All About Reading Review

Reading Apps

With its fun hands-on activities, proven structured approach, easy open and go curriculum and beautifully illustrated (and fun) readers, All About Spelling can make learning to read a lot less stressful for all involved. As a result, although not the cheapest program around, it can easily become the cornerstone of a successful early language arts program. 

What We Like

Multisensory, hands-on reading program
Effective Orton-Gillingham-inspired approach that offers direct, explicit and structured phonics lessons
Easy, open and go reading program
Scripted, step by step approach makes teaching reading a lot easier
Lots of engaging and fun activities in each lesson
Mastery method that incorporates continual review, helps students better remember wha they’re learning
Beautifully illustrated and fun readers
Teaches more than just phonics, also covers some vocabulary and reading comprehension
Incremental approach introduces topics slowly and builds on knowledge
Offers placement tests to help parents find their students level

But watch out for

Not the cheapest reading program around
Requires a fair amount of parental involvement
Does require a bit of work on the part of parents to keep things organized and ready for lessons

What is All About Reading?

Produced by All About Learning Press, the same people behind All About Spelling, All About Reading is a multisensory, mastery-based and Orton-Gillingham-inspired reading program.

Through a combination of brightly colored, illustrated readers, clear instruction and a variety of hands-on activities, All About Reading is intended to provide pretty comprehensive, phonics-based instruction that can help students learn to read and strengthen their comprehension skills at the same time. 

Age and Grade Level

Ostensibly, All About Reading is aimed at Pre-K to Grade 4 students. 

That said, the program really isn’t divided by grade but rather by skill level. 

Rather than age or grade, it is broadly divided into two sections – Pre-Reading and Levels 1-4. 

All About Reading’s Pre-reading program is aimed at students who are ready to read, but haven’t yet begun their journey into literacy. 

The All About Reading Levels, on the other hand, teaches students the various reading skills (letter sounds, decoding, blending, vocabulary development, comprehension, etc) they will need as a base to become fluent and effective readers. 

As a result of this skills-focus, with no real obvious reference to grade or age, All About Reading can easily be used by a wider range of students without fear of embarrassment or intimidation. 

This makes it a particularly good option for homeschools who tend to follow their own educational pace, and parents with students who learn differently or who are outside their peer-range in literacy development (either ahead or behind).

All About Reading Placement Tests

Teaching a child to read is a critical milestone for any parent and, due to its importance, can be an intimidating and sometimes stressful journey.

Skill-based programs, such as All About Reading, can add a little bit of confusion to the mix as, without a direct link to grade or age, it can be hard to know where to begin.

To do so effectively, parents need to pay closer attention to their students actual ability and knowledge and make an assessment. 

To their credit, All About Reading provides ready placement tests that parents can use to figure out which book or level best matches their child’s current abilities in reading.

Available online as a PDF, these placement tests are, at the upper levels, like little reading tests. 

screenshot of placement test for all about reading

Students read a prepared passage and parents evaluate their reading skill and ability based on a handy, and pretty straightforward, checklist. 

These placement tests look for readily understandable skills like a child’s ability to read blends, differentiate between vowels and consonants, understand plurals and contractions, read Bossy Rs, recognize/read Silent Es and more, making them fairly comprehensive. 

They are also pretty well scripted, providing parents with very clear instructions and explanations of what to look for. 

screenshot of all about reading placement test evaluation checklist

At the Pre-Reading and lower levels, where students perhaps are unable to read full sentences yet, there is simply a checklist that parents go through based on their own judgement of and familiarity with the child’s abilities. 

Overall, we feel All About Reading does a pretty good job with its placement tests. 

They aren’t very long and make it quite intuitive to figure out where to start with the program, making things a lot easier for parents who are teaching reading for the time or for those switching into All About Reading from another program. 

What’s Needed To Teach All About Reading

All About Reading does have several components to it that parents will need to purchase. In particular, with each level of the program there is a:

  • Teacher’s Manual
  • Student Packet
  • And some Readers

These items are level-specific, and so will need to be purchased each time the student progresses to another level in the program. 

They are, however, sold as a packaged bundle, which is a bit more convenient for parents than having to buy them piecemeal (although perhaps a bit more of an upfront cost). 

They can also be purchased individually, which adds some flexibility to the program and can help parents teach multiple students without having to buy everything all over again.

There is also a one-time purchase that parents will have to buy with the Leveled series, the Reading Interactive Kit, which can be reused for all levels.

