Monday, November 12, 2012

Primary Arts of Language Review -TOS

Recently with the TOS Crew I was able to receive and review Institute for Excellence, Primary Arts of Language including help in reading, writing, and spelling. My kids are always thrilled with new school activities so this was no exception!  There is so much involved in this curriculum that I am just going to highlight the parts that we loved the most.  You will be able to read other reviews of this curriculum by going to the TOS Crewhomepage(which I strongly recommend you do) and get other homeschool families points of view.  This will give you more information about this program and what others liked or disliked about it.
I received two kits to review. 
Reading Kit
Kit 1-  The PAL Reading kit which costs $69( $98 if you purchase the parts separately). This kit includes: 
Instructional Video by Jill Pike
The Four Language Arts MP3 Audio by Andrew Pudewa
Nurturing Competent Communicators MP3 Audio by Andrew Pudewa
Poetry as an Integrator MP3 Audio by Anna Ingham
Intro to the Blended Sound Sight Program MP3 Audio by Anna Ingham
Primary Arts of Language: Reading Student Book (e-book)
Primary Arts of Language: Phonetic Games
Writing Kit
Kit 2- PAL Writing Kit which costs $89 ($113 if the items are purchased separately).  This kit includes: 
Instructional Video by Jill Pike
Reading Comprehension MP3 Audio by Adam Andrews
Dictation, Narration, and Public Speaking MP3 Audio by Andrew Pudewa
The Four Language Arts MP3 Audio by Andrew Pudewa
Primary Arts of Language: Writing Student Books (e-book)
All About Spelling Level 1 (Teacher’s Manual and One Student Material Packet) By Marie Rippel
Bonus e-audio downloads:
Units 1 & 2 in the K–2 Classroom MP3 Audio by Shirley George
Unit 3 in the K–2 Classroom MP3 Audio by Shirley George
Preparing the K-2 Writing Environment MP3 Audio by Richelle Palmer

Let's start with my children's favorite part. The Phonetic Farm. They loved that farm and putting all the animal stickers on it. The stickers may not have all gotten put on straight, but they're all in the correct spot and that did not impede the children from learning! I loved how on the welcome card it says in small letters that you may want to hide the phonetic farm stickers until you are ready to use them! Very good advice and I'm glad we took it! The Phonetics Farm also comes with an ebook that you can download in PDF format. Did I mention my kids loved all the animals!? I think this portion made this their favorite just because we have several of the animals here on our farm. They were upset though that there was no baby horse inside the barn as we do have one right now.
This is our sticker farm!

Primary Arts of Language is abbreviated to PAL(I'm hoping you've figured that out by now). I really enjoyed that there were some online components and that help was readily accessible. On the starting card that I've mentioned before it also gives you an email address for any questions that you may have(love when those are straight forward and easy to find). I also love how the starting card gives you four steps to using their curriculum. (1) view the reading dvd, (2) assemble the phonetics games--makes it so much faster when you need them, (3) view the first section of the writing dvd--watch the rest when needed and (4) start enjoying PAL with your children!! My kids definitely have enjoyed this and I loved that not all of it was worksheet based so I did not have to copy so many pages for all of my children to use it. I am also able to save it and use it with my younger ones as well which makes me very happy!!

The spelling portion of this curriculum was very easy to use and many children friendly. Part of it was having them spell words with magnetic tile letters. It says that the tiles will fit comfortably on a magnetic board that is 2'H by 3'W. We did not have a board like that and instead of buying one we just used our refrigerator. My kids loved this! We did have to have one use regular magnets on our fridge to keep them occupied while the other used the tiles so there was no fighting over the tiles. That is one question that I'm going to be asking: Can we buy any additional magnetic tile kits? I think that would be helpful when you're using the curriculum with more than one child. My 1st graders would use it in the mornings and my kindergarteners would use it in the afternoons. I did not use it with my preschoolers or pre-preschoolers yet. I feel that my preschoolers will get good use out of it next year and the two year olds still have a few years.
Our magnetic tiles out on notebook paper,
they're easier to see here than on the fridge for photo purposes.
The vowels section!
This shows how the tiles are supposed to be laid out for the children to use.

