Foundations

Foundations A

For the non-reader and the emerging reader, ages 4-7

Step by step, without large leaps,
children develop the foundational
skills needed to independently read
and
spell words such as sand, plan, and hint.

Skills Taught in Foundations A:

  • Show an awareness of how sounds are produced.
  • Blend and segment one-syllable words.
  • Read ALL the sounds of a-z.
  • Write lowercase letters in cursive or manuscript.
  • Read and spell consonant-vowel-consonant words.
  • Read and spell words with consonant blends.
  • Read 87 high-frequency words.
  • Read and comprehend phrases with short vowels and all lowercase letters.
Download the Scope & Sequence for Foundations A
Foundations A includes Lessons 1-40,
8 additional Assessment/Review
Lessons, and 6 student-created readers.
Children typically spend about four months to six months on Foundations A, depending on the age and prior knowledge of the student. Preschoolers starting Foundations will often spend up to a year on level A, while students who already have some prior phonics knowledge or have begun to read before beginning Foundations will often move more quickly through level A and, in some cases, B.
Let's Take a Tour, Average Lesson time 30-45 minutes

Lesson 1

No prior reading skills needed.
Foundations A Lesson 1 Examples

Phonemic Awareness

Students will enjoy exploring how sounds are formed in their mouths, which is a vital first step in being able to accurately distinguish between different sounds.

Skills Taught

  • Demonstrate an understanding that different sounds are produced by shaping the mouth, tongue, and lips in different ways.
  • Identify a sound as voiced or unvoiced.
  • Listen to two spoken words and blend them into one compound word.

Handwriting

Learn to write strokes with large-motor movements!

Skills Taught

  • Identify the baseline.
  • Identify the top line.
  • Identify the midline.
  • Write the swing stroke.
Handwriting instruction for all students should begin with large-motor movements. Only students who have developed fine-motor skills should be asked to use a pencil.
Download the complete lesson.

Lesson 5

Read and write the first phonogram!
Foundations A Lesson 5 Examples

Phonemic Awareness

Students now apply their knowledge of how sounds are formed to distinguish between similar sounds. Blending words from an auditory prompt prepares students to sound out written words and correlates highly to reading success.

Skills Taught

  • Demonstrate an understanding that different sounds are produced by shaping the mouth, tongue, and lips in different ways.
  • Distinguish between two different consonant sounds.
  • Blend one-syllable CVC words from an auditory prompt.
  • Blend one-syllable words with a consonant blend from an auditory prompt.

Systematic Phonics

Students learn the sounds of their first phonogram, a. Foundations begins with the lowercase form of the letter and teaches all the sounds from the beginning.

Skills Taught

  • Read ALL the sounds, in order of frequency, of the single-letter phonogram a.
A says /ă/ as in sand. /ā/ as in plate. And /ä/ as in ma.

Teacher Tip:

Foundations teaches lowercase letters first, since they are most important for reading a text. Uppercase letters are used only at the beginning of a sentence and with proper nouns.

Teacher Tip:

When a student learns ALL the sounds of a phonogram from the beginning, it eliminates confusing exceptions and provides the most efficient path to reading and spelling fluency.

Handwriting

Using the strokes taught in Lessons 1-4, students learn to write lowercase a. Research shows that students who learn to write the phonograms while learning the sounds learn the sounds faster, strengthen their ability to recognize letters in print, and activate the letterbox region of their brain.

Skills Taught

  • Write lowercase a.
Foundations A Teacher’s Manual includes BOTH cursive and manuscript instructions. Foundations A Student Workbook is available in either cursive or manuscript.
Download the complete lesson.

Lesson 21

Read and spell CVC words!
Foundations A Lesson 21 Examples

Phonemic Awareness

Building on the skills of segmenting and identifying sounds, students now learn how to identify the sounds at the end of words.

Skills Taught

  • Identify the final sound in a word.
  • Identify a sound as voiced or unvoiced.

Systematic Phonics

As students continue to learn new phonograms, they now begin to combine this knowledge with their phonemic awareness skills to read and spell their first words!

