Has anyone used All About Reading 4?

I’m trying to decide if I should use AAR 4 for my daughter next year.

She was in a public school for kindergarten, and was behind in reading. I started homeschooling in first grade, and started with AAR 1. She made amazing progress and finished the year on track. We kept going with AAR, and she is just about to finish level 3. The lessons are pretty easy for her now, as she can read most of the new concept words already. She is a decent reader now, but words have never been her strength. I think at this point, she needs practice more than anything.

She will be in fourth grade next year, so I’m trying to decide if I should keep going with AAR, or just focus completely on practicing reading. Maybe something like Total Language Plus?

For anyone who has used AAR 4, have you seen a benefit to it?

My little guy is in the middle of level 1. If you would like to sell level 2 or 3 PM me! I am definitely interested :slight_smile:

My daughter was in 3rd grade last year and we used AAR 3. She loved it and made great progress. However, towards the end, she started to get a little bored with it because it was getting too easy. I really wasn’t sure what to do about 4th grade. I was afraid that AAR 4 would be a little too easy and she would get bored. After months of going back and forth, I decided not to use AAR 4 and we went with BJU reading. Honestly, I was afraid she was lacking in comprehension more than anything. I’m happy with the decision I made.

I know that doesn’t answer your question, but I just wanted to give my thoughts especially since we had/have similar situations.

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I’ve been thinking about this myself, lately. We are on AAR Level 2 right now, but I was wondering if it would be necessary to continue on to Level 3 and then Level 4, or if I could skip those and just continue on with All About Spelling. Curious to see any replies…thanks for bringing it up!

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Not every child needs all of the levels–some take off in reading on their own, and others benefit from ongoing instruction. Sometimes it can be hard to decide! If you’re wondering what AAR 4 will cover, here’s an overview:

Level 4 is the final level of the reading program. At the end of Level 4, students have the phonics and word attack skills necessary to sound out high school level words, though they may not know the meaning of all higher level words.(Word attack skills include things like dividing words into syllables, making analogies to other words, sounding out the word with the accent on different word parts, recognizing affixes, etc…)

Specific concepts:

  • Learn phonograms EY, EAR, UI, IE, PH, GU, GN, AUGH, EI, OUGH, SI, MB, OUR, CI, and RH
  • Read words with multiple suffixes, as in thankfully
  • Read words with a variety of suffixes, including -ible, -able, -ance, -ence, -sion, -ic, -al, -ous, -ist, -ism, -ity, -ize, -ary, and -ery.
  • Read words containing unaccented syllables, as in pirate, Alaska, and doctor
  • Read words with silent letters, as in half and comb
  • Discuss new words in the context of the story and one’s own life
  • Explore varying dialects and regional language
  • Understand homonyms and heteronyms
  • Understand synonyms, antonyms, onomatopoeia, alliteration, idioms, personification, acronyms, and hyperbole
  • Explore words containing influences from Greek, French, Spanish, and Italian
  • Read stories with alternating points of view
  • Make predictions and inferences
  • Compare and contrast main characters and stories
  • Discuss main conflict and character transformation; learn about types of conflict
  • Skim for specific information
  • Discuss shades of meaning
  • Summarize the text
  • Read a narrative poem and learn about limericks and rhyme scheme
  • Some of the other things covered include: Learn the names of baby animals, learn about collective nouns, trades in medieval times, British terms, acronyms, dialects, practice using a reference book, learn the difference between fiction and non-fiction, practice dictionary skills.

Examples of some of the harder words covered in Level 4 include: acquaintance, aphid, beneficial, boutique, bronchial, campaign, chameleon, chauffeur, consignment, crochet, cuisine, cylinder, deficient, delectable, distraught, entree, epilogue, etiquette, facial, ferocious, glisten, gnashed, gourmet, graduation, guinea, Herculean, heroism, horticulture, hygiene, incompatible, isle, lariat, lasagna, limousine, magnificence, mayonnaise, malicious, meringue, mustache, neighborhood, nuisance, ocelot, onslaught, oregano, pendulum, perceptible, picturesque, plausible, premiere, prioritize, questionnaire, reassign, routine, sanitize, saute, situation, solstice, souvenir, specimen, spectacular, teleportation, temperament, tortilla, unveiled, vogue, warthog, zucchini.

HTH as you decide how to proceed!


I really think the beauty of AAR is really shown in levels 3 and 4. I started with 3 this year with my oldest. He was already a pretty fluent reader, but I wanted to make sure he has the skills to decode the higher level words. He went through 3 quickly and now we’re on 4. I think 4 is my favorite level. It really keeps going where most reading programs stop. I can see how level 4 turns kids from readers into advanced readers. Just to give you some perspective, I am also doing level 1 with my youngest and can honestly say I don’t like the lower AAR levels. I say that just to let you know that I am not someone that says do AAR no matter what, but I definitely think level 4 is worth it. I hope this helps!


@CPJess Thanks so much for your input! I am doing Level 3 with my daughter and she is also a fluent reader. I looked up the information on Level 4 on the AAR Web site and after looking at it in-depth and the samples, I can see how, as you said, it can turn kids into advanced readers. We have done all of the first 3 levels with her already and are taking a break from it for the first half of next year, but we may pick it back up for the second half of 4th grade for her next year just to know that we finished it out and completed those skills in that program. I agree with what you said about the beauty of the program coming thorough as we have seen that happening in Level 3 just this week! While the program has been great for my daughter, she has never been “challenged” by it (though she always enjoyed it). But this week in working with vowel suffixes, I can see she is learning something new that will stick with her and affect how she reads/decodes in the future with more difficult words, and not just in reading but in spelling as well. Thanks for your comment, it is making me think about what we’ll decide to do! :smile:


I’m so happy to read all the comments above as they just came in at perfect timing to help me search a reading program for my daughter.
@CPJess, did your son start with Level 1 or he skip to level 3?

My daughter is a fluent reader as well. She’s currently in grade 1 but reading at about grade 3 level. I know a lot of time, she’s able to sound out new words that she might not understand the meaning. She also notice the word patterns etc and pretty strong at spelling. Would you recommend her to start with level 1 still based on your experiences?

Thank you!

We skipped to level 3. I would look at the placement test to decide which level to start with. I didn’t base our placement on whether or not he could read the words or the phonograms (he could read all of them) but mainly on the rules and skills taught in the level. We probably could’ve started in level 4, but three was great as it helped him build up reading stamina.

Thank you so much for the suggestion, @CPJess! You just read my mind! I was worried that she might be able to read but doesn’t really understand the underline rules, so if I skip too much, she won’t have the foundation to help her with the higher level reading. I have a better idea how to choose now! Thank you again!

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