Also with the spelling portion are phonogram cards for learning letters; sound cards for helping to connect the sound to the letter(teacher says sound kids write the letter); key cards asking common spelling questions about capitalizing, vowels, etc; and word cards for learning sight words. The word cards are also used for the spelling words. The children can see, make the words with tiles, spell the words on paper, etc. I loved this approach to spelling as it didn't require me to make up spelling lists for the kids to have and copy. It saved us paper and still ensured that they learned 170 sight words!

Phonogram cards

sound cards

key cards

word cards

I have to share my favorite page in the PAL: Reading Teacher's Manual. It is the letter stories. I loved their descriptions of the letters and found that my beginning readers remembered their letters a lot more after learning these descriptions. They are cute and amusing and definitely stick in your mind. I had never heard these before. One letter for an example is "l is the licking letter-This tall letter starts at the top and is just a long line. It looks like a lollipop stick that soemone has licked clean." Now who won't remember that "l" is a lollipop after that cute little description!

The Letter Stories: make sure to make this big and read as it is so cute!

Also in the teachers reading manual for student use is the set of discovery cards. There are 30 packs of 10 words each. The student is supposed to read and figure out each set of words and then if they tell them to the teacher correctly they can cross off that numbered set and move to the next. It was a challenge to see which of my kiddos could figure them out first. Once the words were all read and learned it allowed them to proceed to the library!

This shows proper ways to hold the pencil, tilt the page and make the strokes necessary for forming the letters.  I loved the tilting the page portion.  I am a very right handed person but I have a very left handed son and have been struggling with teaching him how to write correctly as I don’t really know all the specifics of writing with my left hand!  It incorporates the letter stories that I talked about from the reading manual.  It also has a “story summary” per lesson which helps them break down stories and figure out the characters, setting, problem, climax, resolution, and clincher.  I personally had not even thought about introducing these concepts to my children but was amazed at how well they picked up on them and understood the stories! 

Throughout the writing manual it also has them do copywork and start learning to create and write their own stories.  It has them do outlines, brainstorm for ideas, and even scrapbook!  My kids enjoyed the creativeness that this allowed for.

This book held all the worksheet type pages that I could copy and have the kids work on.  It helps them understand consonants versus vowels as well as match things that are the same.  It is also where you find the directions for the phonics farm sticker pages that my kids loved so well!  It includes lots of fun games for the kids to use that teach them while letting them have fun which is the most important part of learning!

The one thing that we haven’t mastered yet is the counting to 100.  I’m not sure what is up with my kids but they can count to 20, they can count by 10’s but we’re having the hardest time actually counting to 100.  I am hoping that as we continue to use this part of the curriculum that my children will get this figured out so that we can graduate!  
Our overall rating of this is excellent.  We love it and I would highly recommend that others give it a try if they are homeschooling or even if they just want to help their children learn more.  Once again make sure you check out the other TOS Crew Reviews!
Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

My opinion has not been influenced or altered in anyway by the company and only includes my honest thoughts on the product.


Pin It Now!


  1. Thanks for the awesome review, I homeschool our three kids and this sounds like something I need to get for them, Thanks again

  2. Looks like a great way to teach my daughter out of school. I have not heard of PAL before now so thank you for introducing me to them.

  3. My mom uses this spelling program with my siblings and they seem to be doing really really well with it. It took my mom 25 years to find a spelling program that really worked for our learning style!

  4. Great review, I would like this program for my son , Thank you!

  5. Wow this look great! I will have to check it out. This would be perfect for my son and daughter!

    linzaleetus at gmail dot com

  6. This is nice. Kids learn wile having fun.

  7. I love this. I've been thinking about homeschooling my daughter and I've been looking for a program like this.