Parents may also wish to purchase a magnetic white board, as the Interactive Kit contains magnetic letter tiles that are used quite extensively in the program. 

Teacher’s Manual

The Teacher’s Manual contains everything that parents need to teach All About Reading. 

They contain fully-scripted lesson plans that detail the reading instruction, how to best organize the program’s material, how and when to conduct the various hands-on activities and provide a good deal of tips on how to teach reading and how to troubleshoot any issues that may arise. 

The Teacher’s Manuals are full-color softcover books and, with all the appendices, can be a little hefty at around 400 or so pages, depending on the level (Pre-Reading is about 200 pages).

Student Packet

The Student Packet is something of an activity book and contains the various activities and items that students will complete or make use of throughout their lessons. 

What is in each Packet depends on the level, but generally they tend to include things like: 

  • Illustrated activity sheets
  • Fluency practice, i.e. word and phrase banks 
  • Word and phonogram cards
  • A progress chart
  • A certificate of completion
  • Stickers 
  • Occasionally, level-specific tiles for things like syllables, affixes, advanced phonograms and so on

The flashcards included in the program are printed on thick, perforated paper, which makes them fairly durable (especially if you get them laminated). 

That said, they do need to be separated and organized before starting the program, which can be a little bit of annoying busywork, unless the students can be convinced to do this as a craft activity, of course.  

As with the Teacher’s Manual, the activity books are full color and are quite substantial, coming in at a couple hundred pages in the leveled series, so parents can expect quite a few activities per book. 


Being a reading program, parents can expect lessons to include practice using passages from texts.

All About Reading has its own collection of program-specific readers that integrate with the program’s lesson plans. 

There are typically two readers that are required for each level, and these are richly  illustrated collections of short stories whose complexity and length are designed to match the level in which they are included. 

Brightly colored, well illustrated and with a good amount of humor, these books are pretty engaging and fun for kids to read, which tends to make practice and reading a bit less of a chore than some other programs’ passages and texts. 

screenshot of all about reading reader page

One time purchases – Interactive Kits and Tiles

As mentioned above, if they do choose to start All About Reading, parents will have to purchase an interactive kit that they can use throughout its levels. 

These kits contain an assortment of manipulatives, i.e. nonconsumable multisensory tools, and organizational tools whose use is woven into lessons at all levels. 

These include: 

  • Various letter tiles and magnets (parents have to put these together)
  • Reading divider cards, color-coded cards for organizing the students flashcards

There are two kits available, a Basic and Deluxe kit. Both kits contain the core items as described above, with the Deluxe kit offering: 

  • A box to contain all of these manipulatives
  • A tote bag

It’s important to note that the Pre-reading level does not require a seperate Interactive Kit, as its manipulatives are included with the teaching material in a more all-in-one style package. 

In terms of hands-on materials, the Pre-reading level comes with things like:

  • Letter sound cards
  • Two alphabet charts (upper and lower case)
  • Stickers
  • Divider cards
  • Picture cards

Similar to the Interactive Kits of the upper levels, there are basic and deluxe packages available for pre-reading, as well. 

The deluxe packages also include: 

  • A box to keep everything organized
  • A tote bag
  • A nice Zebra puppet, Ziggy, that can help younger kids become more excited during lessons and dialogues

Whether these Deluxe option are worth the extra money is up to the parent, but we feel the Review Box is quite well made and helps keep things organized and the tote bag is quite nice. 

As well, the Ziggy Zebra puppet is quite cute and can make lessons a lot more interactive and fun for all involved, which is something to consider. 

That said, if parents do feel as if they would benefit from these, they can always purchase them separately later on.

Technology Integration

As with its sister line, All About Spelling, there are a few optional apps that can be used with All About Reading to make things a little more techno-forward and fun for students who enjoy learning with tablets.

While parents can use the included physical letter tiles as part of lesson activities, they can also download an optional letter tiles app, which can keep things a little cleaner around the house and is less physically demanding for students. 

There is also a Phonogram Sounds App that reads the various phonograms taught by the program aloud and can help with proper pronunciation and benefit students are auditory learners. 

Finally, at the Pre-reading level, there is Letter Sounds A to Z app that parents can use to help students hear how letters are properly enunciated.  

So, while there are some apps available for All About Reading, it is still largely a traditional homeschool curriculum – there are no video games, adaptive software, or much in the way of songs or videos as there might be with other programs.

