IEW PAL for Children Learning to Read and Write

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IEW PAL  for children Learning to Read and Write

Some children learn to read and write easily.
Some do not.
One thing all children love to do is listen to their parents read…..and play!

I have been looking for a great program to help my daughter with some reading struggles she has had…and something (anything) that is not purely computer based that is fun and will capture my youngest son’s interests. He is four, going on five and is a complete ham.  So,what to do?

Well, you find a program that brings reading, writing and fun together!

While researching my curriculum for next year, I noticed that our Classical Conversations group recommended the Institute for Excellence for writing (they even have a wonderful afternoon program teaching children this phenomenal way of writing).  I searched and poured through their site and identified classes at a Homeschool Convention I wanted to attend…..and you know what I found.  JUST what I had been looking for for ALL of my children.

Their new Primary Arts Language System (PAL) is just what I needed to boost my daughter’s reading and help my youngest develop his writing and reading skills.

It is a GREAT combination of Classical, Charlotte Mason and Montessori all wrapped into two programs, that used together will truly bring amazing fun and joy to the reading/writing/decoding process.

IEW PAL for children Learning to Read and Write

The PAL Reading package contains:

  • The Phonetic Farm folder and Stickers
  • Primary Arts of Language: Reading Teacher’s Manual
  • Primary arts of Language: Reading DVD-Rom
    • Instructional DVD
    • Files
      • Student Book 1 (lessons 1-40)
      • Student Book 2 (Lessons 41-80
      • Readers 1, 2, 3 and 4 (PDF files)
      • “The Four Language Arts by Andrew Pudewa MP3 Audio
      • “Nurturing Competent Communicators” By Andrew Pudewa MP3 audio
  • Primary Arts of Language Phonetic Games
  • Cost:  $69.00

What you will need to purchase:

  • 3*5 in cards (2 pckgs)…blank on both sides or lined on one side
  • Manila file folders (35)
  • Box/crate to keep file folders in
  • Crayons, Markers, pencils, pens, Sharpie, scissors, glue and tape
  • Clipboard

This amazing program begins with a great introduction and very details information on how to set everything up and the various stages of your reading instructions:

  • Stage 1: Foundations:  teacher is center and directs the students.  Thus, the student gains a good foundation and learns how to use their time wisely. This stage includes the phonograms, sight words, and games
    • In this program you go through
      • Poetry:  it is the centerpiece of each lesson
      • Phonetic Farm
      • This is a colorful farm scene that the student adds stickers to as they learn phonetic rules
      • Phonetic Games (Activities): Game boards/pieces are provided for you.  Just put them together as you need them.  And have fun.  They are cute and will bring smiles to your little one!
      • Card Game: Blended Sought-sight system that helps students read easily…and makes practicing sight words fun/easy
  • Stage 2: Activity Time
    • This is a thirty-minute activity period planned for each day that helps the student practice what they have learned….and continues to build new phonograms, words and games while the student continues practicing lessons from previous days.
      • Did you notice (above) I mentioned time management.  This is one thing about this program I love.  Activity time also provides guidance to you to help your children learn characters through patience, fair play and diligence!
      • Phonetic Farm Readers:  This is a great way to reward your child for learning sight words through the PAL readers.  These are cute readers that have been created using the sight words your student has learned!  Wow, cute little books you print off, they color and read…..because they are words they just learned!
  • Stage 3: Discovery
    • Phonetic rules have been mastered by now…so, instead of playing he Phonetic games, your child will begin working through Discovery Card Packs.  These are located in one of your work books…are easily cut out and will be fun to sit and read / play games with your child. (this replaces the thirty minutes of the Phonetic Games)
  • Stage 4:  The Library
    • Discovery stage is mastered…now, your student is going to receive their own collection of real books at an easy reading level that your little one can enjoy.  So, now you replace the Discovery Cards with very easy books (a list of recommended books is provided)….and for 15-30 minutes your little sits with you or an older sibling and reads!
This is our whiteboard with our bin that contains our
binders and Game Folders

