  • Magnets for Letter Tiles
  • The Basic Phonograms CD-ROM
  • Reading Divider Cards


Let me know if you have any questions about this program, we’re well into it, and I’d be happy to help!

IMPORTANT NOTE: I want to make it clear that I really only support programs that we USE and LOVE here at Confessions, and this is definitely one of my FAVORITE PICKS for the year! Tinkerbell actually asks to do this first in her day!




  1. We would love to win this!

  2. Thank you for doing this review. I know that these are the programs we want to go with, but we can only get one at this time, so it’s nice to have an opinion about which should be done first. What are your thoughts on BOB books? From your previous posts, it looks like you used them as supplements? Do you think the All About Spelling and BOB books would work for spelling and reading? Thanks again, I appreciate your time.

    • Hi Jenn,
      I don’t use the Bob books too often now since the AAR is really enough, but they’re fine for some extra reading practice. I also have the Bob books on my iPad so the kids use them on that for fun reading practice too. We just had them from years ago, so I try to pull out what I already own, but definitely not a necessary addition.

      I do think the AAS and AAR programs both do a WONDERFUL job at teaching reading, and spelling!

  3. Sarah Maynard says:

    Would love to win this to use with my son!

  4. My kids and I would just love this! I have been looking at all about reading, but we cant afford it right now. So this would be a great big blessing!

    • lisa cunrad says:

      I homeschool my 5 and 7 yr old boys. My 7 yr old could read when he was 4 yrs old. My 5 yr old is reading right now. I never used any program and I don’t think it is necessary to spend alot of money on a program. I just have plenty of books that I got at the dollor store that were easy for beginner readers. I hope this helps.

  5. Hi! My son is almost through AAS level 1, but I would love to have the AAR program to do with him. I’ve been creating my own fluency passages, comprehension activities, etc. to supplement the phonics in AAS. I also bought the readers to go with the spelling long before the reading program came out and he is almost to the last story. He reads the stories quite well. My question is this: Should I get the reading program anyway? I hate for him to have to do the stories again….he would feel like he was going backwards. But it would be so nice to have, especially since I don’t know when AAR level 2 will be out. I think he would benefit from a coordinated program, instead of the disjointed one I’ve been creating for him. Any help you can give me would be great!

  6. Dianna Thomas says:

    OMG this would be real helpful– I can see three of the kids using this

  7. Lisanne Steverson says:

    This looks amazing! I would love to win this for my little ones!

  8. AAS is on my list to purchase, and this would be a GREAT addition to our library as my son learns to read. 🙂 Question: Do you use AAR first or AAS, or at the same time? Thank you! 🙂

  9. I have to say I purchased AAR pre level whatever it’s called after reading an amazing review. Well, I was slightly disappointed. I think what you offer is so much better and more hands on which is great for my little learners. Wow, talk about some run-on sentences. Anyway, I wish I wouldn’t have bought it and waited for this. I think this is more in-line with post LOTW curriculum. I would love to win it obviously. And if not, maybe some money will magically fall from the sky so that we can purchase it. I mostly want the readers though.

  10. I love your site and it makes me wish my children were little again and I could home-school them all over again. Your doing a great job!

  11. WOULD JUST LOVE THIS!!! Have been looking @ this for some time.
    follow via email,facebook

  12. we just ordered All About Spelling and this would be wonderful to win.
    I could use them both.

  13. this sounds great!

  14. This sounds awesome, my 5 year old is not reading as much as others I know and I am thinking of getting a program. We only have the BOB books so I think it would be great to get this program!

  15. Amber Etoniru says:

    would love this!

  16. I built up the confidence to homeschool after another Homeschooler Mom sent me to your website. I ordered and away we went. My hubby is very sick and even though it has set us back some, we continue to push forward in our journey with christ and the way we choose to teach our children. This set would be of tremendous help to us. In more ways then one. Thank you for the chance to win!

  17. This is something I would love to have for my daughter!

  18. Patricia J says:

    Each time I look at your website I only get encouraged. I hope to create a positive learning atmosphere for my daughter as you have for your children. Teaching her to read and spell has always been a concern of mine. This can only help direct me.

  19. We enjoyed the All about Spelling program when my son was younger. I’m sure the reading program is just as good.

  20. This is a delayed comment – but thanks for this post! My son is almost done with the AAR Pre-Reading program, the one with the puppet Ziggy 🙂 I’ve been wondering which book/program to use after this. Obviously the AAR seems to have been a great experience for you – but, have you heard of “The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading”? If so, do you have any suggestions on how to decide which reading program is better? (well, AAR is of course more expensive….) Any pointers would be much appreciated, thanks!

  21. Shelli Harbour says:

    What age would the AAR and AAS level 1 be used with? Is it appropriate for Kindergarten? I plan to use MFW kindergarten but have heard alot of good reviews of AAR and AAS.

  22. Do you need the phonogram CD?

  23. Leslie/NoUglyOneYet says:

    I’m looking at getting AAR, but can’t seem to figure out if the basic interactive kit is the same for both AAR and AAS – Sonlight sells AAS (but not AAR), and I have a coupon, so if I can get it from them, that would be great! Thanks for any help you can give.