While this certainly keeps screen time and distractions to a minimum, it does mean that those looking for a more technological and interactive solution (or those looking for more of a break during lessons) might have to look elsewhere. 

How All About Reading Works

Orton-Gillingham Instruction

All About Reading uses the Orton-Gillingham approach as a basis for its reading instruction. 

While perhaps most known for its use in remediating dyslexia, Orton-Gillingham is a popular approach to reading that is actually used for both dyslexic and nondyslexic students alike. 

Systematic and Structured Teaching

As an Orton-Gillingham program, All About Reading is systematic and structured, i.e. each of its lessons follow a consistent pattern and introduce concepts pretty much the same way throughout, giving students a feeling of familiarity and security with the program, particularly as they progress. 

Explicit, Rules-Based Phonics Instruction

It also explicitly teaches the rules for encoding and decoding words, which is as opposed to programs that teach reading by exposing students to language and reading with the assumption that they will catch on. 

With a strong emphasis on rules and phonics strategies for reading, All About Reading relies less on the use of sight words and memorization than other programs, which can be beneficial to students who get frustrated or struggle with memorization, those who are prone to word guessing and those who have issues confusing different sight words. 

Sequential & Cumulative Learning

Lessons in All About Reading teach students to read by starting off with the simplest rules and slowly building up their skills in a step by step manner. 

In Level 1, for example, students start by learning basic phonograms (s, p, m, a) and how to start blending and end the course with consonant teams, syllable counting, plurals, long vowels and more. 

Although it can make the program a little trickier to switch into (necessitating the use of placement tests and careful observation of skills), this incremental approach does make All About Spelling more gradual and less overwhelming for students.


Perhaps a bit unusually for a reading program, All About Spelling actually makes use of a number of hands-on learning activities and games to help teach students to read. 

In addition to reading and parent-child dialogues, each lesson in the program makes use of a variety of flashcards, games, letter tiles and other manipulatives as a critical part of the learning.

screenshot of all about reading game from level 4

Rather than just hearing and seeing words and letters, with All About Reading students will have ample opportunity to touch, feel and move letters and phonemes around to get a better sense of how letters and sounds interact, as well as how words are encoded and decoded. 

Mastery Approach to Reading

All About Reading takes a mastery approach to teaching reading. 

In other words, the curriculum is broken down into individual concepts that students tackle one at a time, diving deeply into each and only moving on when they have reached some level of proficiency with the material.

In other words, students learn reading rules and concepts fully and to completion, rather than learning a little bit of a concept at a time and revisiting it later in greater depth. 

At the end of the series there is even a mastery evaluation that parents can use to make sure that the student has mastered the essential concepts taught by the program.

One issue that parents often have with mastery programs is that they tend to lack a lot of review and repetition, which some students may really benefit from. 

Once a concept is learned in a mastery program, students move on and the topic isn’t really revisited. 

To help out, All About Reading does include review components and refreshers in each lesson and does offer tips and suggestions for parents to figure out if their student needs to go back and refresh a rule, which is something we appreciate. 

More than Just Phonics

Finally, All About Reading works on more than just phonics instruction. 

In addition to explicit phonics instruction, the program also includes a variety of vocabulary and comprehension activities and games.

With vocabulary, for example, All About Reading’s readers offer explanations of complex words and idioms, while in-lesson activities can have students draw the meaning of the word they read, make up sentences with new words, explore and group words based on their origin and so on. 

Similarly, in terms of comprehension, as students finish their reading exercises they may have to formally or informally answer questions about what they have just read (or heard, in the case of pre-reading). 

As a result, while All About Reading is mostly for teaching students to read, it touches on a wider variety of literacy skills than many other reading programs out there, which we feel makes it quite comprehensive in scope and highly useful as part of a total language arts program. 

What It’s Like to Teach All About Reading


Focus of Instruction

Intended for students who are just about ready to read, All About Reading Pre-reading focuses on what the program calls the “Big Five.” These are:

Print Awareness  – Lessons in Pre-reading help students develop a conceptual understanding of print text, the idea that letters convey meaning, as well as the basic mechanics of reading, such as moving from left to ride. 

Phonological Awareness – As preparation for a phonics program, students learn to listen and identify parts of words and letter sounds

Letter knowledge – As might be expected of a reading program, students learn the to recognize letters of the alphabet and identify their sounds

Listening Comprehension – As we mentioned earlier, somewhat uniquely for a reading program, All About Reading works on reading comprehension, as well as reading skill and vocabulary development. At the pre-reading stage, since students can’t really read yet, they work on being able to attentively listen to a story and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of what they’ve heard.