The PAL Writing Program contains

  • Primary Arts of Language:  Writing Teacher’s Manual
  • Primary Arts of Language:  Writing Instructional DVD-ROM containing:
    • Video Instruction
    • Student Material PDF Files (to print)
      • Part 1 Student Book (Printing and Story Summaries)
      • Part 2 Student Book (Copy Work and Style)
      • Part 3 Student Book (Composition with Style
    • Audio MP3 Instructional Seminars from past Writing Teacher’s Symposiums
      • “The Four Language Arts” by Andrew Pudewa
      • “Reading Comprehension from Seuss to Socrates” By Adam Andrews
      • “Dictation, Narration, and Public Speaking” by Andrew Pudewa
      • Preparing the K-2 Writing Environment” by Richelle Palmer
      • “Units 1 and 2 in the Primary Classroom” by Shirley George
      • “Unit 3 in the Primary Classroom” by Shirley George
    • If you purchased the include PAL writing package, you also receive:
      • All About Spelling Level One
        • Teacher’s Manual
        • Student Materials
        • Basic Interactive Packet (letter tiles, magnets, phonogram CD-Rom, and tabs)
    • Cost:  $89.00

What you will need to purchase

  • A composition notebook to use as a daily journal (hard/spiral bound)
  • Wide-ruled notebook paper (spiral bound/loose-leaf)
  • 3×5 card box /recipe box for All About Spelling student materials (Not needed until part two)
  • Magnetic Whiteboard, option for using with the All About Spelling letter tiles (not necessary until part two)

How does it work:

  • Part 1:  Printing/Story Summaries:  this part introduces printing and short story summaries….it will take about 30minutes/day.  If your little one already knows how to write their letters, you can skip this part.  This program provides great insight on good habits for printing that will help learning cursive later easier!
  • Part 2:  Copy Work and Style with all About spelling
    • Students will begin copy work with complete sentences.  As you are helping during this 15 minute timeframe, you will be teaching about capital letters and punctuation….without the tears!
    • Children will learn stylistic techniques and will be introduced to the basic parts of speech.
    • All About Spelling provides 24 steps to a good foundation in spelling
    • Daily story summarization using a story sequence chart will continue….but, with your little one retelling the story instead of answering the story sequence questions (add some puppets or dress up clothes and you can have a play or show!)
  • Part 3:  Composition with Style
    • Once handwriting is automatic…spelling is being mastered (at your child’s learning level), story sequencing is internalized…now, you begin composition lessons. 
    • This is based on the IEW’s teaching writing: Structure and Style Units 1-3 and 7
      • Unit 1:  Key Word Outlines
      • Unit 2:  Summarizing from notes
      • Unit 3:  Story Writing
      • Unit 7:  Creative Writing
    • This will help students learn a structured writing model so they will not look like a poor little lost puppy when you ask them to write what they did over the summer!!

I can type and type and type for hours about these programs.  You could use them alone, but together they are so rich, that I know you will be impressed and you will have tons of fun with your little one.

At first, all of the material and prep may seem a little overwhelming, but the books walk you through your daily routine…to the point that you could literally be up and running within 2 days of receiving everything.  Don’t like to read that much?  That’s ok…the DVD is an easy listen…I have had it going on my computer as I have been typing for the past few days…..and it makes things so much easier.

So, now you’re asking…Have you used it?


Here are some pictures:

Practicing our Sad Letter “O”
He is sad because no one took a bite out of him like
Happy Letter “C”…for cookie

Our First Game….
Letter Stories learning about c, o and a

Our second game:  Mugs
Little Man fed Mugs Bones….
with the sounds/letters:  a, c and o
(He couldn’t stop giggling!)
This is not part of the program we are in yet…
but the program encourages you to set goals with your children
to encourage them to push through.
So, I decided by having the board up, I knew he would show
interest…and while it isn’t implemented, it gives him a chance
to find the letters/sounds again.
 Wow!  Are you still with me?  Again, this is two programs…they can be used alone or together.  We are using them together, they flow well…and while this was a LONG review, I could not write them separate.

Learn more about IEW by


Disclaimer:  I received both of these programs for free….in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no other compensation for this review.

