Catholic ABC’s Meets All About Reading Pre-Reading

I wrote Catholic ABC’s when Lydia was 3, and have been using it with my preschoolers ever since. It is a letter-of-the-week style preschool, so each week we focus on just one letter of the alphabet. On top of the lessons that are included in Catholic ABC’s, I usually try to embellish the letter. For instance, if we’re on the letter M, during the week we might have macaroni for lunch, color a monkey coloring page, and sing 3 blind mice.

As my family has grown, and I have less time to devote to preschool activities, I started leaning on All About Reading Pre-Reading for those “extra” alphabet activities rather than coming up with my own ideas or searching Pinterest. Given that it comes with an activity book, I don’t even lose any time printing stuff. This way, all of the time I have available goes right to my preschooler with no prep on my part. I had to adapt this program to fit my letter-of-the-week format, so I wanted to show you what that looks like in our house.

letter of the week preschool how to

First of all, I purchased All About Reading Pre-reading basic package for $80, which is $40 cheaper than their deluxe package. Then I realized that the puppet is actually is used in the curriculum, so I ordered this zebra puppet to go with it for $18. Overall, I still saved $22 by ordering the puppet separate, and you could actually use any puppet you already have in his place. Also, everything is re-usable except for the activity book, which means for Anabelle I will only need to purchase another activity book, not the whole program.

This program also comes with lots of letter and rhyming cards. You tear these apart yourself, and put them into an index card box like so.

all about reading pre reading ziggy the zebra puppet

My favorite thing about this program is that there is practically no prep, so it’s very easy to plug into Catholic ABC’s with minimal extra work.

The All About Pre-Reading lessons are set up to go through the entire alphabet in capital letters, then the whole alphabet in lowercase letters, then again with the letter sounds. However, we decided to do it in a letter a week format. The index in the All About Pre-Reading book makes it easy to skip ahead to the letter you want. I feel like this is an actual improvement to their program. They have it set up so you do a very similar set of activities for the first 1/3 of the year, then all the same again for the second 1/3 of the year, then again, nearly identical lessons for the last 1/3 of the year (and the last 3rd doesn’t include any “crafty” elements.) So if you do it the way they say to, you’ll have more monotony, and for the whole end of the year, no crafts. If you mix it up the way I suggest, you’ll do several different kinds of activities and read from both different books every week.

Although we have been using this program for several months now, I’m going to use the letter “A” week as my example in this post.

Sample Pre-K Lesson Plan: “A” Week

  • Monday- Catholic ABC’s Lesson A (You can see what Catholic ABC’s looks like in our home here)
  • Tuesday- All About Reading Pre-Reading Capital A Lesson
  • Wednesday- All About Reading Pre-Reading Lowercase A Lesson
  • Thursday- All About Reading Pre-Reading Sound of /ă/ lesson
  • Friday- Alphabet Snack

Monday- Catholic ABC’s Letter A Lesson

You can see a really detailed post about how I implement all of the aspects of Catholic ABC’s into our home here, but basically we sing the alphabet song, then introduce the capital and lowercase letter, along with the most common sound that letter makes. Then we sing the alphabet song again, this time, stopping on our current letter of the week. Then I take our bag of alphabet magnets, dump them on the table, and let Violet look for our letter of the week. (more details about all of this in Catholic ABC’s)

finding the letter of the week

Then, I do whatever our current religious unit study is, which right now is the days of creation. Then I introduce the letter of the week Bible verse like it says in the book under circle time. We sing our “Bible” song, and read the verse. Then the Bible verse card gets added to our scripture box for regular review. (More details of all of this can be found in my book.)

Then we read the letter of the week lesson, and do the craft. For A, we made this angel handprint craft.

printable angel handprint craft

When we’re finished, we do our Catholic ABC’s prayer table, where we make sure that our Liturgical Wheel is turned to the right season. Sometimes, we like to do the prayer table at bedtime rather than during “preschool.”

prayer table for catholic preschool

I leave the girls with their Alphabet Saint to color, and go do school with the older kids. They love to color these little Saints!

saint anne coloring

saint craft for catholic preschoolers

After they’re colored, you just either glue them around a toilet paper tube, or turn them into a tube and staple them in the back. These alphabet Saints are a fun craft for every age! Here they are in order, colored by a 2, 4, 6, and 8 year old.