Motivation – Recognizing that learning to read can be frustrating and, at times, demoralizing for students, All About Reading Pre-reading emphasizes activities and games that will get students excited about literacy and wanting to read themselves. 

As can be seen, the Pre-reading program tends to focus more on the building blocks of reading rather than direct phonics instruction and practice itself. 

This makes sense as this section of the All About Reading series is intended for those who aren’t yet ready to read per se, i.e. pre-K and Kindergarten, and it fits with the programs step-by-step, sequential and incremental instruction methods. 

Lesson Structure

Lessons in the Pre-reading program tend to follow a similar format.

Lessons begin with an introduction of the topic directed to the parent, which outlines the general concept taught, explaining the purpose of the lesson, and lays out any materials that might be needed for that lesson (flashcards and letter tiles, for example). 

Following this, there is a general review of letter and phonological knowledge in sections entitled Letter of the Day and Sound of the Day, respectively. 

In earlier lessons, this tends to involve singing the alphabet song with students finding and pointing to each letter on the included alphabet chart , as well as some related letter activities from their student book or in the reader, by finding letters on certain pages for example (Letter of the Day). 

In later lessons, as students are more familiar with the alphabet, this may instead take the form of using letter sound cards, where students identify the letter and its sound, as well as some related activities from the student booklet or readers (Sound of the Day). 

screenshot of all about reading pre-reading sound of the day exercise

Following these is a section called Language Exploration. 

This involves a series of activities and games that are designed to introduce and work with certain concepts in phonics, reading and literacy.

Depending on the lesson these can be card games, dialogues between parent and child (often with the parent using the character Ziggy the Zebra for flavor), sheet work, various activities using picture cards, stories, crafts and more. 

screenshot of pre-reading activity in all about reading

Finally, there is Read Aloud Time, where parents read from a book or poem for 20 minutes to their child, which is intended to both convey the enthusiasm a parent has for reading as well as being a good opportunity to work on listening skills and listening comprehension. 

Who is Ziggy the Zebra?

Ziggy is a character that features fairly prominently throughout All About Reading, particularly towards the earlier sections of the series. 

Ziggy is a Zebra that is intended to make learning a little more approachable, interactive and fun for kids. 

As students progress in their lessons there are certain activities that involve the student helping Ziggy (as played by the parent) with certain tasks, such as packing a backpack full of picture cards for a trip, or helping Ziggy tell a story using correct words and sounds. 

screenshot of all about reading ziggy the zebra activity

The sections that involve Ziggy are marked with a little zebra picture, and these are really intended to be used with a little Zebra puppet that the company sells (and is included in the Deluxe kits). 

Overall, the inclusion of Ziggy is kind of fun and can make the program a little more approachable and engaging for younger kids, particularly for those who may be intimidated by the idea of reading or who have had a bad time with other programs.

Of course, keep in mind that older students who are a little behind and are using Pre-reading to catch up may not be as appreciative at being instructed by a puppet or animal character, as cute as Ziggy is.  

Ziggy also makes a reappearance in Level 1, with an optional book of Ziggy activities that parents can buy and weave into the lessons as enrichment. 

Our Thoughts On All About Reading Pre-Reading Lessons

Overall, All About Reading’s Pre-reading program is a fun and engaging way to introduce kids to the building blocks of reading. 

It is a very multisensory and interactive program, where parents and students will, at times, sing, play cards, listen to stories and play an assortment of hands-on activities and games. 

There are also a lot of tips that can help parents understand what it is they are looking at or trying to accomplish in each lesson, which is helpful for those who have never taught reading or phonics before. 

all about reading tip screenshot

There are also a lot of tips to help parents understand what to look for (or listen for) to make sure students are getting it. 

That said, with quite a few activities to go through the lessons can be a little long for younger kids and likely will need to be broken up over multiple days, something the program readily admits. 

Additionally, because there can be a lot of moving parts in each lesson – letter tiles, cards, charts, readers and more – and because these can vary between lessons, parents do have to spend a little more time prepping, making sure things are organized before each lesson and that things are put away correctly (and in order) after each lesson. 

With the letter dividers and directions from the Teacher’s Manual this shouldn’t be a great issue for most parents, but can be a little time consuming for parents who are, shall we say, organizationally challenged. 