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  1. This looks very interesting! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Teebee2001 says:

    THANKS for this! Jill Pike sent me the link to your blog, as I had emailed IEW with questions about how PAL can work for me, with multiple children, and a busy life! 😉 I appreciated your comments! We are also in CC, just finished our first year, and LOVE it! Blessings to your family, and thanks again for this indirect input! 😉

  3. Cristi Schwamb says:

    I’m sriously looking at this program for my five-year-old — she knows her letters, but isn’t reading at all. How much time did you spend working on it each day? Do you have an idea of how much material is included? I wonder if it is just enough for a year or would it perhaps last longer, especially when it starts working on writing.

  4. Great review!! I’ve been looking at this program and I had no idea that there was a writing program too. And thanks for including a supplies list.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks! We are really enjoying it. Yes, I thought the supplies list was a must. I think it’s frustrating when I purchase something, get home and find out I needed more things…I LOVE this program…..Let me know if you order it and what your thoughts are!

  5. I see this review is from last year. I just wanted to check in and see how the year went? Is it still a top recommendation from you? I have a 4 and 5 year old that I will be homeschooling next year. Was looking into boxed programs but saw your review and not am expanding my search. Are there any other programs you highly recommend to get one going with homeschool? Thanks so much.

    • Cindy,
      We made it half way through the program for this year…I found that i needed to take it slow with my little guy once we reached about lesson 12….he was a very young 5 when we began and I have two other children I’m working with. One requires a lot of hands on…so, I had to schedule my time with both of them. We will finish the program this year…and do I recommend it? YES…we love the way they add poetry and teach phonics. I believe it is a well-rounded program….and I am very thankful we have it. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

  6. Thank you so much for this review. We are about to use IEW PAL Reading with our dd5 and IEW SWI B with our ds11 in 2013. My concern was that I already purchased Handwriting Without Tears and wasn’t sure if I could use it or whether it was a necessity to use the PAL Writing? You have cleared that up for me thank you. Do you think the same now 18months down the track?
    Warmest wishes, Renelle

    • Renelle,

      The PAL handwriting is really nice. We used both – the HWT and PAL. We are just wrapping up most of the PAL reading and the writing is finished except for the last phase where the child writes paragraphs. My youngest is not ready for that and I don’t want to push him. So, we will put it aside (again) and wait for him to mature a little more. We are moving slowly through it… Yes, 18 months for us. However, he is still a young 6….and I don’t want to push him to the point that he does not enjoy learning. The games – he plays those daily and is reading well. So, do I think this is still a great program 18 months later – MOST DEFINITELY! And I encourage you to move at the speed of your child….take your time, enjoy it. If I could do anything different – I would have used colorful file folders for the games! Many Blessings and – if you decide to use PAL – I would love to hear about your experience.

  7. I’m thinking of using this for my 2 younger boys, grades K and pre-k. They both are beginning to read and know all their letters, my K knows all their sounds. I also have a 3rd grader that needs caught up with his spelling. What are your thoughts using PAL for multi grades? Would it be too much work? Would PAL help my 3rd grader with becoming more of a fluid reader and better speller? I’m mostly drawn to this program because I love the use of poetry. We are a busymilitary family with 4 kiddos though, so I’m worried about all the work that goes into it..


    • Candice, I think PAL may be a little boring for your older children. HOWEVER, the file folder games would be a great way to pull your older children in. They could play the games with younger children – helping enforce their phonemic awareness and spelling rules. The poetry is really nice and that would also provide another area for your older children – they could help with reading, memorizing and even using them as copywork. I have another program that is very good for older children – I’m actually writing the review now and have it scheduled to go live on Saturday.

  8. Great, thank you for getting back to me! I look forward to your post on Saturday. I’m really torn on the whole issue of phonics/spelling/language arts right now. So many curriculums to choose from and different ways of teaching. I don’t want to buy something we hate!

    • Candice,

      I completely understand your confusion. My oldest was taught using phonics and whole language. My middle – whole language. The whole language without the phonics has placed that child at a disadvantage. (this was before we started homeschool). Now, I am passionate about phonics and pulling whole language in…and the importance of meeting the child where they are and making it fun while they are young. Feel free to email me if you have specific questions you would like to have answered.