We Love School with Ziggy or A Review of All About Reading Level Pre-1

The Curious Monkey started asking me to teach him to read at Christmas time. His exact words were, “Mom, my teacher said you would teach me to read. I’ve been practicing my letters.” He proceeded to sing me his version of the alphabet song. He looked at me with the saddest eyes. I, of course, said I would indeed teach him to read.

He didn’t relent after that day so I decided he must be ready and I ordered All About Reading Level Pre-1. I have been waiting since it came out to use it with him when he was ready. I decided to go with All About Reading for him because he has shown some signs of auditory processing delays. Since All About Reading is designed to make sure that all the pre-reading skills are taught I knew I wanted to use it.

Ziggy the Zebra arrived in the mail about a month ago and all my kids (even the 9 year old) played with him the entire weekend. He was quite a hit.  I intended to only do it with him but the Sidekick was drawn in and has done great with it.


They both beg me to do “Ziggy” school every morning after breakfast. And the girls have gotten drawn in to the fun of Ziggy as well. They can’t resist but to join in the fun.

So what is so special about All About Reading that I decided to use it. All About Learning Press designed Level Pre-1 to teach the five necessary skills for learning to read. This program is designed to teach much more than letter sounds. The Big Five Skills as Marie calls them are:

      1. Print Awareness learning that letters make words that we read
      2. Letter Knowledge learning and understanding the alphabet
      3. Phonological Awareness learning to hear sounds in words
      4. Listening Comprehension understanding the meaning of words
      5. Motivation to Read wanting to learn to read

You can learn more about the Big Five Skills here. Visit the Reading Resource Center for even more articles and information on teaching reading. The website claims that “We teach the Big Five Skills in fun and creative ways.” I can honestly say that All About Reading Level Pre-1 is fun and very creative. I wish I would have had this to teach the older kids to read. It is so much more exciting than the way I taught them to read.

What makes it exciting, fun and creative?

Well, Ziggy the Zebra for one. In your teacher’s manual there are scripted games where Ziggy comes to play. In the very first lesson you are teaching the child rhyming. I had such a hard time teaching the oldest two to rhyme. They just didn’t get it. Curious Monkey has not started to rhyme yet but the way it is taught makes it easy for the kids to understand it. Ziggy comes and touches different body parts. But he says the wrong word, a word that rhymes with the correct body part. The child then corrects Ziggy. Here’s Ziggy touching Sidekick’s “leek”. And they say, “No Ziggy, it’s a cheek!”


We laughed and played this many times. And they still ask to play this one. The first time I played with Curious Monkey he didn’t know the correct word for some of his parts. He leaned up to me and whispered in my ear, so Ziggy wouldn’t hear, “Mom, what’s that called again?” Then he would sit back and correct Ziggy with eagerness.

The student pack is another fun and creative feature of the All About Reading Pre-Reading Program. The student pack comes with My Book of Letters and Sounds Activity Book. This book is filled with letter craft activities that include cutting, pasting, and painting. Several ideas are given for how to complete each sheet. The pages are clean, non distracting and beautifully illustrated.


Even my girls have wanted to get in on the letter craft fun.


In addition to the activity book your student pack will include picture cards. So far we have been working on rhyming with these cards. After a couple rounds of silly Ziggy and rhyming body parts the Monkey has been able to find rhyming words from the picture cards. I have to admit that I didn’t think he would catch on this quick but even the Sidekick is finding the rhymes.


These picture cards make it so much more fun than just trying to do this activity orally. And I appreciate not having to print or find picture cards for each lesson from a suggested word list. I keep our cards inside the reading activity box. The cards are filed behind dividers labeled by lesson number. I love how much thought has gone into the organization of student materials. The student cards in all the products are organized in an easy to use fashion.

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These beautifully illustrated alphabet charts are also included in the student pack. Curious Monkey enjoys following along on the poster as we sing our alphabet son.

Uppercase Letter ChartUppercase Letter Chart

What All About Reading Level Pre-1 lessons look like in our house.

All of the All About Learning Press programs are designed to go at your child’s pace. There are 78 lessons in All About Reading Level Pre-1, first learning to recognize the capital letters then the lowercase letters and finally learning the letter sounds. Right now we are doing 1-2 letters a week. I have 30 minutes of teaching time for the preschoolers in the morning. The first day we sing the alphabet song, read from the associated All About Reading story book, do our letter page and then read from our Jane Belk Moncure set of My First Steps to Reading. The second day we sing the alphabet song, try to recall the name of the letter we are on, do the language exploration activity or game, and then read from our Moncure book again. If time and interest permits, I read a book from Sonlight P3/4. The boys also sit in on our Sonlight Bible, History and Science reading so they are getting plenty read aloud time each day.

We school through the summer here so I plan to continue at this pace or do more letters a week if Curious Monkey becomes bored and ready to move faster. When we finish this level we will move to the next level whenever that is. I’ve learned from many failed attempts not to push faster than a child is ready for, it only frustrates Mom and child.

You can see samples of the teacher’s manual here. And you have nothing to loose with All About Learning Press’ Go-Ahead and Use It One-Year Guarantee. Buy it, try it for a year and send it back if you don’t like it. You can receive two creative, fun free e-books here.