Excellence In Writing - Primary

From the day we decided to homeschool, the thought of teaching reading has scared the mess out of me.
I know without a doubt that learning to read is the biggest part of school.  Once a child can read, the entire world of knowledge opens up for them.  Any question they have, any topic they want to learn about, can be found in a book.  So the pressure was on to teach Josie the best way possible.
But there are SO many rules and methods for teaching Language Arts.
I've been dabbling in a few different reading programs over the past year.  All of them have been good and Josie was catching on, but I felt that they weren't complete programs.  So I'm more then happy to share this resource with you today.  
Institute for Excellence In Writing sent us both parts of their Primary Arts of Language (PAL).  
PAL is made up of two parts, PAL Complete Reading Program and PAL Complete Writing Program.  PAL is **NOTES FROM SITE.  This program is recommended for students in Kindergarden through 1st grade that are learning how to read.
When you order the PAL programs, you get a box full of great stuff.  

The Primary Arts of Language: Reading Complete Package ($69.00) includes:
  • Primary Arts of Language: Reading Teacher’s Manual
  • Primary Arts of Language: Reading DVD-ROM
    • Instructional Video by Jill Pike
    • The Four Language Arts MP3 Audio by Andrew Pudewa
    • Nurturing Competent Communicators MP3 Audio by Andrew Pudewa
    • Poetry as an Integrator MP3 Audio by Anna Ingham
    • Intro to the Blended Sound Sight Program MP3 Audio by Anna Ingham
  • Primary Arts of Language: Reading Student Book (e-book)
  • Primary Arts of Language: Phonetic Games
  • Primary Arts of Language: Phonetic Farm folder with Stickers
  • Primary Arts of Language: Writing Teacher’s Manual
  • Primary Arts of Language: Writing DVD-ROM
    • Instructional Video by Jill Pike
    • Reading Comprehension MP3 Audio by Adam Andrews
    • Dictation, Narration, and Public Speaking MP3 Audio by Andrew Pudewa
    • The Four Language Arts MP3 Audio by Andrew Pudewa
    • Primary Arts of Language: Writing Student Books (e-book)
      (Would you rather have us print out your PAL student e-books for you? Click here)
  • All About Spelling Basic Interactive Kit
  • All About Spelling Level 1 (Teacher’s Manual and One Student Material Packet) By Marie Rippel
  • Bonus e-audio downloads:
    • Units 1 & 2 in the K–2 Classroom MP3 Audio by Shirley George
    • Unit 3 in the K–2 Classroom MP3 Audio by Shirley George
    • Preparing the K-2 Writing Environment MP3 Audio by Richelle Palmer
When I first opened the box and started reading the teacher manuals, I was a bit overwhelmed.  
There is so much information in these books and it was a little scary to think that I would be the one teaching it.  However, once I started setting up the game boards and looking at the actual lessons, I got very excited very fast.
I created the first 10 games and printed out all of the worksheets that are on the included CD.  I decided to put as many worksheets as I could in page protectors so that I won't have to reprint them for Gabe.  Some sheets need to be colored and cut so those I just stored in the file cabinet.
The manual has a suggested daily schedule for the reading and writing portion of the program.  I tried that plan for a couple of weeks, but it didn't fit in with our other subjects.  I decided to do the reading portion on one day and review and writing portions on the next day.  This has helped Josie enjoy each part a lot more.  I'm not as rushed to fit it all in and she can play as long as she'd like.

After two months it is a sure deal that we love Excellence In Writing and Excellence In Reading.  This program is going to cover it all!
Using poetry, worksheets, and games to teach phonics as well as sight words is right up Josie's alley.  The games have been so much fun for her.  
We start each lesson by reading the poem and learning about that day's phonic helpers.  After that, we play 2 or 3 games to reinforce the lesson.  After I think she has it down, she gets to add that phonic helper sticker to her Phonic Farm.  Each lesson usually has a worksheet that goes with it as well.  I end the lessons by having her read a few practice sentences from the program.  

Josie loves the program.  
So far, her favorite game has been Mugs The Dog.  This game was supposed to reinforce letter sounds, but Josie has known those for quite some time now.  Since she loved feeding the dog the bones, I decided to use the bones to practice sight words and the phonic helpers.  She loves this game!  She also loves adding the stickers to the Phonic Farm.  It's like the reward for memorizing the helper.
I love everything about this program.  
It was a bit of work to get organized and to prep all of the games and worksheets, but that prep work is now paying off.  I can get each day's lessons set up in her workboxes in a matter of minutes now.  I love knowing that she is getting a solid foundation in reading and writing.  I think that each teacher would need to have a grace period to figure out the best way to organize and present each lesson so that it doesn't seem overwhelming.
So far, the rest of Josie's school day has been relatively short.  Since adding in the EIR and EIW program, we've nearly doubled class time.  It is a lot of information in each lesson.  Even though it is a bigger time commitment, Josie doesn't complain since it is all fun stuff.  She knows that the games are coming and that has kept her going.  
This is the most complete reading and writing program I have seen.  Not only that, but it manages to present all the lessons in a fun way.  I know that because of this element of fun, Josie will enjoy learning to read and that will translate into a love of reading.
The PAL program also comes with All About Spelling.  
I have been looking at All About Spelling for over a year now and love that it is a part of this program. We haven't gotten to the lessons that use All About Spelling, but will in the next week.  I can't wait to use this multi sensory program.
To get more information or order your PAL materials, visit their website here.
Read other homeschooler reviews by visiting the Schoolhouse Review Blog here.

Disclaimer:  I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are mine.


Anna said...

I'm so glad I came by and read this! Is she in K? My oldest is in K, and we're homeschooling - he goes to a hybrid school, actually - Christian school 2 days/week adn homeschooled the other 3. I've read SO much about AAS and heard so many people like it! I'll have to check it out more!!! thanks for writing about it.