All About Reading Levels 1-4

Focus of Instruction

Intended for students who are ready to read, All About Reading’s Leveled series is what might be considered the heart of the program and specifically teaches students the phonics skills and rules they’ll need to start reading and building fluency.

In Levels 1-4, All About Reading works with students on a variety of skills, which it considers the key components of reading. 

Phonological Awareness

Throughout the lessons, students work to listen for and identify various sounds that comprise spoken words, with activities such as learning to use rhyming words, learning to count syllables, practicing word boundaries, learning sound substitutions and more. 

Phonics and decoding

All About Reading explicitly teaches students the rules and skills necessary to identify and read new and unfamiliar words by identifying individual letters and their phonemes before blending them together. 


All About Reading also focuses on helping students learn to read accurately, expressively and quickly, developing what is known as reading fluency, which in turn lets them focus more on understanding what they’re reading rather than the mechanics of reading it. 

It tends to do so by building automaticity through practicing decoding exercises, various word cards and practice sheets, as well as through reading practice.  


All About Reading includes a good deal of vocabulary work, helping students understand the meaning of the words they are coming across and decoding, and get a good amount of practice understanding definitions, idioms, word roots as they do activities and games related to their readings.


In addition to Vocabulary, All About Reading’s lessons often include a good deal of work on developing comprehension, with parents directed to asking lots of topical questions about the readings in an attempt to get students thinking about the content of what they’re reading.

As can be seen, All About Reading touches on the various components and stages of reading, from learning letter sound relationships to learning to decode words and blend sounds all the way through to developing the skills necessary to focus on the meaning of what they are reading, rather than the act of reading.

While students are by no means “done” with their literacy and learning by the end of All About Reading, it can provide a good base of skill, knowledge and fluency to serve them well in the future.

Lesson Structure

As with the Pre-reading program, lessons in All About Reading’s various Leveled books follow a common structure:

  1. Introduction
  2. Review
  3. New Teaching
  4. Read Aloud
  5. Mark Progress 

Lessons begin with an introduction aimed at parents, which introduces the topic at hand, outlines objectives for the lesson, provides a list of any needed materials and offers parents helpful rundown on specific, lesson-related phonics and reading concepts, which is good for new teachers and those unsure of their own abilities and knowledge of phonics. 

screenshot of all about reading leveled lesson introduction

Following this, the lessons begin with a Review of the lesson’s Phonogram and Word Cards, where students brush up on letter sounds and their reading ability for certain words, going back and reviewing and practicing key skills if necessary.

After the review, the lessons move to New Teaching, which is where new rules, concepts and techniques in reading and phonics are introduced and explored. 

An activity-based program, All About Learning does this mainly through an assortment of directed hands-on activities and games. 

Typically, lessons involve constructing, decoding, blending words and sounds with letter tiles, completing warm up and/or activity sheets, practicing reading with word card games, and fluency work with various practice sheets and games found in the student packet (such as swat the word).

screenshot of all about reading tile work and flashcard activity

After completing these activities, students and parents wind down with a Read Aloud section, where parents read a favorite text to their student for 20 minutes. 

Finally, students then mark their own lesson progress on a rather fun progress sheet located in the student packet. 

Our Thoughts On All About Reading Pre-Reading Lessons

Overall, All About Reading’s Leveled books are a fun and engaging way to teach students to read. 

The lessons are activity-rich and multisensory, with lots of tactile work, reading exercises and plenty of get up and go activities and games for students that can take a lot of stress out of learning to read. 

They are also very rich in instruction, for both student and parent.

 Students get a good and structured understanding of phonics, presenting its rules in a clear and understandable way, while parents get a lot of helpful background information and tips to help understand reading instruction, phonics and how to present the material effectively. 

Interestingly, and unlike many other mastery programs, there is a strong emphasis on periodic review and practice within the All About Reading books, with lessons building in a review component before building on that knowledge with new information.

As with the Pre-reading program, the lessons can be quite long, with review, multiple activities and games and a reading component. 

As a consequence, parents shouldn’t expect to complete a lesson a day (or even every two days), as it will take some time to get through can overwhelm a student. 

In fact, All About Reading recommends parents spend about 20 minutes a day, 5 times a week on the lessons to get through them with as little stress on the student as possible, but of course this depends on the homeschool, its schedule and the parent. 

