My son was older when I started AAS too (he was in 6th grade). It really turned so many things around for him (in reading as well as spelling). He did levels 1, 2, and most of 3 that first year, so you can go quickly at first. Since he was older, I explained that I knew he could spell some of the beginning, easy words, and that wouldn’t be our focus to start. Instead, we were going to focus on learning the concepts that make spelling easy, so that long words could be easier for him too. Kids like to know that things will be easier (who doesn’t!). I also compared it to a video game–level 1 of a game is always easy but it teaches you some of those basic skills you need to build up so that you can do the higher levels of the game. Here’s a link to the review I did on my blog. HTH some!