Skills Taught

  • Read the sound of the single-letter phonogram j.
  • Identify whether each sound of the single-letter phonograms is a consonant or a vowel.
  • Match the lowercase a-z phonograms in a bookface font to a handwritten form.
  • Decode CVC words that use only the first sound of each phonogram.

Spelling

Through Spelling Analysis students learn not only how to read and spell specific words, but why they are spelled that way, and how to apply this knowledge to other words.

Skills Taught

  • Write the lowercase single-letter phonograms from an auditory prompt of the sound(s).
  • Encode CVC words that use only the first sound of each phonogram.
  • Words taught: cat, dad, sad, sit, dug

Handwriting

Students now combine the letters they have learned to write words!

Skills Taught

  • Write lowercase j.
  • CURSIVE: Write words with letters connected from the baseline.
  • MANUSCRIPT: Write words leaving appropriate space between the letters within the word.

Comprehension and Fluency

As soon as students are taught to decode words, they begin to practice word-level fluency and comprehension skills with engaging games and activities.

Skills Taught

  • Decode a one-syllable word independently and demonstrate an understanding of its meaning.
Download the complete lesson.

Lesson 34

Read and spell words with consonant blends!
Foundations A Lesson 34 Examples

Phonemic Awareness

As students’ phonemic awareness skills continue to grow, they practice forming new words by changing the first sound.

Skills Taught

  • Change the initial sound to create a new word.

Systematic Phonics

Students are progressing to reading consonant blends in isolation, as well as within words.

Skills Taught

  • Read the sound of the single-letter phonogram f.
  • Identify whether each sound of the single-letter phonograms is a consonant or a vowel.
  • Blend two and three consonants in isolation.
  • Decode words with consonant blends that use only the first sound of each phonogram.

Spelling

Students continue to learn how to read and spell increasingly difficult words using Spelling Analysis.

Skills Taught

  • Encode one-syllable words with consonant blends that use only the first sound of the single-letter phonograms.
  • Write the lowercase single-letter phonograms from an auditory prompt of the sound(s).
  • Words taught: fast, nest, list, best, last

Handwriting

Students combine the letters they have learned to new write words with consonant blends!

Skills Taught

  • Write lowercase f.

Comprehension and Fluency

In addition to numerous fun comprehension games, Foundations A includes six beginning readers. To emphasize that reading is about words not pictures, students read the words and then glue in the pictures to create their own books.

Skills Taught

  • Decode a phrase independently and demonstrate an understanding of its meaning.
Download the complete lesson.

Assessment E

Monitor students’ progress as they master phonemic awareness, systematic phonics, fluency, comprehension, and handwriting skills.
Foundations A Assessment
Download the complete assessment. Track your students' progress.

Foundations A Readers

Found at the back of the Student Workbook, the student-assembled Foundations A Readers are an interactive learning activity. Rather than learning to guess from pictures, students first read the word or phrase, then find the matching picture and glue it in place to create their own readers.

Scroll to see the progression of complexity.

Foundations A Reader 1
Foundations A Reader 23
Foundations A Reader 6
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What is included in the A?

Teacher Items

To teach Foundations A, you’ll need the books for this level as well as several reusable core materials that are used in all four levels of Foundations.
Foundations A Teacher's Manual Doodling Dragons: An ABC Book of Sounds Basic Phonogram Flash Cards Phonogram and Spelling Rule Quick Reference Rhythm of Handwriting Quick Reference Rhythm of Handwriting Tactile Cards Spelling Analysis Quick Reference

Student Items

Excited kids
You will need one of each item per student, with the exception of the Phonogram Game Cards Set. You will need one Phonogram Game Card Set for every four students.
Foundations A Workbook Phonogram Game Tiles Phonogram Game Card Set Student Whiteboard

Suggested Supplements

Doodling Dragons ABC Songs Doodling Dragons MP3 Audiobook Rhythm of Handwriting Wall Strips Sandpaper Letters Logic of English Game Book Uncovering the Logic of English

Not all students start at A

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Foundations B