Finally, All About Reading does require parents to prep a bit ahead of time, making sure that the appropriate word cards, tiles and reading materials are handy and ready for each lesson, which can take a little time depending on the organizational skill of the parent.

How Easy to Teach is All About Reading?

Although it does require a bit of organizing at the start, All About Reading is a very easy to use program and is pretty much “open and go.”

The Teacher Manuals are fully scripted, providing plenty of direct, thorough and step-by-step instruction that parents can follow to teach a lesson.  

picture of all about reading teachers manual demonstrating lesson scripting

The activities and games it presents are well-scripted as well, providing parents with detailed instructions on how to conduct them, as well as diagrams and pictures to ensure that their components are laid out correctly. 

Lesson plans even include a dialogue script that parents can read word for word, something that can come in handy when trying to explain the more abstract ideas and confusing concepts of the English written language. 

picture of teachers manual all about reading showing scripting for expression exercise

In addition, from time to time the book offers various tips and suggestions that can help parents better understand the phonics concepts they are teaching, as well as provide guidance for how to present the information, as well as potential issues to look for and suggestions to help overcome them. 

One thing that parents should be aware of is that All About Reading is a very intensive parent-led program. 

Parent-child interaction is a key part of the program and parents can spend nearly as much time participating in activities as leading them. 

As such, it is not a program that parents can set a child in front of to work independently or really take a break from while the student works quietly. 

Similarly, and as mentioned previously, although teaching the material is quite guided and easy, parents will likely spend some time organizing material and reviewing the lesson material before the start of each lesson.

Pros & Cons of All About Reading


Multisensory, hands-on reading program

One of the key features of All About Reading is its hands-on multisensory learning, with lessons that integrate a variety of engaging activities involving dialogues, readings, games, tiles, drawing, cards and more. 

This multisensory approach can activate different cognitive learning pathways, strengthening learning and memory in the long run, and tends to make lessons a lot more interesting and engaging for students.

Easy, open and go curriculum

With its highly scripted and informative lessons, clear guidance and plenty of teaching tips, All About Reading does an excellent job at guiding parents through lessons and their various activities, making the program very easy to teach.

Lots of engaging activities in each lesson

With card games, various physical games, letter tiles and cut outs, All About Reading uses a wide variety of fun activities that parents and students can engage in to teach and review material, keeping learning more interesting for everyone involved.

Proven, phonics based approach

All About Reading uses a proven, Orton-Gillingham, phonics based approach to reading, where students are explicitly taught rules and strategies for decoding and blending in a incremental and systematic manner. 

Mastery, but with plenty of continual review

All About Reading is a mastery reading program where students approach one concept at a time and explore it deeply until skill proficiency is achieved. 

Unlike other mastery programs, however, All About Reading incorporates plenty of review and repetition into its lessons, which can help students better remember and incorporate what they are learning.

Wonderfully illustrated and fun readers

All About Reading uses full color readers that incorporate a lot of humor and fun illustrations, making them a lot more interesting and engaging for students to use, which can make students actually look forward to practicing their reading.

Teaches more than just phonics

In addition to teaching students to read, All About Reading also incorporates vocabulary development and reading comprehension practice, making it more of a full-suite literacy curriculum compared to other programs. 

Handy Placement Tests

All About Reading offers a variety of easy to use and fairly in-depth placement tests to help parents switching into the program find their student’s reading level, making it a lot easier for them to know where to start. 


Can be a little pricey

All About Reading kits can cost well over $100 per level, and certain levels require one time purchases of reusable manipulatives on top of that. 

Time intensive for parents

All About Reading is definitely not a self-study program for kids and requires parents and students to work closely together throughout the lessons, meaning it can take a fair bit of time and effort on the part of parents to conduct lessons. 

Does require some organization

Similarly, All About Reading does require that parents (at some point) separate, prepare and organize flashcards and letter tiles before lessons. 

It also requires them to maintain this organization so that materials can be easily found and accessed before (and even during) lessons. 

Who Is All About Reading Ideal For?

Parents new to or uncertain about teaching their kids to read

Not every parent is comfortable teaching their child to read and All About Reading does a great job at guiding parents step-by-step through the lessons with very little need for previous experience or knowledge of phonics instruction. 

Those looking for a highly scripted, open and go reading program

Aside from organizing some of the materials at the start (and maintaining this organization), there is very little in the way of preparation required to conduct All About Reading lessons. 

Parents can essentially open the Teacher’s Manuals and follow the instructions to start teaching their student to read right away. 