printable saint anne craft for catholic kids

Sometimes the older ones tag along with our Catholic ABC’s, and sometimes they do their independent work while I’m with the little ones, such as handwriting, workbooks, or reading to themselves. If the preschoolers want to keep coloring when they’re finished with their Saints, I print the alphabet virtue coloring pages from Pondered In My Heart. These are adorable, and perfect for preschoolers! Sometimes my older kids do these as well.

virtue alphabet coloring page printable

virtue coloring page free to print

Tuesday- Sample Capital Letter Lesson From All About Pre-Reading

I keep the whole program on one shelf in our school room so it’s super easy to grab whatever I need. First, we do activities involving the puppet, and sometimes rhyming cards and games. These are all included in the program, so there’s no prep work to this at all!

all about learning press books

Each uppercase letter lesson includes a story to read from one of the books provided. They are always very short, and they rhyme, and they’re funny. The lesson includes different things, such as activities with rhyming cards, activities using the puppet, etc. Each capital and lowercase letter lesson comes with a coloring page that includes a crafty element. Whenever I do a lesson from All About Pre-Reading, I always save the activity page for the end of the lesson. 

Most of the letter lessons include an animal that starts with that letter. While Violet colors the page, I read to her about that animal from our First Animal Encyclopedia.

letter a all about reading pre-reading

This is a great book with lots of fun facts and pictures! The animal we’re covering is always in there, so it works out nicely that I don’t have to go looking for a different book each week. I love how this easily works Science right into our preschool lesson! She is fascinated by the animal facts. She especially loved learning how alligators can lay up to 80 eggs at a time, and that they carry baby alligators in their mouths.

For A week, we read about alligators being reptiles and having scales, so I pulled our snake skin and turtle shell out of our nature box. The directions for the crafty alligator page said to color the alligator, then it says optionally, you can add googily eyes. We also decided to add green sequins for “scales,” and Violet loved this!

crafting with all about reading pre reading

 

all about reading pre school craft- letter a

If the older kids are finished with their math (which I make them do first each morning), I let them sit in while I read from the fun animal encyclopedia. Often, they end up doing a notebooking page about the animal or something I can easily print online since only Violet has one of the activity books. For A week, they drew their own alligators (which was technically the crocodile from this Draw Write Now book) and wrote a few sentences about what they learned.

alligator draw write now page

If I know any songs that go with that animal, then we sing them. It’s interesting how many animals I actually can match songs to. For A, we sang the Alligator Pie song from our Pizza Boogie CD, and pretended we were alligators.

alligator song

The Crafts Must Go On!

Violet loved gluing on the sequins to her alligator so much that she didn’t want to be finished when the alligator was done, so I drew a big capital “A” on a piece of printer paper, and told her she could glue sequins on it also. This is why I always wait until the end of the lesson to let them do anything crafty! That way, when I’m finished with whatever canned craft or lesson we are doing, I will continue to let them work with whatever craft supplies we were using for as long as they like. This is a very normal occurrence in our home. So I left and did other school with the bigger kids while Violet played with sequins.

sequence for preschoolers

 

simple letter craft for preschool

As Lydia has also been on a perler bead kick, they made perler bead alligators later that afternoon from this kit we already had.

alligator perler beads

That looks a lot for one day with all the pictures here, but I didn’t prep at all, and it involved all the kids, which is always a plus for me. Also, from beginning to end this took about an hour (it usually takes about 30 minutes to do preschool each morning, depending on how much we embellish).

alligator crafts for letter a

The lessons always say to read to your child for 20 minutes at the end, but I do this at other times of the day.

Wednesday- Lowercase Letter Lesson From All About Pre-Reading

Again, I go through the lesson provided, saving the crafty page to do very last. The beginning of the lesson might include rhyming cards provided by All About Reading, games, pointing out things that start with the letter, etc.

all about pre reading rhyming cards

all about reading card box

Each lowercase letter lesson has you read several letter themed poems from another included book. I love these poems! My older kids love to join us for the poetry readings. The teacher book coaches you through pointing out the things in the poem that start with that letter.

