Should we start Essentials immediately after Foundations?
Moving on to Essentials right after Foundations is an excellent option for some students, but not necessarily for all of them.
Essentials is the next step when students who have completed Foundations are ready to go deeper with spelling mastery and grammar. However, some younger students will do better focusing on reading for a while after completing Foundations.
Why do some students need a break?
- Material Presentation
- Essentials is designed for older students (8 years old to adult). Some 8-year-olds may prefer the playful style of Foundations, while some 7-year-olds are ready for the older design of Essentials.
- Since the lessons meet older students' intellectual needs and abilities, the instruction, activities, and games are in a more "grown-up" style.
- Students often spend more time working on a concept before moving on to the next activity than they do in Foundations.
- While the lessons are still fun and involve multisensory activities, they are designed to be enjoyed by older students.
- Lesson Depth
- The Essentials lessons go much more in-depth with the phonograms and spelling rules introduced in Foundations.
- Essentials teaches new spelling rules and language concepts not covered in Foundations.
- Students are encouraged to think more analytically about spelling, spend a lot of time building spelling mastery, and understand far more advanced grammar and vocabulary concepts in Essentials.
- Essentials is the perfect fit for some learners when they finish Foundations because they are already reading fluently and are developmentally ready to begin more formal spelling and grammar instruction.
What to do if your student needs a break?
Some students, especially those who are young (say, eight and under), may not be interested in a comprehensive spelling and grammar program yet. These younger students may be developing reading fluency or have just begun to read fluently. These children may be better served by focusing on reading for a year and perhaps beginning Essentials later when they are ready to start more formal spelling and grammar work.
Tips when taking a break between Foundations and Essentials
- Read, read, read! Children should read a lot once they have learned all the tools they need to decode words successfully. Students who have completed Foundations can use any age-appropriate books or literature curriculum.
- Keep practicing phonograms. Include a phonogram game, phonogram flash card reading drill, or phonogram writing activity a couple of times a week along with your reading curriculum. It's helpful to include activities where students practice reading (see the phonogram, say the sounds) and spelling (hear the sounds, write the phonogram).
- If you want to work on spelling, use spelling analysis and games. Each week, choose a few words from a book the child is reading and teach them through spelling analysis. Practice these words through spelling games from Foundations C, Foundations D, or Logic of English Game Book. Keep practicing the words in the coming weeks to build long-term mastery.
- Avoid rote memorization spelling programs. We do not recommend moving from Foundations to a curriculum that requires students to memorize words by rote for a one-time test. If you want to include some low-key spelling practice, we recommend using spelling analysis, games, or choosing a program that uses accurate phonograms and rules.
- Begin Essentials when you think that a complete course in English spelling, formal grammar study, and learning roots, prefixes, and suffixes would be a great next step in the child's language arts learning.