I had never heard of the Institute for Excellence in Writing until this review. I have yet to check out their other products, but I am really impressed with PAL so far. PAL stands for Primary Arts of Language and it provides everything you need to get your K-2 grade child reading and writing. Before you investigate this curriculum, you might want to check out the webinar.
The reading package comes with the Reading Teacher’s Manual, Reading DVD-ROM (contains an instructional video, Reading Student Book, and some helpful audios related to reading), Phonetic Games, and the Phonetic Farm folder with Stickers.
You can read more about each individual item on the website. You’ll find sample pages to give you an idea of what it looks like. If you have more than one child using this, I would buy an extra farm folder so they can each have their own.
The Writing Package includes the Writing Teacher’s Manual, Writing DVD-ROM (contains the instructional video, Writing Student Books, and audios on language arts, reading comprehension and writing), All About Spelling Basic Interactive Kit, and All About Spelling Level 1.
Again, you will find descriptions of individual components along with sample pages on the website.
Right about now, you might be thinking, wow, this is overwhelming. I felt a little overwhelmed when I unpacked it all. However, the instructions really show you how to get started with this program. It’s comprehensive for sure, and I feel it will give my kids a strong start in both reading and writing skills.
I bought the supplies listed in the introduction, printed out the student books, and set up a few of the game folders. As we go through the lessons, I set up a few more games. You could do this all at once, or maybe prep the upcoming week’s games over the weekend. I store my printed out student books, the file folder games, and the phonetic farm in a file box. I also put my reading games book and both teacher’s manuals in here. It’s nice to have it all in one place.
How We Use This:
It’s recommended to use the reading package along with the writing package, which is what we do. Both Teacher’s Manuals contains lesson plans making this easy to implement. First, we read the poem (you usually spend a few lessons on each poem) in the back of the Teacher’s Manual. The kids can follow along with the copy from the student book. Then we flip over to the writing manual to complete the class journal and printing lesson. We also read and discuss a story using the story sequence chart.
Once we finish our writing assignments, we move back over to the reading manual to play the file folder games, fill in the phonetic farm, and work on the worksheets. At this point, we go on to another subject. After a bit, we come back to the assignments for the end of the day. These include things like reviewing the phonetic farm, mini spelling test, practice reading, etc.
What We Think:
Once I got going with this program, I realized that it isn’t overwhelming at all. In fact, it’s laid out super easy. Both teacher’s manuals have additional helps in the back of the books. The DVD-ROMS hold a wealth of information, too. It’s a wonderful program. The kids both love it. Their favorite game seems to be Mugs. They love feeding him his bones.
I’m already seeing progress: I was reading a novel the other day while my daughter snuggled beside me. She started pointing at different words in my book and reading them. It’s so fun to see the kids get excited over reading yet another new word. Both kids are doing really well with this program.
We haven’t gotten to the All About Spelling Kit yet, but I’ve heard wonderful things about it. I have a feeling we’ll like the hands on nature of this, too.
The Reading Complete Package costs $69 and the Writing Complete Package costs $89 (includes All About Spelling). The packages look to be the best savings. I bought an extra Farm Folder with Stickers for $19 – it’s worth the extra for each child to see their own progress. Everything else can be used by multiple students.
There is so much more I could write about this program, but I figured I’d better stick to the highlights as this is already getting long. I’m blessed to have been able to review PAL.
Disclosure: I received this free curriculum to review. All information was correct to the best of my knowledge at the time this review was written. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. You can read my full disclosure policy here.