  24. Thank you for your explanation of AAR and AAS. We started out last year (new to the program) using both at the same time and I was really confused why they overlapped so much or if I even bought the right thing! Wish I would’ve stumbled onto your post sooner 🙂 Thanks again.

  25. Hi Erica,

    How necessary are the readers in the AAR program? I’m considering buying AAR teachers manual & student packets, but not the readers. Are there any points in the lesson where they refer to the readers? Or is it okay if I substitute the readers with other books?


    • Hi Yenny,
      I think they’re worth it. The readers correlate specifically with the lessons your children are learning. I suppose you could get other books at their grade level, but there might be some inconsistencies with them not having learned a specific sound yet in the other books, so you’d have to walk through the reading with them quite carefully.

  26. I was just looking at AAR on their website and then came here for a review. One thing I’m curious about is I noticed that AAR only has 40-some lessons. Are these lessons typically meant to be 1 per day? 2-3 lessons per week? I’m just thinking that if there are only 40-some lessons and we do one lesson per day, we would finish the program in less than half the year. Level 1 (with the interactive Kit) is over $100, so to purchase Level 1 & 2 in the same year would get quite costly, so I’m just curious what most people have experienced.

    • Hi Deanna,
      No, the All About Learning Press products usually have longer lessons than normal. So for example for the AAS lessons I split 1 lesson into two days. The AAR you can split up as needed for your child’s progress. But for the most part you will only go through one level per year.

  27. My kindergarten daughter is an excellent reader but it is more intuitive so she doesn’t really know many of the rules. I wanted to get a curriculum to help with that. I was looking into AAR and stumbled into this review. Reading wise she would probably be on level 2 but for phonics rules I feel like we would need to start on level one. Would AAS level one teach the same phonics rules as AAR level 1? What do you recommend we start with?

    • Hi Laura,
      If she’s already a good reader you might want to check out All About Spelling Level 1. That includes most of the phonic rules that she will need to know. AAR 1 is a little more basic so if she’s already reading it will probably be too easy for her.

  28. How old was your girl Tinkerbell when you set her to start this?

    I’m considering it for my son, he’ll be 5 soon, and we’ll be starting K in the fall, but I was considering doing this AAR1 program now through the summer and then into the year.

    He knows all his letter sounds, has for ages, gets rhyming and prereading skills, and yes I can sometimes SQUEEZE a CVC word out of him, but I don’t think he really “gets” blending yet.

    • Hi Dhanya,
      She started for first grade with AAR 1, but it really depends on the readiness of your child. If you think he’s ready now, then give it a try, and see how he does. If he’s frustrated with it easily, or hates doing it, then it’s probably that he’s just not quite ready. Save it and try again a bit later :o)

  29. Erica, your K4 curriculum covers beginning reading. How would you compare your K4 curriculum to AAR Level 1? Do they overlap some in what they teach? I guess I’m wondering if your K4 reading introduction is enough, or if AAR level 1 would be needed as well? I LOVE what I’ve read about AAR, but $100 per year is a lot to add in for Reading when there are other less expensive options out there.

  30. I wanted to know is the Interactive kit really necessary? I would love to buy this for my child, but I don’t I can only afford to get the curriculum;however, if it defeats the purpose, then I will find something else to supplement.

  31. In looking at purchasing this to do some extended work with my daughter overt the summer. But I can’t decide if I should get level 1 or 2. Maybe you can offer some advice? She has basic reading skills, can blend 3-4 letter words but hasn’t done much work with different vowel sounds. Bi feel like that’s her next step. She’s 5 and has just about completed kindergarten. I’m leaning towards 2….

  32. I used All About Spelling for my son years ago and just looked up the program again. It has really grown–up to 4 levels for reading and 7 levels for spelling. The website has grown too and has a lot of info on the blog, including previews of every publication (click on each component and scroll to bottom).

    There are more readers now too, and they are hardcover and look like regular chapter books, not “baby” books, and the illustrations are very nice, and black and white, so if your child is behind in say, 3-4th grade, it isn’t that obvious. I sure wish they were available when my son was struggling and was afraid to take out a easy book for fear of being criticized by his classmates. These are completely decodable and leveled phonics readers, not the ones that just include certain word types, like the sort you get from Scholastic Books and many other publishers. For a struggling reader it can be really important that the early books only have a limited number of new words so they don’t get overwhelmed. Many kids can learn to read with a less structured approach, but they may have gaps, especially when it comes to spelling and writing..

    My son is dyslexic and needed a systematic Orton-Gillingham based phonics system like this. Kids can learn how to read all sorts of ways and not everyone will need the support the program provides for reading, but it does provide a good systematic foundation. If your child already can read, the spelling program alone can provide the phonics foundation, and the upper levels goes into advanced topics, like foreign word roots and spelling patterns.

    English is a mongrel language, borrowing from many sources plus is spoken with many different accents which have changed over time. Some people can learn these patterns on their own, maybe not even knowing exactly how or why, but others, like my son, need to be taught explicitly. I am a sight reader, so I learned a lot too, learning how to help him.

    No one program is a magic bullet, but not all phonics programs are as complete as this one. I do think this one in its current format is very solid, the color coded tiles are nice break from typical deskwork and illustrate the concepts clearly, and the program is much less expensive than comparative phonics programs, like the Barton Reading System.

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