The crafty letter page from the workbook for little a said to color the apple tree with crayons, then dot apples onto the tree using a pencil eraser and red paint.

preschooler apple tree painting

I let Anabelle (age 2) make paint dots on a regular piece of paper while Violet did this because she doesn’t have the activity book.

easy painting with preschoolers

Violet had such a good time painting the apples on the tree that she didn’t want to be finished. So I drew a lowercase “a” on a piece of printer paper, and let her continue to dot.

dot painting the letter a

Again, this is the part where I go do school with my older kids, and Violet may continue to use whatever craft supplies we already have out. Everybody wins. 🙂

Thursday- Sound Of /ă/ Lesson

We do whatever the All About Reading lesson says to do that day, saving the activity book pages for last. Sometimes the lessons include little letter riddles for your kids, more games with rhyming cards, or silly games with the puppets. It’s all very well written, and easy to follow. The workbook pages for these are less crafty, and all very similar. I like that we’re doing the program letter of the week style because I think it would be really depressing to get to the last 1/3 of the program and be all out of fun crafts to do.

The letter sounds lessons also come with fun snack ideas that start with your letter sound. We do alphabet snacks separately (see below).

It also says to have read-aloud time with your child each day. We do most of our reading at bedtime, but I try to scan our personal children’s library, and pull books that are related to our letter. For A, we read Angelina and Alice (we love the original Angelina Ballerina books), A Is For Annabelle (another favorite here!), and the Berenstain Bear A Book. We also read the Treasure Box Book number 18 about angels, and The Guardian Angel Prayer Book on Catholic ABC’s day (see below). The books you choose don’t have to be letter themed, but my brain likes it when they are. 🙂

children's books for the letter a

Friday- Alphabet Snack

On page 14 of Catholic ABC’s, I talk about making snack time fun, and incorporating it into preschool. You can see some of the fun snacks we’ve made in the past here. This year, I am taking one on one time with Violet each week to make a snack that goes with our letter of the week. I put together a pinterest board with alphabet snack ideas to help myself out, but so far we’ve done mostly simple baking. A was for angel cookies, B was for brownies, C was for cake… and Violet absolutely loves it!

kids making angel cookies

How Much Time Does A Typical Day Take?

Depending on how much I choose to embellish our lesson for that day, preschool generally takes about 30 minutes first thing in the morning. I do preschool with the girls right after breakfast. I find that they behave better for the whole day if they get some much needed attention first thing. I also have hands-on activities available to them at all times, and read to them during the day and at bedtime. Violet thinks she’s just as big as the other kids, so she tends to do handwriting practice when they do, and sit in on a lot of out school lessons such as History, Science, and pretty much all of our read alouds.

Be sure to check out my Catholic ABC’s Resource Page to see all of my preschool posts!

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Comments

  1. Thank you for posting this! 🙂 How old is Violet?

  2. Shannon @ Distracted by Prayer says:

    The puppet is genius! I am definitely stealing that idea.

  3. Very helpful! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  4. Tracy Bua Smith says:

    I so wish I could “redo” my older kids Pre-K days with all the fun and great ideas that you have Lacy and when I had more time to do these things! Now that I have a 14, 12, 10, 6, and 14 mo. old I still have my youngest who can benefit from these Pre-K days when she gets a bit older, but now the issue is finding the time to work with her while also schooling my older children. Aaaaa always a dilemma when homeschooling various age groups all.at.the.same.time! I’m definitely pinning this so that I can hopefully do this in the future! 🙂 Thanks Lacy!

    • Life is such a balancing act, especially in a large family. I’ve finally surrendered myself to the realization that I will never find the perfect balance, and that’s ok. We just keep on keeping on. 🙂

  5. Annette Lopez says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I have a 4 month old and 1.5 and 3 year old that I wanna do more “school” with but I feel like I don’t have time? Or how do I schedule it in? Do I have to “teach” for hours? This looks totally doable and fun for all. A few minutes every morning, perfect! Thank you again. God bless & protect you and your beautiful family. Love your blog.

  6. If my daughter already can write and recognize her upper and lower case letters would the pre-reading be the best for her or level one. She is 5.

    • Well, it’s hard to say not knowing her, but it’s possible she’s ready for level 1. Level 1 does move fairly quickly, and really teaches you to read, so I would say don’t start level 1 unless you really think she’s ready to learn to read. Some kids are at that age, and others aren’t. If you start something that seems to be moving too fast for her, or she isn’t enjoying it, be willing to stop. Remember, at this age, it is most important to grow a love for learning and reading inside of them! 🙂

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