Foundations is developmentally appropriate for any student, ages 4-7, ready to learn to read. Students do not need any prior knowledge before beginning the Foundations curriculum, just the ability to understand spoken English and an interest in learning about letters and reading.
Pacing for Pre-K Students
The beginning levels of Foundations are geared primarily toward kindergarten students. A relaxed approach should be used when choosing to start Foundations early.
- Break lessons into smaller sections, spreading activities over multiple days.
- Let your student's level of interest and enjoyment determine the pace.
- Explore skills in a playful way rather than "getting through" the material.
- Select an amount of time that fits your student's attention span.
- Take a break or slow down even more if your pre-k student is not engaged.
Handwriting for Pre-K Students
We recommend teaching handwriting playfully with a focus on the connection between handwriting and reading. The goal is not to achieve mastery of handwriting phonograms or perfect penmanship.
- Use large-motor handwriting activities to introduce the student to how the letters feel.
- Add a kinesthetic element to learning each phonogram - writing in a salt tray, creating letters with playdough, etc. Many ideas are in the Foundations lessons.
- If needed, let the student use the Phonogram Game Tiles for spelling and reading activities rather than writing the words.
Students Younger than 4 Years Old
We do not recommend using the Foundations program for students under four years of age. Oral language skills are the most important early learning skill for young children.
Consider the following to build oral language skills:
- Talk with your child throughout the day as you drive down the road, are at the grocery store, playground, or any other opportunities through play.
- Read many books together and engage in conversation as you share them.
- Sing songs, recite nursery rhymes, and play preschool-level games.
- Have your child help you cook a meal, set the table, empty the dishwasher, and talk about what you are doing.
When the appropriate time comes, introduce your young child not yet be ready for formal instruction to the A-Z phonograms using these resources:
- Doodling Dragons: An ABC Book of Sounds
- Doodling Dragons ABC Songs
- Doodling Dragons Phonogram Coloring Book