Students who do well with hands-on learning

Students always have their own preference for learning. 

With letter tiles, games, physical activities, dialogues and more, All About Reading can offer students a very effective, tactile experience that isn’t so readily found in other programs, which are mostly auditory and visual. 

Parents and students looking for an activity-based reading program

All About Reading’s lessons include a plethora of fun and engaging games that can be great for those who like learning through structured activities and can help make learning a little less stressful and a lot more fun for parents as well as students. 

Parents who enjoy spending a lot of time interacting with their children

Wth All About Reading parents will spend a good deal of time interacting with their child during their lessons, often working with the child rather than simply talking at them. 

At any given time, parents can expect to play games with their child, organize and oversee various activities, engage in two-way dialogue, answer questions, use puppets, read stories aloud to the child, and work with letter tiles in a variety of ways.

Although perhaps a bit time consuming, it can also be a great way for parents and children to bond while learning to read. 

Who Is All About Reading Not Ideal For?

Parents looking for a more independent study option or those without a lot of time to teach

All About Reading requires a fair bit of interaction between parent and child, with dynamic activities and two-way dialogue being a critical part of each lesson. 

As a result, it is not the best option for those looking for a self-study program that they can leave their children to work with, and may not always be ideal for homeschooling parents with little time to dedicate to its lessons.  

Parents who don’t want to spend a lot of time dealing with cards, charts and manipulatives

With letter cards, phonics cards, picture cards, letter tiles, activity sheets and more, there can be a lot of moving parts to All About Reading as a whole. 

As a result it may not be ideal for parents looking for a streamlined, lightweight reading curriculum without a lot of things to store and keep track of. 

Homeschool families looking for a high tech approach to reading

Although it does have a few helpful apps associated with it, by and large All About Reading is a traditional, book-and-paper-based reading curriculum.

Without any adaptive software, videos, music or video games to play, it may not be the most ideal fit for fans of high tech learning. 

Homeschools on a very tight budget

Costing up to $160 per level, and with some required one-time purchases, All About Reading isn’t exactly the cheapest reading program around and may be a bit too expensive for those on a very strict budget even if it is a very effective program. 


Note: Prices current as of writing, all prices in USD. 

All About Reading is available for Pre-readers and Levels 1-4. 

The core of each package includes a Teacher’s Manual, a Student Packet and two readers. These are specific to each level and need to be purchased as the student progresses. 

In addition, for Levels 1-4, parents must also buy the Reading Interactive Kit, which is a one-time purchase that is reused for all levels.

Pre-reading bundles

Basic:  $99.95

Deluxe: $144.95

All About Reading Levels 1-4

All About Reading Materials package: $159.95 for each level

One Time Purchases: 

Reading Interactive Kits (for Levels 1-4)

Basic: $22.95

Deluxe: $49.95

That said, All About Reading does run specials and deals from time to time and it is worth checking their latest prices and offers. 

Is All About Reading Worth the Price?

At up to $160 per level, All About Reading isn’t exactly cheap.

That said, we do think it provides a lot of value for its cost and is well worth its price. 

The program offers a recognized and proven Orton Gillingham-inspired phonics approach to reading, and provides a rather unique, activity-filled and highly multisensory approach to reading that isn’t always so common and can be highly effective for tactile students and those who have had a hard time with reading in the past.

Similarly, with its highly-scripted and well laid out lessons, the program is very open and go, making teaching reading very easy for parents, particularly those who are new to teaching reading and those uncertain about their own abilities to teach.

Finally, although not the most high tech program, All About Reading offers a lot bang for the buck. 

Each level is filled with a plethora of activities, worksheets, warm ups, flashcards, stickers and more, as well as the non-consumable manipulatives and digital apps offered by the program, which can be reused with future students. 

Bottom Line

Being such a critical event in a child’s life, learning to read can be a stressful and sometimes frustrating task for parents and students alike.  

With its fun hands-on activities, proven structured approach, easy open and go curriculum and beautifully illustrated (and fun) readers, All About Spelling can make learning to read a lot less stressful for all involved. As a result, although not the cheapest program around, it can easily become the cornerstone of a successful early language arts program. 

Picture of our author and editor Anne Miller

About the Author

Anne Miller is the editor of The Smarter Learning Guide and is a passionate advocate for education and educational technology. A mom of two, she majored in English Language and Literature and worked as a substitute teacher and tutor for several years. When not writing she continues to root for the Yankees and the Giants.